The Washington Post

Holiday gift ideas for the smoker

The Engelbrecht Braten Original 1000: Good enough for a British prime minister. Is it good enough for someone on your gift list? (Engelbrecht Grills & Cookers)

A Grill Fit for a King. Well, a prime minister. When British Prime Minister David Cameron was in town last spring, President Obama gave him a little something for the 10 Downing Street back yard: a grill. Not any grill, of course. An Engelbrecht Braten Original 1000.

Manufactured in the president’s home state of Illinois, this all American-built baby features hand welding, an adjustable high-grade stainless-steel cooking grate, cast-iron wheels, a firebox for wood smoking and a thick steel chamber for grilling.

Compared to your basic kettle, the Braten is pricey. But compared with other high-end grills, which run upwards of $7,000, it’s practically a bargain. $2,084.

A Grill Fit for, I Dunno, a Prince? Let’s say you’re not the head of a country. Let’s say you have a budget. A perennial leader in the heckuva-grill category is the Hasty-Bake Legacy 131.

A rectangle on wheels, the grill doesn’t look cool. But Hasty-Bake has been making what it calls “charcoal ovens” since 1948. These folks know what they’re doing.

The Legacy 131 comes with long-lasting, nickel-plated cooking grills, an 18-gauge powder-coated hood and base and a stainless-steel work table. You can grill or smoke. There are lots of new grills on the market. Year in and year out, Hasty-Bake makes one of the best. $999.

And a Grill Fit for the Working Class. The budget not quite at the royal level this year? Get the Weber Performer Platinum Charcoal Grill. The 22.5-inch classic kettle grill comes with a gas ignition and an easy-to-use ash catcher; it is also set in a rolling cart with an attached working surface and a pullout storage container for charcoal. $349.

Wine Smoke. Whether you are buying a new grill for Christmas or using the one you’ve already got, you need fuel for it. If hickory, apple and pecan woods have become ho-hum, try flavoring your foods with oak planks cut from red wine barrels. $12.99.

Don’t Chance It. Cooking with fire and smoke imparts a lot of flavor, but it also imparts a lot of worry. Reduce the guesswork with a good instant-read thermometer. The Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen is widely regarded as the best out there. It’s water-resistant and provides accurate readings in three seconds. $89.

Carolina on Your Mind. If you are a North Carolinian far from home or someone just curious about the state’s vaunted barbecue, the North Carolina Barbecue Company will ship a little taste of the Tar Heel State directly to your doorstep.

The company hickory-smokes pork shoulder for Piedmont-style (or Western-style) ’cue and whole hog for Eastern-style ’cue, the two halves of the state’s great barbecue divide. It even makes a sweet Eastern-style mayonnaise-based coleslaw and a vinegar-pepper sauce as well as a Western-style ketchup-inflected slaw and “dip.”

The North Carolina BBQ Battle Box comes with a little bit of everything, plus hush puppies. $64.95.

That’s Right, You’re Not From Texas. But you can get Texas barbecue, anyway. (Apologies to Lyle.) One of the most legendary barbecue joints in the Lone Star State, Kreuz Market in Lockhart, ships its post oak-smoked briskets, pork chops, sausage and everything else it makes.

Dine on a spread of true Texas barbecue while looking out the window at a white Christmas, and you’ve got the best of both worlds. Order by the pound, costs vary.

E-mail me with tips, opinions and news at Follow me on Twitter @jimshahin.

Further reading:

* Smoke Signals: Get your mitts on these BBQ gifts


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