The British public just love a good barbeque. We’ll quite happily fire up the barby in the rain or the cold, far earlier in the year than we really should do – admit it, you’ve already had one this year haven’t you. Rarely does any social situation bring Brits together quite like sharing undercooked sausages and warm cans of beer, for a quintessential British BBQ (or BBBQ, if you will). With one spring bank holiday behind us and another just around the corner, that nostalgic scent of burnt meat and plastic is expected to waft over British gardens every weekend for the next 5 months.
As somewhat of a BBQ fascist, I simply can’t abide by poor BBQ etiquette; standard ‘safe’ meat choice of just burgers and sausages, poor quality buns that deteriorate during the first bite, a lack of adequate condiments, a poor selection of accompaniments (corn on the cob, salad, guacamole etc), you get the idea. While many ‘queist novices fall at this hurdle, most haven’t even begun to consider their cooking method and style, and will likely just throw the burgers onto flames and crack open their first lager. Well I’m here to show you how to do BBQ right, and open your eyes to the world of BBQ smokers.
Smoking is the process of flavouring, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to smoke from burning or smouldering material, most often wood. Meats and fish are the most common smoked foods, though cheeses and vegetables can also be smoked.
Thanks Wikipedia. Bottom line, smoking food to impart a rich and deep smoky flavour to it can not only improve the overall quality of your eating, it’s also fairly simple to do and can be at very little cost. If you’re determined to up your BBQ game this summer, look no further than investing in a BBQ smoker – and lucky for you, ManCaved are here to review some of best smokers on the market.
Brinkmann Charcoal Gourmet Grill and Smoker
The Brinkmann Charcoal Gourmet is a popular, entry-level smoker, and is a solidly built piece of kit that comes at a reasonable price of $90. Despite its low price, it’s no slouch when it comes to the cooking; it can hold up to 50 pounds of food and is also fitted with a handy thermostat in its stylish domed lid. The Brinkmann is your buddy, he’s your pal – solid, dependable, always on time, but maybe not all that exciting. Recommended for smoking beginners.
Pit Barrel Cooker
Cranking things up a notch, the more experienced smokers out there might want to consider the mean looking Pit Barrel Cooker. For what is essentially a big barrel with metal rods and hooks, the PBC is actually a really sophisticated version of what many BBQ enthusiasts previously homemade (some still do) using drums and metal pipe. The Pit Barrel Cooker Company (I wonder how they came up with that name) have made the home smoking process a lot more ‘Ikea’ and provide a nifty self assembly barrel cooker for under $300.
Char-Broil Longhorn Offset Smoker/Grill
If you’re after an offset smoker rather than a vertical smoker, the Char-Broil Longhorn is a super-smoker well worth considering. The name alone is undeniably captivating; it sounds like a mystical Native American Indian crossed with a random European footballer on loan at Lazio. Superb. For the uninitiated, the benefits of an offset smoker are that the firebox sits separate from the cooking/smoking chamber, which results in a lower and more even heat – that slow cooked pork shoulder just got even slower cooked, and all the more delicious for it. At $500 a pop, these little dudes are good value for that extra cash.
Masterbuilt Propane Smoker
While it might look more like a safe than a lean, mean, smoking machine, the Masterbuilt Propane Smoker is part of an emerging nu-school of popular propane smokers. Smoking food is a skill in itself, it’s an art that takes time to develop, and it’s a complex balance act of temperatures, flavours and timing that only betters with experience. If you can’t be arsed with any of that, a propane smoker holds a steady temperature which is easy to control, whilst still delivering well cooked and authentic smoked foods. And all at $200.
Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker
An alternative to a propane smoker and one for all you 21st century digital boys is an electrical smoker like the Bradley 4 Rack. The benefits? You can set your temperature and let that meat just smoke away baby, and due to electrical smokers producing a higher level of humidity and thus moister food, they are particularly good for cooking vegetables and fish. The drawbacks? It’s not really smoking if it’s electric, is it you pussy.
Backwoods Smoker Chubby
If you really want to step things up, look no further than the Backwoods Smoker Chubby. Just let this majestic beauty soak into your eyes, with over 1,000 square inches of smoky goodness, big enough to smoke 50 burgers at once, and all at a comparatively reasonable $1,000. Backwoods are regarded as the gold standard of smoking apparatus, and have a whole line of different sized and brilliantly named smokers; The Party, The Fatboy, The Competitor, The Pro Junior, The Professional, The Piglet and The Competition Hog.
Backwoods Smoker Whole Hog
A beast so rare and seldom seen by human eyes that the best image we could muster was the strange, floating, fridge-like object above, the Whole Hog is the crown jewel of the Backwoods range and accordingly it will set you back a cool $9,500 (that’s the out of the box price, without ‘upgrades’). Designed for competitive BBQ and professional catering, the Whole Hog can hold 600 pounds of meat and can also cook whole hogs at once, which is handy because of the name it has.
That about wraps her up, our short but hopefully tasty roundup of some of the best BBQ smokers available. Whatever your plans this summer, make sure it involves some safe and tasty barbequing! Now, who wants to go halves with me on a Backwoods Whole Hog?