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Callow smoker - few lockdown cooks


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So the one benefit of this lockdown is I have had plenty of time to get used to my Callow and Inkbird 2 probe model, make some modifications and do a few cooks. Albeit a form of procrastination from finishing the patio and other works needing in the house. The Callow has been great so far, however I did have to install washers on the dampeners so they wouldn’t spin around and come loose and install stove tape around the door. I added a little makeshift plywood shelf for my inkbird to sit on too.

My first cook was two whole chickens, this was pre modifications so easily got hot enough to crisp the skin and made some very tasty chicken. Shouldn’t have bothered with the water pan!


My second cook was a 2kg Jacobs Ladder, with a basic Texas style salt and pepper rub. This again was pre modifications and was quite a battle keeping the temp in the 225-250 range. But all in the ribs were amazing, great bark, juicy and smoke ring.


For my cooks I use charcoal as I have never got on with briquettes even heat beads. For Wood I use a combination of Scotch oak barrel staves which I got about 50kg three years ago for £25 and Apple wood pellets. I used water in the pan to start with and found it dried out too quick. I have since swapped to sand and found it a tad easier controlling temp (however this was post mods so who knows).

My third cook was another set of Jacobs ladder, this time I used American mustard as a binder to see if it made a difference. Didn’t seem to make any difference but this beef wasn’t as good quality as my first set of ribs. Ordered from a different supplier while getting some great deals on steaks. Will stick to Davidson’s butchers next time, always consistent. Temperature was less of a battle, again great smoke ring and bark. Shame beef wasn’t as high in quality. But all in worth the effort.


My fourth cook was two racks of baby back ribs and a 2.5kg Coppa shoulder joint. Did the 3:2:1 method with the baby backs with my own rub. Unfortunately the ribs dried out at the smaller end of the racks. I even thought at the end of the 3 they could have come off. Should have used my judgement instead of blindly following a ratio. Although I have now stopped buying baby backs as the meat to bone ratio just isn’t good enough. Get much better results with spare ribs. Luckily the coppa/neck joint came out great and made some tasty pulled pork. 

My fifth cook was two sets of spare ribs from Davidson’s butchers with my own spicy rub and glazed with my own bbq sauce. Kind of ignored the 3:2:1 and just went by my own eye. Wrapped at 3 hours, glazed after an hour wrapped in foil and took mine off say after 30 mins. Lovely smoke ring, tender and juicy meaty ribs. Just wish I had written down the latest concoction ratio for my rub as it’s incredible! They went down a treat and have to say probably my favourite item off the smoker yet.

And lastly, was the most expensive of the cooks a 5.5kg Australian Brisket I got from Davidson’s Butchers for £55. Not the highest in price but thought would be a good practice brisket for my first attempt. Basic Texas style rub of sea salt and coarse black pepper. Trimming was actually harder than I anticipated as was wrapping it in peach paper.

 I stupidly chose to do this on the windiest day of the past few months, however my mods and smoker placement helped with the temp. Generally managed to keep within 225-275 range, 275 was usually when a big gust turned up (I set it that high as the alarm was driving me mad) But it happily sat at 235 for around 2 of the six hours, usually peaking at 250 before dipping back down. Kept at that until it reached internally 165. I wrapped at 165 and after another 3 hours my alarm for 203f went off. Kept them wrapped and popped in the cooler. So 9 hours all in, then left in the cooler for 2 until ready to eat. Annoyingly forgot to take any photos when it was done. Vac packed the other half ready to be Sous vide when I fancy it again.



Its tasty, moist, tender with a great smoke ring and good bark but for me the effort, amount of charcoal and wood plus the price of the brisket outweighs it. Plus the poor callow has a fair amount of grease build up off this brisket cook, the top vents are almost locked open from it. 

So for me I am going to stick to spare ribs, Jacobs ladder and chicken. Next plans are beef cheeks, pork hocks and a lamb shoulder. I’m thinking more along the lines of sensible costs/cheaper cuts. Any suggestions welcome.

Great little smoker and plenty big enough for a 5.5kg brisket albeit cut in half. I had planned on buying a Fornetto after seeing the size of my brisket but glad I didn’t as I now know I prefer the easier stuff. 

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5 hours ago, Mikey B said:

What mods did you do?

i read through but must have missed them if you’ve listed them in the post


mikey B

Some of this stuff https://shop.vitcas.com/thermal-tape-self-adhesive-white.html , around the door on the smoker body rather than the door. Thinking I might put some on the door as well. Not sure if that will benefit at all though? 

And I put split washers on the dampeners as they kept coming loose. Noticeably better control of the dampeners.

So nothing too drastic but didn’t half make it easier.

Lastly, I zip tied a small piece of plywood on the handle next to the probe grommets as a makeshift place for my Inkbird to sit on. Doesn’t help the smoker but made my life easier. 

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On 5/24/2020 at 11:12 AM, flearider said:

thats a busy week or so :) ..

they look very nice .. 

😂 I wish that was my weekly menu! Spread out over a month really. Planning to do some more next weekend now a big box of ribs has arrived this morning! Thoroughly recommend these guys https://www.johndavidsons.com great quality meat and arrives quick. 


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  • 10 months later...

Thank you for sharing. The information gained from this post, has had me writing lists for kit I may need to buy when I get my Callow. I nearly ordered one earlier this week, but decided on doing more research before hitting the buy button. It was reading Wade's review on the Callow that tipped the scales in its favour, and also why I joined this forum today. 

As for the meats you smoked, I sat here drooling as I read. Again thank you for the reviews and the advice. I know I'm gonna need to make my own mistakes, and more importantly, learn from them, but having a frame of reference is going to be very handy as I start my smoking experience.

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