Cigar Buying Guides

Best Cigars When You’re Manning the Grill

Top Cigars and Recipes for a Smoking Hot Barbecue Cookout!

Like carving a turkey on Thanksgiving, standing sentinel at the grill is a man’s domain. And this summer if you’re attending a backyard barbecue, you’ll find a man manning the grill. He’ll be at-home in his element and surrounded by other men, since grilling brings the added element of danger (what with fire and sharp, pointy, grilling tools to poke and prod). Add some adult beverages and choice cigars for before and after the meal and you’ve got the recipe for success.

Speaking of recipes, if you find yourself hosting a backyard summer get together, I’m including a couple here—a burger and a pasta salad—that’ve served me well over the years. However, the following recipes come with a reminder—I’m a cigar guy not a chef.

I don’t have any fancy name for this burger—I just call it damned good. So good, it’ll send vegetarians and vegans fleeing in terror (who invited them anyway). Basically, it’s my Frankenstein version of bacon cheeseburger (heavy on the bacon) with the toppings incorporated as co-stars rather than afterthoughts.

Frankenstein Bacon Cheeseburger Recipe

cigar advisor best cigars for manning the grill - bacon cheeseburger recipe

2lbs Ground Beef
1lb Bacon
Shredded Cheese: Good options are American, Cheddar, and Blue

Place package of bacon in freezer 20 min prior to making the burger patties. This helps firm up the meat and makes it easier to slice. Remove the bacon and place on cutting board (do not separate strips). Using a sharp knife slice the bacon (against the grain) into pieces about ½” wide.

Cook the bacon on the stovetop until crisp. Drain fat by moving cooked bacon to a paper towel on a plate. Place the ground beef into a large mixing bowl. Dump bacon into bowl and using your hands (or a wooden spoon), mix the bacon and beef until well blended.

Separate beef/bacon mixture into 8 equal portions. They do not need to be patties at this point. Then, take about ¾ of a portion and shape into a burger shape with the center sunken (almost like a bowl). Fill the sunken part of the patty with shredded cheese and use the remaining ¼ portion of the meat mixture to cover the cheese and complete the burger. Repeat for remaining seven.

Grill to desired level of doneness.

A good, hardy burger needs a good, hearty side—and while it isn’t grilled over flame—this pasta salad brings the fire to your tastebuds.

Paul’s Pasta Salad

cigar advisor best cigars for manning the grill - paul's pasta salad recipe

½ lb. dry rotini pasta 8 oz. halved cherry tomatoes

6 oz. diced pepperoni 2 oz shredded Parmesan cheese (or 1 healthy handful)

6 oz. diced salami 1 bottle of Italian dressing

½ cup sliced black olives (canned) salt and pepper to taste

1 cup sweet corn (canned)

½ cup diced onion

Cook pasta according to the package and set aside to cool. Dice your meats (if not already pre-diced), and onion, and halve the tomatoes. In a large bowl, combine pasta, pepperoni, salami, corn, olives, onion, and tomatoes. Mix well and add a little salt to taste. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture until well coated (you don’t have to use the entire bottle) and mix until all combined. Add shredded Parmesan cheese.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Now let’s get on to the main attraction—the premium cigars. I’ve picked out four blends to enjoy while gathered around the grill, and five to enjoy after eating your fill of your favorite backyard cookout food.

Cigars for Grilling:

Charter Oak

Size: Petite Corona (5 ¼” x 42)
Wrapper: US Connecticut Shade
Strength: Medium

Don’t be fooled by its smaller stature or the Connecticut Shade wrapper, this little stick packs a premium punch. Coming from Nick Melillo (former Drew Estate blender) and handcrafted at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez in Nicaragua, Charter Oak is a Cigar Advisor favorite owing to its affordable price and impeccable performance. Flavor wise—you’ll find a pleasingly creamy smoke with notes of cedar, sweet tobacco, nuts, charred oak, and some black pepper and baking spice. You’ll find this Charter Oak is a great beginning to a day filled with food, drinks, and fun.

Arturo Fuente Hemmingway

Size: Best Seller (4½ x 43/55)
Wrapper: Cameroon
Strength: Medium

The Fuente that’s as famous for its distinctive shape—almost a combo of a Perfecto and Figurado—as its rich and complex flavor profile. The Best Seller shows off Fuente’s mastery at marrying a toothy Cameroon wrapper with Dominican long fillers and offers up a mellow smoke with silky smooth layers of cedar, leather, and cream. When you reach for the Fuente Hemingway Best Seller at the next backyard cookout, it’ll be love at first light.

Java Maduro

Size: Robusto (5½ x 50)
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Strength: Medium

After a run of heaters, there’s bound to be a curveball. Consider Java by Drew Estate and Rocky Patel—my pick for a blend that appeals to non-smokers and yet has enough ‘real cigar’ for the traditionalists. It’s truly the best of both worlds with Java’s rich natural tobacco taste joined by the sweet and creamy flavors and aromas of mocha-coffee. As either a first cigar of the day or a nightcap, Java passes the test with flying colors.

Cigars for After the Feast

Sobremesa Brulee

Size: Toro (6 x 52)
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade
Strength: Medium

If you can’t get your hands on a DeLorean, the Sobremesa Brulee by Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust might be the next best thing. In this case, Steve Saka intends to transport you back with a cigar made to deliver the experience of classic cigars of the not-too-distant past. On lighting, creamy notes envelop your palate, soon joined by cedar, leather, and nuts with a faint whisper of spice. Like a favorite dessert, Sobremesa Brulee is the natural after dinner winner.

Romeo y Julieta House of Capulet

Size: Corona Gorda (6 x 46)
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade
Strength: Medium

The House of Capulet from Romeo y Julieta is no shrinking violet. Dressed in a silky Ecuador Connecticut wrapper atop a bevy of Nicaraguan and Honduran long fillers, this blend delivers an always satisfying smooth, sweet, and spicy profile. You’ll find RyJ House of Capulet to be a flawlessly crafted, affordably priced premium that’s as consistent as it is good. Better yet, it’s a cigar seemingly made for sharing among friends during those long summer afternoons.

Rojas Street Tacos Barbacoa

Size: Toro (6 x 50)
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
Strength: Full

One of our 10 best cigars of 2021 (so far), Rojas Street Taco Barbacoa is a boutique blend that’s been making waves. Crafted by up-and-comer Noel Rojas, this cigar opens with a volley of pepper and spice before settling into notes of wood, leather, sweet cream, dark coffee, and citrus. Full-bodied from start to finish, don’t make the mistake of thinking of Rojas Street Taco as a novelty cigar. Rather, it’s seriously delicious, balanced, and like its namesake—will have you coming back for more.

Warped Nicotina

Size: Belicoso (5½ x 52)
Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo
Strength: Full

One of the most popular and beloved brands in recent memory, Warped cigars have quickly become the standard bearer for boutique ethos of top-grade tobaccos, small production numbers, and attention to detail. Nicotina is a collaboration between Warped and Aganorsa Leaf and is the most full-bodied Warped cigar to date. Despite the potency, Nicotina manages to deliver the prized profile—with balance and complexity—found in Warped’s mellower blends. Notes of creaminess with some pepper rise to meet you before cappuccino, chocolate, nuts, and cedar round out the blend. Immaculately smooth and refined, Nicotina is a flavor fest for full-bodied fanatics.

Padron 5000

Size: 5000 (5½ x 56)
Wrapper: Nicaragua Habano
Strength: Full

I’ve heard it said that there are two distinct periods in a cigar smokers’ life—before a Padron, and after. I can’t think of a better way to end a day of grilling and chilling than with a big, brawny maduro. For this, there’s no better option than a Padron. While many may opt for their uber-expensive, hyped-up, luxury blends, the plain old Padron is plenty of cigar for me. With a flavor profile including coffee, cocoa, and hazelnut, and a price that’ll make you look twice (at how affordable it is), you’ll fall hard (again and again) for this full-bodied Nicaraguan puro.