Reece & Hannah Stead
Why did you choose a Smokey Oak Barbecue product?
When setting up Smoking Bears BBQ we spent a long time searching for the right offset smoker. Essentially, we wanted something that would allow us to truly pay homage to the Low ‘n’ Slow Central Texas style. We considered manufacturers from the US such as Fatstack, Primitive pits and Franklin pits, as well as some other UK brands. When we found the Smokey Oak team, we knew we had finally hit the nail on the head. The build quality of the Smokey Oak is second to none, and the care put into the design of each unit is incredible. The team are constantly innovating to make the next build better than the last, and we could feel that passion from the first time we found the product online, through the consultation period we had with Jack and Jon, and finally through to the delivery and after sales service. From the fully insulated fireboxes/flumes, through to the easy glide racks and rock-solid build, we definitely made the right decision for our fledgling business.
What were you using previously and how does your Smokey Oak Barbecue one compare?
Previously to the Smokey Oak we were using an Oklahoma Joe Highland, so definitely a step up, not just in capacity but in build quality too. We were using the Joe previously to road test product and look after some much smaller events, but quickly grew to needing a much more robust product to drive our business. There are so many different angles we could take to describe the differences between the Smokey Oak and the Joe (we would be here all day…) but one of the key differences must be the insulated firebox. Gone are the days of difficulty in fire management and temperature swings. With the insulation being so well designed, it’s as simple as add a log and walk away, something which is key when we’re prepping an event as it allows us more time to prep other products such as sides while smoking up the main product. The two easy glide racks with such a great capacity make a huge difference as well. This has allowed us to grow our business significantly and manage cooks in a much simpler manner.
What do you love about the pit?
In all honesty, we love everything about the pit. Lovingly nicknamed Big Bertha she is rock solid and gives us consistent results every cook. One of the cool things about the pit is that it is such a great show piece. The finish on the product is second to none. That paired with the customised smoking bears BBQ sign we have made through the team for the front of the firebox really acts as a cool talking point for enthusiasts and customers.
Has having an insulated firebox and flue helped your barbecue / fire management
We can’t talk about this point enough, but yes! Fire management has become and absolute breeze which is really important when we are constantly striving to put out consistently good product. The additional fire management tool that Smokey Oak have recently developed has also taken this to the next level. Being able to easily manage where your fire sits within the firebox gives you a level of precision control you would have never thought possible within an offset smoker.
How did you find the communication and customer service
The communication with Jack and Jon has been brilliant as has their customer service. We feel that from making the enquiry on day one we weren’t only looked after, but encouraged to ask the right questions to make sure we were getting exactly what we need. You can also really feel the passion the team feel for what they do. This isn’t just about building pits to make money for the team, this is clearly what they absolutely love doing and it shows in the way they can help to guide you through both the consultation period, and post sales period. We feel at Smoking Bears that we haven’t just built a relationship with a supplier, but instead a friendship with the guys at Smokey Oak that will last a very long time.