There is no better way to greet the summer than to break a smoker from the backyard and have a barbecue. Whether you are cooking for your family or your entire neighborhood, Instructions for buying the best smoker will help you to narrow down your choices and make an informed decision.
But first, you may be wondering why the sous vide guy writes about smokers? As many of my readers already know, sous vide is a way to reach precise temperatures from the middle of your flesh to the meat edge without cooking too much. Smokers are an incredible last step after cooking sous vide for the perfect ribs and briskets. So I have a good deal of experience with a wide variety of smokers on the market, including electric smokers, gas smokers, charcoal smokers and even pellet smokers. Dive in and check out my top recommendations for the internet best smoker for 2019.
Best smoker: comparison chart
Weber Smokey Mountain
Master building 30 “
Char-Broil Big Easy
Types of smokers
Buying a new smoker can be quite overwhelming due to the wide variety of brands and types available in the marketplace. The first step in narrowing down your choices is to understand what type of smoker you want. There are four main types of smokers including Electricity, gas, charcoal and pellets. Every smoker has its advantages and disadvantages and some are better suited for beginners, while others are definitely reserved for enthusiasts. For example, electric smokers and pellet smokers are very different. Let’s dive into each guy to compare the smokers and ultimately locate our top smokers in each category.
As you might guess, electric smoker are the best for beginners. These are great options for long chefs, as you do not have to worry about running out of gas or reloading pellets. However, even experienced smokers can use electric smokers for a variety of reasons, including:
✅ PROS: “Set it and forget it”, ideal for long cooks. It is also very easy to clean, as there is no charcoal and these are relatively cheap.
❌ CONS: Requires a power source (sometimes difficult for outdoor cooking) and produces fewer smoke rings compared to charcoal.
Best Electric Smoker: Bradley Smoker’s Original Smoker
The Bradley Original Smoker (BS611) is a world class smoker with many features without damaging the bank. This electric smoker comes with an automatic wood delivery system (you can see this on the side of the smoker in the picture) so that it maintains the set temperature without you having to do anything. The wood loading system can produce continuous smoke for 8 hours before the device must be reloaded. This will allow you to complete a 15-hour chest by reloading wood only once.
The interior is completely stainless steel for easy cleaning and contains four removable racks. Another great feature of the Bradley Original Smoker is the separate smoke and stove burners. This means that you can choose between heat + smoke, heat only and smoke only, adding another dimension to potential use.
Budget Pick: 30-inch Electric Digital Smoker from Masterbuilt
Although I really like the Bradley smoker, this 30-inch Masterbuilt smoker also has to be recommended for its low cost and performance. This is definitely the most widely used electric smoker on the market. Masterbuilt’s 30-inch Digital Smoker features over 4,65 cm (4,12 cm) of space with 4 fully removable racks. While the Masterbuilt smoker does not have an automatic wood feeder like the Bradley unit, he still has an easy-to-access side loader. If you are a beginner looking for a reliable smoker without spending a lot of money, the Masterbuilt is the best choice.
Gas or propane smokers are ideal for those who want the ease of electric smoker, but do not want to worry about finding a power source. Just connect a propane tank to the smoker, just as you already do for a regular grill, add wood chips and start cooking. Gas smokers can often reach higher temperatures, but a long smoke can go through a full propane tank fairly quickly.
✅ PROS: Gas consumers are similar to electrical appliances and also offer better mobility because you do not need a power source.
❌ CONS: Propane tanks can be used up fairly quickly during extended cooking operations, and gas smokers still return to charcoal and pellet smokers in relation to smoke rings.
Best Gas Smoker: Char-Broil The great simple TRU infrared smoker
While I do not normally use gas smokers, the Char-Broil Big Easy TRU Infrared Smoker is a home run because of its diverse creative use. That’s exactly what you can do with the Big Easy Smoker Roasters and Grill. This 3-in-1 machine can cook a lot, but not much. The smoker’s cooking space is only 180 square inches, compared to 700 square inches for the masterbuilt smoker electric.
Overall, it really depends on what you plan to smoke. For example, this Big Easy smoker is ideal for sous vide, as it has a regular grill right on top of the smoker, so you can finish a great smear after you’ve absorbed the smoke flavor. However, if you plan to smoke full rib smoke or arrange a neighborhood barbecue, you might want to have more cooking space.
Charcoal smokers take a big step forward in terms of performance over electric and gas smokers, but they obviously need a bit more work and maintenance. If you’re a fan of charcoal grills like the Big Green Egg, you’ll probably prefer it Coal smoker about everything else. Even if you have no experience with charcoal, this may be an excellent opportunity to see the performance benefits of using coal.
✅ PROS: Charcoal smokers give out the best taste, the best bark and smoke rings.
❌ CONS: With charcoal, however, comes a cleaning. You also have to be more careful and monitor the cook a little bit more, but this increases the experience!
Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker
This is the holy grail of smokers. I do not believe that the weaver smokey mountain is to beat. With the infamous Weber Limited Warranty limited to 10 years, this Charcoal Diver is built for heavy-duty use and includes two 18-inch racks, which together provide approximately 480 square feet of cooking space. While the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker does not offer as much cooking space as most electric smokers, it will definitely get a better smoke ring and a better flavor.
If you are looking for an authentic smoking experience and you do not mind paying more attention to the cook, you need to get that smoker. There is a reason why the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is our top rated smoker.
Pellet smokers have gained popularity in the last few years, and with good reason. A pellet smoker is very easy to spot due to its size and the large pellet funnel on the side of the smoker.
✅ PROS: Pellet smokers are on the verge of “setting and forgetting” because of their temperature controls, and typically have large cooking areas.
❌ CONS: However, these are often expensive in advance and still do not produce a smoke ring like a coal can.
Green Mountain Grill Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
If the pellet smoker from Green Mountain Grills Davy Crocket is good at one thing, his neighbors will be jealous. This is the Rolls Royce of smokers without the hefty price. The Wi-Fi-controlled (that’s right!) Davy Crockett Smoker comes with Sense-Mate, which monitors the temperature of the grill and can be controlled from your phone.
This Green Mountain Grills smoker is also surprisingly portable for pellet smokers. If you’re looking for something more, “put and forget”, but do not want to rely on electric smokers, Davy Crockett’s pellet grill is my best bet, bringing smoke rings closer to those of charcoal.
Why use a BBQ smoker?
BBQ smokers work on the principle of “low and slow” cooking – ie low temperatures over a long period of time. Although this requires a longer cooking time overall, you will find that the meat you prepare is amazingly prepared. Have you ever pulled pork or brisket that falls directly from the bone of a BBQ joint that uses a smoker? Delicious
In addition, the smoker’s meat absorbs amazing smoky aromas that are often imitated but never replicated! No artificial smoke flavor that you buy can come close to what really smoked meat offers in terms of taste.
Is the type of fuel important?
Many hardcore smokers have their own answers to this question. Some swear by charcoal, others not only by wood, but by certain types of wood for every type of food!
I say there is no universally correct answer, it just depends on what you like best.
charcoal Smokers offer a stunning taste that embodies summer cookouts. The beauty of using charcoal is that it is always available and easy to use. It is a very low maintenance fuel if you can not float your smoker all day long.
Wood is an amazing fuel source due to the variety of flavors that you can get by using different types of wood. It’s like adding an extra layer or secret ingredient to your meat that can not be reproduced by other cooking methods.
If you know how to smoke, you can have fun with different combinations of food and wood to find the ultimate taste. A good starting point is this wood smoker card over Charbroil. On this page they also provide a description of the taste that a particular wood can add.
Finding a good source of wood for your smoker can be difficult, and you may not have much space to store wood, which can be challenging. You also need to be very attentive to your smoker when using wood, as you must constantly monitor the flame and throw more wood as needed, but not too much.
Wood pellets are a kind of hybrid fuel type that tries to simulate the benefits of wood, but makes smoking more manageable. Wood pellets are essentially small, condensed sawdust pieces that can be obtained from any type of wood. One big advantage of wood pellets is that you can load them into an automated, electric smoker that manages the fuel for you and adds more fuel when needed.
Although pellets are made from real wood, they do not have such intense smoky taste compared to a wood smoker. Some barbecue enthusiasts dislike this, and others like having more to do with their smoker and find that pellets are fun to drink.
What to smoke
So you have already prepared your smoker and can start now – but what should you try to smoke?
Actually, you could smoke just about any kind of food! However, since smoking takes so long, most people prefer dense meat that can be used for many people or for many meals. Meats like chicken, pork or steaks are an excellent choice.
The most popular meats include:
- Whole chickens
- pork shoulder
- Tri-tip steaks
- Corned beef