The Best BBQ Smokers – LifeSavvy – LifeSavvy | WHs Answers

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BBQ Smoker Buying Guide

Various types of meat and vegetables being smoked in the wood pellet smoker grill


Why Buy a BBQ Smoker?

If you like tender, smoky BBQ, there’s no substitute for a quality BBQ Smoker. They’re easier to use than traditional grills because their well-insulated designs lock in smoky heat for optimal temperature management. That means less hassle with your grill, so you can sit back and relax while your smoker does its job. Many can even smoke your meat overnight while you dream delicious dreams.

What should you look for in a BBQ smoker?

  • fuel type: Nowadays you can choose between electric, charcoal, gas or pellet grill smokers for your grilling needs. Electric and pellet smokers are often the easiest to use, but many still prefer the classic charm of an old-fashioned charcoal grill smoker. While charcoal smokers can present newbies with a learning curve, your hard work rarely goes to waste. Gas BBQ smokers are also an enticing option due to their ease of use and excellent temperature control.
  • Smoking Theme: The two main BBQ smokers are offset and arranged vertically. Offset smokers feature a heat source on the side of the smokehouse and are a popular design among BBQ purists as they give you more control over your grill and often require more attention than other smoker designs. Vertical BBQ smokers are characterized by a space-saving design and excellent temperature management, as their heat source is below the cooking chamber. You can also find several unconventional smokers on the market that don’t fall into either of the two main categories.
  • Capacity: Will you grill for yourself or try to feed a small army? In any case, invest in a BBQ smoker that is tailored to your lifestyle. Keep in mind that investing in a smoker that’s larger than you typically need can come in handy for special occasions where you’re cooking for crowds.

What materials should a BBQ smoker be made of?

Since smokers tend to operate at lower temperatures than grills, material isn’t quite as important. For this reason, some people choose to make DIY smokers out of old fridges and filing cabinets. However, it’s a good idea to go for a thick steel smoker as it’s less likely to rust through if left out quickly in inclement weather. Speaking of rust, make sure the material is treated to prevent corrosion as much as possible and see how others compare to their smoker’s longevity.

Our tips for the best BBQ smokers

Best charcoal smoker

Advantages: If you’re looking for the perfect entry-level charcoal smoker, the Realcook charcoal smoker grill offers the best performance at the lowest price. This smoker offers an impressive 636 square inches of cooking area and two sturdy cooking grates with a multifunctional design that doubles as a grill and fire pit. Despite its affordable price, this smoker’s painted steel body is surprisingly thick and its sturdy legs offer plenty of stability. While novice charcoal smokers always require a learning curve, this model’s superior temperature management and ingenious access doors make it an excellent choice for first-time BBQ smokers.

Disadvantages: While this smoker is a great alternative to Weber’s legendary Smokey Mountain smoker in terms of performance, its durability leaves a lot to be desired when compared to Weber’s premium offering. Also, this smoker’s built-in thermometer isn’t very trustworthy, so invest in quality digital probe thermometers if you want the best grilling possible.

bottom line: In terms of this BBQ Smoker’s capacity, ease of disassembly and quality for the price, it’s easy to see why it’s such a highly rated product. Even if experienced pit masters should choose the premium Weber smoker because of its outstanding durability, this grill is equipped for at least a few years of heavy use. It’s great for aspiring pit masters who are still earning their stripes.

Most wearable

Advantages: Looking for an affordable option for smoking and grilling on the go? The SUNLIFER Portable Charcoal Grill offers a unique design that’s incredibly easy to assemble and clean, making it a great option for transporting to your favorite campsite. This smoker holds heat well for the price and has two access doors so you can add charcoal or check your grill. It also maximizes the use of its limited 453 square inch capacity with two racks and four hanging hooks. While this smoker won’t last you forever, it is an excellent product that can take some use and abuse.

Disadvantages: This smoker draws in quite a bit of air, and the charcoal may not last nearly as long as you expect. This is complicated because the access door is relatively small, so adding more charcoal has to be done gradually, one or two pieces at a time.

bottom line: The design of this smoker requires special attention in order to achieve the best results, but this arrangement will not discourage those purchasing a charcoal smoker. While this isn’t the easiest BBQ smoker to use or master, it’s an incredibly effective tool for smoking brisket while you’re hours away from home.

Best electrics

Advantages: With a large cooking capacity and a fast-heating design that maintains its temperature without much fluctuation, the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker is easy to use for both beginners and decorated pit masters. This smoker comes with an integrated chips tray and features easy-to-remove water and drip trays, making clean-up a breeze. It also has a weather-resistant protective cover to maintain the durable cold-rolled steel design.

Disadvantages: Although this smoker has an impressive capacity, its chips tray is somewhat limited. As such, some reviewers noted that they needed to be refilled with wood shavings more often than expected. It’s also worth noting that the digital controls on this smoker can be pretty hard to read in direct sunlight, so placing it in the shade might be a good idea.

bottom line: This is a smoker that you can use with minimal experience smoking meat and still get an amazing BBQ almost every time. It’s an easy-to-use electric model that requires little effort.

Best with wood pellets

Advantages: The Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker may not be the cheapest BBQ smoker on the market, but its durable design and stable temperature management make it worth the price. Its digital temperature control is easy to master, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever ruin your grill with intermittent heat fluctuations. The versatile temperature range of this smoker from 180 to 450 degrees is sufficient for smoking, braising or roasting when the situation calls for it. To sweeten the value, this product also comes with a waterproof case which further sets it apart from premium smokers in the market.

Disadvantages: This smoker funnel isn’t exactly good at pulling pellets without forming a small gap. While this adds a bit to your workload when using this smoker, it is one of the easiest models to master for expertly prepared grilling.

bottom line: While this smoker isn’t for everyone, it’s a great option for those looking for something easy to use and durable. Its capacity is better suited to feeding an entire family than most other smokers featured in this guide.

Best with shelves

Advantages: The Dyna-Glo Signature Series Charcoal Smoker & Grill is an excellent choice for serious events where you need to feed an army. This smoker is surprisingly affordable considering its large capacity and sturdy steel construction. It features 1382 square inches of cooking space and a tiered design to help you fit as much meat onto its racks as possible. Compared to other charcoal smokers, it’s also quite adept at maintaining your target temperature for long periods of time. Add in the quality workmanship and you can see why this product comes highly recommended.

Disadvantages: This smoker is not the best sealed. Also, it’s prone to rust, so be sure to cover it when not in use.

bottom line: Charcoal smokers of this size and quality are rare at this price point, so those who can improve the seal will be happy. That being said, its capacity will realistically exceed the needs of many BBQ enthusiasts.

Final Thoughts

Firing up the BBQ smoker on a warm day is a rite of passage few can resist once they get the craving for their favorite BBQ. Whether you need one with extra shelves to feed your large family or a compact option for your next camping trip, there’s a BBQ smoker perfect for your unique lifestyle.

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