Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Made in Montana: Smokin-O’s BBQ Smoke Rings

Deep in the Bitterroot Range of the Rocky Mountains, amid the pristine, pine-scented forests and tumbling glacial rivers which flank the Trapper2-e1424135597267 (1)gorgeous contours of Darby, Montana, reside the good folks at R&R Conner Inc and Real Wood. Here beneath gently rising plumes of wood smoke which taper into a high Montana sky, you will find the skilled practitioners of the Smokin-O Smoke Rings, or the “ring masters”, as they’re affectionately coined in these parts. Fifth generation forest stewards who, like us, have a deep seeded love for putting meat to flame and declaring it good. And through a rather nifty process where hardwoods and spices are ground up, mixed together, and then extruded under high temperature and pressure, where upon the natural lignins found in the cellular make-up of the trees at once “glue” themselves together, well, the Smokin-O Smoke Ring thus is born. No binders. No chemicals. Just pure smoking satisfaction wrought from the mountain hollows of Darby, Montana.

Smokin-O’s BBQ Smoke Rings – Wood-fire Taste for Gas Grills, Original

SO-pkg-1-980x1040Now a word about these smoke rings.  They were designed for gas grills. When they contacted us to see if we might want to try their product,  we had to decline. For let it be said, we already know what great smokey flavor is because all we cook with is charcoal and wood. It’s what we do. Smokey flavor is part of the package. We have many pits, but nary a single gas grill between the lot of us. Not wanting one either. But then I remembered there is still a small portion of our readership who remain stubborn to their gassy ways. Stalwart souls who shall not budge from their token propane grill for all the cheese in Ireland. You know who you are. You also know you’re missing out on the whole reason to be grilling in the first place – that assurance of smokey goodness patron to the pit. But there is no converting you, and we understand this. Here then is where these smoke rings gather some favor for flavor. Where they make a stand in a world gone to gas.

How to Light Smokin-O’s

They couldn’t be simpler to use. To light them, just place them over the flames of your grill. Run it up to 400 degrees and shut the lid. In 5 tosmokino1 10 minutes, the ring should be lit and smoking rather profusely. They say when it’s properly lit, about 15% of it should be cloaked in white ash and sport a nice, glowing-red edge. So that’s how you’re supposed to light it, but of course, we had to do it like a man, and put the blow torch to it. This technique is proven amid charcoal champions and pyromaniacs alike, and lo, works just fine with Smokin’O’s too. That ring lit right up like an Irishman on Saint Patty’s day, and then smoldered for a good long time. Now you may be asking, what did we smoke, and how did it go? That’s a good question.

Cold Smoking with Smokin’-O’s?

Now being that we don’t have a gas grill, and after studying the unique properties of these smoke rings, a brain thrust naturally sprang to mind. We patrons of the pit get brain thrusts you see.  We get them routinely, for better or for worse. IMG_6235Anyways, I thought, well what about a cold smoke? Perhaps these little compressed rings of wood and spice might prostitute themselves as a right fine cold smoking apparatus. Turns out they do! For the most part anyways. Cold smoking is basically smoke without much heat. Useful for such meltables such as cheese or even chocolate. Or for things you just want to add smokey flavor too, but not necessarily cook yet, like bacon or nuts, or spices such as paprika or salt. These smoke rings emit a little heat, but not much, and when placed opposite what ever you want to cold smoke, such as some cheddar cheese as shown in the photo below, the cheese did not melt. However, when the smoldering ring was placed directly below the cheese, well then the cheese melted like a depleting cheese glacier, and it was very sad. But that was a pit keeper error, and easily rectified. Just place the smoke ring well away from your spoils, and let the smoke do it’s job. Yum! The effect is only improved in the winter months. FullSizeRender (4) The strength of the Smokin-O tho, is in meat. So we felt we ought to at least use it in some traditional grilling efforts, to see it in its full glory. Tho designed for gas grills, we used it anyways on the Weber kettle grill as if it were a piece of smoke wood, and were not disappointed. We tossed it directly onto the coals, like we would with any piece of wood. Soon enough it was puffing away with a contented pillar of amazing smelling smoke. Indeed, it smelled wonderful. Not sure what hardwoods and spices it’s comprised of, but hark, we found the aromas there of most agreeable with our nasal pathways. We put the old black enameled lid back on the pit, and the draft thus engaged – convincingly. These rings have no trouble producing smoke. And will do so, they say, for about a half hour, depending on their location in the pit. The cooler the area you place them, the longer they last. When we tried them with cold smoking earlier, they lasted so long that we gave up altogether waiting to see them burn out, and just went fishing instead. In the end tho, the smoke duration seems more than adequate for most of our needs. And if you need the smoke to last longer, they suggest stacking one on top of the other, kind of like a mini minion method.

IMG_6294

The boneless chicken breasts we smoked up were spot on in the smokey goodness we’re used to around here. Very tasty, and more over, not over powering in smokey flavor. Many a newbie to the smokey arts tend to get a wee bit carried away when adding smoke to their grilled cuisine. These rings seem to give you just the right amount of smoke to balance well with your protein of the day, and the various flavor profiles you might be after. An all-around, good, smokey flavor. No complaints.

Final Thoughts

So if you’re set on gas grills, and vow never to waver, but wish you could still enjoy some of the flavor benefits of a good wood fired grill, then I cannot divine why you would not want to stock up on these Smokin-O’s. Easy to use, affordable, and point-blank effective in what they do – generate smoke. We also found them quite the versatile product, capable of some fairly decent cold smoking, something of which they are not advertised to do, but do, according to our tests. We also liked that they were all natural, of course, not held together by goofy chemicals you cannot pronounce, or harmful binders. And of course, they were made in Montana, one of our very favorite locales, where the ramparts rise high, and rivers run cold through the resplendent valleys below.

Check out their site if you’re at all curious for more, http://www.smokin-os.com/

Or just head straight to amazon and get yourself some! Here’s the link.

Smokin-O’s BBQ Smoke Rings – Wood-fire Taste for Gas Grills, Original


This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


 

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14 responses

  1. You talkin’ ta me? 😀 That’s right POTP, I LOVE my gas grill to pieces, and yeah, I think I’ll give those Smokin’ O’s a whirl. I’ma guessin’ they wouldn’t make much of a mess in my propane grill. MAHALOS for turning me on to these cuties, I’ll report back to ya when I get mine. ALOHA!

    June 9, 2015 at 10:54 am

  2. Love this blog. 🙂

    June 9, 2015 at 11:35 am

  3. Find a need and fill it. There’s something for everyone, by golly.

    June 9, 2015 at 1:03 pm

  4. I love the Darby area. I used to teach Law Enforcement classes in Hamilton and Missoula and (when the weather was good) I always loved to drive down through the Bitterroot valley, over the mountains to Salmon, Idaho, and back down to Salt Lake City. Your post allowed me to relive many of those pleasant memories. If the rings somehow capture some of the fresh scents of that area, they would be worth their weight in gold!

    It must have brought tears to a good man’s eyes to see fine smoked cheddar drip down into the coals! I would have been tempted to scrape up the drippings to salvage whatever I could.

    We missed your commenting on our recent post regarding smoked pork chops (chuletas). PotP was mentioned in that post.

    Keep up the good work!

    June 10, 2015 at 7:36 am

    • Yeah I’ve been off the grid a lot lately, so I missed your post altogether. Thanks for the reminder to go check out it, I will do that shortly.

      Anyways, my but you have traveled and operated life all over the place it seems. Where haven’t you been, John from Ecuador! Indeed, you are right about the splendor of Montana. If I lived there, I think I would never leave. It’s everything I want, and nothing I don’t.

      Have a good one, John. Will check out your chuletas soon!

      June 10, 2015 at 10:56 am

  5. First, in defense of propane grills, it’s a convenience thing! Lighting up a stack of delicious charcoal to cook two chicken breasts seems like a lot of work and a waste of charcoal. Nonetheless, it is more than conceded that charcoal or wood yields the best flavor and truly the only way to go for grilling en masse. The smoke rings seem pretty good and a great option for those people looking to add a bit of smoke to a less flavorful propane grill.

    June 10, 2015 at 7:43 am

    • Ah, another gassy person comes out of the woodwork! Well, I can admit I guess, that propane grills are indeed convenient. You got me there! And I can admit they are less work too, especially for just a couple parts of chicken. They do have some things going for them. If only they had some proper smokey goodness going on, Perhaps these smoke rings, or something like them, can span the gap for the gas folk.

      I love the charcoal way tho, I cannot deny. I like the process of it all, I guess. The ambiance of curling wood smoke. And of course, the flavor.

      Thanks for chiming in. Always good to hear from you!

      Take care,
      PotP

      June 10, 2015 at 11:13 am

  6. You’re right, I’m never giving up my gas grill 🙂 But this is something I could do! I’m glad you decided to try it out!

    June 10, 2015 at 9:00 am

    • Haha, ah yes, you were one of the ones I was thinking of when I wrote this one. You could use a little smokey goodness on your meats!

      Blessings Kate!

      June 10, 2015 at 10:48 am

  7. Wow. Great idea…

    June 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

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