Use a Faux Cambro to Serve All Your BBQ Dishes Hot and On-Time

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If you’ve ever attempted to cook and prepare meals for a big group, you know how difficult it is to have everything hot and ready at the same time. Planning a huge barbeque may be a real pain, particularly for a beginner chef.

This is especially difficult when you have to smoke a big piece of meat, such as brisket or hog butt, all day and prepare multiple side dishes to go with it.

Not to mention the difficulties of cooking outdoors in inclement weather.So, how do you go about doing it?

We’ll teach you all you need to know about the Cambro technique, as well as how to utilize a fake Cambro to keep your BBQ hot and on time.

What exactly is a faux Cambro?

Cambro Manufacturing’s Cambro is an important equipment for culinary workers and caterers. It is an insulated box that enables users to carry food while keeping it hot or cold and within a safe temperature range for extended periods of time.

However, as a backyard chef, you do not need a commercial-grade device such as a Cambro to keep your BBQ heated.

You may construct a fake Cambro a home-made insulated, hot-holding box using a product you probably already have about the house.

If you have a huge plastic cooler, you have the makings of a fake Cambro. Even a tiny soft-sided cooler would suffice.

Benefits of using a faux Cambro:

  • Can keep food warm for hours while you finish the remainder of the meal
  • Perfect for brisket that has to rest for at least an hour before serving.
  • Keeps food warm and avoids mess when traveling

How to use a faux Cambro to keep BBQ warm

You’ll need a few extra items before you can utilize your cooler as a fake Cambro.

Prepare your cooler for food storage around 45 minutes before your meat is done cooking. The people over at popularized the use of a cooler to keep meat warm.

When you remove the meat from the smoker, it will be ready to use.

What you need:

  • A large plastic cooler
  • 2 towels
  • 3 gallons of hot tap water
  • Disposable aluminum pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat thermometer

1. Heat the cooler 

Fill the cooler with three gallons of hot water and seal it for 30 minutes.

This will pre-heat the cooler’s internal temperature, preparing it for the meat. Drain the water after 30 minutes and lay one of the two towels on the bottom of the cooler.

2. Add the meat

Wrap the cooked meat in aluminum foil and place it in the metal pan.

Place the meat and pan in the bottom of the cooler on top of the cloth. Place the second towel on top of the meat and pan. Put the cover back on.

If you keep the lid closed and airtight, the meat will remain warm for 3-4 hours. This approach has been shown to keep food safe at temperatures exceeding 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have a meat thermometer probe, leave it in the meat and hang the wire from the cooler.

This allows you to check the interior temperature to ensure that it is well within the temperature safety zone. Serve the meat when you’re ready.

3. Clean your cooler

You should clean your cooler immediately after using it.

This will guarantee that it is odor-free and safe for the next usage. A little soap and water can do the job to keep your cooler clean and safe for food.

Tips for creating your own faux Cambro

Now that we’ve covered how to utilize the fake Cambro approach, here are a few recommendations to help you succeed.

Type of cooler

If you don’t have a cooler or if you believe it’s time for an update, make sure you pick the proper one.

Here are some things to consider while looking for a new one.

Size of the cooler

Check that it is large enough for the sort of meat you will be cooking.

You don’t want to attempt to stuff a turkey or brisket into a cooler that’s too tiny. Remember to place the wrapped meat in an aluminum pan, so it will fit easily into the cooler without being forced.

A wheeled cooler is useful for transporting large amounts of food, although it is not required. You’ll also want your metal pans to fit tightly inside the cooler so they don’t shift and leak any juices while you’re on the go.

Fill up the gaps with extra towels if there is a lot of space around your tray of meat. This serves a dual purpose in that it not only secures the trays but also insulates the container.


A well-insulated cooler is essential. The rotomolded Yeti coolers are wonderful, but for the price, you may as well purchase a genuine Cambro.

You don’t need anything fancy for a fake Cambro, just something well-insulated and well-sealed. Even better if the lid includes a gasket that stops airflow from exiting or entering the cooler.

A basic Coleman 40 quartz cooler would suffice.

Drainage and Care

You’ll want your cooler to be simple to drain and clean. A drain cap and a smooth interior chamber will suffice.

Keeping your cooler clean and in excellent operating condition helps ensure that it lasts for years of outdoor barbecues, whether you’re holding hot food or chilling down some cold drinks.

Safety tips 

There are a few things to keep in mind while employing the fake Cambro technique to keep you and your food safe.

1. Use BBQ gloves

When handling meat off the grill and wrapping it to keep in your fake cambro, BBQ gloves come in helpful.

They also aid in keeping the bark on the surface of your meat intact (using tongs or other tools tends to remove the tasty exterior bark).

2. Pour with caution

When putting hot water into the cooler, be careful not to scorch yourself (boiling water is unnecessary and may potentially harm your cooler).

Check to check whether the manufacturer of your cooler has a temperature rating, since certain polymers might melt or deform when exposed to the extreme heat of boiling water. For pseudo Cambro purposes, hot water from the faucet will suffice.

3. Use a meat thermometer

When utilizing a fake Cambro, a meat thermometer is your best buddy. You want to keep the temperature of your meal within a safe range.

Because you don’t want to continuously opening and shutting the cooler lid to monitor the temperature, a probe that remains in the meat is excellent. This allows heat to escape and allows the meat to cool quicker.

Holding steady

There is no need for a food-grade Cambro to keep your BBQ heated for the outdoor cook. A fake Cambro will work just as well for a fraction of the price.

All it needs is a big plastic cooler, some warm water, and a few other ingredients to keep your barbeque warm and ready to serve when the time comes.

Simply plan ahead, heat the fake Cambro, and insulate the meat to maintain it in the specific temperature range for 3-4 hours.

Do you have a favorite cooler for making a fake Cambro, or any additional suggestions not covered in this article?

Please share your thoughts in the comments box below, and remember: sharing is caring! Share this post with your fellow barbecue fans.


How do you use faux Cambro?

How to Make a Fake Cambro to Keep Your BBQ Warm
What you will require: A substantial plastic cooler.
Warm up the cooler. Fill the cooler with three gallons of hot water and seal it for 30 minutes.
Mix in the meat.
Clear out your cooler.
This is a cooler.
The cooler’s size.
Drainage and maintenance.

How do you keep BBQ warm for serving?

Set cooked meats to the side of the grill rack rather than directly over the fire, where they may overcook. At home, keep the cooked meat warm in a warm oven (about 200 °F), in a chafing dish or slow cooker, or on a warming plate.

What temperature should a faux Cambro be?

A fake cambro keeps meals warm safely at temperatures exceeding 140° F (60° C).

How do you keep meat warm while serving?

Foil made of aluminum

Just bear in mind that the foil will only stay in the oven for around 30 minutes. Tenting a roast, steak, or entire bird in aluminum foil as it rests can help the meat in two ways: it will keep the flesh warm while allowing the fluids to redistribute.

How long do cambros keep things hot?

Cambro insulated transporters are all meant to keep food safe for at least four hours, whether cold or hot.

Can you put hot food in a Cambro?

Cambro’s high-heat H-Pans enable food to be transferred from the oven (yes, food can be cooked in this pan to temperatures of 375°F!) to the carrier or cart (but be careful to cool the hot pan to about 190° before loading to avoid carrier damage).

How do you keep hot food warm before serving?

To keep food warm, use chafing dishes, warmed warming trays, multicookers, slow cookers, or toaster ovens.

How do restaurants keep food warm before serving?

Restaurants often employ warming ovens or holding cabinets to keep hot items hot. Warming ovens are great for keeping food warm until it’s time to transport it to the customer’s plate or a steam table. Most items, including vegetables and grains, may be kept warm in one of these ovens.

How do you keep plates warm for serving?

You will also get free newsletters and special offers from America’s Test Kitchen.
Place the oven plates in the oven. To keep dishes warm, many major restaurants employ heat lamps.
Place the plates on the oven.
Make use of the microwave.
Submerge the plates in hot water.
Make use of the dishwasher.

How long can you hold meat in a Cambro?

Finally, ensure that the lid is firmly shut. In a fake Cambro, your meat will be kept warm for 3-4 hours and above the food-safe temperature zone of 140°F (60°C).

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