ProQ™ Eco-smoker Review

Well the weather finally performed as forecast and I got to test the ProQ™ Eco-smoker sent to me by Ian at Mac's BBQ.

The smoker arrived promptly and safely packaged.

Eco Smoker package

It comprises a cardboard box with a further cardboard liner that strengthens it and forms the shelf supports, 3 metal wire shelves and two metal drip trays - one with handles.

Eco Smoker parts

Assembly is self-explanatory with instructions on the box and a video tutorial online.

ProQ Smoker part assembled

The drip tray prevents nasty surprises!

ProQ Smoker part interior

A test batch of cheese and garlic is put into the box.

Load the cardboard smoker

Fill the smoker with dust ensuring that the dust is not above the internal divides.

Fill the smoker

Light the smoker using a night-light.

light the Eco smoker

After a couple of minutes it will start smoking, remove the night-light and place the smoke generator on the metal tray in the bottom of the box.

Place in in the box

The box has a vent in the top to ensure a steady throughput of smoke.

The vent the box

After 8 hours.

After 8 hours

This type of smoking uses only a trickle of smoke, this ensures that your food isn't bitter. You can just see the smoke in this photo, there's so little your neighbours won't even know you smoking food.

The smoke

After 8 hours the food is taking on some colour.

8 hours in

After 11 hours the smoke generator was still going strong...

After 11 hours

...but it's 2am and time for bed for me! The smoked food was wrapped well and put into the fridge overnight.

The finished product

The next day the colour has darkened slightly. I like to leave cold smoked food a couple of days for the flavours to permeate the food.

After a night in the fridge

So how's it turned out? Well, it's all as I expected really. The cheese is fine, just the right amount of smokiness and a great way to 'add value' to cheap cheese. It's unbelievable, the difference between a rubbery Edam - only fit for erasing spelling mistakes, and it's smoked counterpart. None of this really comes as a surprise as I have been using the generator in my larger smoker for quite a time.

At £30 the generator may look expensive, but considering it's ease of use and the length of time it burns - plus it's economical use of dust - it pays for itself in no time at all. A couple of sides of smoked salmon will not only recoup your outlay but make you a lot of friends in the process! I guess that it's only us guys who've spent hours in the cold and rain tending other methods of producing cold smoke that really appreciate how brilliant this little gizmo is; take it from me it's superb; you don't even want to consider an alternative.

As to the Eco-smoker, well the obvious comment would be: "That's a lot of money for a cardboard box!". However, I know from experience that finding something suitable for use isn't as easy as it seems at face value. There's no doubt that given a suitable undercover space for storage and use, it will last for ages. Yes, undoubtedly you will want something more permanent in the longer term, but this well thought out turnkey solution makes a great alternative in the short to medium term.

It will also be great for the hunting/shooting/fishing fraternity who may wish to have a portable smoking solution or anyone with too little space for a more permanent smoker. In my case, it will allow me to cold smoke food at the same time as I am using my purpose built smoker for hot smoking - an advantage as I make batches of different types of products at once - some for hot smoking and some for cold.

All in all, what a great Christmas present for the foodie in your life.

The Eco-smoker and Cold Smoke Generator are available at various prices from MacsBBQ and their dealer network.


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There are four comments

Norman Christie

There is a comment now!

Hi Phil,

Just returning after having had a hip op at Christmas.
I have just started your ‘perfect bacon’ this morning. I am going to try smoking this; I haven’t done this before.
I bought the ProQ from Smokedust plus oak and hickory dust.
I need to provide a smoker in the next 10 days; have you any hints?!
Norman

Norman Christie, - 25-02-’15 18:01
Phil

I hope that you’re up and running about again Norman.

The CSG is really easy to use. My only comment would be that you go two strongly flavoured woods, so I’d not smoke it for too long at first.

You can always add to the smoke: you can’t take it away!

Phil, - 25-02-’15 18:56
Magaly

Hi Phil,
Any idea what weight this smoker can take?
I would buy it to smoke bacon and sausages and maybe
gammon, but I don’t know if it can handle the weight…
Kind regards,
Magaly

Magaly, - 15-01-’16 10:51
Phil

I’m afraid that I don’t know that Magaly.

The box is certainly stronger than it first appears; this is evidenced by the fact that the box I reviewed is still being used, by a friend, five years later.

You’d be best to contact the manufacturer, Macs BBQ, for further information:

http://www.macsbbq.com/contact

Phil, - 15-01-’16 21:20

I'm somewhat incapacitated at present so replies may take some time. Please post urgent enquiries at the www.sausagemaking.org forum.

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