Product Review and GIVEAWAY: The Smoke Vault

March 1, 2014 in Categories: by

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IMG_3315Have you ever wondered if there really is such a big difference between food cooked on a barbecue versus in a smoker?  Have you thumbed through cookbooks like Beyond Bacon or ogled the recipes at Primal Palate and wondered what the big deal is?  Can smoking your own meat and fish be that different from store-bought?  I have wondered all of these things.  And combined with my general sense of intimidation when it comes to things like charcoal briquettes and propane tanks, I never thought I’d be smoker…. er, of food that is.

About six weeks ago, I was approached by Outdoor Cooking who generously offered me the opportunity to try out a smoker specifically The Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18″.  Well, I happened to have a 9-lb pastured pork belly in my freezer, so it wasn’t an offer I could refuse.  But, the smoker arrived the week I got my burn, and I wasn’t too enthusiastic about playing with a new cooking method at the time (burn update: it’s healing really well, still quite pink and the skin tends to be dry, but all that is normal).  Then we had Snowmageddon and two weeks later the worst ice storm in Georgia in 40 years (we were very thankful not to lose power).  I now lament those four weeks that the smoker sat in my garage without me knowing just how ridiculously amazing it is.

DAWN1059A couple of weekends ago Angie Alt from and Mickey Trescott from came to spend a working weekend with me at my home (big announcement on what we are working on coming next week!).  I decided to take advantage of Mickey’s personal chef experience and Angie’s world traveler practicality to try out the smoker for the first time.  While the three of us talked shop, we unpacked the Smoke Vault and assembled it (it was very straightforward).  Mickey and I did a run to the hardware store for a propane tank (and yes, this would be my first propane tank) and for woodchips (we bought cherry).  And then we got it going and started smoking!

IMG_3207Mickey and I had the fun task of removing the skin from the thawed pork belly!  This might have been an easier job if any of my knives were sharp, but we got there in the end.  We followed the recipe for Smoked Pork Belly out of one of my favorite paleo cookbooks, Beyond Bacon.  Even before we put that pork belly in the smoker, it smelled amazing, thanks to some wonderful fresh spices Angie had brought with her and the fact that every recipe I’ve made from Beyond Bacon is crazy good.


Thank you to Mickey Trescott for taking this photo!

I also smoked 8lbs of salmon at the same time as the 9lbs of pork belly (to be fair, I had something like 30 people come over for a potluck dinner that night).  Yes, 17lbs of meat fit in the smoker, and there was room for more.  All I did for the salmon was to sprinkle the top with a little bit of maple sugar and Himalayan pink salt (about a tablespoon of sugar for 8lbs of salmon and about 1 tsp of salt) and smoked at 225F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Bet, you weren’t expecting to get a recipe mixed in with a product review and giveaway!  Consider it a bonus. 🙂


Thank you to Mickey Trescott for taking this photo and to Angie Alt for holding the platter!

I would be hard pressed to tell you which of the smoked salmon and smoked pork belly I enjoyed more.  What I can tell you is that they were two of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten.  And I can tell you that both Mickey and Angie left my house determined to purchase Smoke Vaults for themselves.

I have actually smoked food twice since my initial foray.  I find the Smoke Vault incredibly simple to use (why was I so needlessly intimidated?!) and so far everything I’ve tried in it has been ridiculously tasty.  I truly can’t believe I have lived my life to this point without a smoker (of food!).  In fact, in the last two weeks, I have smoked food three times, barbecued food zero times.  That’s probably all the review you need!

Do you want one?  Outdoor Cooking has graciously given us a 20% off coupon on the entire site valid until March 17th, 2014!  That’s an AWESOME deal!  Simply enter the code PALEOMOM at checkout and your 20% discount will be applied!

One of the things that I think is so amazing about the Smoke Vault is just how much flavor it adds to foods.  I can’t help thinking that this would be an amazing tool for anyone new (or old!) to The Paleo Approach.  If you’ve bought my book and are wading through it and wondering just how food is going to taste good, well then you can’t do better than a Smoke Vault. [Note:  if you’re wondering if consuming smoked foods is healthy for someone with autoimmune disease, now would be a good time for me to mention: whether or not eating smoked foods contributes to cancer development is very controversial in the scientific literature.  Just like the correlations with meat consumption and cancer disappear once vegetable intake is accounted for, there is belief that the same is true for smoked foods.  That means, it’s not about whether or not you eat smoked foods or how much, but about making sure you’re eating plenty of veggies all the time.  That being said, you probably don’t want to eat smoked and barbecued foods every day, tempting as that might be once you have a Smoke Vault.]

And, this makes me even more excited that has generously given me a second Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18″ to give away to one lucky reader!

And because I’m so enthusiastic about this giveaway and what a great tool this will be for those following The Paleo Approach, I’m throwing in a $200 Gift Certificate to Tropical Traditions so the winner will be able to buy grass-fed meat and wild-caught fish to smoke as well as seasonings, Himalayan pink salt, and anything else you might need.  And, I’m throwing in a copy of Beyond Bacon because they have so many great recipes using a smoker!

Here’s the Giveaway:

That means this giveaway is valued at over $400!!! You’ll need to buy a propane tank and wood chips for the Smoke Vault.  There’s also lots of great accessories available from that you may wish to purchase (but none are required).  Note: shipping is limited to the continental US.

Entering the giveaway is easy:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A big thank you to for giving me such an awesome tool and for sponsoring this giveaway!


Guess I should have read through the contest entries before leaving a comment. If I win the smoker, the first thing I’ll make is salmon. Whenever I take the time to grill it on planks, it elevates it to a new level.

Thank you for this contest! I honestly don’t know what I’d try first if I win…. so many things I want to smoke!!

I am extremely excited for this giveaway! I have Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism And therefore need to eat paleo to help control my autoimmune disease. This would be of great help with cooking!! Thanks for the opportunity!

I have a pork roast that I would love to smoke! also the TT GC would be super swesome as thats where I get alot of stuff!

i have always wanted a smoker!! theres so many things i would love to make my kids have so many allergies so i have to make everything from scratch and would love to spice up some of the food!!!

I have been using a Char Griller but it is so difficult to get the temperature where it needs to be. I am very eager to try a good smoker that is easier to use. Very informative post, as usual, and it provided a good understanding of the smokers capacity.

This would be so exciting! Hubby is a hunter and we would make homemade dried heed, sausage, smoke the tenderloin and so much more!!!!

I’d love to try my hand at smoking ribs… I don’t have any outdoor cooking “appliances,” so this would be a super exciting addition for me!

This looks great! My husband and I have wanted to have a smoker for years. A nice brisket or some ribs would be amazing. Thanks!

The first I’d tackle is something BIG. Our smoker is tiny, we have to cut the pork belly into thirds for it to fit :/ I’d love to smoke a chicken! OR gobs of rainbow trout! Thank you so much for the chance 🙂

I can only hope. This would be soo awesome! I would do my own bacon an all that I can think of doing. The possibilities! Ooh the possibilities!!! 🙂

Oh my!! I would love to smoke the large fresh ham I have, plus get a fresh brisket and smoke it! Awesome giveaway!! 🙂 This would be great in the hot weather here in SW Kansas.

I would smoke everything. 🙂 Chicken, turkey (I’ll bet that would be great for Thanksgiving!), and just about anything else I could think up to try.

What a great giveaway! Good luck to everyone!

This is such a generous giveaway!! I would love to try some fresh fish smoked! And just about everything else! How exciting! A great tool with self-sufficiency! Thank you for the opportunity. 🙂

Bacon, I have some curing right now. (looking forward to someone coming up with a mroe user friendly contest widget than rafflecopter) Hate it.

Love your book so far, I don’t think I should leave a review anywhere until I finish reading it? I know either way it’s going to be a positive review, but what if I learn more and don’t put it in there?!

Oops, commented about the wrong thing! I’m excited to make some of your recipes and Paleo Parents’ recipes in the smoker!!! Thank you for all the posts and podcasts!

Certainly you can leave a review after you have read it. The giveaway does not end for another nine days. Even if you do not review the book before the giveaway ends, there are still many ways to enter. — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

We’ve been wanting one of these for a while! We’ve moved to clean eating over the past 4 years, and we would smoke a fatty brisket (and try that salmon)!

We’d love to have a new smoker! Ours is about 20 years old, rusty and the temperature control is stuck. We have a whole hog to smoke and Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without our smoked turkey.

I would smoke some pork shoulder to make pulled pork or maybe a nice pork belly like you did. I think the options are endless! Thanks for the giveaway!

We are in the process of finding out what is wrong with my husband. Liver issues and leaky gut is definitely in the mix. Having a smoker to cook brisket, steaks, pork and chicken would be a God send. He is a very picky eater, but meat is one thing I can get him to eat. I’ve finally got him to start eating a few fruit too. Brisket is the first thing I would smoke!

We are about to butcher our first two pastured pigs. I would love to smoke a lot of the cuts we are going to get, but especially some bacon!!!

I LOVE smoked salmon, one of my favorite snacks but so expensive. That and some bacon, oh yeah! So broke right now, this would really help

I have 3 shoulder pork butts in my freezer just waiting to be smoked. The salmon is also in the freezer. Now all I need is the smoker!

You name it. I will try to smoke it. Salmon sounds amazing, but so do ribs.
My husband is a hunter so I will have all kinds of meat to try out in the smoker and I am sure it will make them taste amazing.

Oh my stars! I have been pining for a smoker for years! What a giveaway a gift certificate, moker and a cookbook?! I’d be in “Hog Heaven”!

I would love to smoke my freshly caught silver & red salmon and caribou & moose jerky! I am so blessed to live in Alaska & enjoy hunting & fishing, but I still have a really inferior smoker from my cheap-skate grad school days. A nice smoker would really get some use in my family!

What a great addition this would be to our home! My mouth is watering thinking of the smoked salmon and pork, and venison… Oh yum.

I would love to win this smoker. We are fans of ribs, chicken and much more. Love your book. Thank you for a chance to win.

This post brought back a flood of wonderful memories. My grandpa had a smoker and we’d smoke salmon is the spring & summer and venison in the fall. It would be amazing to have my own smoker!

I would love to smoke ribs and pork belly! My husband made the Paleo Parents smoked pork belly last year. It was heavenly! I would like to make 100% paleo compliant ribs instead of splurging on not so paleo ribs at our local BBQ restaurant.

Sausages! My grandfather has a mean venison sausage recipe, but it requires smoking. I would LOVE to be able to make them myself, seeing as I live 1500 miles away :[

We have wanted a smoker for a long time! I would want to cook like everything, lol, but most definitely a pork belly because I have never cooked one due to lack of smoker!

This is amazing. Oh, the possibilities! I would start with salmon and bacon and would move on to a turkey breast. Just imagine baking and smoking food during a power outage. I like my grill, but wow the possibilities having this smoker …

My husband has been wanting a smoker forever! I think I’d do pork belly first as well cuz that just looks AMAING!

I would first smoke some ribs, and then a beef roast. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
fairyfractal at gmail dot com

I would smoke really everything. I love that texture and taste. Growing up, it was the only way I would eat meat. I was basically a vegetarian unless someone had something smoked, then I was an all out carnevore. I’ve never smoked meat myself, but would totally jump right into it with enthusiasm and excitement

Hi sarah! I was also planning to thaw some pork belly and follow beyond bacon’s recipe for homemade bacon, but i’m concerned about the nitritre (or nitrate? I’m awful at chemistry) content of the pink salt used for curing the meat… But also concerned about the meat developing bacteria if i use normal sea salt. What advice could you give me on this issue?
Ps. I receive my paleo approach book last week. Congratulations for such an enriching and interesting book!

I agree that a smoker would be very intimidating to use for the first time, but what a great “appliance” (Is that what you would call it? LOL!) to have! I think my husband would really enjoy learning how to use it!

We are butchering a pig this month, and plan to smoke some of the meat. This would be great! We raise sheep and chickens too, we could smoke that too. I’m seeing endless possibilities 🙂

Thank you for this awesome giveaway! Your review was so good that I had to tell my husband about it. Even if we don’t win this giveaway, we plan on using the promo code to purchase a smoker as our Christmas gift to each other this year!

I would be excited to have a new way to cook meat in large quantities since I have a 15 yo son who swims 12 hours a week.

I would love to make smoked salmon and nuts. We bought my cousin a smoker as a bridal gift, and ever since then she has been smoking up DELICIOUS food that makes me want one myself so badly!

I would love to try smoking some elk meat! My husband is a big game hunter enthusiast and smoking an elk roast just sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing your experiences smoking meats. I enjoy your blog very much.
Kathy R.

Just went to a smoker bbq here in NC and it was AWESOME! Would love to host my own Vault Smoker bbq this spring:)

I have wood chips and a propane tank. NOw all I need is the smoker. I would love to smoke fresh bacon, chicken, skirt steak, fish, you name it!

I think this would be an amazing way to get my husband kids on board for my new love of paleo/healthy eating and lifestyle!!

Always wanted a smoker! My brother has one and always posts pictures of his food! I want to make him jealous for a change!!

I would love to smoke some pork belly! My favorite thing to do in the summer is grilling and smoking meats! I would love this! 🙂

I would love to have a reliable smoker that I could smoke pork belly, venison, bison, pheasant, salmon, octopus, spoonbill, trout, and all kinds of heirloom veggies that are going in our garden soon.

Hoping to win hoping to win to treat my family, daughter and Marine Corp SIL to smoked chicken and pork roast. I can taste it now!

This would be great since I recently found out I am allergic to a bunch of things so Im trying to prepare all my own food now!

for some reason, every time I click on one of the entry options it just keeps telling me to try again 🙁 I keep trying and it won’t take my entry! so sad right now 🙁

I am not entering this competition for myself. I would like to enter for my dear friends Melanie and Jamie. They are an awesome couple who would love to have this fault on their farm.

I have wanted a smoker for so so long. There are many things I would like it for, but smoked salmon has to be my favorite! Great giveaway! Good luck to everyone 🙂

Ooh! I would be so thrilled to have one of these! I grill everything as soon as warm weather hits and it would be so nice to have another option! My brother in law introduced me to pork and beef he made in his smoker last summer and needless to say it was AMAZING… I would smoke any and all meats and seafoods just to see what tastes the best!

I’d love to smoke a pork butt! I make a mean pulled pork with a vinegar-based hot sauce. Goes great with homemade paleo coleslaw.

I am going to get my husband a smoker for Father’s Day & this would make a great early gift!! We love my brother in laws smoked meats. Yeah for a great giveaway!

This would be great to win! My husband and I loved smoked meats, but rarely get them because we don’t want all the added “junk”. Would be awesome to do our own!

This looks amazing! What would I make in a Smoke Vault? Anything I WANT!! 😀 I would love to smoke some fish, and once we get our pastured beef and pork, I would definitely smoke some ribs, belly, and jerkey. Thanks for the opportunity to win!!

I have always wanted to get a smoker and try smoking meats! So excited about this giveaway since i was just talking to someone about this!

I am most excited about winning this because, before going AIP a few weeks ago, I was not a big meat eater. That has been a transition and learning curve for me. I feel comfortable cooking ANYTHING. . .except meat. This would be another (easy sounding) way to cook it and it sounds AMAZING. I want to eat that salmon right now!!!

I would love to win! I have been paleo 9 months due to Hashimoto’s. This would be a great way to add to my good variety.

We are a family of 6 and new to Paleo! We are most excited to try the smoke vault to add flavor to meat and make venison jerky!

Oh the things I would smoke if I had this smoker! Pastured pork belly, grass-fed beef ribs, you name it, and it would be smoked (and I’m pretty sure delicious). Please let me win! <3

Like you i have never smoked anything of my own, sounds like it was pretty easy wuth this one. Have to go take a look.

My birthday is the 24th of this month and I’ve asked for your book for my birthday. Can’t wait to read it and write a review. Congratulations on the success of the book! I’ve been wanting it since I found out you were writing it. Thanks for the giveaway.

No fair!! My mouth is watering just thinking about that pork belly and salmon. 😉 I’m just excited to try ANYTHING in there!! I absolutely love the whole idea of this.

We are using a very basic smoker right now and we are just learning. Would love to have one that does a little better job with temp control!

I want to smoke everything! We are currently without anyway to cook food outdoors(our grill fell apart) and this looks like an awesome way to cook food! Thanks for the Giveaway! Oh and I went and checked out the Gluten Free Cutie this last weekend. Such a cute place and my 4 old daughter was SO excited they had treats there that she could eat! I have your book and now just have to find time to read it!

My dad is an excellent cook has taught me how to smoke meats of all kinds. This would definitely be put to good use.

I am starting chapter 3 of your book and am inspired more than ever to stick to the paleo approach! We have never smoked and would love to learn!

I would love to make exactly what you made! Pork belly and salmon! Also, brisket and turkey. Jerky. OMG the options are endless!

My husband LOVES smoked meats, especially the brisket his uncle makes and brings to the family Labor Day get together. But, besides the obvious answer of, “I’d like to smoke everything (because I would lol), I think I’d really like to try to smoke our Thanksgiving turkey!

We just moved to Wyoming and would love to start smoking food! The first thing I would start with would be some paleo smoked beef jerkey!!! Thank you for all of your fantastic recipes. My family loves them! 🙂

I have been wanting to try my hand at smoking food but don’t have the funds to buy a good smoker with my wedding coming up this summer. I would love to have one to cook great foods in with my family and friends!

I would love love love to use this smoker for all the salmon and trout that my husband catches. Would be a nice change of pace!

Oh, Hallelujah! I was raised in the south and I LOVE smoked beef, pork, venison, salmon, anything. It made my day to read that with proper f/v intake, it’s reasonable. Thank you so much for always checking and sharing information backed by current research/data. And for sharing info on quality products. Your work and that of Dr. Terry Wahls have helped me tremendously.

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