What’s the best smoker grill?
Americans love their barbecue. Over 70% of households own a grill or smoker. Smokers offer a time-tested process that cooks meat slowly at lower temperatures. It creates a distinct taste that many people crave and return to when grilling out.
There are many types of smokers for every type of household. For its high quality and durability from one of the leading brands, the best smoker grill is the Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker 22-Inch Charcoal Smoker.
What to know before you buy a smoker grill
What are the types of smoker grills?
There are many types of smokers.
- Horizontal offset smokers are the ones used by professionals. The smoke is generated in a firebox and travels through the main chamber and out a smokestack. This method can cook large amounts of meat.
- Box smokers are shaped like a box and load through a front door. They can cook large quantities of meat, too. Look for box smokers with thick insulation to ensure proper temperature control.
- Drum smokers are the most basic style. They are lightweight and can be moved around, but struggle with larger cuts of meat.
- Pellet grills have a hopper filled with pellets, either manually or, with advanced styles, electronically. They have good reputations as both grills and smokers. The key is how quickly pellets are fed into the hopper.
- Kamado grills are easily identified by their egg-shape design. They work as both smokers and grills but require a deflector plate to transition to a smoker. They are expensive but look stylish and are durable for people who cook out regularly.
- Vertical water smokers are small but efficient. The heat source, usually charcoal, heats a water pan that regulates the temperature and keeps meat moist. They don’t cook a large amount of meat at one time.
How are smoker grills fueled?
There are multiple fuel sources for smoker grills — wood, pellets, charcoal, propane or natural gas. One isn’t superior to any other fuel source. The key is keeping the inside temperature of the smoker close to 225 degrees for long periods of time. Choose the fuel source you are most comfortable with and can regulate best.
Is smoked meat healthy?
There is a lot of conflicting information about the benefits and risks of eating smoked meat. There is evidence that smoked meat increases sodium and some carcinogens. However, the key is moderation. Eating smoked meat only occasionally, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, greatly reduces any health risks.
What to look for in a quality smoker grill
Offset and box smokers are best for smoking large amounts of meat. The grill plate is larger and easily accessible. Kamado and vertical smokers have racks that can be used to expand the smoking capacity, but they can be hard to navigate.
The key to taste and moistness is regulating the internal temperature for long periods of time. Electric or gas-powered smokers are easier to use, since you can set a dial and walk away. More serious grill masters use wood or charcoal, which takes more attention and skill to get right.
Insulation is important for keeping heat trapped inside the smoker. Smoker grills with thicker metal and tighter seals do the best job keeping heat from escaping.
How much you can expect to spend on a smoker grill
There are three price ranges for smoker grills.
- Inexpensive smokers for under $100 are typically smaller and won’t moderate the temperature as consistently as more expensive smokers, due to less insulation.
- Moderately priced smokers between $100-$250 are best for people who use the smoker occasionally. Temperature control improves in this price range.
- Expensive smokers are priced between $250-$500 ,with larger capacity and better insulation due to thicker metal. They are best for entertaining large dinner parties.
Smoker grill FAQ
What is the best way to light charcoal in a smoker?
A. Use a charcoal chimney, which lets you light more charcoal at the same time. A newspaper is good for lighting the charcoal. Avoid lighter fluid or charcoal with additives, since they can make your food taste strange.
Which is better for smoking, wood chips or chunks?
A. Wood chips burn faster than chunks. They are best for quick smoking sessions of 20 minutes or less. If you plan to smoke meat for over one hour, chunks are better — they last longer and won’t need to be replaced right away.
Should I clean my smoker?
A. The smoker doesn’t need to be cleaned. The residue buildup provides seasoning to future sessions. To burn off fat deposits, cook the smoker at a high temperature without anything inside. Metal racks and drip pans can be cleaned separately.
What’s the best smoker grill to buy?
Top smoker grill
What you need to know: From a leading brand, this smoker has easily adjustable dampers and plenty of room for large cuts of meat.
What you’ll love: With a porcelain enameled lid and bowl, it resists peeling. The fuel door is removable to make adding wood or charcoal easier. A silicone temperature grommet monitors the temperature. Two cooking grates and a protective cover are included.
What you should consider: It is one of the most expensive smokers, but should last a long time.
Top smoker grill for the money
What you need to know: This versatile smoker also grills and roasts with a large cooking area.
What you’ll love: Using Tru-Infrared technology, it cooks food consistently without flare-ups. The smoker box adds flavor. It has 180 square inches of cooking space and can roast up to 25 pounds of meat.
What you should consider: There were some reports that the drip tray doesn’t fit tightly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This smoker has a friendly design, large cooking space and a thick steel body.
What you’ll love: Made from heavy-gauge steel, the smoker has cool-touch handles and lid grip. Five chrome-plated cooking grates fit in the spacious 1,382 square inches of cooking area. A temperature gauge shows the ideal temperature to maintain.
What you should consider: This smoker puts out heavy smoke when in use.
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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