February 6

Best Smoker 2022: Testing & Review of the Top 10

0  comments

Best Smoker 2022: Testing & Review of the Top 10

Smoking a perfect rib or brisket is one of the best ways to flex your cooking prowess and impress friends and family. With grilling season (aka summer) coming up, you’d need the perfect backyard smoker to sharpen your skills and serve up a smoke-tastic feast. 🔥🤤

While your meat prep technique is certainly important, that’s only half the battle. Having the right tools and equipment can help you make scrumptious ribs, brisket, chicken, fish, or even veggies better than your favorite neighborhood BBQ joint.

It’s easy to get lost in the endless options of meat smokers, especially since they come in different types, sizes, and with different features.

smoked-meat-with-smoker
I spent hours researching and comparing the top smokers on the market today to bring you this ultimate best smokers buying guide.

Turn good smoking into GREAT smoking with one of these amazing, versatile machines.

Choosing The BEST Smoker On The Market: The Top 10

PRODUCTNAME & SPECRATING
Weber Smoky Mountain Product imageWeber 18” Cooker

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Bullet/Charcoal
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
CHECK PRICE
JUMP TO REVIEW
Kamado Joe Classic product imageKamado Joe

  • Price: $$$$$
  • Type: Egg/Ceramic/Charcoal
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
CHECK PRICE
JUMP TO REVIEW
Pit Barrel product imagePit Barrel

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Barrel/Drum</Charcoal/li>
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
CHECK PRICE
JUMP TO REVIEW
Masterbuilt MB20070210 product imageMasterbuilt MB20070210

  • Price: $
  • Type: Vertical/Electric
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
CHECK PRICE
JUMP TO REVIEW
Char-Broil 725 Deluxe product imageChar-Broil 725

  • Price: $
  • Type: Vertical/Electric
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
CHECK PRICE
JUMP TO REVIEW
Char-Griller Akorn Kamado product imageChar-Griller Akorn

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Egg/Charcoal
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
CHECK PRICE
JUMP TO REVIEW
Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 product imageMasterbuilt Gravity 1050

  • Price: $$$$
  • Type: Digital Controlled/Charcoal
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
CHECK PRICE
JUMP TO REVIEW
Weber Orginal Kettle product imageWeber Orginal Kettle

  • Price: $
  • Type: Kettle Grill/Charcoal
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
CHECK PRICE
JUMP TO REVIEW
Z Grills 8 in 1 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker ZPG-700D product imageZ Grills 8 in 1

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Pellet Grill/Pellet/Propane
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
CHECK PRICE
JUMP TO REVIEW
Dyna-Glo product imageDyna-Glo

  • Price: $
  • Type: Vertical/Charcoal
🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
CHECK PRICE
JUMP TO REVIEW

Best Overall Smoker

Weber 18” Smokey Mountain Cooker (WSM)

The Grill Wilson Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

If you want to do it classic and old-school like the pros, then a charcoal smoker is for you. You can’t go wrong with the Weber Smokey Mountain, a popular name in the meat smoking community. And for good reason—these bad boys are the kings of meat smoking, even winning a few competitions here and there. This is a charcoal smoker which makes many aspects of heat easy to control, and is a fuel type accessible anywhere.

Features & Specifications

The Smokey Mountain Cooker comes in 3 sizes, the 18 inch is the most versatile in our opinion. Offering 481 square inches of usable cooking surface, you can easily cook enough food for a decent sized group. The porcelain enameled 3-section chamber comes with an integrated water pan that leaves meats moist, tender, and super juicy.

What’s not to like about the WSM?

This vertical smoker is a fan favorite that boasts a pretty great track record in both at-home and competition cooking. We also love that the smoker can be used for grilling as well, just remove the water pan. Plus, Weber offers an impressive 10-year warranty on all of their products. As a result, our best overall rating is a reflection of a well-priced, durable and effective unit.

What I Don’t Like About the Weber Smokey Mountain

It’s difficult to find negative reviews, but not everyone has had a great experience with the WSM. Some reviewers have complained about the flimsy aluminum door that doesn’t seal all the way, which lets heat and smoke escape. However, that can easily be fixed by sealing it yourself. Another downside is that it may not be beginner-friendly, but the learning curve is a small price to pay for good meat.

Pros

  • 10-year warranty
  • Three different sizes
  • Competition-level smoked meats
  • Can also be used as a grill

Cons

  • Not 100% leak proof
  • Steep learning curve for beginners

CHECK PRICE


Best Overall Runner-up

Kamado Joe Classic

The Grill Wilson Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

This device would easily be the Best Overall, but to be realistic we have to consider the price point. It is high. That being said, the product delivers on almost every level. The egg style cookers use heavy weight ceramic panels for heat retention and even distribution allow for low and slow cooking. The shape allows a funnel of heat to rise up giving you upwards of 750 degrees or more for searing and grilling.

What’s not to like about the Kamado Joe Classic?

As you would hope at a higher price point, this is a well-appointed device. From the industrial weight cart and sturdy side tables to the air lifting hinge, they have put together an excellent package. All flame cooking variations rely on air flow and control, which is easily handled by the upper and lower venting systems on this unit. Adding the split grilling surfaces for a variety of foods, and an easy clean ash drawer makes this an overall effective tool for outdoor cooking.

What I Don’t Like About the Kamado Joe Classic

The same tank like build brings the weight to nearly 190 pounds. It’s just massive. Yes, the wheels lock, but be careful about inertia when you move these bad boys around. They are made to exclusively work with lump charcoal, so fuel is slightly limited on availability.

Pros

  • Sturdy build
  • Exceptional overall package
  • Easy use with short learning curve

Cons

  • Single fuel type
  • Weighs a lot

CHECK PRICE


Best Value Smoker

Pit Barrel 18.5” Classic Cooker (PBC)

The Grill Wilson Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Barrel smokers harken back to a simpler age. Food meets smoke and heat in an enclosed space. You can easily see early barbecue fans looking at an empty 55-gallon drum and thinking I can make that work to smoke some food. Yeah baby, flame and food synergy. The guys over at Smoking Meat Geeks love this smoker for the price. See more on this cooker here.

Features & Specifications

The pros at the PBC Company use an enameled 30-gallon 18-gauge steel drum with their crafted charcoal basket to create an easy-to-use smoking environment. In addition to a standard grill grate, they include rods and hooks to suspend your meat in the center of the chamber. Set the bottom vent to match your altitude range and you are off and running.

What’s not to like about the Pit Barrel Cooker?

Nature moves in circles, and the cylindrical barrel makes for a perfect container to move heat and smoke to your food with natural convection. Add to that the ability to hang all kinds of meat with only one or two hooks as the point of contact, leaving all else exposed to the smoke, and your food gets imbued with flavor. The food also hangs over the heat source, so the drippings help add more smoke flavor and keep the chamber more humid. A single pan of charcoal will offer 6-7 hours of cooking time.

What I Don’t Like About the Pit Barrel Cooker

It is a little clunky. They say it is portable, and of course it is technically, but that is not the strength of this device. By its nature it has zero insulation, so the conductivity of the steel makes it susceptible to the environmental conditions…that’s a long way to say it uses more charcoal when it is cold out.

Pros

  • Minimal assembly
  • No moving parts to break
  • Fast learning curve
  • Very effective

Cons

  • Not pretty or stylish
  • Not particularly mobile
  • No insulation

CHECK PRICE


Best Smoker for the Money

Masterbuilt Electric Smoker MB20070210

The Grill Wilson Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Don’t let this little guy fool you, the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is solid meat smoking powerhouse in a compact package. Both home enthusiasts and top smoke masters can enjoy the rich, full flavor that this machine is capable of producing.

Features & Specifications

With three removable racks, the 30-inch model smoker has a respectable 536 square inches of cooking space—more than enough for several racks of ribs, butts, whole chickens, or even a mid-sized turkey. It uses a dial very similar to an electric frying pan without the numbers, just a low to high scale. Simple tried and true electronics.

What’s not to like about the Masterbuilt?

This smoker feels especially designed for the newbie smoker who want all the flavor with none of the hassle. You can literally set it and forget it, even overnight, and wake up to delicious, perfectly-smoked meats. It arrives with a water pan, in addition to the wood chip pan, which is an important aspect of proper smoking, maintaining the humidity.

What I Don’t Like About the Masterbuilt Smoker

Because it has analog gradations on the heat setting, there is a substantial learning curve to translate that indicator to accurate chamber temperatures. Like most outdoor cooking units, the external viewed thermometer is not really to be trusted, you will want your own device to monitor the cooking temperature. Some folks have had issues with the coatings peeling which can affect the ability of the cabinet seal to function properly.

Pros

    • Decent smoking capacity
    • Relatively easy even for beginners
    • Great price point

Cons

  • Initial learning curve
  • No legs to keep it off the ground
  • Vague control settings

CHECK PRICE


Best Smoker for Beginners

Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker 725 Deluxe

The Grill Wilson Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

This has just enough bells and whistles to actually work well, right out of the box. It offers set and forget temperature and time, even having a stay warm feature when time/temp has been reached. It is a good-looking box with a window to monitor progress visually, and a temperature probe to track the internal temperature of the food.

Features & Specifications

The insulated cabinet offers 725 square inches of cooking space across four removable and adjustable racks. The digital settings allow you a degree of precision, and the sensing equipment is pretty accurate if maintained properly. The broad range of 4-7 hours of smoking time is correct, and varies based on how high the temperature is set, the maximum being 275 degrees.

What’s not to like about the Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker?

The insulation makes cooking temperatures pretty stable and increase the efficiency of the wood being used. Add that to the overall approachability and you see why we chose this as a great initial smoking tool to start with. It still works well for the more experienced smoker, and the simplicity of this can make your life even easier.

What I Don’t Like About the Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker

The ceiling of 275 degrees can be a limitation with some items, poultry in particular. We always have to watch the danger zones of middling temperature and the risk of food not progressing quickly through that to safety. Electrical problems have been reported occasionally; tripping GFIs, cabinet leaking to short out or even shocking users. While certainly the exception, that is not good news.

Pros

  • Initial ease of use
  • Efficient use of smoke fuel
  • Well insulated, and holds moisture

Cons

  • No legs
  • Limited temperature choices
  • Some electrical issues reported

CHECK PRICE


Best Green Egg Alternative

Char-Griller Akorn Kamado

The Grill Wilson Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

At a literal fraction of the cost, this is a great way to learn and enjoy the cooking environment offered by egg shaped cookers. It is solid steel, powder coated exterior and enameled interior, so it does not have the impressive heat retention of ceramic based build. But it still performs quite nicely, being well insulated and having a tight seal. It also offers a solid 200-700 degrees temperature range.

Features & Specifications

It tips the scale at almost 100 pounds, considering that is almost all steel, this is solidly built. The cast iron primary rack offers over 300 square inches of cooking surface, the warming rack adds over another 100 square inches of usable space.

What’s not to like about the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado?

It has functional wheels, including the locking rear wheel, so you can move it around with relative ease. Also included are decent side racks that fold down out of the way. It will work with either lump or briquet charcoal and should provide 8 to 10 hours of 225-degree cooking heat off a single basket. And afterwards the clean-up is easy with their ash removal system.

What I Don’t Like About the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado

The biggest issue is that you really will want the smoking stone to handle long term smoking. It works great, and won’t break the bank, so you will want one. There is a steep learning curve on temperature control even though making adjustments with the venting system is easy. Once mastered it works fine.

Pros

  • Excellent price in the category
  • Well built
  • Fuel and temperature efficient
  • Easy clean up

Cons

  • Requires an accessory to smoke well
  • Customer service has been questionable
  • Takes time to get proficient

CHECK PRICE


Best Versatile, Overall Smoker

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050

The Grill Wilson Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

This is a Cadillac level product in our opinion. Think a pellet grill feeding type system, but it uses charcoal, either lump or briquets, and you can mix in wood either chips or chunk up to fist size. So set and forget on a bigger scale, with an app to control it remotely.

Features & Specifications

The stated rating, and it is pretty close to true, is that it will get to 225 degrees in 10 minutes and 700 degrees in 15 minutes, so searing and smoking are both workable. It can smoke cool, not quite cold, but at a 150-degree setting. The name calls it with an impressive 1050 square inches of usable cooking space

What’s not to like about the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050?

The chute holds enough charcoal for an 8-hour smoking session with no reload needed. If  you do need more there is no reason to open the chamber, just fill up the exterior hopper. Shut it down when finished, and the remaining charcoal can wait until the next time you fire it up. Use all the space for low and slow smoking, the fan system will help insure more even heat throughout. Fold the upper racks away when you go flame-on to do some serious grilling at 700 degrees.

What I Don’t Like About the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050

It is kind of a charcoal pig; 20 pounds can get burned up in 8 hours. And it comes in at over 200 pounds without the charcoal added. The assembly process can be daunting at well over an hour, often reported at 3 hours. The app can be buggy, and certainly should be made to be a bit more user friendly.

Pros

  • Multiple fuel choices
  • Fast start up
  • Nice usable space

Cons

  • Consumes charcoal
  • App is so-so
  • Assembly is tedious

CHECK PRICE


Best Value Versatile Smoker

Weber Original Kettle

The Grill Wilson Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Okay, the last flame of this five-flame rating may be a bit of nostalgia. But c’mon, these guys were ubiquitous in every backyard when they came out, and with a realistic life expectancy well into the double digits, they still are. Yes, they are not purpose built for smoking or traditional barbecue in that style. That being said, they are very functional. For many folks, using a Weber Kettle was the first chance to cook a full turkey or any large cut of meat outside and with open flames. It just takes some knowledge to take the next step of smoking meats with it

Features & Specifications

The entry cost on these can be less expensive, our recommendation is a slight step up. In this case, the 22” model has a decent cooking surface at over 350 square inches for grilling, somewhat less for smoking. This has the hinged grill sides which help with smoking and other long cooks to easily add more fuel, and the ash removal bucket which really does make your life easier, and cleaner. At less than 35 pounds empty, this is easily mobile, and sits high enough that working on deck surfaces has virtually no risk

What’s not to like about the Weber Original Kettle?

With only a couple concepts to master, this unit will deliver small to medium size batches of smoked food with great ease. There are accessories to help with this, but they are not essential. At the simplest level, you bank a small amount of charcoal against one side, place a pan of water directly over them and cook your food opposite the coals. There is a fun method called the snake, wherein you stack coals 3 or four high in a stripe around the bottom of the kettle, interspersing wood chips along the top. Place a half dozen well started coals to the beginning of the snake and you can get cook times of 8 hours without more fuel, and at good temperatures.

What I Don’t Like About the Weber Original Kettle_

The tolerances on the ash can are very tight, it takes a few uses get the idea, plus it is not very easy to see to verify it has locked back in place. Some folks think the legs are wimpy, they are, kind of? The unit is so light that a heavy-duty leg would be overkill. In general, they are adequately functional if you are the least bit careful.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Effective across cooking styles
  • Durable

Cons

  • Requires practice for smoking specifically
  • Ashcan is finnicky

CHECK PRICE


Best Pellet Smoker for the Money

Z Grills 8 in 1 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker ZPG-700D

The Grill Wilson Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Z grills has been a contender in the pellet smoker arena for many years, and this latest iteration certainly upholds their trend for dependable and easy to use products. Their product line comes in multiple sizes, this one being in the higher category, offering 700 square inches of surface. This is truly a set and forget operation offering hours of smoke from one load of pellets.

Features & Specifications

Everything about this is well sized; the hopper holds 20 pounds of pellets, the main cooking area is over 500 square inches, at almost 150 pounds the build quality is solid and meant to last. Offering a cooking range of 180-450 degrees, held within about 10 degrees with a thermostatic control and forced air to keep the heat evenly dispersed, you can run for as much as 20 hours without a pellet reload. Used correctly, it imparts very nice smoke flavors without overpowering your food

What’s not to like about the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker?

Pellet smokers are generally easy to master, and the z Grill is no exception. Yes, it has a quirky start up sequence, for specific reasons, but once you break it in it performs like a champ. It has great capacity. For flatter products likes ribs and most brisket you can use the main and upper racks with fairly consistent results, rotate once in the cycle and the results are perfect. The upper rack removes easily so you can do whole turkeys, standing rib roasts and any larger cuts.

What I Don’t Like About the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

For all the many things these guys do right, they need to get better at ash disposal. Working with a pellet stove creates minimal ash, but you have to dig deep to clean the combustion chamber on this unit, and a shop vac or handheld is almost required. Like most devices the upper rack clearance is impeded, and it in turn impedes the lower rack somewhat. You may find yourself removing the upper rack and leaving it out for most cooking. Lastly, like most pellet grills, they claim you can broil, and while you can, it is a very limited space that gets enough heat to successfully char broil.

Pros

  • Very approachable
  • Good build quality
  • Forced air to distribute heat

Cons

  • Cleaning is tough
  • Not effective at broiling
  • Upper rack can be problematic

CHECK PRICE


Best Offset Smoker

Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill

The Grill Wilson Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

You can build a mini shed, duct in smoke from a fire 3 feet away and you have the classic smokehouse offset process…or you can buy this. Assembly required; you’ll end up with the original form of smoking at your fingertips. Using any charcoal and wood chunks, you are off to the races. The vertical aspect of it, being circular, allows smoke and heat to use natural convection for evenly applied flavor and cooking.

Features & Specifications

The actual smoking area comes in at over 1100 square inches of surface in the chamber. This unit also comes with a heavy grill that can be used over the fire box heat for direct grilling. And, in a classic nod to tradition, there is a ring of sausage hooks tucked up in the top. Add small meat hooks and you can hang racks of ribs, pork belly, and other tasty food for a classic smoking operation. Purpose built for smoking this unit is designed to operate in the 150-250 temperature range for hours on end with minimal refueling.

What’s not to like about the Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill?

You can use a variety of fuels to get the flavors you want. At about 125 pounds, they have put oversized metal wheels to easily move this unit around for use and storage. Their ash clean-out drawer is a breeze to empty. The water reservoir is nearly a gallon when full, more than enough for long term smoking. It also doubles as an effective disperser of heat as it enters the chamber. While not the main purpose, you really can grill at high temp in the fuel box on the included grate. Not a huge amount of space, but it gets hot!

What I Don’t Like About the Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill

The overall design is excellent, but the tolerances are not great, which is somewhat to be expected at such a reasonable price point. You really do want to get some heat resistant sealing tape for seams and gasket tape for the door. Do these modifications you’ll get great results. Assembly is not quick, not especially complex, just painstaking. The chamber is hard to reach and hold temperatures over 300 degrees at the most, so you will not be roasting food in this unit

Pros

  • Huge smoking space
  • Holds smoking temps very well
  • Versatile rack and hook system

Cons

  • Leaks smoke, need minor mods
  • Tedious assembly
  • Limited temperatures

CHECK PRICE


 

Best Smoker

Editor’s Choice: The Best Smoker of 2022

Choosing the best smoker from these amazing options was a lot harder than you think. Each one of them has something special and unique that they bring to the table. While I will reveal my ‘best smoker’ winner in just a bit, I believe that the best smoker for YOU is the one that fits your lifestyle, budget, and needs.

I especially liked the Weber Smokey Mountain for its incredible, competition-ready performance. Priced just right, it’s hard to deny Weber’s Smokey Mountain as the best meat smoker on the market. The Masterbuilt Gravity also wowed me with its multifunctional “set it and forget it” capabilities, as did the Z-Grill.

The Pit Barrel Cooker, while not technically a smoker, does a great job running for up to 10 hours on charcoal without the need for babysitting — impressive.

I also wanted to give a shout-out to the best value smokers on the market such as the Masterbuilt electric smoker and Char-Broil Deluxe, both affordable and electric for beginners looking for a start-up smoker.


Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For When Buying A Smoker

Not all smokers were made equal. There are tons of things you need to consider before dropping potentially hundreds of dollars on the right brand and model. Each of the smokers, pit barrel cookers, and pellet grills I cover in this guide have their own pros and cons, but ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide which is the best smoker for you.

Here are the things you need to keep in mind when choosing a smoker.

Location

One of the first things you’ll need to think about is where you’re going to put the smoker. All of the smokers on this list are recommended for outdoor use only, but there are also indoor and stove-top smokers that you can choose from.

There are way more options for outdoor smokers, so it’s easier to find one that fits your budget and your needs. You’re also more likely to get that rich, authentic smokehouse flavor that you’re looking for.

However, if you have limited space, you might opt instead for a smaller indoor meat smoker. You might be sacrificing a little on the smoke level, but you can still smoke some delicious meats and veggies!

Power Source

Choosing what power source or fuel type is probably one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in buying a new smoker. The most common types are electric, gas, charcoal, and pellet grillers.

Electric

Super convenient and easy to use, electric smokers are a wonderful introduction to the world of smoking. Most electric smokers are “set it and forget it” types that require very minimal involvement. You can easily get a consistent temperature and amazing results with little effort.

However, some veteran smokers think that part of the joy is tending to your smoker and learning the various techniques. To each his own!

Gas

Also known as propane, gas-powered smokers are another easy to manage option with good control over the temperature. Propane is a very cheap fuel source, but there’s always the risk of running out of fuel mid-way through the smoking process. Plus, propane smokers don’t give you that rich sought-after smoke ring, and cheaper models don’t keep a stable temperature very well.

Charcoal

Most smoke masters swear by the low and slow technique that charcoal smokers are best known for. You’ll get a lot of that authentic smokey taste and coveted smoke ring. However, you’ll need to be much more involved in the process to get it right. It might not be the most beginner-friendly, but the flavor-packed results are more than worth the attention and effort.

Pellet

Are you more of a multi-purpose kind of cooker? Then a pellet grill might be the best smoker / grill for you. Pellet grills allow you smoke, bake, grill, and more with just a push of the button. A true “set it and forget it” that doesn’t skimp on flavor, pellet grills are ideal for entry-level beginners who want juicy, tender meats without the risk of messing it up.

Because the smoker does everything pretty much automatically (including feeding the wood pellets at the right intervals), they often cost more, and they may not get to the same level of quality as a classic charcoal smoker.

Smoking Space/Capacity

Smokers come in all configurations and sizes, so you should make sure that the one you get fits your needs. If you’re planning to smoke large amounts of meats, like for parties or get-togethers, then you’d need a smoker with a larger capacity. If you’re just cooking for a small family, then a smaller smoker should suffice. Some brands offer their flagship smokers in a variety of sizes so you can still get the great features in the size you want.

The general rule of thumb is that while bigger smokers can handle more meats, it’s also less likely to keep a stable and consistent temperature throughout. Smaller smokers use less fuel and have easier temperature control, but you’ll have to sacrifice shelf space.

Durability

With proper use and maintenance, a good quality smoker should last you several years if not a lifetime! Always take note of the materials, design, build quality, and construction of the smoker. You want something that is solidly-built, rust-resistant, leak-proof, and well-insulated. While a durable smoker will cost you more initially, it’s definitely more economical in the long run to invest in a high-quality smoker because you don’t have to worry about it falling apart.

Portability

If you’re planning to use your smoker on the road or on camping trips, then portability would be a very big factor. Here, you’ll have to take into consideration size, weight, design, and how easy it is to set up your smoker.

Some smokers come with handles and wheels for easy storage and portability. Even if you plan to use your smoker mainly at home, it can still be helpful to have these features so that you can move them around the yard or place them in storage when you need to.

Performance

A smoker is only as good as the flavors it produces, everything else is just bells and whistles. If you’re going to spend time and money smoking your meats, you’ll want a smoker that you can rely on to deliver consistent, quality flavors.

Besides getting a reputable smoker, one way to get a high-performing machine is to look for one with a wider range of temperatures and smoke options. You can choose between a low and slow smoke or a super-high temp for flash smoking, depending on your smoke style.

Features

This is the part that’s entirely subjective and up to your personal tastes. Additional features may not be absolutely necessary to making the perfect smoked brisket, but the convenience could be worth the extra cost. Some common product features include:

  • Smokers with windows or a clear front panel
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Versatility: the ability to cold smoke, grill, bake, or do other things with your smoker

Value

Get the most bang for your buck. Think of value as not just cost, but how cost-effective a smoker is. This means factoring in the size, features, build quality, durability, design, and performance into the price. An expensive smoker isn’t always worth its price tag, but cheap smokers often sacrifice quality for cost. Set a budget, but be open to spending a little more to get a smoker that is truly worth it.


Smoker FAQs

How Is Smoking Different From Grilling?

Grilling uses high temperatures for short periods of time and direct heat to thoroughly cook your meats and veggies. Smoking, on the other hand, uses much lower temperatures for longer periods of time. The combination of indirect heat, moisture, and smoke can take half a day or even more for bigger chunks of meat.

How Does Smoking Work?

There are two components to a good smoke: flavor (which is provided by the wood chips you use) and a heat source (or what kind of fuel, such as charcoal, electric, or pellets). The smoke heats up the meat to cook it, and the wood imparts a nice, unique flavor.

Should I Use Low Or High Temperatures When Smoking Meat?

It really depends on your style and technique, but most smoke masters agree that the best way is to go low and slow. That means using a temperature between 225F and 275F for several hours (sometimes up to 18 hours or more) to get a tender, moist, and flavorful meat. However, you can also experiment with “flash smoking”, or doing high temperatures for a shorter period of time.

How Do I Choose What Power Source To Use?

Choosing between charcoal, electric, gas, and pellet smokers really boils down to you as a chef. Your preference, level of skill, and how much versatility and control you need all factor into this decision. If you want authentic, old-fashioned smoking, go for a charcoal grill. If you just want to pop it in and forget about it, choose either an electric or pellet smoker.

What Is The Best Smoker For A Beginner?

Our top pick, the Masterbuilt Electric Digital Smoker is definitely a no-brainer here. Its simple controls are deceptive—you can definitely get pro-level smoked meats even if you don’t watch the smoker. The side wood chip system takes the guesswork out of refuelling without compromising the heat level.

What Is The Best Smoker For A Smoke Master Who Wants Something Different?

The KBQ C-60 is admittedly a luxury option, but I’m confident that it can provide veteran smoke masters with a new challenge. It will need a lot of your time and attention, but if you can handle that, it’s definitely the best smoker to test out your skills.

What Kind Of Wood Chips Should I Use?

Your choice of wood chips will help determine what kind of smoke profile you will get. It really depends on your preference, but some types of wood chips go better with specific types of meats. Heavier flavors like Mesquite, Hickory, or Walnut are best paired with pork, beef, and cheese. Flavor your poultry with Alder, Apple, Maple, or Oak for a smooth, smoky taste.

How Long Will My Smoker Last?

The three things that will decide the lifespan of your smoker are: how much you use it, how well you maintain it, and the quality of the smoker. Electric smokers tend to conk out sooner just because electrical components can fry or short circuit. However, don’t let that turn you off electric meat smokers for good. As long as they’re built with durable materials and have a good reputation, your smoker will likely last you for several years.

That is, until you want to upgrade to a new one!

Loved this? Spread the word


About the Author

Jay Wilson

Related posts

Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) – Why People Love it and FAQs

​Read More

Pit Barrel Cooker by the Pit Barrel Cooker Co.

​Read More

The Best Electric Grills For Your 2020 Cookouts

​Read More

Best Indoor Electric Grills

​Read More
Leave a Repl​​​​​y

Your email address will not be published.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter now!