EasyGO EGP-FIRE-017 Big Bad Barrel Charcoal Barbeque 5 in 1 Smoker Grill Review
Barrel smokers like the EasyGO EGP-FIRE-017 Big Bad Barrel originally started out in the 1950s when left over 55-gallon barrel drums from World War Two were readily available. It was also a time in American culture when outdoor grilling was incredibly popular. They started out with people who had the patience to sawsall or hacksaw the barrel the long way to create a horizontal charcoal grill.
Somewhere along the way, someone decided that all that sawing was just too much work. This led to a process of converting the barrel drums into vertical charcoal smokers. As time has gone on designers and manufacturers have made a variety of changes.
The EasyGO EGP-FIRE-017 Big Bad Barrel is designed to be stackable as well as convenient. It can be used as an independent charcoal pit. Inside there are two grates as well as the option to hang meat and things like linked sausages.
It has six stainless steel tool hooks and comes with three utensils. This includes tongs, spatula, and a grill fork.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The gauge of the metal is pretty much what you would expect for a vertical barrel drum. Yet it is still thick enough to provide decent heat retention. The grill grates are made from stainless steel which can be a little bit sticky, but it’s still typically what you would find with other competitors in this class.
For a barrel smoker and grill, it takes a little more assembly than you might think. From unpacking to final assembly it will take you between an hour to an hour and a half.
The EasyGO EGP-FIRE-017 Big Bad Barrel is meant to primarily to be used as a smoker. However, it is versatile enough to also be used as a grill. This is thanks in part to how you can alter its stack. A lower stack profile allows it to act as a grill. Fully set up you can also use it as a multi-tier smoker.
However, when it’s in its tallest configuration it can be hard to reload the EasyGO EGP-FIRE-017 Big Bad Barrel. Most of its competitors have a side access door that allows you to reload the firebox. The complaint with those units is that the door often feels flimsy and let smoke leak out.
Without the access door, the EasyGO EGP-FIRE-017 Big Bad Barrel is more efficient as well as consistent with its temperature control. Once it is dialed in you can expect the smoker to hold around 225 degrees for five to six hours.
Reloading can be a little bit of a pain. You either need to pull the grates out and then reach down to the firebox at the bottom to place the coals and smoking wood. Your other option is to try to carefully lift the entire body and hold it while someone else reloads the coals and wood.
One way to further help improve consistency is to get two or three rated fire bricks. Wrap them in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil and place them on top of the charcoal fire when you light it. The bricks will absorb the heat and help radiate it back up to the meat during the smoking session.
This little strategy also allows you to use wood chunks instead of wood chips to augment the smoky component of the charcoal. Just make sure to soak the wood chunks in water overnight to allow them to smolder nicely.
The grates are bit enough and there is enough vertical space available to smoke tall foods. You could easily do two or three pork shoulders or even a really big turkey. With the addition of a pizza stone, you can make a really nice pizza. Just make sure to get the fire really hot. Then allow the pizza stone to preheat for at least half an hour on the grates before you place the pie.
The grates also provide enough space to smoke a flat brisket. Stacked properly you could also make a large number of racks of ribs with the 830 square inches of grate space it provides.
The EasyGO EGP-FIRE-017 Big Bad Barrel also gives you the ability to hang meat. This means you can easily tie up link or ring sausages. It can be really handy if you like making your own sausages with wild game meat.
Ease to Clean
The EasyGO EGP-FIRE-017 Big Bad Barrel Smoker can take a little bit of extra cleaning depending on what you make. The stainless steel grates are a little sticky. So, they’re going to need some extra scraping with a wire grill brush.
Excess ash and spent coals will simply accumulate in the bottom. Drippings also have a tendency to miss the lower pan, which can turn into a sort of greasy putty in the bottom. A metal scoop will help you scrape everything out into a metal bucket. Then you can pour water into the bucket to extinguish any lingering coals. You should never pour water into the smoker’s firebox, as it promotes corrosion.
EasyGO offers a one-year limited warranty on manufacturer defects in materials and workmanship that occur during regular use, from one year from the date of purchase.
This is relatively on par for competitor smoker grills in this class. However, there are some other units that will offer a three-year limited warranty.
A vertical barrel smoker that can also pull double duty as a stackable grill is a nice thing to have in your backyard. Just keep in mind that the EasyGO EGP-FIRE-017 Big Bad Barrel is really intended to be more of a smoker than a grill. If you want something to grill burgers on a weeknight you might want to look elsewhere.
However, if you love to be able to smoke your own meat, and you also need something that can double as a portable grill for a little tailgating. Then this unit should be on your radar.
- Efficient and consistent vertical smoker
- Includes tool hooks and utensils
- Can double as a portable grill
- Can also hang meat
- Hard to reload
- Middle of the road warranty
- Takes longer to assemble than expected