ProQ Digital Probe Thermometer

If you are in the market for an instant read thermometer then there is a new option to consider from the team at ProQ. Speak to most people in the BBQ world and they will say a thermometer is one piece of equipment they would recommend again and again. And forget the old school analogue ones your parents may have used to check a turkey once a year, these are the new school digital versions giving you an accurate read out in seconds. So, whether you are grilling steaks and looking for that pink perfection or smoking a brisket and looking for that finishing temperature as well as probe tenderness, the ProQ digital probe thermometer may well be the tool you need.

Coming in at a price point of £25.99, the ProQ model lands itself in a very competitive place in the market for this type of device. Especially considering the 2 year limited warranty they are offering too.

I have been using my ProQ model for the last few months before writing this review and have to say, for the cost of the unit I have been very impressed. Straight off the top, the feature I like most is being able to easily switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit on the display by simply holding down a button. Being from an age where I learnt all my recipes and cooks from American BBQ books, I am more familiar with Fahrenheit as a measurement than Celsius. But I appreciate that some people are the opposite way so it’s easy on this unit to switch between both. The actual probe section you use for checking temperatures folds away into the handheld section, keeping it safe and out of the way; and the very tip of the of the probe narrows, meaning the holes left in your food, when checking temps, can be kept to a minimum. The thin, tip end also means the unit reads temperatures very quickly, giving you an accurate reading in around 3-5 seconds; meaning the food does not have to be kept out of the cooker any longer than necessary when making those checks. Handily, the device is also IPX5 waterproof which certainly helps with the always changing UK weather, wiping it clean or spills from cooks etc. The screen is backlit, so can be used at night or in darker places too. And another handy feature is a USB charge cable is supplied in the box, so you can always keep it topped up as it has a lithium-ion. And finally, the unit has a magnet on the back to help you keep it somewhere safe, just not somewhere hot!

At this price, the unit is definitely worth a look and will help you to know exactly what the temps are, of whatever you are cooking, meaning you know you are at a safe temperature; so you don’t need to overcook food and dry it out, and overall you will be making more enjoyable meals.

I was gifted this unit to test, but am entitled to write my own opinions on the device. The link to the product on the ProQ website is noted below.

If you have used and have any feedback on one of these units or have any questions, let us know in the comments.

ProQ Excel – Smoker

Some brands of BBQ manufacturers produce a product and then stick to the ‘If it aint broke, don’t try to fix it’ school of thought. Well that’s all well and good but more recent times in the BBQ world have meant that some of these long standing and well-established manufacturers are being left behind. The market for outdoor cooking is ever growing, and more and more people are looking to get involved, and are now armed with more knowledge than ever of cooking styles and types of BBQ and grilling, thanks to social media, BBQ blogs and YouTube videos. As that’s where more forward-thinking brands like ProQ have stepped up to the challenge.

Way back to their original models of the classic ‘bullet shaped’ smoker (so named because of the shape), it was clear that ProQ wanted to offer their customers more. More flexibility, more options, more cooking styles and more enjoyment out of their products. But in the last few years, the guys behind the ProQ brand, looked over their models from top to bottom to see what could be changed to make their smokers even better; the result is a stronger than ever product offering with a host of new features. So, let’s have a look.

The smallest of the ProQ line up is called the Ranger with a 37cm wide circular cooking grate; next up is the Frontier with a 43cm circular cooking grate; and finally, the largest in this range, the Excel, with a 50cm circular cooking grate. The Excel is the model we will focus on but most of the features discussed span the whole range, but please check the ProQ website for full information
I’ve been cooking on a ProQ Excel for around 8 years now but the guys at ProQ kindly offered me an upgrade to the latest version for review. That said, I am still free to give my own and honest opinion on the products in the article.

One of the biggest changes is to the main construction of the unit and the high-grade porcelain coated steel that is used. Heat retention in these units is key and whilst some manufacturers are saving money thinning the metal and coatings they use down, ProQ have gone the other way, meaning the units are more efficient and less fuel is used for each cook. Who doesn’t like saving money?

These range of smokers all break down into 4 sections giving several different set up styles, depending on the type of cook you are looking to do. This is one of the major advantages of the ProQ models over similar bullet style smokers, who only usually have one way they can be set up. The 4 sections on the ProQ working from the bottom up, are the base with the legs and 3 air vents, this is the part that holds the fire basket; then stacker 1, which would usually hold the water pan and have your first cooking grate and side handles for moving around; then stacker 2, which holds your second cooking grate and also has side handles; and then finally the lid with the hanging bar inside, the top vent and handle on the outside. Each of these stackers comes with the new and improved spring-loaded clips for a tighter seal.

So, as I mentioned above, these smokers come with a water pan; if you are not familiar with these, the idea is that for long cooks you fill the pan with water and it creates a nice moist environment inside, to help the meat during the cook, but to also help the smoke get onto the meat too. It also helps to keep a more even temperature as energy is used to heat the water, so less swings up or down in temp.  Just make sure the water pan doesn’t boil dry else you may see that temp change pretty quickly. A mistake we’ve all made.

Hanging meat in a smoker has become way more popular in recent years, and whilst the ProQ models (Ranger excluded) have always had a hanging bar tucked away in the lid it has mainly been used for cold smoking. But now more and more people are hanging racks of ribs and legs of lamb, as well as many other cuts in their smokers. And with the water pan removed, any fat drips go straight down onto the coals, creating an unmistakable smell and flavour that is one you just have to try. And once you do you’ll literally be…. hooked.

Vents! How many times have you burnt a finger adjusting a vent during a cook, well it’s no longer a problem with the cool touch tabs on all of the vents and handles. This covers the 3 daisy vents at the bottom, the exhaust vent at the top and also the chamber door and lifting handles on each of the stackers. No more burnt fingers for any changes needed during a cook.

The fire basket has now been improved to incorporate grooves, so one of the grills will fit securely in place if you are using it for high heat direct grilling, and there is also now a stand holder so you can attach one of ProQ’s other accessories, their Flip N Grate. Also handy and giving you huge versatility on the way you can cook from one single BBQ.

Each stacking level has a single silicone probe eyelet so you can easily feed through 2 wires for meat probes or grill temperature probes. These come in handy when you are cooking multiple meats on different levels in the BBQ. As they are silicone it means they won’t damage your cables and you don’t have to worry about feeding cables in through a vent or trapping them between the lid and potentially breaking a cable. A simple thing but really does help.

Whilst most of these ideas have focussed on the ProQ being a smoker one of the best tricks it has up its sleeve is by removing the middle stackers and leaving but the base and the lid. Now you have a super portable grill you can take anywhere with you for a picnic, to the beach camping or wherever you need to. How many other BBQ’s have that as an option?

All of these features and ways of cooking really give you a sense of why the ProQ offers such excellent value for money. All of this is backed up by a level of customer service that is second to none. Should you ever need to, the team will be happy to help via email or over the phone which can be a rare thing these days.

So I’ve owned a ProQ smoker in some form for around 8 years now and there is a good reason for that, they just work and they give you so many cooking options at a very reasonable price. And that price does not mean a compromise on quality. It has taken me from an absolute beginner cooking my first ever pork shoulder smoker overnight, through to the variety of cooks we now enjoy and with a lot more confidence in using the smoker. You can see from some of the pictures here and on many more of my social media feeds how much I enjoy cooking on my Excel in various different set-ups. And there are now more options too with the new plancha, rotisserie and Smartfire attachments, some of which we will discuss in later reviews so please keep checking back.

Please check out the ProQ website to see their full range of products including accessories, large commercial style smokers, cold smokers, BBQ controllers, charcoal, smoking wood, as well as recipes and tips.

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Afterburner Lamb Tikka

Afterburner Lamb Tikka

Afterburner Lamb Tikka

  • Prep Time2 hr
  • Cook Time15 min
  • Total Time2 hr 15 min
  • Yield4 Servings


For the Lamb Tikka

  • 500g thinly cut lamb leg steaks
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp crushed chilli (adjust to suit)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 Tbs plain yogurt


Preparing the Lamb Tikka


Grind the marinade ingredients in a pestle and mortar to make a paste then mix with the plain yogurt.


Completely coat the lamb and leave in the fridge to marinade for two to four hours.


Set up a charcoal chimney starter 3/4 full with lumpwood charcoal, and start it going with a sheet of lit crumpled newspaper underneath (or use parrafin-free fire lighters). Wait 10-15 minutes until it’s screaming hot and place a BBQ grill grate over it.


Place the marinated lamb on the searing hot grill grate for a couple of minutes each side, until you develop a lovely char on the outside.


Serve with basmati rice, yoghurt, and a naan bread cooked over the coals. The meat stays pink, tender and juicy inside, but has the smoky charred sear of a tandoor.

Recipe kindly supplied by Marcus Bawdon from Find Marcus on Twitter @devonwoodsmoke and Instagram @countrywoodsmoke, and Facebook @mbawdon or in the Countrywoodsmoke Facebook group, he is also the editor of UK BBQ Magazine

Free Recipe Card

Afterburner Lab Tikka

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