How to pair cigars with your BBQ

When the sun shines and temperatures rise, it’s the perfect occasion to fire up the grill and cherish some time with family and friends. Nothing beats that summer smell of charcoal filling the air, letting you know it’s time to start cooking.

Crack open some ice-cold beers and bask in the sunshine as the tantalizing aroma of sizzling burgers, hot dogs, chicken, sausages, and ribs waft through the air. Don’t forget the colorful buffet table of flavorsome side dishes, fresh salad, grilled corn on the cob, and all your favorite condiments to get experimental with your plates.

As the sun begins to set and the fun of the BBQ continues into the warm summer night, create a cozy ambience and the perfect scene to kick back and enjoy a delicious cigar. Associate your chosen smoke aroma with lasting memories and celebrations of a warm summer’s day grilling on the BBQ.

Grilling or BBQ?

We’ve got the best selection of BBQ and grilling cigars to explore with you, but first — what about the food?

When using a barbeque to cook your meats, you need to know that grilling and BBQ cooking are placed under the same idea. However, they involve different cooking techniques, temperatures, and flavors.

Cooking methods

Grilling involves cooking food quickly over an open flame or heat source with a higher temperature of around 204 to 288°C. The higher heat results in shorter cooking times, which is perfect for burgers, steaks, and hot dogs. The meats cooked when grilling develop a crispy outer texture and have distinctive grill marks and caramelization, providing a more direct and intense flavor.

Barbequing has a slower cooking time with an average temperature of 107 to 149°C. The slow cooking method is because the source is separated from the food.

Wood chips or chinks are often used to create smoke which can provide a complex flavor profile. This cooking method is suited for large cuts of meats like rib eye, pork shoulder, or whole chicken, and provides meats a rich smoky taste that plenty associate with hearty family BBQ cuisine.

What to avoid when smoking at a BBQ

No matter what grilling method you choose (or perhaps you’d like to try both cooking styles?), you should be aware of the cigar do’s and don’ts of summer cookouts.

Be aware of your surroundings

When smoking your cigars outdoors, being aware of your surroundings is essential. Although you may be with close friends and family, you may want to avoid smoking in a space that imposes on others.

Don’t smoke near the grill

Eating the food isn’t the only pleasure of a BBQ — the sight and smell of the grill is equally part of the experience. Sometimes the aroma of your cigar can overpower that delicious grilling meat smell, so try your best not to smoke near the grill and potentially spoil the experience for everyone else.

Avoid enclosed spaces

This rule is self-explanatory if a gazebo or enclosed zone for socializing is set up. Treat it as you would an indoor space and avoid this area when smoking if you’re around companies that don’t indulge in cigars.

Respect the personal space of others

Engulfing others in a white cloud of cigar aroma might be your idea of heaven, but not so much for other guests. Respect the personal space of others and ask ahead of time how your guests may feel about smoking cigars.

These are just some general things to avoid when smoking at a BBQ, and the unspoken rules may differ depending on the company you have. But it’s always best to check.

We’ll talk more about the right cigar pairings later, but there are also some pairings you should avoid. To make the most of your cigar flavors, choose smokes that complement or elevate your smoked meats. Picking something with diversely contrasting flavors will ruin your smoking experience, so we recommend going with the obvious choice.

Best cigars to smoke at a BBQ

You may be wondering what cigars pair well with BBQ. The art of food pairing and cigars is something you might have heard before, eating barbequed meats alongside a delectable stogie is a match made in heaven for cigar and meat lovers. Bold smoky flavors of chargrilled sausages or brisket will overwhelm milder aromas, so opt for a full-bodied smoke with spicy or earthy tones to complement your chosen meat.

Remember, everyone has a different personal taste preference, and BBQs can be fun to experiment with different flavor profiles. You may even find some cigars that taste like a charcoal grill.

Generally, the best cigars to smoke with BBQ are those that can nicely balance the rich, smoky flavors of the meat. Let’s take a look at some of our top options so you can have your cigars ready for your next BBQ.

Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder Brimstone

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper Type: Pennsylvania Broadleaf

Binder: United States

Filler: Dominican Republic / Nicaragua

Strength: Full

Size Available: 6 x 56

The Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder Brimstone is an excellent choice for a BBQ smoke. It’s a bold cigar brimming with rich flavors that are enhanced by the aged linger long filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Carefully constructed with a hearty US broadleaf binder and cloaked in a top-shelf Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper. These gems are luxuriously and individually wrapped in a cedar sleeve. Treat your palate to a full-bodied smoke of pepper, earth, roasted nuts, cedar, espresso, chocolate, and tobacco sweetness with every puff — a perfect blend for your BBQ smoke.

Blackened by Drew Estate

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper Type: Mexican San Andres

Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf

Filler: Nicaragua / Pennsylvania

Strength: Full

Sizes Available:

·        6 x 52

·        5 x 50

Blackened by Drew Estate is destined to become a modern-day classic Maduro. Each cigar in this line uses a variety of fully aged Maduro leaves and is expertly wrapped in a jet-black, thick, and oily wrapper grown in Mexico’s San Andres Valley. The tasty Connecticut Broadleaf binder delivers an exceptional filler blend composed of bold ligero Nicaraguan and Pennsylvania Broadleaf tobaccos. Expect a highly complex, full-bodied smoke with unforgettable flavors of espresso, leather, and dark chocolate with scrumptious hints of black cherry. The combination of sweet and rich flavors mimics sticky, smoked meats, making this the perfect after-BBQ cigar.

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