A BBQ Smoker refers to an appliance or a tool made for the purpose of cooking food at controlled temperatures, providing a smoky flavor and smoky texture to the food. Barbecue and smokers are two different things that work totally differently from each other. A barbecue is a yet another appliance that cooks food by using/ burning charcoal or wood whereas a smoker uses smoke to cook food hence giving the meat a smoky flavor. BBQ smokers are a combination of these two; barbecue and smoker.
A barbecue smoker uses smoke in order to give your food the smoky and barbecue flavor all in one go. It’s a two-in-one basically that is quite helpful at times. It also saves up a lot of time and effort to make the food. BBQ Smoking gives an authentic taste to your food making it, even more, better than it already is.
It adds flavor and enhances the texture and your cooking experience by saving a lot of your time and effort. BBQ Smokers are quite popular these days and are piquing the interest of more and more people. There are a variety of BBQ Smokers available online. Each one has its own set of features, few may deliver tender meat cooked slowly, while few may provide extra smoky flavor.
Classic BBQ smokers at times are hard to deal with. You might have to spend a considerable time figuring out how to deal with the wood, airflow, heat flow, and its cooking duration. However modern BBQ smokers are portable and provide more convenience.
Choosing the right BBQ smoker is a herculean task itself. For instance, if you are seeking smokiness, smokers using wood as fuel will give your food that mouth-watering smokiness but the amount of ash that comes is hard to deal with. Similarly, these smokers have a steep learning curve.
In this article, we’ll discuss all the things you need to know about a BBQ smoker in order to buy the correct one for you.
Top 15 Best BBQ Smokers In 2023
Best Pellet Smoker: Traeger Pro Series 34 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Best for Beginners: Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Best Electric Digital Smoker: Masterbuilt MB20074719 Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker
Best Overall: Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker
You cannot go wrong with this classic smoker for a genuine smoking experience. If you are looking for a classic Texas-style barbecue, Oklahoma Joe’s Smoker is the one for you.
This 226 lbs smoker is all steel with a heavy gauge and porcelain-coated cooking grates. With a total cooking surface area of 1060 square inches, 751 square inches for the main chamber, and 309 square inches for the firebox chamber.
You can cook a bunch of foods like ribs, turkey, chicken, smoked salmon, and steak. Cook those beef patties in the main area for your guest, while grilling some steak for yourself in the warming area provided on the firebox.
Provided with an optional smokestack, this smoker lets you choose between reverse flow smoking and traditional offset smoking. Keep the smokestack in the right and the baffles in place for the reverse flow. If you are more into the traditional kind, remove the baffles putting the smokestack on the left.
The firebox is provided with a large charcoal basket for an efficient burn and is spacious enough to cook with the wood only. It is also equipped with a swing open door for easier raking the ash out and stoking the fire without opening the chamber lid.
A few gripes that I came across are of the smoke leak. Also, paint comes off after a couple of cooking ventures. There are also concerns regarding how baffles are hard to clean. To avoid, you can cover your baffles with aluminum foil and throw them off when done cooking.
Although this is hard on the budget if you can afford one, this is worth it.
Best Premium Features: ASMOKE AS350
ASMOKE AS350 is a perfect choice for you if you are looking for portability. This 55-pound smoker is compact, convenient with an impressive food surface area of 256 square inches. It is an electrically operated device that comes with a 110 volt AC plug and uses a wooden pellet as fuel.
AS350 is versatile because it can perform several cooking activities like broil, bake, char-grill, braise, sear, and barbecue. Just throw in some rack of ribs or a whole chicken and this wooden pellet grill will cook them for you in the most delicious way.
This smoker is perfect for smaller families who are keen on space efficiency without compromising the taste. Equipped with micro-particle vapor technology it ensures even cooking as it creates humid airflow that is known to make the meat juicier, tender, and flavorful.
Equipped with auto-ashing and easy cleaning technology this grille ensures a proper clean collecting the ash in the Ashtray. However, considering the smaller size it does require little care during Ash removal.
You might have to check on the temperature from time to time. Although, it is equipped with a digital controller through which you can control the temperature it might need little tweaking and checking.
Best Pellet Smoker: Traeger Pro Series 34 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Traeger is one of the popular brands among the variety of brands available in the market. One of the many factors that make Traeger stand out from the rest is its durability and sturdiness. Pro series 34 meets up the standards the brand is known for. It is constructed entirely out of steel, weighs 46.49 pounds, and uses wood pellets as fuel.
Apart from the barbecue, it offers you several other modes of cooking like grill, smoke, roast, braise, and broil. Equipped with precision temperature control this smoker aids you with precision grilling.
This smoker provides you a total cooking surface area capacity of 884 sq inches that is optimum for cooking 8 whole chickens, several racks of ribs, and pork butt. The digital display is great for keeping track of the temperature inside the smoker as well as in the center of the meat.
It is also attached with easy to clean and porcelain-coated grill grates for those appetizing grill marks. Although, the maximum temperature setting is 375 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you are in for some high-temperature searing you have to look for some other options.
Best with built-in thermometer: CUISINART COS-330
Cuisinart produces an array of kitchen-friendly products and COS- 330 takes this legacy further.
It is a 51.5 pounds electrical smoker, compact, and easy to use. The vertical footprint makes it perfect for those outside cooking ventures. Install it in your deck or patio, it is convenient as that!
COS-330 uses a 15oo watt heating element that quickly creates a temperature ranging from 100 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It is provided with a built-in thermometer, as well, for easy monitoring of internal temperature. Along with this, it is equipped with a water pan and tray for a wooden chip that aid in personalizing your cooking experience.
This smoker is quite spacious with a cooking surface area of 548 square inches and removable stainless steel racks. These racks are dish washer friendly and they can be adjusted according to convenience and need. If you are looking to smoke up some large chunks of chickens or meat, remove the shelves as required and you are good to go.
The temperature gauge however is not accurate at times. Aside from these minor gripes, this is one of the best BBQ smokers which will not cost you fortunes.
Best steel smoker: Realcook Vertical 17 inch Steel Charcoal Smoker
Next in my quest for the best BBQ smoker comes this 2 layered charcoal vertical smoker grill by Realcook. It weighs 18.55 pounds and uses charcoal as fuel.
This smoker can be easily separated into three parts and work as a smoker, a BBQ grill, and a fire pit. This versatility makes it perfect for outings, camping, and a seaside barbecue.
There is an array of functions this Smoker provides for they include, braising, baking, steaming, roasting, grilling, and smoking. Real cook vertical provides you with a cooking surface area of 453 square inches.
Attached with 4 hangers and a crossbar you can grill a variety of meats in different sizes and shapes. It is easy to use and easy to assemble. Also, there is a porcelain-coated water pot and charcoal pan.
Adorned with double access door this smoker makes it easier for you to check the status of the food or add charcoal. The temperature is easy to regulate via an adjustable air supply located at the lid and the amount of charcoal you use.
The handles are heat resistant, thus, carrying and cooking is no more of a hassle. Although, there are complaints about the paint tending to peel.
Best Analog: Masterbuilt MB20070210 Analog Electric Smoker
Masterbuilt MB20070210 is a corded electric smoker that uses a 1500W heating element to give you that scrumptious food that is cooked slowly, evenly, and consistently.
If you are more into simplicity, this 49.86 pounds analogous electric smoker delivers is the one for you.
This beginner-friendly smoker is equipped with a built-in temperature gauge for easy monitoring and the temperature control is much easier with the analog dial.
Several features make this smoker stands out, especially the chrome coated grills that are easy to clean and dishwasher friendly. So cook without worrying about the stains and tiresome cleaning session.
However, I will suggest deep cleaning the smoker at least twice a year or depending upon the usage. It is provided with easy to slip out wooden chip tray for easy ash removal.
The gripe, as in many of the above smokers, is about the durability of the paint. Keeping that aside, this smoker is good to go delivering a perfect smoking experience with no rings and whistles.
Best for Beginners: Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Weber 18 charcoal smoker is constructed entirely out of porcelain-enameled steel and is an apt choice if you are seeking a durable, compact smoker with heat retaining properties.
Weighing only 39.1 pounds, it is comparatively lightweight and easy to carry. This smoker uses charcoal as fuel to provide you with an authentic scrumptious smoking experience.
However, this space efficiency is nowhere compromises with the cooking surface area. This smoker is quite spacious with a total cooking surface area of 245 square inches, sufficient enough to accommodate an entire turkey.
The attachments include 18-inch diameter nickel plated cooking grates that are easy to clean. So no worries about the splattered food!
It also has a damper system attached that allows you to monitor heat without lifting the lid. If you wish to extinguish the coal, simply close all the vents and damper systems that will cut off the oxygen flow eventually helping in dousing out the heat.
Although there is a thermometer attached, the readings are quite accurate all the time. Also, you have to put a bit of energy into figuring out the working but once you are pro at it there is no stopping.
Best Electric Digital Smoker: Masterbuilt MB20074719 Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker
If you are seeking a spacious and more convenient smoker, this is the one you might want to look for. Masterbuilt smoker is quite roomy boasting a height of 40 inches across, with an expansive cooking surface of 700 square inches.
Cooking for larger families and entertaining is no more a struggle. There array of dishes you can prepare through this, all at the same time which can be anything from 4 turkeys to 8 racks of ribs or pork butt.
The smoker is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to control the temperature remotely without constantly worrying about the grill.
Consequently, you can shut off/on the grill, control cooking temperature, and monitor meat temperature with a single remote device.
Apart from this, it has a side wood loading system enabling you to add more wood chips without opening the smoker door.
The attachments include four chrome-coated smoking racks, one meat probe thermometer. Apart from this, it has a side wood loading system that enables you to add more wood chips without opening the smoker door.
However, one may struggle while connecting their devices with Bluetooth.
Best Portable: Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate
Green mountain tailgating smoker is an apt choice if you are more inclined to the idea of a smart grill and smoker. This WiFi-enabled smart grill and smoker weigh only 67.6 pounds, requiring a relatively smaller room.
Space-efficient and portable, it folds to fit in nearly any vehicle. Thus, it proves to be a perfect smoking partner throughout your camping venture, fishing, tailgating, or even a seaside barbecue.
There are 3 power options with 110v and 12v adapters respectively if you need to power it from your car battery. Also, it features sense mate, a thermal sensor that continuously monitors the grill temperatures. The accuracy of which, however, is rather contentious.
The attachments include a meat probe, convenience tray, and a peaked lid for rib racks. Although there are complaints regarding the grease tray this nevertheless is a minor gripe considering the reasonable pricing and fair performance.
Above all, it is warrantied under a 2-year warranty which overall makes it an excellent bundle to go for!
Best Kamado: Kamado JoeKJ23RH Classic
Kamado Joe is one of the iconic names in the vertical of grills and smokers. If you are seeking some budget-friendly options, this one is not for you. However, if you have enough budget and are thinking of getting it, you are not going to regret.
They are available in several styles and configurations and you can choose accordingly what works for you.
The one I am writing about is rather a base model, classic I. The range of this model is comparatively less, however, you won’t be getting any frills and there is no cover included.
The very first feature that makes Kamado Joe stand out is its blazing red color. It looks very classy adorned at your patio or deck.
The half-moon design is specifically optimized for cooking a variety of foods at different temperatures. This 188 pounds smoker is well constructed out of stainless steel and ceramics that are durable and heavy.
The slide-out drawer makes the clean-up a cakewalk, just remove the ash drawer, discard the ashes and the smoker is ready to be used again!
However, there are certain gripes about the weak customer service, and using sophisticated technology with no warranty leaves one rather skeptical.
Best Portable: PK Grills PKO-SCAX-X BBQ Grill And Smoler Combo
Since this smoker is charcoal-fueled, you might have to work a bit on your cooking skills because temperature regulation is rather a task for beginners.
Once you are pro, this smoker will prove to be an unbeatable companion in your cooking expedition to explore the unlimited supply of smoky goodness.
Owing to its cast aluminum built, it is one of the lightest smokers on my list weighing only 45 pounds. The grill and smoker are detachable adding to the portability making it perfect for camping and other outdoor grilling endeavors.
The smoker provides 300 square inches of cooking space and is molded into a unique capsule shape and four-point venting system that gives you an even and consistently cooked meat.
The aluminum grills are rustproof, durable, and lightweight, while the aluminum built ensures first class heat retention.
Although the temperature regulation is bit of a task, this award-winning smoker is extremely beginner-friendly, without compromising with the authentic BBQ flavor.
Best LPG smoker: DYNA-GLO DGY784BDP Vertical LP Smoker
Their array of features the Dyna-Glo furnishes in front of you. Let’s start with the 4 wire racks that provide you ample space, you can easily partition the food portion designating each rack with different dishes.
The racks sum up a total cooking surface area of 800 square inch which is generous enough for larger families and frequent get together.
The smoker is equipped with a 15000 BTU cast burner and uses propane as fuel providing you with sufficient firepower to aid your smoking and grilling ventures.
The ignition is a cakewalk with an electronic push button. Moreover, it is attached to a porcelain enameled steel wood chip box for imparting the desired smokiness to your food.
It is aided with double door design and sliding air damper systems for better heat control and a decorative temperature gauge to monitor the same.
Like many of the above-mentioned smokers, this smoker faces a similar issue of temperature regulation. Also, if you are new to this world of smoking and grilling this smoker can be a bit of a bumpy ride.
Best Budget: CHAR-BROIL Bullet Charcoal Smoker
If you are ready to make a grand entry to the world of charcoal smoking, Char- broil is an effective and convenient option you may go for. It is compactly designed for smaller families or smoking a smaller portion of food.
This bullet smoker weighs only about 16.4 pounds with an apt cooking surface of 388 square inches.
Charbroil is a two-chambered smoker which is adorned with lift handles and a temperature monitor gauge for apt monitoring of cooking.
The temperature readings however fluctuate and there are concerns regarding temperature maintenance.
Nevertheless, this smoker is equipped with Porcelain-coated cooking grates and an innovative airflow control system that aids you in temperature regulation, providing you with evenly cooked food without much hassle.
Apart from this, the smoker is easy to clean with a removable ashtray. Although there are few complaints regarding the temperature fluctuation, this smoker is a reliable option to go for.
Best all-in-one smoker: PIT BARREL COOKER JUNIOR
Pit Barrel Junior smoker and grill perfect for anyone who looking for a sturdy home smoker. Lightweight, weighing only 33 pounds, this smoker is no doubt a compact and easy-to-move smoker.
Although, the other variants by Pit Barrel Cooker are somewhat bulky and not that easy to move. However, this 14-inch cooker is rather compact and lightweight making it a perfect choice for tailgating, outdoor grilling, etc, optimum if you are seeking a travel-friendly variant. Sounds like what you are looking for? Read further.
The vertical drum design is uniquely designed, aiding hassle-free cooking. Moreover, it provides 360-degree cooking coverage that will perfectly put together deliciously smoked meat and vegetables in no time.
The porcelain enamel provides for high heat retention further adding the much-needed tenderness and flavor to the food.
It is bundled with a charcoal basket 2 hanging rods, 4 stainless steel hooks, and a standard grill grate for smoking various dishes at the same time, maximizing the cooking capacity.
Editor’s Choice: Smokehouse Products Big Chief Electric Smoker
Being one of the powerful electric smokers, Big chief is a smart choice for you if you are new to this world of smoking and grilling. What makes this a perfect choice for you?
Since it is electrically operated you don’t have to fuss over the temperature regulation and in no time you can whip up a variety of dishes for your family and friends.
This smoker is aided with plentiful space! Moreover, it is equipped with 450 W, 120V heating elements that evenly distribute the heat and cook the food consistently.
If you are worried about the smokiness, you can impart the smokiness through the wooden chips. You can cook your food at ultra-low temperatures, which yields you the most tender slow-cooked meat without many troubles.
Although, there are a few concerns regarding the build quality. Though it looks compactly designed, it needs to be handled with care as it is rather delicate.
How Does A BBQ Smoker Work?
BBQ Smoking requires a precise and regulated temperature to cook the food correctly. A BBQ smoker cooks food by using smoke to bring out the best flavor in the meat/ food. It cooks food at low temperatures in a tightly sealed chamber that makes it easy to regulate the temperature for you. There are basically some types of bbq smokers that you need to know about in order to know the working process.
The first type of BBQ smoker is the one that uses wood or charcoal to cook the food. The smoke created by the wood and charcoal enters the cooking chambers, hence cooking the meat or food along with giving them the BBQ flavor. These have vents built into them on the top and bottom to control the temperature and heat. You can regulate it according to your needs.
The next type of smoker is a pellet smoker. This smoker is different from the previous one, it has metal rods that heat up and create smoke in order to cook the food efficiently. The pellet smoker is multitasking as it can smoke, grill, cook, and even bake, all at the same time.
Next comes an electric smoker. As the name suggests, an electric smoker works on electricity. This also cooks at a low and consistent temperature with the help of wood chips soaked in water to create the perfect smoke for the cooking process.
Last on the list is a gas smoker. A gas smoker uses combustion techniques to smoke/ cook your food perfectly. It also cooks at a low temperature to create a precise smoking environment. You can either use a gas bottle or wood to create smoke for cooking.
BBQ Smokers Buyer Guide- Things To Consider
You might be confused as to what things to look for in a BBQ smoker before buying it. To ease this issue, we’ve brought you an exclusive buyer’s guide that covers all the aspects that you need to look for in a BBQ smoker. Here are some important things you need to consider before buying a BBQ smoker:
The foremost important thing to look for in a BBQ smoker is its type. Usually, there are four types of smokers; Electric smoker, Gas smoker, Pellet smoker, Wood or Charcoal smoker. All these smokers work differently from each other so you need to be particular as to what type will suit you the best. If you prefer the traditional wood and charcoal smoker, go for that one. If you want some modern aspect to smoking, go for an electric smoker. And if these two don’t match your preferences, there are still pellet smokers and gas smokers to choose from. Regardless of their working techniques, all these BBQ smokers are equally efficient and time-saving.
Size & Capacity
This is yet another important thing to look for in a BBQ Smoker as it affects your buying decision largely. The size and capacity of a BBQ smoker depend on the number of people/ amount of serving you require it for. If you have a small family or need the BBQ smoker for small servings or occasionally, a small to medium-sized BBQ smoker will fit your needs. Whereas if you have a huge family or need it for large servings or daily usage, a large-size BBQ smoker should be your choice. So, do consider for what reason and for how many people you need the BBQ smoker.
The very important feature to take into account when buying a BBQ Smoker is its versatility and how much it can adapt. The BBQ smoker should always be versatile which means it should be adaptive to new conditions and measures. It should also be multifunctional so that it becomes way easier for you to do more tasks at a time in the smoker. Being adaptable to a new environment is an add-on to the BBQ Smoker. So, always check that the smoker is versatile to avoid any further issues.
Portability is considerably one of the important things to look for when buying a BBQ smoker. The BBQ smoker should be easily carryable and shouldn’t take up much of your effort while shifting/ moving from one place to another. You can’t seemingly always keep the BBQ smoker in the garden, an outdoor kitchen comes in quite useful at such times. Still, if you don’t have one, you will need to move it inside or at some place to prevent it from getting damaged and the BBQ smoker being portable just eases that task at hand. So, do ensure that your BBQ smoker is portable before buying it.
Budget is yet another important thing to take into consideration when buying a BBQ smoker. If you are on a budget and want a BBQ smoker that’s budget-friendly, all you have to do is do some research about the price of different BBQ smokers. You should always look out for different types of BBQ smokers available all over the web and in e-shopping portals. After that, shortlist some options that might have caught your interest. Now, just compare their prices and their features and choose one that fits your budget without compromising any important features.
How Does A Smoker Work?
As stated earlier, BBQ Smoker requires to be maintained at a precise and regulated temperature to cook the meat. A BBQ smoker cooks food by using smoke at a low temperature and slowly to bring out the best flavor in the meat/ food. It cooks food at a low temperature in a chamber that makes temperature regulation easy. There are four types of BBQ smokers in general; Pellet smoker, gas smoker, coal smoker, and electric smoker. They all create smoke in different ways to cook the food with all the smoky and BBQ Smoker.
How Long Should A Smoker Last?
This is quite a tricky question as it can vary from smoker to smoker. It depends on various measures like how you use the smoker, how well you maintain it, the cleanliness, how often you use the smoker, and many more aspects like that. Generally, a smoker can last up to 10-15 years. If you use the smoker with utter care and maintain it well, it can last for years. You can make the smoker last for as long as you last. So, yes, it totally depends on you whether the smoker will last long or not.
What Are Your Tips For Cleaning And Caring For A Smoker?
There are many tips exclusively by us for you about the cleaning and caring of a smoker. You first need to disassemble the BBQ smoker in order to start the cleaning process. Once you’ve successfully done that, take a damp cloth and some paper to throw the remnants of coal in and also the dust. Start cleaning the smoker thoroughly with a damp cloth.
Now, if your smoker is dishwasher safe, we would always recommend you to clean it in the dishwasher as it makes cleaning much easier and faster. You can clean the smoker in whatever way you want. You also need to care for your smoker by using it with care and cleaning it often to prevent any dust from forming.
Grilling and smoking is not just about cooking, rather an experience that leaves you happy in the end. There is no doubt, you can also get perfectly smoked barbecue in a fancy restaurant but cooking your favorite meal at home with your own BBQ smoker is a pleasure.
When you enjoy a home-cooked meal with everyone around, there is so much more than mere food, there are giggles, laughter, and good times. Therefore, buying a perfect Barbeque smoker based on your needs is really important to avoid making smoking experience a nightmare.
The Smokers with any alternate fuel option may provide you that tenderly cooked meat but they lack smokiness. Therefore, you must consider features that work best for you. For example, what material the smoker is made of, cooking surface area, convenience, type of fuel that is used, kind of smoker, etc.
Fuel is a vital part of BBQ smokers, and figuring out what fuel works best for you is extremely necessary. Although, there are many charcoal fuelled smokers like Real cook or Char-broil, and if you are into traditional charcoal smoking you may choose from them.
However, if you are not that much a fan of a charcoal smoker, and looking for some easy-to-operate smokers you can choose from several smokers like Masterbuilt electric smoker or Dyna-Glo smoker that is propane-fueled.
You can also opt for smokers like Traeger that are fueled by wooden pellets. The smoker that uses wood pellets as fuel is comparatively easier to handle without compromising with the smoky flavor.
If smoking is art for you, and relish the experience of grilling and smoking you can choose the statement smokers like Kamado Joe. This smoker is great for showing off your love for smoking and grilling.
Travellers and Wanderers, portable smokers like Green Mountain Davy Crockett Sense Mate, PK Grills are perfect for you. They are portable and travel-friendly.
If you are on an expedition to search for perfect grill smokers, there is an array of choices available for you. From various sizes and designs to the type of fuel used so research thoroughly and figure out what exactly works for you. Happy Smoking!