Which? brings you its first impressions of the £300 Char-Broil Big Easy Smoker, Roaster and Grill gas barbecue.
Smoker barbecues are very popular in the US, and smoking food is a growing trend with foodies in the UK. In response to growing demand two major barbecue brands, Char-Broil and Weber launched new smoker barbecues this summer.
We managed to get our hands on the Char-Broil Big Easy Smoker, Roaster and Grill, a gas-fired smoker barbecue to find out if it is really better than an ordinary barbecue.
To find out which barbecues we recommend for your summer meals visit our list of Best Buy barbecues.
Char-Broil Big Easy Smoker, Roaster and Grill BBQ
There are two unusual things about this smoker barbecue.
The first is that it is gas-fired. Most smokers burn charcoal and can take many hours to cook your food. This gas grill is designed to be quick, making smoking a far more accessible way to cook. You get the smoky flavour by adding wood chips to a removable chamber in the body of the barbecue. The gas sets them alight quickly and the smoke fills the central cooking chamber while your food cooks.
The second unusual feature is what Char-Broil calls its ‘Tru-infrared’ cooking system, which changes the way the heat in the barbecue is generated, reducing air-flow so that your food does not dry out.
We tried smoking, roasting and grilling a large array of meats to find out whether the Big Easy is simple to use and clean, and more importantly whether it does create succulent smoke-infused roasts.
Visit our Char-Broil Big Easy Smoker BBQ review to read our initial verdict.
Although the Big Easy does include a grill like a traditional gas barbecue, it’s quite small so don’t expect to grill food for more than three or four people on it.
On the other hand, the smoking and roasting chamber is big enough to roast a couple of chickens, and Char-Broil claims it will cook up to 11kg of food at a time.
Getting a smoky flavour from a gas barbecue
When you cook on a traditional charcoal barbecue, fat drips down off your food, vapourising on the hot coals below to create smoke that gives your food a delicious barbecued flavour.
Fat dripping down onto a naked gas flame tends to ignite, producing an unappetising oily soot on your food instead. So gas grill makers have developed several different systems for vapourising fat drips including lava rocks, infra-red grills and metal vapouriser bars or ‘flame tamers’ (metal burner-shields).
We tested all three of these systems in our test of nine gas barbecues from popular brands including Weber, Outback and Cadac.
Vapouriser bars and flame tamers
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To find out which gas barbecue impressed in our tests visit our gas barbecue reviews.