Red Box Smoker: The perfect starter smoker

By Sweet Swine O' Mine Distributing

I started competition BBQ in 1996.  After cooking for five years, I began to realize a common denominator in all of the winning teams.  Most of them were cooking on a Backwoods Smoker.  It made sense.  They could keep a consistent temperature with minimal fuel and attention. When my team finally won enough money to get one, we starting winning. We went on to win four World Championships in Pork and two overall World Champion titles. During that time, I was pretty fresh out of college, so I didn't have a lot of extra money to play with.  I began to look for ways to support my BBQ habit.  I started working with Backwoods Smokers and went on to become their largest stocking dealer.  I now work in the BBQ business full time selling six different lines of competition and residential smokers.  I also sell a large variety of proven BBQ sauces, seasonings, and accessories.  

I get lots of cooking questions every day.  One of the most popular questions is, "What kind of smoker should I get to cook great BBQ like you do at my home?"  Until now, the answer was something much larger and more expensive than what the average person needs or wants to spend.  There seemed to be a void in the market.  Most of the residential offerings were uninsulated, very bulky, and very cheaply built, making them very hard to control and short lived. Then you have those competition models that have all of the great features, but they are usually way too big and expensive.  Why wasn't there an option out there for folks just beginning to explore real BBQ?  Had I started out with great equipment, I would have had much more fun and success earlier on.  

Backwoods Smokers started out in 1987 with the Patio model smoker. It was an instant hit with the homeowner, so they began to build larger units for competition and restaurants.  Over the years, the larger units gained national acclaim in the competition world.  The little patio became obsolete.  In 2007 Backwoods quit making the Patio and focused their energy and resources on making the larger units for competition and restaurant use.  

I loved the little Patio unit. It was the perfect starter smoker, but Backwoods couldn't mass produce. I decided to strike a deal to buy the design from Backwoods and find someone to mass produce it at a lower cost. It didn't take but one year for me to decide that I was going to have to go overseas for help.
   
For the past seven years, I've worked with four different factories in China.  In the beginning of 2014, I found the one. They had less employee turnover after the Chinese new year, and they already made private label grills for another well-known company in the U.S.  The VP of engineering came here to meet me, and we went to work on the design enhancements.  He had tons of ideas of how we could make a few changes that would make it easier to manufacture without affecting the way it cooked. After only one prototype, we went to work on the packaging.  This cooker is made for residential use, so I had to make it easy to ship. My vision of a box that you can just stick a shipping label on and send out the door came to life in just six short months. "This little cooker is packed like a stereo receiver," said one of my first dealers.  Lots of double walled cardboard, house reinforced cardboard angles on the corners, and tons of styrofoam.  After 450 units sold to date, we have had zero damage claims.  

The Red Box Smoker is a double walled, insulated, reverse flow, water smoker.  It's not a new design.  It's a proven Backwoods design with a couple of enhancements.  We added high temp foam gaskets around the doors, chrome latches, and very resilient package.  The outside layer is insulation that helps to stabilize temperature in the cold and wind.  The fire box on the bottom is completely separated from the cooking chamber by a removable stainless steel water pan.  Heat is transferred to the cooking chamber through the hollow walls of the cooking chamber.  Heat flows into the cooking chamber through a gap at the top of the wall.  The exhaust is gathered at the bottom near the water pan and flows out of the back side of the cooker at the top through an internal chimney.  The water pan and the insulted outer wall help to give you the most stable temperatures of any residential charcoal smoker on the market.  

Our test cooks yielded 5-6 hours of cook time at 225-250 degrees.  Boston butts and briskets take about 8 hours. Spatchcock whole chickens take one hours 15 minutes on the top rack without the water pan.  Each of the three racks will hold two slabs of 11 bone spare or loin back ribs.  Ribs will cook in 4-5 hours based on how many slabs you cook at a time.  

Our cooker is currently available through a network of specialty BBQ retail outlets or on my website, www.ssomd.com.  We just signed a test market with our first nationwide retailer Camping World.  

Suggested retail price on our Red Box Smoker is $449.00 and our minimum advertised price for our dealers is $397.00.  I am still taking dealer applications via email at mark@ssomd.com.  or by phone at (901) 831-1451.

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