Barbecue smoking has never been an easy task. One must have unique skills to perfect the craft. While smoking can be time-consuming, it’s a comparatively hands-off process that calls for periodic checks. Once you start using a smoker grill, you will realize how much they are suited to making barbecue. Read on to find out how to choose the best smoker for your BBQ needs!
However, just like any cooking, grilling can be dangerous if you are not conversant with the cooking appliance being used. When barbecuing, you have to invest your time there to closely monitor it, keep marinating on it to prevent the meat from drying out, and flip it over occasionally.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, it is imperative to understand the type of smoker before buying it. Smoker grills can confuse you due to their features and the numerous options available in the market. There are key elements and factors that you should consider before settling for one. Below are some factors to consider before buying smokers:
Factors to Consider Before Buying Smokers
Before you decide on the best type of BBQ smoker, you must consider the price. It is imperative to spend depending on your budget. Some BBQ smokers cost thousands of dollars, and others can be as low as hundreds of dollars. You don’t have to spend too much on smokers since you can get quality designs at a relatively low price.
Make sure you don’t settle for a low-quality smoker to save few coins. There are a variety of quality smokers’ models which are available at affordable prices. They can do a great job of minimizing the need to invest much of your time attending to the smoker since they have a convenient way of regulating the heat.
Ensure you have bought a smoker that can accommodate all types of food. Smoking meat is not a simple process, and therefore you need to invest in a smoker that can smoke the whole rib all at once.
Support and Warranty
Do not buy a smoker that doesn’t guarantee a valid warranty. The manufacturer’s website should have comprehensive information about the smoker, and the manual should be helpful enough. Also, the manufacturer should provide details on how and where to get spare parts in case of any breakdown.
Types of Smokers
There are different types of smokers which include:
1. Charcoal Smoker
As the name suggests, a charcoal smoker is a cooking appliance that uses charcoal to burn food. It offers a unique way of cooking tender, delicious meat that is full of flavor. Unlike other types of smokers, you don’t need many skills to use a charcoal smoker. Those who have used charcoal smokers will tell you that they produce the best meat if properly executed.
Compared to contemporary charcoal smokers, modern charcoal smokers don’t produce soot, creosote and don’t have to deal with ashes.
Advantages of Charcoal Smokers
Below are some of the advantages of charcoal smokers:
- They are pocket Friendly
Unlike other types of smokers, charcoal smokers are relatively affordable. With close to $1000, you can find a quality, durable, and even bigger models of charcoal models. The smaller charcoal smokers are even cheaper as you can get them for less than $ 30.
- They are Made in Different Sizes
The good thing about charcoal smokers is that they come in different sizes. If you are going camping or outdoor cooking and looking for a portable charcoal grill, there are small grills that can serve your purpose. Similarly, you can find extensive and quality models that you can use to smoke a few racks of ribs. Before you buy a charcoal grill, ensure it will serve all your purposes, and you have adequate space for it.
- Easy to Maintain
Unlike the electrical and pellet smokers, which can be challenging to maintain due to their design, charcoal grills have a simple design that is so easy to maintain. However, they are made of grates that are susceptible to rust, and they may require frequent changing if they get chipped.
- Easy to Clean
Charcoal grills are easy to clean since they are fitted with a can where the ash falls when full.
- Temperature Regulations
There are quality charcoal smokers, which have an easy way of controlling the temperature. In case you want a temperature rise, coal is added, and if you’re going to work with low temperatures, you can reduce the coal.
Disadvantages of charcoal smokers
- Compared to electric smokers, charcoal grills produce more smoke which can cause environmental pollution.
- Flame maintenance can be challenging since it might go out any time. Therefore, you are supposed to be there most of the time to ensure the flame is on.
- Charcoal smokers can undercook or overcook the meat. You will be required to check the smoker frequently to control the temperature if it rises higher than needed or decline below the expected levels.
2. Electric Smoker
Unlike a charcoal smoker that uses coal as its source of heat, an electric smoker uses a hot electric rod as its heat source. Electric smokers are clean as they do not produce soot and can put up with a broader variety of designs. They are all made of a cast iron or stainless-steel construction.
Using an electric smoker is relatively easy since you only need to fix the smoker grill and select the appropriate temperature levels. You don’t need to frequent the smoker as the meat will cook with zero interference.
Advantage s of Electric Smoker
- Simple to Use
Compared to charcoal smokers, electric smokers are easy as their design doesn’t entail many manual efforts—anyone, whether a beginner or a pro, can use an electric smoker easily with less guidance.
As much as they are costlier than contemporary smokers, they tend to be more economical in the long run. Most electric smokers use less than 800 watts per hour, which can amount to a monthly consumption of around 190-kilowatts. Therefore, you can use your electric smoker without worrying about the electric bills.
- It is Safe to Use
Unlike the charcoal smokers, which requires the flame to keep running all the time, with an electric smoker, you can control or put off the flame quickly, reducing the risk of burning. Also, they are environmentally friendly compared to burning wood and charcoal, which produce carcinogens that can cause cancer.
- Requires Minimal Supervision
Compared to the charcoal smoker or propane smoker, which requires frequent supervision to ensure the fuel is not depleted, the electric smoker doesn’t require constant supervision. This is because it uses electricity which is in constant supply.
- Not Authentic
Barbecue made in electric smokers is not as tasty as the one prepared conventionally. Also, most people disqualify them since they don’t allow the users to attend to the meat while cooking, an act that most users love.
- Hard to Use
With electric smokers, users need to be acquainted with it before starting to use it since it has features and setting which must be learned to yield the desired results. It has internal components that are a bit complicated to use and require maximum attention when using them.
3. Pellet Smoker
Meat cooking on a pellet smoker gets the heat via convection. Charcoal and pellets burns are placed under the cooking chamber while the meat is placed on grill grates close to the chamber’s top. There is wood that sits at the pellet hopper placed above the cooking chamber, and it is used whenever there is a low supply of wood. When you switch on the smoker, the rod is ignited and pushes the pellets down where it begins to feed them.
Unlike charcoal which uses fillers and other additives, the pellets used in a pellet smoker are natural and works instantly. There is no time used when working with wood chips, charcoal, or temperature. Also, the pellets are flavored, and therefore, no need to apply more flavors when smoking.
Advantages of Pellet Smokers
The Pellet smoker does not involve a complex ignition mechanism as the process is automatic. You don’t need to frequent the smoker while cooking as long as you have filled up the hopper with pellets. Also, the pellets used on these smokers are environmentally friendly since they are carbon dioxide-free.
Pellet smokers are fuel-efficient, cheap to operate, and fitted with a convection fan, making them highly efficient. You only need fewer pellets while smoking than you would do on charcoal.
- It is Flexible
You can easily smoke, roast, bake, barbecue, and grill with pellet smokers using a single unit.
- They are Noisy
Pellet smokers are fitted with a ventilator and motor that make a lot of noise when running. There are, however, some advanced types of pellet smokers that do not make noise.
- Hard to Maintain
Pellet smokers call for high maintenance since the burn pot must be vacuumed and the whole system cleaned at least twice after every three months. Also, the pellets must be serviced once every year.
4. Gas Smoker
Meat smoked via a gas smoker produces the best aroma not found in any other type of smoker. A gas smoker is a simple method that can still integrate wood smoking and generates heat by burning propane. To smoke the meat, heat is circulated via convection, where it reaches the cooking chamber transmitting internal heat to the meat, giving it a rich, smoky flavor.
Advantages of a Gas Smoker
- It is Easy to Use
Using a gas smoker to grill your meat is the easiest task since there are no bureaucracies involved. All you need is to set the recommended temperature levels and wait for food to be ready. You don’t need to keep on adjusting the temperature as it can maintain itself.
Doing outdoor cooking with a gas smoker can be a fantastic experience since the smoker can be transported or used anywhere with ease.
- Temperature Convenience
One significant advantage of a gas smoker is that it can get to maximum temperatures, which is absent in other smokers. If you invest in some of the quality gas smokers, you can adjust the degrees up to 450.
- Fuel Consumption
When using gas smokers, you must have adequate fuel to refill the smoker to avoid the fuel from running out. Barbecue smoking can be interfered with in case the smoker runs out of fuel. However, you can use a gas meter.
- Not Durable
Gas smokers are fitted with tiny parts that keep on breaking, especially if you are using a low-quality smoker. Therefore, you must keep on replacing the small parts.
Facts About BBQ Smokers
Grilling and smoking is an enormous industry, and if well invested, it can generate billions of dollars. Therefore, you need to invest in the best smokers will lead to no regret in the future. The fact is, all smokers can yield excellent results if used appropriately since most smokers are designed in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different types, and you can pick one depending on how you plan to use it.