Barbecue smokers offer new adventures in summer grilling. They run from small steel smokers that are a snap to use up to large brick smoke pits and grills fitted in the counter in the kitchen. Barbecue smokers can use propane to heat the wood chips, but the traditionalists will tell you that charcoal is the only way to smoke.
Most charcoal barbecue smokers are pill- or barrel-shaped and sit upright. Some barrel-shaped smokers sit horizontally and have legs with wheels, just like traditional grills. The charcoal and wood chips go at the bottom, and multiple grilling racks provide space to smoke at various heat settings .
Depending on its sophistication and make , charcoal smokers vary in cots from $55 to 2,000 bucks and beyond. Several are equipped with multiple hatches so you can check on the meat without opening the top and letting a lot of heat escape . Others have a water pan for steam smoking. Many have chimneys, several others have vents. Some are smokers on legs, others are decked out with huge grilling space, baskets, tables, multiple compartments, tables, baskets, huge grilling space, multiple compartments and more. The poshest have stainless steel counter space and separate smoke compartments separate smoke compartments and stainless steel counter space.
While many charcoal barbecue smokers come with thermometers standard, a number of smoker reviews call them completely worthless and recommend picking up a good meat thermometer. Other reviewers said they saw little advantage in stainless steel shells as opposed to the cheaper powder-black coating on steel.
There are less propane-powered smokers and while gas smokers are inexpensive, reviewers gripe that they burn too hot. One benefit, however, is that gas smokers eliminate any reason to open the lids to add charcoal, keeping the smoking compartment a consistent temperature.
Smaller upright smokers are compact and good for a couple smoking pork chops or ribs. The larger horizontal smokers are best for hosting larger parties.
Because smokers get extremely hot, be careful when using them on wooden decks. Check with your condominium or apartment managers to find out if they are permitted . Landlords many time think them a greater fire hazard because they are left unattended for longer periods of time than a standard grill.
Smokers and reviewers suggest writing down notes every time you smoke, so you’ll be able to adjust temperatures, the kinds of wood to use with certain meats, and how long to smoke.