Saturday, September 5, 2009

Char-Griller Outlaw review

I needed to get a larger smoker than my Weber kettle.  I was looking around for more than a year for a big enough smoker to cook for about 20 people at a time for nice BBQ parties in the summer.  Here in Europe there aren't too many BBQ smokers to select from. One popular brand is the Smokey Joe's smoker, but they are rather expensive (1000-2000 euros). Searching on the net I found lots and lots of information of Char-Grillers.  They seem very popular both in USA and in Europe and cost about a third of a Joe's Smoker.

I got interested in the Char-Griller Outlaw model (with a side firebox) and soon I ordered one online from a German supplier. Less than 500 euros it seemed like a bargain. Delivery was extremely fast (2-3 days) and it arrived in two relatively small boxes.

Assembly took me a good hour. Good instructions, well manufactured and easy to assemble it. No special tools were needed.

First thing with a new smoker is to season the griddles.  I melted about a pound of pork fat (lard), brushed the fat on the griddles. I heated up my gas grill and put the griddles in it for about 2 hours.  After that I brushed more fat on the griddles and gave them another two hours of high heat in the gasser.

At the same time I sprayed oil inside and outside of the Outlaw and did a dry run with burning just charcoal for 2-3 hours. I added plenty of mesquite and hickory wood for giving nice and strong smoke aroma to the Outlaw.  In the pic below you can see how the the Outlaw got a nice and deep mahogany color from the smoke.

It's ready for the first cook.  Load it up with decent amount of baby back ribs...

... and enjoy the beautiful aromas in the garden!

I have not done any modifications on it, except turned around the large charcoal tray in the smoking chamber to distribute the smoke more evenly and added a large metal water pan to the right side for more even heat distribution.  

I am more than happy with my Char-Griller Outlaw BBQ smoker. It really must be the best bang for the buck as there is really nothing else available in this size for this price category. Sure the steel is not as thick as in the expensive smokers, but what the heck - it's cheap, it works really well and I think it even looks nice.

I can highly recommend this smoker for anyone who wants a good size smoker for under 500 euros.


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