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I'd got fed up with having to spend over the odds for replacement braided cables for my various blowers, thermometers etc. They kept failing due to heat surges. I noticed that with my bullet smokers it was the entry point into the smoker where the heat was causing them to fail I presume the heat travelling up the side of the bullet without any baffle as such was the problem. In the centre behind the water / sand pan all was fine. I'd seen that some people used foil to protect the cable at this entry point, but I found that was a bit of a faff & the foil had a tendency to move during the cook. I turned to the internet for a better solution. Heat resistant sheath was in my head, I found THIS. In the 6mm size it can take a couple of cables & will fit into the grommet on the ProQ & Fornetto giving a secure fit & protecting the cables at there vulnerable points. I've not had a cable fail due to heat spikes since. For £3 a metre it's worth having a length in your man cave. Cheers n Gone Nick
When I was made aware of the Callow smoker I must confess to being a little skeptical. It is being sold for ~£85 and in the pictures it looked quite small. It is being marketed as: I ordered one and 2 days later it was delivered... What was in the box? The smoker was well packed and came in a surprisingly small box. Although it needs to be assembled there are relatively few components and the whole smoker can be assembled within about 20 minutes using only a cross-head screwdriver and a pair of pliers. Unpacking The build quality of the unit is very good and compares favourably with the WSM and ProQ Frontier. The Callow only has a 14" cooking cooking grate though which may restrict using some of the larger cuts of meat. The smoker is only powder coated though and so is unlikely to last as long as some of the more expensive alternatives. The fire basket has plenty of air holes which enabled an even charcoal burn and the bottom and top vents were of good quality which allowed for simple fine temperature control. The positioning of the bottom vents do appear to be a little higher than I would have expected as the top ones of these are above the holes in the fire basket. The water/sand pan was a good distance above the coals with sufficient gap around to give a good heat flow into the cooking chamber One possible negative point was the small air gap around the door when it was closed. However during the temperature profiling this did not appear to cause any problems. Below are pictures of the smoker layers Firing up the Callow I used only 2 Kg of Heat Beads in Minion for the initial test, with hot water in the water tray. With all vents fully open the smoker took about 60 minutes to get up to temperature (100-110 C) by which time the bottom vents were 7/8 closed. Without any adjustments it maintained this temperature for over 8 hours. At one point there was a period of gusty wind that caused the temperature to rise slightly. The following morning when the smoker was taken apart it was clear that the fire had burned evenly and almost completely. Cold Smoking The callow worked very well as a cold smoker using both the AMNPS and the ProQ smoke generators Lid thermometer This was the only part that let the smoker down - however this is a common weak point with many models of smoker. With the thermometer that was originally supplied with the Callow, when the smoker was up to cooking temperature (based upon the measurement from a calibrated Thermadata Smoke, the lid thermometer was indicating a temperature that was 35 C too low. If this thermometer had been used to regulate cooking temperature then this would have resulted in the temperature in the cooking chamber being much too high. This was reported to Callow and they have now sourced alternative, more accurate, lid thermometers which will be supplied with new units shipped. The new thermometers are the same units that are supplied with Weber BBQs and the ones I was sent to test actually had the Weber branding still on them. These proved to be much more accurate when calibrated over boiling water. Summary I was really impressed with both the build quality and usability of the Callow Smoker and would recommend it to anyone starting out smoking or for established smokers who are looking for some inexpensive additional cooking space.