Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Last week, I posted an email that I sent to Weber® BBQ’s Customer Support department.

My email concerned Weber’s Smokey Mountain Cooker—a trash can-like contraption that is used for smoking brisket, pork butt, ribs, and anything else that can be slathered with BBQ sauce and served on a slice of Wonder® bread.

I had recently discovered—to my horror!—that the Smokey Mountain Cooker is not sold in Spain. And after exhausting all avenues for resolution on this side of the Atlantic (i.e., bribery, threats and public weeping), I dispatched a last-ditch plea for compassion directly to Weber’s corporate headquarters in Palatine, Illinois (USA).

Here is Weber’s response:

Hello Sal,

Thank you for your email. Sorry, about your situation in trying to obtain a Smokey Mountain. WE do not sell grills directly to consumers nor ship outside the United States. Perhaps Amazon can accommodate or you may need to have someone in the U.S. purchase one and ship it to you. Sorry…

If you require further assistance please let me know.

Weber Customer Support

Perhaps I was naïve in thinking that my wittily tear-jerking email might have persuaded Weber to FedEx me a complimentary Smokey Mountain Cooker as a gesture of international goodwill. Yeah…definitely naïve.

On the positive side, however, at least they tried to offer a few suggestions. If this had been the Customer Support department of a Spanish company, they would’ve informed that theirs is not the correct department for my inquiry…and promptly passed me to a Berber-speaking subcontractor sitting at a lonely outpost in rural Tunisia.

And what of those suggestions? Well…I thought about the Amazon option long ago. They do sell Smokey Mountain Cookers on-line (and at a great price), but don’t ship them outside the US.

As for the other suggestion, I won’t need to bother friends or family with this trivial matter. Why? Because I will be visiting Chicago in the near future and can coordinate the logistics personally—assuming, of course, that I’m able to repress my natural tendency toward being a compulsive cheapskate. My first thought was to buy a Smokey Mountain Cooker in Chicago and bring it with me on the flight home, but common sense prevailed. I really don’t want to explain to security personnel why I’m walking through O’Hare International Airport carry 47 lbs. of tubular-shaped, black sheet metal.

So…my fate as Spain’s foremost (and only!) BBQ pit-master will be in the hands of the US Postal Service…and then, the Spanish Postal Service.

Two national Postal Services?

Perhaps baked chicken breast on a slice of Wonder® bread doesn’t sound so bad after all.


At 5:29 PM, Blogger Angie said...

Chicago, that toddlin' town. Which begs the inevitable question: Cubs or White Sox? I bleed Cubs blue myself. (Last summer while in Spain, I had to have friends from home dispatch me the latest Cubs news, since no one in Spain cares. Although being from Indiana, I did appreciate their passion for basketball.)

Anyway...I digress! Buena suerte with Operation BBQ. :)

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey Angie:

Cubbies! But only because their neighborhood is a lot less scary than that of the Sox.

Perhaps a more appropriate question would've been "Buddy Guy or Sugar Blue?"

Truth be told, however, I've never acquired a passion for baseball...although I do appreciate its relaxing, sleep-inducing properties.

When it comes to sports, there are only a few that I like to watch. They are (and NO, I'm not trying to be funny...for once):

- Kickboxing.
- Sumo wrestling.
- World Rally (WRC) racing.
- Soccer, but only during the European and World Cup tournaments.

Of course, I don't participate in any of the above...although I've been known to kick a shoebox every now and then.

BTW...the answer is "Sugar Blue."

Hasta luego, chica.

At 11:00 PM, Blogger harsh said...

Good luck with the Q! Man was meant to grill

At 11:19 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Amen, bruddah! If I catch it, I grill it!

Good luck in Rome...or London...or SanFran...or whereever you're hanging your laptop case this week.


At 4:34 PM, Blogger ironporer said...

Found a few sites with instructions on how to build your own smoker.
or http://www.eaglequest.com/~bbq/smokehouses.html

also an interesting post on how to build a home made ceramic/terra cotta smoker (Should be easy to find the materials in Spain...

Hell, I never knew there were so many thousands of BBQ websites... thank God for Google (what DID we do before it???)

At 5:51 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Iron man:

Thanks a HUGE amount for these links. I am going to scrutinize these sites with a vengence tonight. I'm particularly intrigued by the notion of a terra-cotta smoker. No welding!!! No third-degree burns on my hands!!! Could it be too good to be true?

Thanks again. You're a good and sympathetic friend...as only a fellow BBQ-fanatic can be.

Hasta luego.

At 11:25 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Jesus, Iron Man!

I've spent the last two hours reading about the do-it-yourself $50 terra cota smoker. I think you may have solved my problem!

Ain't it funny? The best solutions always end up being the simplest.

U da man!


At 9:12 PM, Blogger ironporer said...

Now if I could just as easily solve my problem of where to find such things as Spanish Lamb chops (Ternasco de Aragon, claro) a source of (Spanish made) Chorizo, Salchichon, and Longaniza...white asparagus, decent tuna and other fresh seafood (God do I miss the San Sebastian or any other Spanish fish market!)Luckily we have a great source of 'pan' and jamon serrano (thank you Publix!) even if it is expensive.

OK damnit...maybe I just need to find a job over there again. Know anybody looking for a Quality Engineer dealing in cast-metal automotive components?

We make do with what we can buy in Tienda.com and local purchase

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Ah! You're a foundryman. Just like my father. Even I have done time in a foundry...during summers while in college, although I was doing wimpy work (sweeping, painting, driving recklessly on a forklift).

As for Spanish sausages in the US, I know there's a mail-order joint in California that makes there own...but I can't recall the name. It will come to me eventually, then I'll post it.

To steal a line from you, "I feel your pain."

At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'd be happy to ship you a smoker if the Chicago logistics don't work out. I recently bought a Weber gold model (charcoal), my first grill. But whenever I cook anything, it smokes up like crazy. Am I doing something wrong?

By the way, I still have (and use) the stir fry tips/recipes you gave me when I lived in Ottawa.


At 5:24 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...


My old law school/weight-lifting/beer-brewing/perch-fishing/blues-playing friend! Always glad to hear from you, although this doesn't earn you a waiver from sending the annual Christmas message.

Thanks for the offer of helping with my smoker-smuggling caper. However, I think I may have solved the problem in a different way. One of my readers (Ironporer) pointed me to a website instructing how to build a smoker out of two enormous terra-cotta flower pots and a hotplate. Sounds ridiculous, but apparently it works. I have one almost fully assembled on my back patio. I'm only missing one small component and should be road-testing it soon. Regardless of my success in this endeavor, I will post a blow-by-blow in the near future.

But back to you. Welcome to the Weber Fanatic Club. You've got yourself a Weber Gold? Whoa! That's the big time. I only have a Silver (gas, not charcoal). You mention that you have a smoking problem. Perhaps the problem is fat. If you are grilling something with a lot of fat (e.g., sausages, skin-on chicken thighs, etc.) this often leads to flare-up (and thus, a whole lotta smoke). You can mitigate this by trimming any big hunks of fat off the meat, removing the skin from chicken thights, and/or keeping a spray-bottle full of water near the grill in order to douse any flare-ups (if you are using a charcoal grill, that is).

If none of this works, then perhaps my diagnosis is wrong. Provide a bit more detail, and I'm sure we can solve it. Webers pretty much run on auto-pilot.

Keep in touch!

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Colin said...

Came across this site

Weber BBQ - Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker


We can deliver Weber barbecues to Spain, Denmark, France and Europe. Allow 3 - 5 day delivery time.

Regards Colin



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