Using a smoker brings a whole new culinary experience to the table. You can cook some of the most delicious treats and obtain the tastiest flavors. But the first step, which is buying a smoker, can be quite tricky for many people. Why? Because there are thousands of smokers in the market to choose from, often leaving you indecisive.
So, to make things simpler for you this season, I’ll be discussing the best smokers for you, along with their advantages and disadvantages. Remember that I’ll be only listing out the smokers that offer the best flavors. You can expect some smokers to be missing from this list. So, by the end of this guide, you’ll be sure of where to direct your dollars.
What Is a Smoker
A Smoker consists of a cooking apparatus that works at lower temperatures under a controlled and smoky atmosphere. It does a great job in smoking food, giving your meal that smoky aroma many people die for. There are different kinds of smokers, from small electric ones to the massive units for feeding an entire army. Smokers garner their power from sources like electricity, charcoal, propane, pellets, natural gas, and wood.
Smokers That Gives the Best Flavors
An offset smoker consists of a simple 2-piece smoker, which originates from the oil fields of Texas. It is the most traditional/common type of smoker out there. Offset smokers also go by different names such as barrel smokers, stick burners, horizontal smokers, and pipe smokers. Its set-up is quite basic and involves a box or a smaller pipe that houses the fire and feeds the smoke via holes into a bigger cooking box or pipe.
Offset smokers tend to utilize indirect smoke and heat for cooking perfect meals in a slow and low manner. You can run an offset smoker by using real wood and charcoal. But this smoker does require a little bit of mastering, so you need to be patient. For grilling, you can open the firebox and grill the meat over the hot flames while you’re smoking. You can also start filling the cooking chamber using wood and charcoal to make yourself a big grilling pit.
- You’ll be able to make authentic, delicious smoked meat.
- It’s also used in grilling.
- It comes with a great cooking chamber fitting for large meat cuts and feeding the entire family.
- Since you’re creating and maintaining the fire, you have full control over the smoke and temperature levels.
- The separate firebox helps prevent smoke and temperature disruption when you’re adding fuel inside the cooking chamber.
- It’s not electronic, so don’t fret about breakage.
- Offset smokers can stand the test of time under proper care.
- Meat positioning and fuelling the fire for maintaining temperatures at a desired level takes time.
- Offset smokers that are horizontal in shape tend to take up more space.
- They are prone to smoke leakages.
- Its bulky design doesn’t allow it to be portable.
If you don’t care much about the dedication like an offset smoker requires but just the traditional wood-smoked flavor, then a pellet smoker might be for you. This innovative machine is garnering wide popularity in the market as of late. A pellet smoker bears similarities to an offset smoker when it comes to appearance but works differently. It has separate chambers, and the smaller one of the two is the pellet hopper. It holds the compressed hardwood sawdust fed into the cooking chamber’s bottom by an auger.
You can use a hot rod for lighting the pellets accompanied by a fan for keeping the fire on while distributing heat. It evenly smokes your meat inside the cooking chamber just like a regular oven does. You’ll also find a drip tray present on top of the pellet fire for diffusing direct heating. It also helps prevent flare-ups that are responsible for tarnishing flavors. A monitoring system of electronic temperature helps automate everything in the pellet smoker. It enables you to sit back and relax or do other works while waiting for the food to cook.
- It’s user-friendly and doesn’t require high maintenance.
- You can expect excellent results consistently in a pellet smoker.
- You’ll be able to obtain authentic wood-smoked aroma effects and taste.
- A pellet smoker draws its fuel from natural sources.
- It features a large cooking capacity and is highly fuel-efficient.
- There is an in-built internal temperature monitoring for meat, along with WiFi apps that allow you to exercise precise control during cooking.
- Your meat’s flavor is in direct contact with the type of wood pellets you’re using. So, be mindful of the wood chips that you mix with the charcoal.
- Most of the pellet smokers don’t support the feature of grilling.
- You’ll require power access for running the fan, temperature control center, and auger.
Kamado Grills + Smokers
A Kamado Grill or Smoker portrays the ancient clay-dome style oven in a modernized way. Ed Fisher is responsible for bringing its concept back to the United States during WWII. Today it is known as the glazed ceramic backyard smoker and grill with an oval shape. Kamados come with thick ceramic material that does an excellent job in holding the heat. It also doesn’t utilize much fuel like most smokers. Also, some kamados consist of lighter materials like insulated stainless steel that is double-walled.
You can run a Kamado smoker by running briquettes or charcoal lumps placed in the smoker’s bottom. You can use the smoke and heat for direct grilling or insert a diffuser plate for heat distribution to produce slow and low smoke. Due to its highly versatile nature, there is nothing that you can’t cook on a Kamado smoker. Plus, you can use a heat deflector plate right over the fire for obtaining that perfect smoky space. It’ll help you slow-cook items like chicken, brisket, and pork butt.
- Its versatile nature helps you bake, grill, sear, and smoke in just one BBQ.
- Kamado smokers are relatively easy to use.
- There is better heat absorption and offers a 360⁰ cooking atmosphere by radiating the heat back into your food.
- It’s all about fuel efficiency.
- Top heat retention makes it suitable for cold climates.
- It’s long-lasting and takes up less room.
- You can even use it as an outdoor kitchen.
- The cooking capacity is smaller compared to other smokers.
- They can get a little heavy to move around with.
- Its ceramic walls tend to take time to heat up.
- Ceramic materials can crack under extreme temperatures.
An array of smokers out there, but Offset, Pellets, and Kamados are some of the best. You can cook different meals on it and expect the tastiest flavors to penetrate your food. Any models from this line-up will easily do the job for you. But always make sure to pick one that meets your buying guide. It includes your budget, cooking purpose, space, and other unique features that highlight the smokers. Just like any other top products, these smokers also have certain drawbacks. However, that doesn’t stop outweigh the good stuff and offers flavorful effects.