There may never have been a better named smoker than The Breeze.
The hardest part of cooking with charcoal is getting the cooking chamber to the right temperature and keeping it there. The pitmaster’s art is a balancing act, carefully regulating airflow and feeding fuel to keep the temp from see-sawing up and down. Nathan Moore, a mechanical engineer, has designed a unique fuel feed system in a smoker built for the competition and catering crowd that makes temperature control a breeze.
There are three chambers in the Breeze: A 32″ tall 8″ wide fuel chute on the right, a cone shaped combustion chamber below it, and a 9,750 cubic inches cooking chamber on the upper left, all wrapped in high quality 304 stainless steel.
You never have to touch charcoal, just dump a few down the chute, light them with newspaper crumpled in the ash pan, when they are fully engaged, dump the rest of the coals and any smoke wood you want in on top, put the lid on the fuel chute, and have a seat. As the fuel is consumed the ash drops through the grate at the bottom of the combustion chamber and more fuel drops in from above.
Tremore promises up to 9 hours of burning without adding fuel, and during a demonstration for us at the South Bend Fire Department, it burned without interruption for about 6 1/2 hours when the food was taken out, and there were still unlit coals left in the chute.
Controlling the air for the burn, which controls the temperature, is easy too. There is a sliding damper with a stay-cool handle above the ash tray and the cooking chamber has been designed to draw air up from the bottom, through the burning coals. The heat and smoke travel to the left and up into the cooking chamber where it circulates and exits on the far side from the bottom of the chamber. There are three cooking grates included but it can handle up to nine. Each grate measures 420 square inches and can fit three St. Louis cut racks of ribs.
The Breeze stands 62.5″ high, 54.25″ wide, and 22.25″ deep, weighing in at 400 pounds. Still, it is very mobile, having wide solid rubber tires in back and smaller, tough casters in front. Its exterior is 304 stainless steel and the combustion chamber and inner surfaces are carbon steel.
The chamber sides and top are three inches thick with rock wool inside so it should cook well even in cold weather. The door is two inches thick, with rock wool insulation, a silicone seal, and a nice self-latching handle. It may seem a small item, but you feel more relaxed when you know your door closes properly even if you don’t slam it shut.
Cleanup is made easy by the shape of the floor of the cooker. It slopes down to an oil can. The oil can is easily accessible from the left panel of the chamber, with the handle sticking out but not in the way. It makes draining anytime a matter of pulling the can out, dumping it, and putting it back in. When cleanup time comes, scrape the bottom into the can and empty it.
But does it cook? Yes, it does. The ribs and chicken sat untouched throughout the cook. An digital thermometer with multiple probes were inserted into the space just above the drip cup and into two more spots within. Watching it for a while proved to me that the heat inside circulated consistently, cooking all the meat evenly. When the door was opened for the grand unveiling, each rib rack was just as done as any other, and all six chickens were evenly, thoroughly done. Best of all was the final result: The ribs were tender, toothsome, and juicy, and the applewood smoke flavor had infused throughout, rich and mellow. The chicken was the same: Juicy, flavor deep to the bone without a hint of sharpness or bitterness. No creosote, no scorching. All on 30 pounds of charcoal.
One interesting byproduct of the design is, according to Moore, if you put wood chunks at the top of the chute and then seal it with the stainless lid, they’ll convert to hardwood lump charcoal by the time they reach the fire, releasing delicious smoke in ample, continuous streams.
That it cooks so well and evenly is a testament to a good idea that’s well engineered. We look forward to seeing how it does on the competition circuit. Click here for more info about The Tremore Breeze