5 Best Corn Grilling Baskets

One of the best things about summer is fresh sweet corn on the cob. The dry high heat of a grill is perfect for carmelizing the corn’s natural sugars and unlocking the incredible complex flavors. We’ve selected five of the best baskets for grilling corn on the cob.

1. Mr. Bar-B-Q 06077X Non Stick Corn on the Cob Grill Basket

This is the cream of the crop is corn grilling baskets. The Mr. Bar-B-Q corn basket highest quality basket that we reviewed, but that quality makes it substantially more expensive than the competition. The Mr. Bar-B-Q 06077X boasts a premium wooden handle with a carved finger grip for extra stability when moving corn on and off the grill. However, the best feature is the non-stick finish that makes clean up a breeze.

2. Best of Barbecue Stainless Adjustable Corn Grilling Basket

Like most of the corn grill baskets, this one will hold up to four full ears. What makes this basket unique is the locking mechanism on the handle is adjustable to accommodate corn of any thickness. If you live in those parts of the country where monster-size ears of sweet corn grow, this basket has you covered.

3. Camerons Products Corn Grilling Basket – Non-Stick Corn Griller

This is the nicest looking corn grilling basket we reviewed. The Camerons basket comes with a 9-inch rosewood handle to protect your hand from the hot metal while you are grilling. This basket also features non-stick cooking surfaces for easy cleanup.

4. Internet’s Best Corn Grilling Basket

This is a great budget option for a corn grilling basket. It’s not built as solidly as some of the more expensive baskets, but it gets the job done. We love the look of the bamboo handle, although we generally prefer baskets with a synthetic handle material for increased durability.

The manufacturer claims you can grill up to eight ears of corn at a time in this basket, but that will really only work if you are using relatively small ears that you can overlap across each of the four grilling rings.

5. Grilling Traditions Non-Stick Corn Grill Basket

This is the lowest quality corn grilling basket that we reviewed, but its also the cheapest – so that is why we kept it on the list. This basket is not likely to last more than 1 or 2 grilling seasons, but at this rock bottom price, you should get your money’s worth out of it. This would be the perfect basket to buy when you need multiple cheap baskets for something like a large multi-family camping trip. Just realize it’s not comparable in quality to some of the more expensive baskets.

Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Drum Smoker Review: A Horse of Different Color

  • Manufacturer: Char-Broil
  • Brand: Oklahoma Joe’s
  • Model: Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Drum Smoker
  • Model#: 19202097

Char-Broil has introduced a new smoker to their premium Oklahoma Joe’s line of smokers. The Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco drum smoker is now showing up on the sales floors of the big box retailers across the US.

The official marketing video from Oklahoma Joe’s sure makes it look like an attractive new option.

Initial impressions Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Drum Smoker

The first thing you notice about the Bronco Drum Smoker is the shape. At distance, you could easily mistake it for a trash can. That doesn’t mean that it is unattractive, it just has the same form factor. In fact, the novel design is pretty eye catching as you get closer and begin to see the engineering that went into the development of this smoker.

One thing that immediately caught my attention however is that there is just a single opening for this smoker – the top. Of course, right away I started wondering how you would maintain your charcoal/wood throughout the cook. We’ll touch on this more a little further down in the review.

The Unique Design of Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Drum Smoker

I describe the design of Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Drum Smoker as unique, but it was clearly inspired by the Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS). UDS’s are revered by DIY folks as a fantastic way to make great BBQ without buying a commercial off-the-shelf smoker. A UDS is basically a 55 gallon steel drum that has been converted to a smoker with a few modifications.

Beauty and the beast?

The UDS is certainly a great option for a cheap drum smoker if you have skill. Although I’ve seen some really nice looking UDSs, it has the name “ugly” for a reason. It’s easy to imagine that an HOA or a significant other might not appreciate the look of a repurposed industrial container on the patio.

With their Bronco Drum Smoker, it appears that Oklahoma Joe’s is trying to fill the market niche for consumers who don’t have the time or skill to build their own UDS and want something a little more aesthetically pleasing.

Key differences between the Bronco Drum Smoker and a DIY Ugly Drum Smoker

The BDS is not a perfect substitute for a UDS. The are two primary differences that should keep in mind.

Cooking area size comparison

A 55 gallon drum UDS will accommodate a 22.5 inch grill grate for 363 inches of cooking space. In comparison, the Bronco Drum Smoker can only take an 18 inch grate which gives you about 254 inches of cooking space. That means you are losing about 30% of the cooking area by with the BDS.

The caveat here is that the Bronco Drum Smoker has two grate positions. One right at the top and another a bit further down in the drum. 18 inch grates are readily available online. So potentially, you could cook on both grates – giving you over 500 inches of cooking space.

The lower grate position is designed to allow grilling in the Bronco Drum Smoker. To grill, you remove the included heat deflector and use the lower grate to cook closer to the coals. If you purchased a second grate for the purpose of two tier smoking, there may be some trial and error involved to make sure food on the lower grate (closer to the coals) is not getting too much direct heat.

One other thing to note is that Oklahoma Joe’s does offer a pricey, but innovative modular add-on grate. The modular design allows sections of the grate to be removed to allow space for hanging meat on the included hooks. If you are considering buying a second grate for your BDS, the modular grate may be with considering.

Oklahoma Joe’s offers a modular grate with removable sections to allow you to hang ribs alongside a pork butt.

Charcoal capacity and cook time

Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Drum Smoker advertises that the included charcoal bin will hold eight pounds of briquettes. This is significantly less than what will fit into the bin of a DIY UDS. While Oklahoma Joe’s claims that their smoker is designed for all-day cooks, it is hard to say how many hours of annual cooking you will get out of a full Bronco charcoal bin. There are a number of variables at play – including cook temp and the thermal efficiency of the smoker.

As I mentioned in the initial impressions, there is no access to the charcoal bin through a separate door on the side of the smoker. This means that adding any charcoal or wood throughout the cook will have to be done through the top. That would mean removing the grill and and food, which isn’t really practical or convenient. This may be a non-issue if the Bronco Drum Smoker is capable of sustaining a 250 temperature for 10+ hours. Only time and experience will tell.

Other key features of Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Drum Smoker

The lid of the Bronco is concave to allow food to be cooked on the uppermost grate position. The edge of the Bronco lid is equipped with high-temperature gasket material to form a seal between the lid and the body lid of the smoker.

Lid gasket

The gasket is a nice addition to ensure that the lid forms a good seal to the body of the Bronco Drum Smoker.

Airflow controls for temperature management

Both the air intake that feeds into the bottom of the Bronco Drum Smoker and the vent at the top have specially designed flanges to control airflow. These adjustable flanges are numerically gauged so that you can document the the precise setting for specific temperatures.

The airflow controls on the Bronco Drum Smoker are gauged.

Built-in thermometer

Like most smokers for the home BBQ enthusiast, Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Drum Smoker includes a built in thermometer. However, the accuracy of built in thermometers tends to be hit or miss. Most users will still want to use a dedicated electronic meat thermometer. Still, the addition of the built-in thermometer is a nice touch.

The Bronco Drum Smoker includes an integrated thermometer.

Disclosure: BBQ Yeti is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Reports of manufacturing defects

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few reports that I found about manufacturing defects that have been identified with the Bronco. Apparently, the mount bolt on the tubing used for the air intake is in the wrong location. You can read more about it here and here. I trust that on future production runs, this issue will be resolved. This stuff happens. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it is disappointing to hear about this issue with an otherwise impressive new smoker.

Disclosure: BBQ Yeti is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Smokenator 1000 Review: Now We’re Cooking With Charcoal!

When I first became interested in smoking meat, I did a lot of research before I purchased the Smokenator 1000. At first, I was drawn to the proven Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker which was extremely popular many of the forums I was reading. However, the WSMC costs a considerable amount of money. The world of smoking my own meat was completely new to me, and I wasn’t sure if this was just a phase. I just wasn’t ready to make the kind of financial investment that the WSMC would require. Unfortunately, I found that many of the cheaper alternative smokers had relatively negative reviews compared to the WSMC.

It was during my research I came across an interesting product called the Smokenator 1000. It was advertised that this product could convert a classic Weber kettle grill into a perfectly functional smoker. I already had the Weber grill which was passed down to me through a friend. At approximately a quarter of the price of WSMC, the Smokenator had my attention. I liked the idea that my Weber grill could serve a dual purpose and I wouldn’t have another piece of outdoor cooking equipment on the patio. Also, many of the larger charcoal smokers seemed like overkill for the quantity of meat I would be smoking at any given time. Still, I was hesitant. Many of the naysayers on the smoking forums said that the Smokenator was “just too expensive for what you get in the box” and “anybody with basic metalworking skill could fabricate their own”. After much internal debate, I finally pulled the trigger on the Smokenator in May of 2012.

I was super-excited when my Smokenator finally arrived in the mail from Amazon. I immediately unboxed it and took it out to the Weber to test the fit. It fit my 22 inch Weber grill perfectly. The Smokenator itself has specially designed tabs that lock it in place by hooking in behind the brackets that support the grill. Additional tabs along the bottom of the Smokenator lock into the charcoal grate that rests on the bottom of the grill. It is a solid, secure fit that makes it seems more kind an official Weber accessory than a third-party product.

Also included in the box are some basic instructions, a metal skewer and a stainless steel water pan. The instructions are a nice touch, but just include basic information. The skewer is included to give you a tool to manipulate coals inside the Smokenator. There are much better tools for doing this, so I ditched the skewer pretty early on. The water pan is made of decent guage of stainless steel and is of good quality.

For my first use of the Smokenator, I decided to go with a pork butt. I had read that the butts are more forgiving for novices to get started with as you are learning how control temps.

Starting the Smokenator the first time was a pretty easy process. With the water pan in place, fill the cavity between the Smokenator and grill wall with unlit charcoal. Pull about 10-12 briquettes back out of the Smokenator and light them using a charcoal chimney. Once the coals are hot, carefully put them back in Smokenator, fill the water pan with hot water. Put the lid back on the grill and wait until the internal temp gets to about 200. This process was all new me the first time so it took a while to get everything set up. After using the Smokenator dozens of times over the years, it’s like second nature.

Once the Weber reaches temperature, I added some wood to the charcoal bin, put the meat on the grill, return the cover and wait. You can keep an eye on your temperature using a remote meat thermometer and adjust vents as needed to stay in the desired range. Check occasionally to make sure that you always have water in the water pan and to see if you need to add additional charcoal. That’s really all there was to it.

Controlling temperatures inside the grill is the most challenging part of using the Smokenator. Since the cooking area is relatively small compared to other smokers, it is more sensitive to temperature fluctuations. I used mine with the top vent completely open and controlled the temperature using the bottom vent. The first few times I used it, I obsessed over monitoring temperatures and adjusting the bottom vent. Now, with many years of experience behind me I can really just eyeball the vent position and know if I’m setting it for the right temperature range. The nice thing about the water pan that they included with the Smokenator is that the water acts like a heat sink and really prevents rapid changes in temperature (as long as you keep it filled).

After about 10 hours on the Smokenator, that first pork butt was a success. The butt stayed tender and juicy. It wasn’t dry at all. The smoked flavor was incredible. The family loved it. I was on to something.

Over the last several years I’ve used the Smokenator 1000 numerous times. I’ve smoked countless pork butts and racks of babyback ribs. I’ve smoked chicken thighs, wings and legs. I’ve tackled the notoriously challenging brisket. I’ve used it to turn fresh jalapenos into an incredible chipotle peppers.

Never once has anything that has come out of my Smokenator equipped Weber been deemed a failure. In fact, I have recieved rave reviews from friends and family – saying things like “your ribs are so much better the ribs from <insert name of famous BBQ joint>” and “these are the best chicken wings I’ve ever had”. The office dubbed me the “Rib King” because of the outstanding flavor and quality of the ribs I brought in to share.

The beauty of the Smokenator is you don’t need to buy a $400 dedicated smoker to get these fantastic results. The Smokenator takes something many folks already have around the house and effortlessly converts into a completely functional Smoker.

The only drawbacks of the Smokenator I would note are the limited charcoal capacity and the price.

The limited charcoal capacity means that you will likely have to add charcoal, wood and water a few times during your cook. Of course, doing this means you have to take the lid off of the grill and interrupt the cooking. I’ve found however that the Weber gets back up to temperature fairly quickly once the grill cover is back in place. This is a minor inconvenience. With a larger dedicated smoker, you may have enough capacity to never have to add fuel and if you do it is likely through a special access panel away from the cooking area.

Disclosure: BBQ Yeti is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.