Who need's a cambro? A better substitute?

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
When we compete, I think to myself how nice it would be to have a cambro.

You're working with 4 types of meat that all have to be held at some point, they are usually done at different times and all have to be boxed at different times. Typically we foil everything and toss is all into a large cooler. 9x13 aluminum pans don't fit into the bottom of the cooler so they have to be crushed a bit, everything ends up stacked on top of each other and the cooler usually needs a good wash when all said and done.

A cambro seems like the way to go right? uh...what...they cost about the same as a wsm?


So in causally looking for an alternative I stumbled on the coleman party stacker. These small coolers are designed to carry a case of beer or, as the inside label suggests, a casserole pan. And the second time I happen to see them they were on sale (Target) for 18 bucks. I bought two to see how they'd work.



They accept a 9x13 pan with ease:



What is nice about have 3-4 or these as opposed to the cambro, is that they work just as good for small jobs as they do for large ones. I cooked a single brisket that was to be served at a location other than where it was being cooked. It was a simple matter of using one stacker. It would have been much more cumbersome to try to transport it in a large cambro.

For comps, each meat can have its own resting cooler that will be opened once to put it in and once to take it out.

The final test will be see if a foiled rack of ribs will fit in them.
 

Chris Finney

TVWBB All-Star
I bought one when Target had them on sale. I was on vacation and needed a small cooler to bring home left-overs from restaurants. I put several "to go" boxes in it, iced it down and the food was cold (ice was still there) several hours later in almost 100° temps.
 

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
I bought one when Target had them on sale. I was on vacation and needed a small cooler to bring home left-overs from restaurants. I put several "to go" boxes in it, iced it down and the food was cold (ice was still there) several hours later in almost 100° temps.
I can totally see that. The nice part is that the interior walls are vertical, unlike all my other coolers that narrow towards the bottom.

and now you got me thinking I'm going to need to get a green party stacker to keep cool our turn in boxes after we make our parsley beds on friday.
 

Allan_F

TVWBB Member
Keep an eye on Double Take Auctions I have bought some good stuff of of there and they often have auctions in the northern Ohio/Erie PA area. Also keep an eye out for catering and local restaurant auctions i have watched those go for virtually nothing at some of them.
 

Todd Randall

TVWBB Pro
These are nice coolers.

And it's almost big sale time at Target, I will have to keep an eye out, I've seen really great deals from them on seasonal merchandise. Two years ago we managed to grab a 10'x14' $160 tent for $29.99 at the end of October. I remember using one of those little red price scanners located around the floor, seeing the price and bee lining to the checkout all the time envisioning alarms going off upstairs in their control room, LOL.

Good find JB.

Todd
 

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
Keep an eye on Double Take Auctions I have bought some good stuff of of there and they often have auctions in the northern Ohio/Erie PA area. Also keep an eye out for catering and local restaurant auctions i have watched those go for virtually nothing at some of them.
I assume you are talking about cambros?

I thought I'd post this because I figure most people on this forum don't compete. Take me for an example, comps probably make up about 10% of my yearly bbq output. Its hard to justify buying something just for comps. I thought these were nice because I can use them for every cook.

Cambros at comps seem to me like a status symbol. Would I love to have one? sure. Do they make your operation look professional? sure. Do they help you win? nope.

Thanks for the tip though. I'll investigate that avenue. but for now we'll stick with our "hillbilly cambro."

I've seen really great deals from them on seasonal merchandise
I got a smokey joe for 50% one year and thought about grabbing a silver kettle for 50% but didn't. now every summer I troll the grill dept waiting for the same deal.
 

j biesinger

TVWBB Platinum Member
On a suggestion from Bill Hays, I hit a local restaurant supply store. The had a nice selection of foil pans, steel steam table pans, plastic cambro tubs, etc. I couldn't find anything that was small enough to fit into it and yet large enough to take advantage of its size.

I was really hoping to have something that I could drop into that could hold the meat, however I've found them easy enough to clean, so my search has been kind of pointless.

As if you need another reason to buy these, I recently took one with me when I was running errands and it accommodated a packer, a 3 pack of spares, and bag of ice.
 

Kevin Hoober

TVWBB Member
Has anyone tried the 48 can stacker?
Yes, and it is great. Got mine from BJ's Wholesale Club (I'm not a member, didn't matter).

This taller one lives in the car for trips to the grocery store (gallons of milk fit just right w/ the extra height)

Kevin H.
 
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