Smoking has moved away from being a means of preservation to being a method of enhancing taste and flavor.
With chemical preservatives and refrigerators, you don’t need outdated methods of extending the shelf life of meat. Instead, smoking has come to form a means of adding more aroma and taste.
But whats the best type of smoker for you?
Are you somebody who loves the the taste or are you looking for more convenience?
Check out this post to get your questions answered.
Importance of getting the right smoker
Today, smoking is more an art form than traditional science. This means it takes some time and effort to refine your palate as well as develop the skill. But the great thing about it is that all the equipment you’ll need is available as one appliance – smokers.
As you start your smoking journey, finding the right smoker is crucial to your progress. However, they come in wide varieties of design, material, and mechanism. You’ll find anything from an electric oven with computerized controls to a simple smoker that runs on wood.
This means you need to make an informed decision on how they work and what you need. Fortunately for you, we’ve put together this helpful resource on how to go about getting your first smoker.
Best Smoker for the Beginner
As already mentioned, smokers come in a huge variety of types and mechanisms. But for starters, the most prominent difference will be in their heat source. So, you can have charcoal, pellet, propane, offset, electric, Kamado, and a host of other types that are hybrid forms of these types.
To put it simply, beginners are better off with smokers that have more automated features. This means some self-regulating or electric features are always handy. And any type of ‘set and forget’ feature is beneficial for the novice smoker. Additionally, you’d want a smoker that is easier to set, operate, and maintain in the house.
Considering these factors, a beginner will most often find more benefit in an electric smoker, a pellet smoker, or a charcoal smoker. Of course, it will also depend on their individual features (which we’ll consider below). But overall, these varieties offer more convenience to the uninitiated.
- Your purchase includes: One Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker + Cover
- Item overall dimensions: 14.7" W x 14.7" D x 31.4" H. Item weight: 24 lbs
- Cooking Grid Dimensions 13 1/2 X 13 1/2". Main Grilling Area 143 Sq. Inches. Total Grilling Area 286 Sq. Inches
- Easy assembly required, instructions avaialable in User Guide attachment.
- Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker reaches approximadetely 190°F inside temperature
Charcoal are always among the most popular varieties for beginners because they truly embody the art of smoking food. The whole design and smell of burnt charcoal add a smoky and rich flavor to the meat.
It’s important to remember that charcoal smokers have a longer learning curve than other, more automated models. It does take considerable time and effort to learn how to get the right heat and temperature levels. This means you spend more time around the smoker to ensure that smoking happens properly. But as a beginner, it will give you the advantage of moving on to more complicated smokers later.
Relying only on automated appliances can take away that crucial skill of getting the details right. Just make sure that you get a charcoal smoker that is simple yet still gets the job done. An ideal example of this would be the Weber Mountain.
The Weber Smokey Mountain comes in three size variants (14’’, 18’’, and 22’’), but the two smaller variants are more than enough for personal use. It delivers the ultimate combo of rich smoking along with a simple design.
It’s a win-win model for beginners who want to try out charcoal but don’t have the skill set. It’s one of the most efficient yet user-friendly designs with easy temperature control and adjustable dampers.
- Camp Chef SmokePro DLX PG24 (Full-Length Cover, $55 Value)
- Best Value Full-Feature Pellet Grill and Smoker in the Industry 2017
- Patented Ash Clean-out System, Pellet Purge, and Grease Management System
- Cooking Temps Up To 500 Degrees (vs. Top Competitor at 400) and 25,000 BTU/hr
- 570 Square Inch Cooking Space, Hopper Cleanout, Meat Temperature Probe, and Auto-Igniter
These smokers depend on sawdust/wood pellets that act as the fuel for the appliance. They also can have digital features that make it more convenient to track heat and fuel levels. Also, it’s easier for beginners to regulate fuel input. These are features that make it very beginner-friendly. No wonder these designs are growing in use and popularity all over the country.
A common and striking feature of pellet smokers is the ability to preheat fast without waste of fuel. This means you don’t have to be a pro at prepping your fuel to use these designs. One drawback is that all these handy features come in a price tag that’s usually higher than simpler models. But if you have the budget for it, models like the CampokePro DLX are a great choice for newbies.
The CampokePro DLX is incredibly efficient at feeding pellets from the hopper into the firebox. And it’s an ideal choice for both low-temperature smoking as well as higher-heat cooking. So, you can, later on, shift to grilling your barbeque on this same appliance. A stand-out feature of this smoker is the patented ash-cleaning system. One pull of a lever and the tray cleans out easily.
Read also: best pellet smokers for beginners
- Bluetooth Smart technology allows you to monitor and control your meat and smoker temperature from your smart device or digital control panel
- One meat probe thermometer included
- Patented side wood chip loading system allows you to add wood chips without opening smoker door
- Four chrome-coated smoking racks
- Interior light illuminates food in low light when door is open
As far as convenience and ease-of-use go, electric smokers take the cake. They’re incredibly user-friendly and better than most other models for beginners.
Electric smokers are the ultimate ‘set-and-forget’ designs in the smoking industry. So, they’re great not just for novices but also for those who don’t have the time to keep checking in on the smoker. But all this convenience comes with a few tradeoffs. One is that you don’t get that precise smoky flavor that a charcoal smoker can give. Also, you need a constant and accessible source of electricity. Other than that, it’s a great starter for beginners who don’t want to worry about temperature precision and fuel details.
The Masterbuilt719 is almost unmatched among convenient electric smokers. It takes care of almost every basic element of smoking for you. And you can control it via Bluetooth using a personal device or the control panel. The unique wood chip loader on the side allows easy entry of chips without opening the whole door. And if you go for the 40’’ variant, you’ll have all the space for hosting a whole neighborhood.
Read also: best electric smokers for beginners
Today, smokers are evolving into hybrid appliances that can run on multiple fuels and integrated mechanisms. As a beginner-smoker, it can be hard to keep track of what to know and ignore. Feel free to check back here to update how to start smoking and which products to go for. If you’re on a tight budget, consider reading the best time to buy a smoker and where to buy a smoker.