Best Smoker Reviews For 2016: Complete Buying Guide, Reviews and Rankings

Smokers are designed to cook meat at minimal temperatures and over long periods. They utilize smoke for cooking while maintaining a temperature of 225-275°C that enables them to tear down tough tissues. Melting of the fats keeps the food moist and delicious, and makes it tender and flavorful.

Most people are afraid to invest in smokers because they are huge and pricy. By carefully reading through this best BBQ smokers guide, it will be simple to identify a model that’s right for you. Smoked meat is healthy and nutritious. But first, you have to get a smoker that meets all your needs.

Quick Facts: Barbecuing, Smoking, and Grilling

People are often unsure about the differences between grilling, barbecuing and smoking. They are usually taken out of context. In simple terms, grilling involves cooking your food using high heat applied directly, and so your food will be ready in a very short time. Food that can be grilled includes steak, chicken pieces (only boneless), hamburgers, and chops.

On the other hand, barbecuing mainly relies on charcoal to slowly heat your favorite meat. Barbecue pits can be made to include an indirect heat barrier placed between the coals and the meat by using fireboxes that are offset from cooking chambers. This arrangement could also be direct, resembling that of vertical drums or open pit cookers. An essential point here is that 2-3 feet should be left between the coals and the food. Barbecuing is ideal for big meat cuttings enriched with fats, such as shoulders, ribs, pork and briskets. However, smaller pieces, including sausages, steaks and chicken pieces, can be barbecued as well.

Smoking refers to the process of cooking meat using smoke. Smoked products might sometimes necessitate further cooking; this is determined by the method used, whether it’s cold or hot smoking. To obtain flavorful and tender smoked foods, some spices should be added, since the procedure is slow and could even take days or even weeks. Cheese, hams, salmon, and slices of bacon are meats that require smoking to reach their best possible taste.

Barbecuing describes a skill that takes tolerance and practice. Multiple techniques and tastes can be discovered. This following pages present an anthology of fundamental smoking tips and beneficial ways you can use your smoker. The provided information will help you grasp some of the basic guidelines for selecting a smoker and will show you what you can do with it once you have.

Types of Smokers

What inspires all chefs is the urge to stay on top of the game as far as grilling, barbecuing and smoking of meat are concerned. And the only way you can achieve your dreams is by purchasing the right type of smoker, using the following quick facts.

Electric Smoker

If you are a beginner, electric smokers will be the right choice for you. They have an automated control mechanism that heavily reduces labor strain. Cooking is extremely simple and you don’t have to spend hours on outdoor cooking. With so many electric outlets available, electric smokers could be perfect for you. Simple instructions are provided alongside the unit, allowing you to begin cooking straight away, without worrying about running out of coal or gas.

Another advantage with these smokers is that there are no emissions. If you’re worried about the risk of gas, an electric model could therefore be the answer you’ve been searching for. Contemporary models are safe and affordable, and you shouldn’t be troubled by the cost of purchasing the smoker or the choice of accessories.
Electric smokers allow you do your barbecuing in the backyard and start preparing delicious food for the family with immediate effect. Once you acquire an electric unit, you will always want to cook and the results will never disappoint. If you love flavorful pork, turkey and vegetables then go for this smoker.

Smoker Reviews: The Best Electric Smoker

Our Pick For The Best Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker 

Pellet Smoker

Pellet models are affordable smoking units in today’s market. With this smoker, you have to use wooden pellets, which can be purchased in bulk to reduce expenses. The pellets are prepared from sawdust.

The latest pellet smokers have more advanced features which allow you to set specific temperatures and the food will be cooked automatically. They are non-polluting, and the food produced is always smooth and flawless.

Despite being referred to as grills, pellet smokers are not good for smoking hot dogs, steaks or burgers. Since they utilize indirect heat, they are ideal for cooking pork and turkey.

Smoker Reviews: The Best Wood Pellet Smoker

Our Pick For The Best Wood Pellet Smoker

Camp Chef Pellet Grill & Smoker Deluxe

Camp Chef Pellet Grill & Smoker Deluxe

Gas Smoker

If you fancy the expediency of gas then you may opt for the gas smoker. Wooden chips are heated, using gas to generate smoke. You’ll need to buy gas, which could increase costs. However, a gas smoker enables you to cook even when there are no electric outlets.

If you want a blend of affordability and usability, gas smokers should be your preference. The food is superbly tasty and aromatic.

Smoker Reviews: The Best Gas Smoker

Our Pick For The Best Gas Smoker

Masterbuilt 20050614 Propane Smoker

Masterbuilt 20050614 Propane Smoker

Charcoal Smoker

If you are familiar with a charcoal grill, then using a charcoal smoker will be a breeze. Many consumers love what charcoal grills offer in terms of taste and flavor. These smokers generate bigger smoke rings and greater amounts of smoke than other smokers, resulting in an enriched smoky flavor.
Various models of such smokers are available to choose from. These include barrel smokers, cabinet smokers, and offset-side smokers. Each has unique advantages, however, most people prefer the cabinet design; they have a sophisticated insulation mechanism and are easy to operate.

Smoker Reviews: The Best Charcoal Smoker

Our Pick For The Best Charcoal Smoker

Weber 731001 Smoky Mountain Cooker

Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 22-Inch Charcoal Smoker

Grill-Smoker Combo

A grill-smoker combo is best for those who want an all-in-one solution and hesitate in making a choice between grills and smokers. It is perfect for summer cookouts and serves as an outstanding chef’s tool. The unit is furnished with a movable charcoal grate which makes it possible to vary the temperature to suit your needs.

This amazing charcoal grill could be easily modified into a versatile smoker, with the tabletop grill as an accessory. The pan could also be removed for simplified cleanup. These smokers are more convenient and flexible, and so will definitely be very handy for you to use.

Accessories For Best BBQ Smokers

Here are a few accessories that you might want to look for in order to get the most out of your BBQ smoker:

Wheels

–Moving heavy smokers can be a challenge, so you may want a unit with functional wheels. Ensure that your smoker has larger wheels that can aid movement across your deck, and the wheels are properly assembled to reduce the chances of having to spend on unnecessary repairs.

Cover

– Almost all smokers come with a built-in cover that keeps your smoker clean and prevents it from being damaged. However, you can always purchase a cover if your smoker doesn’t already have one.

Rack

– This is an essential smoker accessory as it helps you stash the grilling tools as you cook.

Movable Inner Shelves

– When preparing different kinds of foods with your smoker, frequent adjustments of the shelves, to ensure that everything fits perfectly, are inevitable. Therefore, you should purchase a smoker that guarantees this option.

Necessary Barbecue Accessories

• Barbecue Meat Thermometer – With barbecue thermometer you don’t need to worry about food poisoning. You don’t have to cut each sausage in two when checking with these excellently designed stainless steel BBQ Thermometers. Take one and carefully stick it into the small cut, and its dial will clearly indicate its state: “rare, average, or well-cooked.”

• Smoking Chips

Also known as wood chips, these fine accessories are made using genuine aging oak barrels which have been soaked in whisky. Serving your smoky meat with a whisky will definitely give you and your guests a memorable experience. And the result is a placid woody boozy taste in your smoker.

• Quick Oak Smoking Papers

Even when it’s raining, these smoking papers will allow you to carry out normal smoking tasks without much trouble. Soak the sheets in water or beer, usually for perfect, moist chicken. Then, wrap the food with the sheets and place it on the Barbie. Allow enough time for proper cooking and infusion. The papers can be obtained from oak or beech trees, both of which burn at a slower rate for a moderate smoky flavor. However, lighter papers are more convenient for poultry, as well as seafood.

• Barbecue Bear Paws

There is something primordial about huge hunks of meat and hot coals. However, if you prefer unleashing your cooking passion, these accessories will do you good. They are designed to resist heat and are so ideal for handling hot grilled beef as you carve and cook pulled pork.

• Barbecue Apron Guide

BBQ Aprons complement the ingenious barbecue tips and instructions for a thrilling cooking experience. So, don’t smear your Smartphone and laptop with meat oil if you have a pressing question. Purchase a BBQ apron and take your barbecue cooking experience to the next level.

• Bamboo Barbecue Tool Set

Amaze your pals with this stunning 18-piece bamboo tool set. Basting brushes, BBQ forks, knives, cleaning brushes, skewers, tongs and cooking holders are all contained within this set. However, before you rush into purchasing this set, ensure each of these tools is made of stainless steel.

• Weber Marinating Jar

You need a great container and it can perfectly marinate the meat without necessarily having to leave the stray bristles. Its lid is hooked with a handle for easy handling. When the kit isn’t being used, it is advisable that the lid is twisted and locked to avoid any spills.

BBQ Smokers: Buying Guide

Different types of smokers suite different meat preparation techniques. However, from a performance and efficiency standpoint, having a smoker with optimal features is paramount. Here is a quick guide you can use for your selection.

• Type

– It’s very important that you assess the different types of smokers to ensure you get the value for your hard earned cash. Electronic, pellet, gas and charcoal smokers all have a set of merits and demerits, and critically analyzing them can be a great help in choosing the best one to suit your needs. Whereas some love the enthrallingly smoky taste permeating from the charcoal grill, others will go for that smoker that guarantees convenience as well as user-friendliness. Studies show that considerable number of people prefer purchasing electric smokers, their main reasons being simplicity and where they live.

• Size

– Apart from assessing the type of smoker you need, it’s also important to ensure that your choice is slender and compact. You should go for a smoker that fulfills only the intended purpose. For instance, if you need a smoker to occasionally smoke your meat for your family, a small size will never be a bad thing. Conversely, a bigger model is what you need when it comes to business purposes. On top of this, never forget to consider the availability of space in your house when purchasing your electric smoker. If your space is limited, go for a smaller-sized electric smoker.

• Price

– When looking for a movable, long-lasting smoker, you may be worried about the pricing range. There are numerous brands and smokers offering varied prices to choose from. To find the best deal, you must determine the amount you can comfortably set aside to purchase this equipment. For instance, if you do not have much to spend, it’s prudent to purchase gas and charcoals smokers; they are generally the best and they are low-price compared to the electric smokers, plus you may end up landing on a nice smoker with the finest design and technical features at a very affordable price. However, if you have the money, go for the pellet smokers.

• Usability

– Knowledge of an electric smoker’s user-friendliness would greatly be beneficial to you as you make your item selection. Many people find it relatively hard to embrace smoking at home due to the deeply-rooted misconception that the method is heavily time-consuming. Whilst it can be quite challenging, this is the case only when the wrong smoker is chosen. You should settle for a model with features that favor smooth operations as well as making kitchen work smart for you.

Alongside this, it is also crucial that the smoker bears an accessible control mechanism that can be easily monitored and operated. Its positioning is really important since it allows you reach it with ease. Again, choosing a wheeled smoker would be a positive for you since it will perfectly meet your portability needs. Such a feature means that transferring it from one position to another should not necessarily be a complex matter.

• Temperature Range

– Most of the smoking requirements will prompt you to cook at low temperatures and over long periods. If the potential smoker allows you to adjust temperatures flexibly, you will definitely want to pick a model which gives you the chance to comfortably attain temperatures above 5000C or more. Such temperatures are suitable for caramelizing and many other cooking options. Getting a model which lets you personally set temperatures will make it relatively easy for you to attain the most appropriate heat levels. This can also make smoker settings effortless, allowing you to prepare your food and have time to relax until the meal is fully cooked.

• Construction and Durability

– You certainly don’t want to invest in a product prone to failure and incapable of lasting for a long period of time. Therefore, you must carefully study the design as well as the materials used.

• Easy Cleaning

– Preferably, you should spend money on a smoker that requires minimal maintenance and cleaning. If the unit’s cleaning process is simple, then it is more likely to endure over time. After all, you wouldn’t be happy cleaning the device over and over again during lengthy smoking periods.

How to Use a BBQ Smoker: Smoking Tips and Tricks

There are a considerable number of points that should not be left out when setting up an electric smoker; these tricks and guidelines will immensely enhance your cooking, turning out scrumptious food that will thrill your family and visitors:

• Be patient

–The purpose of a smoker is to carry out low and slowed cooking, so be patient and allow enough time. Don’t rush. You should not be too keen to raise temperatures at any point in the urge to speed up the cooking .

• Go through the provided manual

Your smoker will come with a manual guide. Take time reading it so as to grasp every detail on how to operate the entire unit.

• Select suitable wood chips

Go for oak or maple. You can also choose from other varieties, bearing in mind that each of them produces different smells and a distinct flavor. People have varying preferences, so you may have to try a variety to see what your family likes the most.

• Get your charcoal ready

If you decide to use a charcoal smoker, be sure to replace burnt charcoal with new ones every time you begin smoking. Also, allow about forty minutes for the charcoal to become red hot prior to placing the food on the smoker.

• Avoid flames

The whole cooking process involves only smoke, along with indirect heat, and no flames at all. If your smoker gets flamed up, quickly use the provided water hose to spray off the flames or try adjusting the racks to prevent the flames from reaching the food.

• Give time for the meat to cool down

Although the meat’s classy appearance and flawlessness will tempt you, you need to give it a few minutes for the juices to cool off.

• Experiment

The benefit of an electric smoker is that it allows you to perform a whole range tasks with it. Its adaptable units are fit for all kinds of meat as well as vegetables, and more. Be confident in using different chips, finding different flavors, and setting different temperatures. This method is the best approach to devise yummy recipes that are entirely unique.

Basic Guide on Smoking Popular Barbecue Food

Recipes are there to guide you in meeting your long-term targets when preparing your meal. Before jumping into a recipe, read it carefully to make sure you have all the ingredients and kitchen tools. Don’t overlook recipes, especially if you want first-class tasty meat.

Chicken Recipes

Here are some smoking techniques that will help you produce flawlessly roasted chicken that will melt in your mouth. The process is fast and efficient compared to grilling. This method outlines six secrets to barbecuing chicken meat, and will make you want to do it all the time! The results are incomparable, but be sure to use a smoker.

Smoking requires you to be patient. Slow, low-heat cooking is the secret here. This means maintaining a temperature of 1130C for a lengthy period of time.

The best chicken recipes begin with the preparation of a rub.

The meat is rubbed with a dry rub recipe after which slowed smoking is undertaken with minimal indirect heat. This is done to get that unforgettable tasty and tenderized eating experience.

Let’s begin with a typical rub that will guarantee all flavors your slobber chops are craving for. The simplicity of the rub should not fool you. It works out perfectly.

Rub Recipe –
Thoroughly mix the following ingredients:
• ¼ cup of brown sugar preferably turbinated sugar.
• 1 tablespoon of onion powder
• ¼ cup of sweet paprika
• 2-4 tablespoons of original kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon of ground powder
• 1 tablespoon of chili powder and cayenne powder
With the rub ready, you can then proceed and get your meat smoked.
• Get your thawed chicken from the fridge. Clean and rinse it.
• Gently apply your rub over all the pieces on all sides. Do this three days prior to cooking for an optimal effect.
• Get the smoker ready. Fill the pan with hot water
• For electric and gas smokers, pre-soak the chips for about twenty minutes. Fire up the smoker and adjust the temperature to about 1130 C for the naturally-smoked chicken. Use bottom vents to perform any adjustments. Top vents must always be kept open.
• Place the chicken inside the smoker starting with the breasts. After 90 minutes, turn it upside down until finished.
• Don’t peek! You will lose useful heat plus smoke.
• Don’t rush. You have all the time in the world. If the right temperature has been maintained, and the chicken has been turned and looks perfect; you can go and have time with your family as the food cooks. Give it roughly 4 hours.
• Check the meat is fully cooked. Then remove your chicken and wait ten minutes while the meat cools and the juices soak back in to the center of the meat.

Beef

The cooking process normally requires low temperatures and slower cooking rates to avoid any damages while the meat cooks fully. The following steps will help you prepare delicious meat for your family.

• Start by prepping the meat. Choose a 10- to 12-pound brisket and trim off excess fats to leave only a ¼ inch layer of fat. This will make the meat moist throughout the cooking process. Apply a few tablespoons of rub on the meat: this should be done evenly on all sides. Cook immediately or allow it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours depending on your time and taste.
• Prepare your smoker by setting the temperature to about 2250F. Then place the meat inside with the fatty side facing upwards and place the lid over it. Make sure that the right temperature is maintained throughout.
• Allow slow cooking while constantly checking on temperature. Let it stay at 2250F. Don’t be tempted to uncover the smoker except when adding charcoal.
• Be cautious with the stall. When the meat’s internal temperature hits 1500F, surface evaporations make the brisket’s internal temperature to shoot up. This is sometimes referred to as stall. Don’t worry. Just wait for the stall to cool-off or wrap your meat in aluminum foils and add some apple juice on it. Then bring back the temperature to approximately 2250C.
• Allow the meat to cook fully and then remove it from the smoker.
• Give it some few minutes to cool down and then serve!

Ribs

Smoked ribs are pretty appetizing. Whether you love beef, bacon or pork, and wet or dry rubs, the secret lies in perfect timing and correct temperatures. If you have never tried rib recipes, and are a bit overwhelmed, don’t be scared. This advice will lead you into some of the best receipts.

• Choose pinkish un-frozen ribs at your local butchery. Make sure that excess fats are pre-trimmed. You should pick them up a day earlier before smoking.
• Peel off the outer membrane from the ribs. This technique will enhance the taste and texture of the meat.
• Slather the ribs. Apply a thin layer of vinegar, olive oil or honey on the ribs prior to smoking. This bonds the dried rubs and the ribs well. With more rub, the ribs are tastier.
• Place the seasoned ribs inside the refrigerator and leave them overnight.
• After that, take out the ribs an hour before you begin smoking them. Put them on a counter and allow them to warm up to room temperature.
• Preheat the smoker to around 2550F. The inbuilt thermometer will aid you in this procedure.
• Get your wood ready. The type of wood will be determined by your taste preference. Different woods produce distinct flavors and aroma. You can use oak, hickory, alder, pecan, maple or mesquite.
• Place your meat on the smoker and allow it to be smoked for about 6 hours. Don’t forget that the thickest portion of the ribs should be more than 1790F. When 30mins are remaining, wrap the ribs in an aluminum foil and apply plenty of your rubs. Then put them on the smoker. This wrapping makes your meat very tender. Again, Trapped smoke results in a bitter taste.
• Remove your ribs and serve them hot.

Turkey

Turkey matches ideally with smoke, but there exists a big difference between plainly smoked turkey and the real barbecued ham-like turkey. If you crave glistening slabs of turkey with thick and juicy flavors, then this is the right recipe for you. These five procedures will carefully take you through how to best prepare the turkey.

• Patch-cock the turkey to fasten even cooking and attain a crispy skin.
• Dry-brining will help you enhance the taste. Rub the bird with salt or spices and place it in the refrigerator for two nights so that the salt gets into the meat, loosening tough muscle tissues.
• Pour some baking powder on the dried rub, increasing the surface area, to produce small bubbles on the meat as it is roasted. The powder also makes the meat crispier.
• Ensure that the legs point towards the source of heat. Slow-cook with indirect heat. This will make cooking very gentle and even.
• Monitor the bird’s internal temperature to ensure the breast meat’s temperature doesn’t rise above 1500C, this makes the meat crumbly and dry.
• Allow up to 4hrs for the turkey to be ready and you will be good to go!

Vegetables

Smoking vegetables, just like meat, can be an uphill task, especially if you are new to smoking. However, knowing some of the best tips and recipes can be very beneficial. For instance, smoking vegetables can be a perfect way to make incredible and perfect salsa and vegetable soup. In addition, the vegetables will be perfect for making soups and marinara sauce

To help you smoke your vegetables for that sweet aromatic dinner, this guide contains basic how-to instructions for you.

• The first step involves cutting both peppers and your tomatoes into halves. Do not forget to core and seed your peppers. Then peel your onions and cut them into half-inch slices. This will ensure your smoked vegetables become tender and are evenly cooked.
• The next step will be to line your smoke racks with aluminum foil so that your veggies don’t drip. It further ensures that your onions don’t fall through when they begin to shrivel up when smoked.
• After lining your smoker racks, drizzle your fresh vegetables with oil and add some salt and pepper.
• Do not forget to fill up all the racks to avoid wastage. Be sure to get the best smoker for your cooking. You can choose to go for the Bradley Smokers that ensure bigger temperature cooking range – 250-275 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you decide to go with this particular smoker, ensure that you adjust the dial upwards to get that optimum temperature range. Then place your vegetables on the uppermost rack to prevent juices from your beef from falling on them.

Smoked veggies are normally tasty, whether served alone or alongside some yummy smoked meat. In either case, brushing your vegetables using olive oil to stop them sticking to your smoking racks is the key. For enhanced flavors, apply fresh herbs and spices of your choice.

The Bottom-line

Smoking your chicken, beef, ribs, and turkey is really not hard. You shouldn’t panic. With a good smoker, reliable accessories, perfect recipes and practical smoking tips, you’re ready to go! Imagine getting embarrassed because your friends are partying at your place and you can’t even smoke beef. To avoid such embarrassments, use this guide and let the party commence.

Best Smoker Reviews By Type

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