Hello Mr. HBC01,
Welcome to the forum and I see you have already been introduced to the “peanut gallery”. You asked for some “serious help” with some “hands on experience” and stated that you have done your research for months and you have received 14 posts telling you that your two choices are not much good and most suggested purchasing something else. Well my friend, this is just one more post from the peanut gallery but I do have hands on experience and I will try to provide some serious help.
Both the Hasty Bake and the Primo or any other ceramic cooker are great cookers in my opinion and I do own two Hasty Bakes and three ceramic cookers.
The HB and the Primo are both American made by two small companies with one being in Oklahoma and the other in Georgia. Both companies are about the same size and the HB company has been in the grill business 4-5 times longer than the Primo company for whatever that might be worth. I think both of them will be around for a while.
I’ll start by telling you that I think the Hasty Bake is the best charcoal cooker out there at any price and I have owned several very good charcoal cookers. The peanut gallery said that these cookers are expensive and that is so true but if you want to own the best, it’s gonna cost ya.
This in my model 130 Hasty Bake and although the peanut gallery would tell you that the Hasty Bake cookers are “flimsy and not lasting” this cooker is approaching 50 years in service and I am trying to wear it out! Two year ago, I broke one of the grids that hold the charcoal and just called the company and ordered a new part. Imagine, a 50 year old cooker and a fellow can still get parts! For what it’s worth and if I can finally wear it out, I may consider sending it back to Hasty Bake for a rebuild job as they do that in the Winter season to help keep the employees busy.
This is my pride and joy and is a Hasty Bake Gourmet Model 257 all Stainless Steel cooker and is about 3 years old. Sure it cost way too much but it is nice to own the best of something and I feel the the HB is the best overall charcoal cooker out there.
The HB will do it all in that you can cook low and slow for hours without much attention to the cooker, cook all the medium range cooks at say 275-325 degrees and then do the higher temp cooks at around 375-400 for baking and pizza. I also have two rotisserie setups for my unit which I really like. The cooker has good capacity with both cooking shelves so you can cook for the crowds. With the ability to crank up the fire to where it is very close to the cooking grid, you can sear at the tip of a lump charcoal flame and that my friend is super hot! I get 1-1/2 “ thick ribeyes done in about 4 minutes on the first side and about 2-3 minutes on the second side.
This is five turkey breasts going on to the cooker and as you can see, it only occupies about half the space on the larger grid in the cooker.
The results of that cook.
This is two whole butterflied chickens in the rotisserie in my cooker.
This is the results of that cook.
This is a couple of Cornish hens on my EZ-Que rotisserie setup in my HB cooker.
This is the results of that cook....as you can see, I love the rotisserie units in my cooker.
This mixed cook is a whole rotisserie chicken along with a big slab of those Kroger “bronto” spare ribs.
Chicken came out looking good.
This is a couple of pork butts on the cooker about done.
For something like pork butts and maybe briskets where I might need 10-12 hours of straight cooking, I set up a fuse burn in my charcoal box like you see in the picture. I have divided the firebox into two sides and I will start the fire at the front of one side and it will burn right on around my firebricks to the other side and this gives my several hours of cooking time and enough for my butts.
The results of the pork butt cook.
You can check my blog for additional information on this great cooker with tons of pictures. Just look up Hasty Bake in the index.
The Primo is a great cooker and I feel that if I could only own one backyard cooker, it would be a ceramic cooker. While I don’t own a Primo at the present time, I do own three of another brand of ceramic cookers. I have cooked on both the Primo Oval and also the round ceramic Primo cooker. In fact, my cooking team was the first team in the country to use all ceramic cookers in a KCBS bbq contest. We cooked on both the Primo Oval and Round, and a couple of Big Green Eggs.
The Primo will just flat do it all and with some tasks, much easier than with the Hasty Bake.
It would be hard for me to compare the Primo to the Hasty Bake as they are two much different cookers. I love both of them and hope this information will help you with your decision. They are both great choices.
If you need any additional information, just fire the questions this way and I will try to help you out.