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tips for BBQ | The secrets for low and slow barbecue ribs, pulled pork, brisket and more

Keeping BBQ Foods Warm, Cooler Cambro

Also Known As: Holding Meat at Temp, Cambro, Foil/Towel/Cooler

Foil-Towel-Cooler -

You just cooked your favorite brisket, smoked turkey or some other fantastic BBQ meat and it finished quicker than expected. Or maybe you want to take it across town to share with your friends and love ones. What do you do? If you’re a professional caterer you probably have something like one of these Cambro units. What about the rest of us?

Well, you probably already have what you need – tin foil, towels and a cooler. Your camping cooler can actually hold cooked food at temperature for several hours just like a Cambro. In fact, it's insulated well enough to keep your favorite drinks ice cold. Why not add re-purpose it as a cooler Cambro! Simply wrap your meats in foil, then insulate with towels and place them in your cooler.

cooler equals cambro Another great side-effect of the foil/towel/cooler method is that it can give very tough cuts of meat like beef brisket a chance to redistribute the juices and help with the tenderness of the final product.

If you don’t have a cooler I’d recommend something like the Coleman 50-Qt Xtreme. It’s big enough for 84 cold ones or your prize Thanksgiving turkey. Here are a few simple tips so you can plan ahead and have everything ready when the food is ready.

  • You can safely store food for 3 hours or more at a temperature over 140°F. Food needs to be kept out of the danger zone 40-140°F.
  • The cooler should be pre-warmed. You can fill it with a few gallons of hot tap water and let it sit for the last 30-60 minutes while you finish cooking. Drain and put a towel in the bottom.
  • Double wrap your meats in heavy duty aluminum foil to keep the juices contained. You can also use a disposable pan.
  • Leave your thermometer in the meat – use a good thermometer with a cable like the Maverick in my thermometer guide. Just run the cable out the top and close the lid. Then keep a close eye on the temp.
  • Limit the air space by filling with towels.
Go to the BBQ Dictionary for more definitions.

Last Updated: December 11, 2012