There’s no doubt that you can make some amazing barbeque on gas grills and all-purpose charcoal grills, but to make the most amazing pulled pork, bacon, salmon, turkey and ribs, you should be using the best meat smoker. The smoking process is truly a labor of love, but is not something that many can enjoy doing after work or on busy days. Reason being that unlike a gas grill, which places the meat directly over the flame, smokers use indirect heat. This is why gas grills cook meat faster, while smoking is a lengthy process, but the results are definitely worth it! Meat that is smoked rather than grilled is much more tender, and most grill masters also claim that this process infuses meat with a unique flavor that makes up for this time consuming process.
|Masterbuilt 30-Inch Black Smoker||Electric Digital||20 x 17 x 33.5 inches ; 45.9 pounds||30 inch, 730 sq. inch cooking space, even cooking 100 to 275 degrees F||***|
|Masterbuilt 2-Door Smoker||Vertical Gas||21.1 x 21.4 x 43.5 inches ; 58.4 pounds||30 inch, 717 sq. inch cooking space, air damper allows better smoke control||***|
|Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker||Charcoal Cooker||21 x 19 x 41 inches ; 39.1 pounds||2 nickel-plated 18-1/2-inch-Wide Cooking Grates, 481 sq. inch cooking space||****|
The different types of smokers
If you’re considering buying a smoker, the biggest question you’re probably faced with is which one should you buy? There are several different types of smokers available in the market including charcoal, gas and electric smokers, but the best smoker for money will depend on individuals needs and how much you’re willing to pay. Prices for these smokers range from $150 to the best smoker grill combos that may cost an upwards of $5000, and just like anything else you buy, you get what you pay for!
With a modern smoker grill, you no longer have to constantly check up on the machine and adjust the temperature, add woodchips, shovel coal, fiddle with the dampers, and sprinkle your meat with mist of secret moisturizer. Smoker grills can be fueled by wood pellets, hardwood, charcoal and propane, with each having their share of advantages and disadvantages.
A charcoal smoker is probably the most inexpensive type of smoker grill, but requires constant attention and not to mention the additional costs involved such as charcoal to fuel it. They do however deliver an authentic barbeque flavor not much different that the best electric smoker but does require extra work and vigilance.
Another daunting aspect of a charcoal smoker is finding the perfect blend between charcoal and meat because the key is to expose the meat to even, low heat. Adding to this, charcoal smokers put you at risk of accidental fires considering that you are working directly with the flame. Our top charcoal smoker pick is the Weber Smokey Mountain that you can find more about here.
Gas smokers are an affordable option and give you the same familiarity you would have with your traditional gas grill. They’re super easy to use (which is why BBQ competition’s don’t allow them) and you’ll always achieve good smoky flavor from wood chips, chunks, or pellets.
Gas smokers produce clean heat and they are by far easier to maintain the temperature than that of a charcoal or electric smoker as they don’t need access to electricity. Just be prepared with an extra propane tank as smoker outings are typically multiple hour experiences. Our favorite is the Masterbuilt 2 Door Smoker that can read more about.
The best electric smoker is generally lightweight and appointed with a temperature control so you can set the meat and come back to it right in time to savor your creation! Although a fairly new addition to the grilling market, electric smoker reviews testify that electric meat smokers are a preferred choice for novice, seasoned, indoor and outdoor grilling enthusiasts and for a ton of good reasons. For starters, electric smokers are the easiest to use, allow you to program a specific temperature that is maintained through the entire grilling session, and can be placed in limited spaces. Some of them are even appointed with glass fronts to give you a clear view of the smoking process.
Additionally, most if not all modern smokers are fitted with multiple racks, digital display and side slots to store wood chips so you do not have to open the door. Some high end electric smokers also come with a remote control with an LCD display, allowing you to monitor and control the temperatures without having to open the door. If you’re looking for easy, slow, low maintenance and delicious cooking, an electric smoker is a perfect choice. The Masterbuilt 30 inch Digital model is the one we recommend to our readers and you can read more about this one below.
Choosing the best smoker for your personal use
There are certainly many choices on the market for smokers but many have insufficient information about their characteristics or have performed poorly when analyzed closely by smoker experts. Let’s take a look at the top smoker we recommend.
Masterbuilt 20070910 Electric Smoker Review
This electric smoker is another innovative addition to Masterbuilt’s class leading range of products, and is geared towards all experience levels. This easy to use smoker is crafted from robust powder coated steel construction, and appointed with a push button digital control and time control. Its design is similar to a refrigerator, neat and compact, but can easily accommodate 30lbs of smoked foods including ham chicken, turkey and beef brisket. Check out our in-depth review of this electric Masterbuilt smoker.
It is appointed with a digital control interface that allows you to set the temperature anywhere between 100 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. With regards to the control panel, you can also set the timer 24 hours in advance complete with an auto shutoff feature. The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker features an insulated interior for energy efficient cooking, which also helps save on electricity. The bottom of the unit is fitted with a drip pan that can be easily removed, allowing you to easily and quickly clean up after your grilling session.
Highlights of the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker:
- 800 watt heating element
- Temperature can be set between 100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit
- Capacity for up to 30lbs of smoked foods
- Interior smoking space of 4320 cubic inches
- Perfect for all experience levels
- Comes with four steel wire mesh cooking racks
- Push- Button Digital Thermometer
- 2-1/2-cubic-foot electric smoker
- Built in thermostat
- Backed by 90 day warranty
The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is an excellent choice for large families, beginner as well as serious grillers. It is easy to setup and comes with everything you need to get started so all you have to do it load the meat, set the temperature and time and come back to take charge of your succulent smoked fare.