Backwoods Chubby 3400 Charcoal Smoker Review

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Backwoods Smoker has a long history of manufacturing bigger smokers for restaurants and barbecue contests.

The Backwoods Chubby 3400 vertical charcoal smoker claims to provide that level of excellence to backyard pitmasters.

After having this smoker for a few years, I wrote this review to explain you through the smoker’s features, construction specs, and how it works during a low and slow smoke session.

Backwoods Chubby 3400 Review Overview

Backwoods Chubby 3400 Charcoal Smoker Review

Backwoods Smoker piqued my interest during a food truck event in 2016. A competition replica was put on the back of a BBQ truck, and the food that came out of it smelt incredible.

With a little research, I found the Chubby 3400, which was just what I needed to step up my grilling game.

Commercial quality in a retail size product, manufactured with the same concepts and design as its competition ready competitors.

Weighing just 130 pounds, it’s incredibly portable whether you’re cooking for a family gathering or going on a camping trip with the lads.

Because it is an upright smoker, it can also function as a grill; just remove the water pan and heat diverter and you have direct heat for grilling and searing.

In terms of water pans, the Chubby includes a detachable version that not only works as a heat regulator but also keeps the cooking chamber wet, preventing the meat from drying out. It is not necessary to cook with the water pan, but having the choice is a big benefit.

The Backwoods Chubby is a smoker that is on par with what you’ll find on the competition circuit, rather than what you’ll find in retail shops.

This is evident in the price point comparison, as the Backwoods Chubby is much more expensive than smokers like the Weber Smokey Mountain.

The Backwoods Smoker firm has integrated competition-level performance into a retail-sized box with the Chubby 3400.

Backwoods Chubby 3400 Specifications:

  • All stainless steel inside
  • Heat diverter
  • Removable stainless steel water pan
  • Slam latches
  • One extra slider for rack height adjustment
  • Pre-drilled caster bolt hole pattern on bottom
  • inch nickel plated racks
  • One inch insulation standard
  • Cooking degrees: (approx.) 180 to 550
  • Amount of charcoal: (approx.) 6 to 10 lb.
  • Cooking time: (estimated.) 6 to 10 hours (depending on cooking temperature)
  • Meat: (about.) eight slabs of baby back ribs, two to three briskets, and two to four Boston butts

Cooking Chamber Dimensions:

  • 17 deep
  • 13 tall cooking chamber
  • 16 wide

The cooking chamber carries a lot of meat for its small size.

I’ve cooked two briskets, two racks of baby back ribs, and eight sausages with plenty of space to spare. The racks may be changed to accommodate the amount of the meat being cooked, and it is deep enough to hold a half-pan.

The firebox is located underneath the cooking chamber, preventing heat loss while reloading or adding wood. Backwoods Smoker suggests starting with all natural lump charcoal and then layering wood pieces on top to get the appropriate degree of smoke.

What I like:

  • Insulated The Backwoods Chubby 3400 has one inch of insulation as standard. The steel isn’t as thick as the quarter-inch rolled steel used in some heavy hitters, but the double-walled insulated structure helps to keep the temperature stable for hours on end, much like a double-walled Yeti cooler.
  • Capacity for cooking The Chubby is tiny enough to fit on a tabletop, yet it has a huge cooking chamber. According to Backwoods Smoker It offers enough room to cook a brisket, leg and thigh combinations, a rack of ribs, and a pig butt all at once!
  • Consistent temperature regulation The Backwoods Chubby 3400’s design and build allow for precise temperature control without the need of additional thermal regulators. It takes some adjusting with three airflow ports, but once you get to know your smoker, setting it up for consistent low-and-slow cooking is a snap.
  • Portability This smoker is remarkably portable for the quantity of food it can cook. I’ve used it for lengthy weekend travels to out-of-town parties. Loading it into the vehicle is easier with two persons, but it can be done with one. Putting caster wheels in the pre-drilled holes makes moving this much simpler.

What I don’t like:

  • There is no conventional drip guard. Cooking fluids spill into the firebox door and stream onto the ground when you open the cooking chamber and take out a grate. Backwoods Smoker sells an aftermarket drip guard, which I suggest to everyone who buys a Backwoods Smoker product, but it would be much better if this came standard as part of the firebox door. For the time being, they are only available as accessories.
  • Cleaning the water pan When you’re through cooking and it’s time to clean up, if the water pan is full, it might be difficult to empty. Attempting to raise and dump it frequently results in the food drippings and water combination splashing all over the interior of the smoker. You should time it so that there is very little water remaining at the conclusion of a cook. Otherwise, I suggest ladling out a substantial quantity of water before attempting to remove the water pan to dump it.

The bottom line

The Backwoods Chubby 3400 is a fantastic alternative if you want to upgrade in quality and cooking space from the Weber Smokey Mountain.

With the same quality smoker, you can cook for your local little league team or travel the road and compete in BBQ contests.

Unboxing and assembling the Chubby 3400

The Chubby 3400 could not have been simpler to unpack. It arrives fully constructed and ready to use within 10 minutes after packaging.

I sliced open the bottom of the box, turned it upright, and then removed it from the stove. It’s densely packed with styrofoam, which not only keeps everything protected inside the box, but also protects the exposed pieces like the door latches and temperature gauge.

The racks, water pan, firebox, ashpan, and heat diverter are all packed within the cooking chamber, which is coated in plastic and protected by styrofoam.

Pull them out, install them, and you’re ready to fire it up for the first time.

The detachable charcoal-loading firebox is composed of thick gauge steel, however the weld work distorted my firebox after the first usage.

It bowed up, forcing it to sway on two legs at once. This has no effect on its ability to work or cook, but it was clearly a flaw and wobbles anytime you fill it.

Update: I contacted the Backwoods Smoker website about the firebox problem, and they responded the same day, explaining that it was a manufacturing flaw that has now been corrected. The firm then sent me a new firebox with the necessary welds to rectify the warping. Excellent client service!

Brand and Build Quality

The Backwoods Smoker brand grew from modest origins. Mike McGowan, the company’s founder, got his start in the welding profession and began producing smokers for friends as a pastime.

Mike’s smokes gained popularity on the competition circuit, where a team utilizing one of his models won Memphis in May. The rest is history, as demand grew and Mike quit the family welding company to focus solely on Backwoods Smoker.

Despite the fact that manufacture has been relocated offshore to meet high demand and raw material costs, Mike’s genesis story still shows the quality that goes into the Backwoods Chubby 3400.

It’s a sturdy cabinet cooker. The powder-coated exterior steel is not only attractive, but it also protects the metal from the weather. Everything fits snugly together, and the one inch of conventional insulation gives the cooker density.

I’ve carried mine about to several locations, and everything is still tight. There is no wiggle in the lids, locks, or handles.

Unlike several lower-priced retail smokers, the Chubby 3400 is durable and will remain so even after extensive usage.

Cooking on the Backwoods Chubby 3400

The Backwoods Chubby 3400 is designed to reach and maintain the correct temperature. It is an offset airflow smoker, which means that hot air and smoke are forced under an extra metal plate, known as a heat diverter or baffle, and back into the cooking chamber, reversing the air flow to leave out a top vent on the upright smoker.

To put the Chubby 3400 to the test, I grilled all of the BBQ standards. Generally, maintain the temperature between 250F and 275F.

In the cooking chamber, briskets and pork butts flourish. The water pan keeps everything wet, while the reverse flow mechanism assures enough heat to produce a nice bark on the meat.

Poultry and sausages keep moist as well, and the water pan eliminates the need to wrap the meat as in a dry cooker or offset smoker without a water pan option.

Bringing the Chubby 3400 up to temp

Fill a chimney starter with high, quality charcoal to get the celebration started. Pull the firebox grate and ashpan out of the Chubby after the fire is ignited and starts to ash over, and pour the charcoal into one corner of the firebox grate.

Fill the remainder of the grate with unlit charcoal and evenly distribute it, leaving the one lighted corner uncovered. In terms of how long the coals burn, this most nearly approaches the Minion Method, although it also compares to the Snake Method.

In any case, the ignited charcoal will gradually light the unlit heaps surrounding it, enabling it to burn slowly over the remainder of the firebox grate.

With the charcoal screaming, replace the grate and ashpan in the firebox chamber and fully open the three dampers.

Regulating temperature in the Chubby 3400

With the firebox full, it’s time to fill the water pan. The water level should be approximately half an inch below the water pan’s top. This prevents spilling water from entering the cook chamber and extinguishing the coals.

Close both bottom dampers to half an inch after the temperature has reached within five to ten degrees of your chosen cook temperature. maintain the top damper entirely open to maintain the air pulling consistently out of the damper and without suffocating the charcoal.

Suffocating the airflow to the charcoal might cause the coals to go out, leaving your meal with an ashy, bitter flavor. Leave the top damper completely open and adjust your temperature as best you can using the bottom two dampers.

If you followed these steps, the smoker will raise roughly five degrees and settle in at your preferred temperature for the duration. I was able to maintain a constant temperature for almost ten hours with a fully filled firebox and water pan before needing to refill.

If you adjust it in this manner, this smoker has very little variation. Cold, wet, hot, or dry ambient conditions do not seem to impair the Chubby’s capacity to remain still significantly, while the quantity of fuel consumed changes depending on ambient temperature and humidity.

If the smoker becomes too hot, shut one of the bottom dampers fully, open and close the door to allow some hot air out of the cook chamber, and check again in fifteen to twenty minutes. Temperatures should have decreased by 5 to 10 degrees.

To reduce and adjust temperature, you may either keep the cook chamber door open longer or add extra water to the water pan. Return to leaving both bottom dampers a half-inch open after the temperature has returned to the appropriate level.

Add the smoke

With the temperature established and the meat ready, it’s time to add the smoke.

You’ll need wood bits for this since large logs won’t sit all the way on the hot coals, resulting in poor combustion and foul smoke.

Remove the firebox grate and add a couple bits of your preferred wood to the hot coals. Close the firebox door and return the grate to the chamber.

Depending on how many pieces you used, the smoke should last two to four hours. Add additional pieces to the ignited charcoal if the clean smoke has ceased and you want extra flavour.

The Chubbys firebox is excellent for blending wood tastes. To provide a rich layering of tastes to the meat, combine hardwoods with sweeter fruit woods. Experiment and have fun with this since it truly distinguishes certain BBQ from others.

With the smoke going and the temperature set, it’s time to throw the meat on and savor the aroma. Relax for a few hours while the Chubby 3400 does the job.

Reloading the firebox

You shouldn’t have to refill the firebox very frequently, depending on the quality of your charcoal and the quantity you fill it with.

If I’m cooking anything that takes more than eight hours, like brisket or pig butt, I refill approximately once a cook.

Reloading is simple. Simply open the firebox door, remove the grate from the ashpan, and replace it with fresh charcoal.

When reloading the Chubby, it’s essential to wear heat-resistant gloves. It enables you to properly distribute the coals on the grates and move the pan without worry of getting burned.

The hot ash underneath the unlit coals may sometimes ignite the whole firebox grate. You don’t want that to happen since it will heat up the smoker and burn through the coals quicker.

If necessary, dump the hot ash into a heatsafe container before reloading the charcoal and replacing it in the smoker’s firebox chamber.

Should you buy the Backwoods Chubby 3400?

This is an excellent smoker for any aspiring pitmaster, particularly prosumer amateurs who acquire equipment with professional-grade features.

If you’ve used the Weber Kettle smoking technique and want to increase the capacity and efficiency of your cooking, the Chubby 3400 is a good choice.

It is more expensive than retail things because it outperforms them. The Chubby 3400 was created by Backwoods to compete on a smaller scale.

The sturdy structure is useful for a variety of reasons, but don’t be fooled. You may easily take this to a local competition and prepare all of the necessary meats.

I did add four casters, a drip guard, and a Backwoods branded cover to keep it safe from the elements. I strongly suggest those accessories to fill out the smoker’s convenience.

If you’re looking for a cabinet smoker or just a high-quality, dependable smoker, this should be at the top of your list.

The Chubby 3400 is available through BBQ Guys or Amazon.


Where are backwoods smokers made?

Backwoods Smoker has a 30-year history of pioneering competitive quality reverse-flow upright water smokers made in the United States.

What is the competitor Backwood smoker?

2′′ square, 3′′ apart. The Competitor is capable of handling 16 Boston Butts or 8 complete briskets. With all of the racks inside, it can accommodate 21 slabs of St Louis Style ribs. Standard purchases are typically sent in 7 to 10 business days.The Backwoods Competitor features eight racks that measure 19 1

Are Backwoods 100% tobacco?

Backwoods 100% Tobacco is a mellow, sweet, and fragrant smoke manufactured by machine from 100% natural tobacco. Backwoods cigars have been a major success since its introduction in the United States in 1981. They are machine manufactured from 100% quality natural tobacco and have a unique rustic look.

What smoker does Myron Mixon use?

The Pitmaster Q3 by Myron Mixon allows you to grill, smoke, and bake like an expert. This pellet grill, designed by the winningest guy in barbecue, has an auger and fan that maintains a steady temperature so you can cook without being bound to your grill.

How many Backwoods is a cigarette?

The roach that isn’t smoked.Three Backwoods is two cigarettes’ worth of tobacco.

What if you use a crutch, a glass tip, or just put it out when you reach the final half inch or inch? You may deduct 0.16g for the half inch on my scale.

Why do stoners use Backwoods?

Why are Backwood blunts so popular? Backwoods blunts blend the culture of cigar smoking with the culture of marijuana, while reducing some of the hazards associated with plain tobacco usage. Stoners have always adored Backwood blunts for the enthusiasm they convey.

Is the tobacco in Backwoods the same as cigarettes?

It’s all about tobacco.

A Backwood or Swisher Sweet is normally made up of two parts: the inner leaf, which is identical to cigarette rolling paper except it is made of tobacco, and a thicker outer leaf that is spirally wrapped around the inner leaf.

Do Backwoods have chemicals in them?

Backwoods has no artificial additives and is made entirely from natural tobacco leaves. Cannabis-only users, on the other hand, have a 1.2-fold higher cancer risk.

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