UK BBQ Mag Summer 2017 - Page 80

I have since replaced the one in my unit with a more accurate thermometer from ebay that cost me £1.99.

2. The handle. Unfortunately, the handle is made of quite soft plastic and, although it is supplied assembled, the screws work their way out easily allowing the sections of the handle to fall apart. This occurs through normal usage of the smoker and has been a problem with most of the units that I am aware of. The first time it happened to me it resulted in minor burns being sustained from the hot lid. The screws are small and are easily lost and are also difficult to replace without removing the handle assembly from the lid. After the screws came out for a second time it was easier to replace them with tape.

3. Door cover. It is difficult to get this type of door to fit snugly however there is a larger gap around the door of the Callow than I would have expected. However, this gap did not affect the working of the smoker. This could be corrected through the use of simple strips of stove tape around the door seat.

4. The coating. Unlike more expensive units that are enamel coated, to reduce manufacturing costs the Callow is only powder coated. Although this is often fine, the slight gap between the door and the body focusses some of the combustion gasses which has resulted in the powder coating becoming damaged. After only about a month of use this has resulted in the formation of a slight rust line immediately above the door opening.

Conclusion

For the price, the Callow BBQ Smoker offers good value for anyone just starting out smoking and would fit into many people’s birthday or Christmas present budgets. The unit is easy to assemble and the temperature management is very straightforward.

Its biggest problem, in my view, is the thermometer being so inaccurate. Without using an additional thermometer, for low-and-slow cooking this will result in meat cooking at a temperature that is much too high, and for hot smoke roasting it would appear that the smoker was never actually reaching the required temperature. Callow are aware of this and are trying to source more accurate thermometers to supply with the unit.

The quality of the handle is also disappointing and although it does not affect the use of the smoker it is also being reviewed by Callow. At present, the longer-term effect of the rust is unknown and a better door seal would probably correct this.

For the experienced smoker this unit would probably offer little value and would not be worth considering, however for someone just starting out along their smoking journey this could provide good value for money. In addition to the Callow purchase price you should also budget for a twin probe digital thermometer – but this advice would be the same if you were to invest in a more expensive smoker too.

These smokers are available for £85 at time of print through www.gardengiftshop.co.uk or £99 through Amazon.

Wade

@WCSmokery

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