I added a new smoker to the arsenal this past weekend. After some thought, planning, and most importantly, the blessing from Sharon, I decided to order the new BBQ Guru Onyx Everything Oven. The thought process was as follows:
- My Caldera, while still a great cooker, burns more fuel than I would like for a small cook. The Onyx is both smaller and more efficient wrt charcoal consumption.
- I realized that even with the Caldera, I want to have a second separate cooker for competition purposes.
- I love my Weber Smokey Mountain and I still use it a lot. However, I like the slide out tray design of the Caldera that allows me to access any rack in the smoker without having to remove another rack. The Onyx has that feature too.
- Finally, I’ve been entertaining thoughts about doing other types of outdoor cooking beyond simply smoking meats. The Onyx has the same flexibility as the Caldera.
Based on the above criteria, I decided the Onyx was the best solution for me. It’s light (83 lbs.), thus easy to carry around. Also, the double wall construction and door gaskets make it super efficient, resulting in outstanding heat retention and less charcoal consumption. Similar to the Caldera, it can accommodate standard steam table pans or the included racks, but the racks go in and out “sideways” which makes it easier to access the entire rack with a minimum of sliding. And it looks cool (always a consideration).
I’m able to run the Caldera and Onyx simultaneously with my CyberQ II controller and dual 10CFM Viper fans. I was able to find a perfectly sized shelving unit at Home Depot that holds up to 1000 lbs. and assembles and breaks down in about two minutes with no tools necessary. I added a piece of plywood on the top shelf as a drip guard and I’ve got a solid shelving unit for the smoker, temp controller, cords, charcoal and smoke wood.
As for the performance of the Onyx, I wasn’t disappointed. It held a rock solid temp on the CyberQ II with a full load of charcoal for almost 20 hours. The only thing I have to watch is keeping the water pan full. I inadvertently let it boil out overnight, and the temp drifted up to about 300F (actually a testament to the double wall construction and door gaskets as it held thee for about three hours with the fan never kicking on the whole time). Once I refilled the water it settled right back down to my selected temp of 230F.
I am really going to enjoy using the Onyx for home, comps and small catering jobs, and I can’t wait to get it out in the field for Pork In The Park in just two weeks.
Here’s a pitch for portability. That’s the Onyx inside my Mini Cooper!
The Onyx at home on the Home Depot-procured shelving unit
Key data display for the CyberQ II. It was on its way up to the selected temp of 230F
And the graph view for data
Shot of the interior with one of my favorite pork tenderloin recipes on the grates
Looks like I am be home alone on Saturday, so maybe I’ll fire the Onyx up for a quick chicken cook since I haven’t had the chance to try it out on the ol’ yardbird. I’ve got a big Sunday event scheduled using the Caldera to make more of those boneless skinless thighs featuring Pork Barrel BBQ All American Spice Rub and Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Sauce, but Saturday will be all about the competition chicken.
I just listened to Greg Rempe’s BBQ Central Radio Show podcast from March 16 where Kelly Wertz, Joe Amore and Troy Black talked about their chicken prep methods. All three said they have cracked the code on bite through chicken skin, but none of them would reveal that part of their methods. Damn you Kelly, Joe and Troy!! Cyber shiggers want to know how you do it!! Ah well, in the interim I’ll keep on working with the method I’ve been refining over the late winter and spring as it seems to be yielding some halfway decent results with regard to moistness and skin texture. Guess we’ll see just how “decent” in a few weeks…….