Monday, 8 March 2010

The ProQ and a Pork Shoulder

BBQ Date: Early March
BBQ Weather Suitability: Sunny but very chilly day

A new year and a new approach, time to toss the Brinkman (AKA El Cheapo Brinkman smoker) that was modded and rusted to bits. Its always a tough choice, but basically it boiled down to charcoal, electric or gas. Based on previous experiences, I wasnt overly keen on electric, and gas is, well cheating. As a result, it had to be charcoal. The choice of smokers is vast (from the $70 Brinkman to the $2000 offset smoker). However, by sheer chance I stumbled across the ProQ Excel 20. Based on a hail Mary and a great price from Ebay (speak to Tony from British BBQ Society). It arrived 2 days later and what can I say... Its HEAVY HEAVY HEAVY ... A really good sign!

After getting home, I immediately unpacked the new baby and discovered it was some seriously heavy guage steel and extremely high build quality. Assembly was relatively trivial, attached the the re-inforced legs to the base unit (x3), attach each of the extension units which are held in place by a pair of metal clips. The extension rings fit quite snugly into each other, creating a solid (and more importantly smoke tight) seal. Each of the extension rings comes complete with a little silver metal door, whilst not completely airtight, is still good enough for smoking. As can be seen from the picture below, the lid has a thermometer fitted to the lid.

I fired up the smoker, using the minion method. The heat quickly climbed to 200F, and then rapidly dropped to 150F. It was only after about 2 hours, I realised that the wind was probably the cause of the low temp's. I removed the 2nd extension unit, making the unit smaller. The temps rapidly shot up to 300F, I shut the airflow down and the temps came down to 250F and stayed there for the next 7 hours. I then stoked up the coals at 9hrs, and went to the bar for a few beers, I cam back on the 12 hr mark to find the temps stuck @ 250F. What can I say, a fantastic smoker. As a result my first pork shoulder was a complete success

Pro's - Cutdown prices! because ProQ has gone bankrupt (Correction: ProQ USA went bankrupt, official dealers/suppliers in UK still exist as can be seen below). Either way, you can save £100 by hunting online, this will however mean you have issues with warranty later on. Overall excellent build quality and a great product.

Con's - Extension ring doors arent to the same quality as the rest of the unit. The water unit showed a few spots of rust after the first smoking, even though the water was removed immediately after smoking and cleaned.

Verdict - BUY NOW!


  1. Please remove your comment about ProQ being bankrupt. Mac's BBQ Ltd (Owner of ProQ products worlwide) is nowhhere near bankrupt.

    Kind regards

    Ian McKend
    Managing Director

  2. Looks like a really nice smoker, but need to get to the bottom of this temperature/wind issue. Can we get some more close up pics of the components?

  3. It's lovely! The double glazing uk for cottage idea is literally awesome for exterior of any place. What do you think?