Traveling with a Barrel Smoker

Traveling with a Barrel Smoker

What Makes a Barrel Smoker the Perfect Option for Cooking Away from Home?

Grilling and barbecue are the heart of great outdoor parties and events. Especially once Spring rolls around, there is nothing better than quality food for your picnic or cook out. But what if you could take that experience with you? Making good food away from home is often difficult due to the size that many smokers require and the availability of fuel. Drum smokers, the most portable charcoal grills, are specially crafted to meet all your grilling needs perfectly whether at home or on the road. The relatively small size and simple design of a charcoal-burning barrel smoker make it easy to transport long distances with little to no stress. This one cooker can do what you may use five appliances to do in your own home, while being easy to use and move around. Whether you want to bake, roast, smoke, or grill, a charcoal cooker is equipped to meet your needs. With a barrel smoker, great barbecue can go anywhere with you, whether you are heading to a tailgate party down the street or out for a week-long camping trip.

We will dig into the seven main advantages of using a drum smoker or barrel when cooking on the road or away from home.

1. Portability
2. Cooking Capacity
3. Consistent Temperatures
4. Charcoal
5. Durable Design
6. Easy to Clean
7. Versatility

 

In this guide, you find several advantages to using a barrel smoker when traveling as well as what makes a barrel cooker so special. Read on to learn about just a few of the reasons that a barrel smoker is the perfect fit for your barbecue needs away from home!

Advantages of a Barrel Smoker for the Traveler

With their unique and versatile design, drum smokers can be easily taken with you for any event or trip.

1. Portability

The design of a barrel smoker is as simple as it gets – a barrel with a fire in the bottom. This simplicity means there is very little to pack up, you just pick up the barrel and go. There are a few odds and ends that make cooking easier for you, but you can toss all the extras into the barrel when it is time to go. The barrel will fit well in trucks, most vans and SUVs, and even some sedans. The sturdy side handles on the barrel make moving it from your car to your cooking area a breeze. Any accessories will fit inside the barrel as well, making it easier to keep track of everything and set up at your destination to get cooking that much faster. When you are ready to head home, just toss it all back in the barrel and go.

2. Cooking Capacity

The vertical hanging method in an upright barrel smoker allows you to utilize much more of the available space than in a classic horizontal barrel smoker. In a 30-gallon model, hang 8 racks of ribs or 2-3 pork butts or briskets. Looking for some white meat? You can fit up to a 30 lb. turkey or several whole chickens. With hanging accessories, such as baskets and skewers, you can hang items that may not be suited for meat hooks. This allows you to take advantage of as much of the vertical cooking area as possible, much more space than you would have on a single cooking grate. Whether you are cooking for a large tailgate party or a small family camping trip, there will be more than enough food to leave everyone satisfied.
If you have a smaller crowd in mind, check out a 14-gallon option. It will still fit 6 racks of ribs, 1 pork butt/shoulder, 1 full packer brisket, 6 chicken halves, or 1 17lb turkey, all while being considerably smaller and lighter than a 30-gallon. These will yield the same amazing results while using less charcoal, and the small size makes them even easier to transport.

3. Consistent Temperatures

One of the biggest advantages of a barrel smoker is the “set it and forget it” design. Many smokers require constant monitoring of the fire, fuel supply, and vent settings to maintain a consistent temperature. When using a barrel smoker, you just need to set the vent once, light it up, and let it go. There is no need to monitor the barrel temperatures, just check your cook times using recipes created for the temperature range of a barrel smoker. Play some games, fish nearby, or take a nap while your barrel smoker does all the work for you. It will maintain consistent temperatures for 6-7 hours, long enough to cook anything you might have on the grill.

4. Charcoal

A charcoal cooker also means you won’t be tied to an electric outlet or gas tank. Just toss a bag or two of charcoal in the car and you can cook anywhere. Any charcoal you have available will do the trick, whether that’s briquettes or natural hardwood lump. No need to add wood for flavor, the vertical hanging design of a barrel smoker allows the drippings from your food to vaporize on the coals. This creates a flavorful smoke fog that will give anything you make an unforgettable flavor. Take your smoker down the street to a block party or out in the middle of the woods, no matter where you are it will turn out the same amazing food you would get in your own backyard.

5. Durable Design

When you opt for a high-quality manufactured barrel, they can last for years and stand up to a few bumps in the road. Many electric and gas smokers have bells and whistles that can make smoking exciting, but the more parts you have the more potential there is for something to break. The simplicity of a barrel smoker means the drum itself would have to be significantly damaged to stop you from cooking. You won’t need to be afraid that a rough ride may leave a few dents and dings. Your cooker will still perform great and should have a long life ahead of it. Steel coated with porcelain enamel further ensures that your barrel cooker stays strong and durable.

6. Easy to Clean

Once you get home from an event or trip, the last thing you want to do is clean everything up. A barrel smoker will take some of that off your plate, as very little cleanup is required. When you are finished with your cook, just dump the barrel over to empty the ashes, and you are pretty much done. This is made even easier with an Ash Pan accessory, which allows you to lift most of the ashes out of the barrel with the charcoal basket. The smooth porcelain coating ensures that any dirt or grease on the outside of your barrel smoker can be easily cleaned off once you make it home. Just wipe it down, using soap and warm water on any difficult spots, leaving your cooker as beautiful as ever.
The stainless steel meat hooks and several other accessories can go straight into the dishwasher for cleaning. Anything else can be easily washed with soap and water.

7. Versatility

A barrel cooker is an all-in-one cooking machine. You can smoke or grill, and even bake if you want to. Leave the lid on to smoke your brisket, ribs, or pork butt for some amazing barbecue. Once that’s done, take the lid off to raise the temperatures and throw in some more charcoal to start grilling some burgers on the grate. If you need a crowd-pleasing snack, this Smoked Queso recipe will take your party to the next level.
With some extra accessories, the possibilities are endless. Take it to your holiday gatherings and smoke your turkey with a Pit Barrel Turkey Hanger. Smoking sausage or need some hot dogs for the kids? Check out the Pit Barrel Sausage Hanger, perfect for sausages, hot dogs, and brats. Smoke some vegetables in the Pit Barrel All-Purpose Basket Hanger, corn in the Pit Barrel Corn Hanger, or use Skewers for some smoked sweet potatoes. Need some variety while you are camping? Set a baking dish on the grate and smoke up some baked beans, a casserole, or this Smoked Mac 'N Cheese. With a Hinged Grate, you can hang your meat on one side of the barrel and have another dish on the grate at the same time. Any baked recipe will turn out great, just adjust your cook times for an over temperature of 300F. It can even crank out some amazing desserts. You will never have to make compromises with your menu again!

Lifting portable charcoal cooker out of car

What Makes a Barrel Smoker Special?

The original barrel smokers were made at home using repurposed oil drums, earning them the name Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS). Over the years this basic idea has developed into a variety of shapes and sizes. More recently, the barrel smoker has become a barbecue phenomenon, now with barrels specifically designed and manufactured with smoking in mind. This means everything from the size and shape to the materials used are catered to creating the perfect cooking environment for all your barbecue needs.

Components

Obviously, the main players are the barrel drum and the lid. This is a simple machine that can do its job very well. A drum smoker can be made at home from any size barrel, but the best ones have been carefully crafted to yield consistent temperatures and cook times, freeing your time and energy for the rest of your event or trip. The drum will sit on top of a stand, keeping your cooker off the ground and decreasing the risk of heat-related accidents.
Another essential element is the charcoal basket. Just like the barrel, this is a simple piece of equipment, but when well-designed it can make your life much easier. By making the charcoal basket the perfect size for the cooker, the barrel designers can take all the guesswork out of how much coal to use.
Coated hanging bars and stainless steel hooks are perfect for hanging almost anything you can think of and make clean up easy afterward. Anything that you cannot hang will cook just as well on the cooking grate. Whether you want to lay out some veggies, fish, or a smoked spatchcock chicken, a barrel smoker will make it easy.
When you purchase a Pit Barrel cooker, you will also receive samples of our signature rubs. These make flavoring your dishes a breeze and are sure to please any crowd you may be cooking for.
In addition to these basic components, there are many optional accessories available to make your barrel cooking experience even better. When you are done, it will all pack up into the barrel for you to take home.

Begin a new journey with your barrel smoker today!

Camping, vacations, picnics, and holidays do not get any better than this. Gone are the days of worrying about transporting some heavy barbecue grill from home to your outdoor events. With a charcoal-burning barrel cooker, fantastic food is always readily available regardless of where you are. Grilled, fried, baked, or smoked, a barrel cooker will get it done. A well-designed barrel smoker will hold up wherever you need to take it and yield the best results you could desire, no matter the occasion. The durable build and wide array of recipe options will satisfy any traveler’s mealtime needs.

Whether you are a barbecue aficionado or just need some variety in your travel meals, a barrel smoker will not disappoint. It is the perfect purchase for anyone who loves great food and wants to take it beyond their own backyard.