If you love meat, you should have a smoker. Why? Because having a smoker allows you to enter a brand new world of experimentation and experience. The problem is, what kind of a smoker should you get? To help you decide, we make a list of 7 types of meat smokers.
1. Offset Smokers
Of all types of meat smokers, offset smokers are the hardest to master. But once you master them, you will be rewarded with delicious food.
- Thanks to its shape, an offset smoker can be used to cook up a large amount of food.
- Some offset smokers model also come with a grill, basically giving you a two-in-one smoker and griller.
- The cooking chamber is separated from the firebox. This allows you to add more fuel while maintaining the heat and smoke.
- If you want the best result, you need at least a good quality offset smoker. Although this is a more expensive alternative, it is the best option long-term.
- Starting up the smoker takes time. It can take about an hour or so to ready the smoker and start cooking.
- It is not beginner-friendly.
2. Pellet Smokers
Pellet smokers are an all-in-one cooking solution. They can be used as a smoker, grill, and even oven.
- These types of meat smokers offer the best of two worlds: flavor enhancement that comes from actual wood smoke and practicality as you can set them and then walk away from them.
- Pellet smokers are very versatile. You can use them as a smoker, grill, and oven.
- It is easy to clean as the wood pellets burn down to almost nothing.
- Pellet smokers are expensive.
- You will need a socket nearby as the heating rod, fans and drill need electricity to run.
- You need wood pellets, which are not as easy to find as gas or charcoal. We recommend creating a stockpile just to be safe.
3. Charcoal Smokers
Charcoal smokers offer more flavor compared to gas or electric smokers. However, they need to be taken care of more than the two.
- If you are looking for a deep smokey flavor, charcoal smokers are your friend.
- Charcoal smokers are available in various sizes and styles. That means you will be able to find one that fits your space and taste.
- The charcoal adds flavor to the food you are cooking.
- These types of meat smokers are not beginner-friendly as they need more care and attention. They take practice before you get used to it.
- It takes time to start smoking as you need to light the charcoal and then let it ash over before you can add it to the smoker.
- It takes time to clean as there will be ash.
4. Gas Smokers
Most gas smokers are built with a cabinet-like shape. At the bottom, there are burners and vents. At the top, the dampers and chimney.
These types of meat smokers don’t produce smoke. Meaning, if you want to create a smokey flavor, you need to use wood chips.
- Gas smokers are easy to use. If you have a direct gas hookup, you can connect the smoker to it directly. If you don’t, just use a refillable gas bottle. You can find these bottles in most outdoor stores and gas stations.
- You can control a gas smoker’s temperature easily.
- You can start the smoker quickly. Going from cold to cooking take only about 15 minutes, which is quite fast for a smoker.
- You need at least two gas bottles just to be safe. You don’t want to find your smoker running out of gas midway cooking.
- The end product is often said to taste like bacon.
5. Electric Smokers
Looking for a smoker that you can fire and forget? If the answer is yes, then electric smokers are your best option.
- These types of meat smokers are very easy to use. Yes, even if you don’t have any experience with a smoker before.
- These smokers run on electricity. In other words, you won’t need other fuel sources like gas, charcoal, or pellets.
- Other than occasionally refilling the water bowl, these smokers don’t need babysitting. You can set them and leave them alone. After all, they will not run out of fuel.
- Compared to other smokers, electric smokers produce different flavors as it is lacking combustion.
- The meat will not for a smoke ring. Again, thanks to the lack of combustion.
- It is difficult to get a crisp crust on ribs or chicken skin.
6. Kamado Grills
The Kamado grills have existed for thousands of years. Yes, those familiar, egg-like grills have been with us for so long.
- The food being cooked is less likely to dry out. Meaning, you can expect juicy and moist meat when you are done.
- Kamado grills are usually multi-purpose appliances. Other than smoking, they can also be used for grilling, baking, and even as an oven for pizza.
- Kamado grills come with a thick wall, which helps to maintain a consistent temperature.
- Kamado grills are expensive.
- Controlling the temperature can be a bit tricky.
- Since the fire sits underneath the food, adding ash collection and fuel can be difficult.
7. Kettle Grills
Technically, kettle grills are not among types of meat smokers. However, they are often used as one, albeit not on the same scale as real meat smokers.
- You can use a kettle grill as a makeshift smoker. That means you don’t need to buy a smoker to smoke meat.
- You need a water pan and wood chips to turn a kettle grill into a smoker. Both of which are easy to find.
- Kettle grills are not designed to be a smoker. This is why controlling the airflow accurately can be difficult.
- Getting consistent results is difficult.
- Cleaning up will be necessary since charcoal is used.
These are 7 of the most common types of meat smokers. Each smoker type has its own pros and cons. Which one is the best for you? That depends on what you want from a smoker.
For example, if you want to cook meat with no fuss, electric smokers will suit you well. If you want the flavor enhancement that comes from wood, pellet smokers are your best options. And so on.