If you didn’t know about smoking before, then join me as I take you through this journey. If you are on this site, you will most certainly already know what smoking is. And no! Not that type of smoking! We’re talking here about the process of smoking food and it might seem strange to you, but this method of cooking goes all the way back to the time of our cavemen ancestors and is still a method of cooking widely known and used throughout the world today!
How to Select the Best Smoker for Your Home? BBQ Smokers Buying Guide
You might even ask yourself if getting a smoker is the best decision you could make. Most of all, you might fear for the value the smoker could bring and do not want to spend money on something you can’t use properly. Fear not, because, in this article, we will show you what to keep in mind when looking for the best smoker that your money can buy.
1. What’s your budget?
As with all things in life, your money more often than not plays a role in it. So when deciding to buy a smoker, you have to think of how much you are willing to spend. It is safe to say that spending a ton of money on the best BBQ smoker does not necessarily equate to a great experience. So to all the rookies out there, don’t be shy to start off with a cheaper smoker, those that tend to fall around the $50 mark. Of course, if you are willing to spend more, then there is absolutely no problem at all but establishing a budget can go a long way into finding the perfect smoker for you.
2. How many people will you cook for?
This is a factor which will influence what type of smoker (there are many different types, which we will take a look at later on) but the gist of it is this; if you think that you will only use the smoker to cook dinner for your family, then it is probably best to start off small although it is widely encouraged in the smoker community that it is also a great idea to buy a bigger smoker than you think you will need as a future-proofing method.
if let’s say, in a pinch, you have to cook for your whole extended family. Keep in mind that what matters the most in a smoker is the size of the primary cooking grate, measured in square inches. Also, another measurement to note is the vertical height from the grill grate to the top of the lid, that come in handy when for example smoking a whole turkey.
3. What foods do you enjoy cooking?
To get an idea of how the foods that you wish to cook should influence what smoker you will buy; foods like steaks, chops, chicken breasts, fish fillets, veggies, garlic bread, etc., require only a grill grate and a reliable heat source and you don’t even need a lid.
On the other hand though are foods like ribs, pork shoulders, whole chickens, leg of lamb, prime rib, beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin or loin roast, and dense vegetables (like potatoes) which are best cooked by indirect grilling and for this you will most likely need a grill with lots of grate space, easy temperature control, and a high lid.
4. What additional features do you want?
You might be interested in the subtler aspects of smoke cooking, particularly in the variety of options that manufacturers offer such as side burners, infrared burners for high-temperature searing, rotisseries, cast iron grill grates, digital upgrades, side tables, warming grates, custom work tables, thermometers, insulated covers for cold-weather grilling.
If the price tag agrees with you, then you most certainly win the go-ahead sign. However, most of the time an increased amount of electronics or moving mechanical parts that a grill has, it has a higher chance of being more prone to breakdowns and problems.
5. Do you need (or want) portability?
Perhaps you would like to camp someplace and enjoy grilled or smoked at the same time, and maybe even you’re a tailgater. In any given situation that you are a person who travels, then a portable smoker is a must. It may also be the primary reason to influence what smoker you will buy.
At the same time, the size of the smoker must be an essential consideration. A portable smoker that is too big isn’t a “portable smoker” is it? The same goes for how easy it is to set up. You most certainly do not want a smoker that you practically have to build according to the instructions whenever you have to set up, do you?
6. How much space do you want the grill or smoker to take up?
As in the point above, it might be prudent to buy a smoker that fits your living space. For example, smokers like kettle grills, water smokers, and upright barrel cookers are very space efficient. If space-saving is something you don’t care about then offset smokers and stainless steel super grills might be what you are looking to get.
It is also important to note that most appliances last longer when shielded from the elements, so make sure you dedicate an area indoors to store your grill when you are not using it.
Reviews of the Top 5 Smokers
So are you unsure of where to start? No worries! Below we have listed some of the best smokers in the market right now. Happy Cooking!
#1 Masterbuilt 20070311 40-Inch – Best BBQ Smoker
Probably one of the major selling points of this Masterbuilt product is that they aim at containing most of the heat (provide the door is kept closed, of course) for the optimal smoking effect and being an electric smoker, it does its job pretty well.
The Masterbuilt 20070311 has distinct styles or variations in design such as having a top controller and window or a digital one with no window or with just a front controller. It also comes with an RF Remote control which monitors temperature, time, internal light, on/off and meat temperature.
It features a thermostat control for even cooking from 100 to 275 degrees F and a built-in meat temperature probe.
Probably one of the best design features in the smoker is that it has a convenient side-loading for wood chips which is a brilliant idea as most of the time it’s a struggle keeping the heat constant inside the smoker. But with the side loading, it means less heat is lost than if you were to open the main door every time to load in wood chips.
Another useful design feature is that it comes with a remote control which increases the convenience at which you wait for the smoking. You don’t have to worry over the smoker as with a remote control you can, well, remotely take care and monitor the internal temperatures inside the smoker.
The Masterbuilt 20070311 also sports a straightforward assembly. Upon completion of assembly, users will notice that it has a handle and rear wheels which make it very portable. It could be one of the best smokers in my opinion with lots of plus points with it.
At first glance, the Weber 721001 is genuinely a great appliance to behold. This charcoal smoker is constructed from porcelain-enameled steel, giving it a sleek, shiny and professional look and its heat-resistant handle completes the look besides being very useful and conveniently placed. Now aside from having an impressive aesthetic appeal it will also excel in ensuring your confidence in its cooking or smoking (or grilling) abilities.
It sports two nickel-plated 18-1/2-inch-wide cooking grates for a total of 481 square inches which is plenty of space for any food that you would ever wish to cook. It also comes with a water pan, a built-in thermometer, individual vents on bowl and lid and a storage cover.
Although most charcoal smokers are not known for being very good at maintaining a constant temperature, the Weber 721001 can go toe to toe with most electric smokers which is quite a feat.
#3 Masterbuilt 20050211 Black Propane Smoker Review, 40-Inch
The Masterbuilt 20050211 may not be the prettiest looking appliance in the market but do not, even for a moment let that fool you. Its solid construction consists of four chrome smoking racks, a stainless steel burner, a porcelain-coated wood chip tray and a water pan.
The dimensions of this smoker are such that you will have absolutely no problem fitting in whatever food you need to cook, a handy feature which will get you cooking more than enough food for your guests.
Another design feature that you will find in most gas smokers and that you will most certainly find in this product is its extremely accurate temperature gauge which is very important if you want to smoke your food properly. It can maintain a constant temperature and is also able to compensate for any heat loss quite quickly.
A first look at the Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP will reveal one thing; it has quite an impressive size. It comes in at a total of 784-square inches of cooking space which is probably more than enough space for cooking for your family or a backyard barbecue.
The four adjustable wire racks are conveniently designed and very easy to take out and insert. This gas smoker features a 15,000 Btu cast iron burner with electronic push-button ignition and a large control dial.
The solid construction consists of a porcelain enameled steel wood chip box with handles, a lid for the choice of wood chips and a porcelain coated steel water bowl.
This product also sports an easy to use double-door design (upper/lower) for greater heating/smoking, cooking control, sliding air dampers on top and sides for the choice of smoked/cooking heat control options and a nice decorative temperature gauge with a decor ring.
Another desirable design feature of this BBQ smoker is it’s effortless to assemble; I even managed to assemble it under an hour.
#5 REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill Smoker Review – Featuring Smart Grill Technology™
And now featuring one of our top picks for our best BBQ smoker review, we present the REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill – with Smart Grill Technology™.
Anyone looking to buy the REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill will agree that it is one fine looking behemoth of a smoker. The high temperature durable textured powder coat finish provides it with a sleek and shiny look. The look of a true professional smoker.
But don’t let its solid, robust and inconspicuous, no-nonsense construction fool you into thinking that it’s like any old smoker of its kind because this pellet smoker is packing quite the punch in the high-tech department.
The patented Smart Grill Technology™ can maintain an exact temperature from 180ºF to 500ºF in 5º increments. The electronic temperature control and clean stainless steel interiors make this appliance a joy to use with no fancy over design on any part.
It is huge, meaning you will have virtually no problem fitting in whatever food that you would like it.
It also comes with a 40 lbs hopper to ensure ease of refueling even in the middle of cooking! And to top it all off, this BBQ smoker can also reach useful temperatures of nearly 500 degrees meaning it can go hot enough to sear a steak or even fire a pizza. And don’t worry; it’s well enough insulated so that it will not be affected at all by the wind.
Different Types of BBQ Smokers You Should Know
1. Electric Smokers
Aside from the fact that they need electricity and that they may break more frequently than the other types of smokers, electric smokers are well-known for their ease of use (they maintain a constant temperature quite easily) and well-insulated units.
2. Propane (Gas) Smokers
This is similar to an electric smoker in which you can quickly just set it up and then walk away. Of course, because it runs on fuel (pardon the pun), you may find yourself running out on fuel which according to past experiences of some veteran propane smoker users isn’t that big of a problem if you know how to manage fuel levels properly.
Also, like the electric smokers, propane smokers do tend to break so keep that in mind, although spare parts are so readily available that, again, it isn’t such a big deal. One other major feature of propane smokers is that they are, most of the time, very portable which adds to their flexibility.
3. Pellet Smokers
Like the electric and propane smokers, pellet smokers are easy to maintain in regards to its constant temperature and parts can break mainly with their auger mechanisms which need electricity to function. Also, worth noting is the cost of pellet smokers. You’re looking at shelling out around $600 for a unit.
4. Charcoal Smokers
Widely regarded as the only proper way to make barbeque, food cooked using charcoal smokers do tend to taste better than the counterparts. The tricky part is getting to the actual smoking; starting a fire is darn hard and then maintaining the fire is a tricky and time-consuming process. Also, charcoal doesn’t come cheap.
Grillers & Smokers Recipes
In this section of presenting a top-notch recipe for you all hungry mouths at home, we are proud to present to you our featuring smoker for today!
Yes, that’s right! It’s the almighty, no-nonsense, sturdy and solid REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill .
This robust and magnificent hunk of a smoker has been turning heads lately for being reliable, tough and a great all-rounder even for a smoker at its price point. Its Smart Grill Technology™ has been the talk of the town for being extremely convenient and so easy to use that it is not even funny!!
Add to that, the sheer uncompromising 40 lb hopper load, and it’s no wonder that this pellet smoker has caught our eye! For that matter, we decided it deserved a test of mettle (we cooked some food on it) and so we rustled up an amazingly delicious and simple to make a recipe for you all to try at home!
Beef Ribs Recipe for Smoker
Ingredients: Beef ribs (of course!), Mojave Garlic Pepper rub, BBQ Sauce.
- Here we can see the power of the Smart Grill Technology™, just by turning a knob; you can quickly set the smoker to pre-heat to 250 degrees (Fahrenheit).
- Slap some Mojave Garlic Pepper Rub onto your beef ribs to partially marinade it. Delicious!
- Now gently place your marinated beef ribs into that smoking beast of a grill and let it do its job for 3 hours. Play some poker while waiting; there is no need to worry as the smoker will take care of everything itself.
- Have 3 hours passed yet? Check your smoker and dial up the temperature to 375 degrees (Fahrenheit) and wait another 30 minutes.
- Have 30 minutes passed yet? Now get your BBQ sauce and lather your beef ribs to taste. As they say: the more sauce, the better! Now let it sit for another 5 minutes.
- Oh boy! Have 5 minutes passed yet? It’s time to take out those ribs and enjoy their melt-in-your-mouth, succulent and juicy flavors. Enjoy!
It is safe to say that if you have come this far, you will have learned a ton of information on smokers. I would Recommend Masterbuilt 20050211 Black Propane Smoker as this is one of the best smokers and you can use it even without electricity also the food cooked tastes well. You can quickly make lots of recipes with it quickly, rest depends upon your requirement and needs. Venture bravely and may fortune reward you with delicious home-cooked food! Happy Smoking!