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4 Types of Outdoor Smokers and How to Choose the Right One

man and woman doing grillsource: thegadgetflow.com

For many barbeque lovers, smoking meat is an art form that needs skill, perseverance, and passion to produce a gastronomic masterpiece. Smoker grills nowadays can help you obtain the taste you love while still allowing you to fully enjoy your barbeque if you don’t have all day to stoke a fire like a professional pit master.

What Is an Outdoor Smoker Grill?

It’s an outdoor cooking device that can both smoke and grill food. When used as a smoker, it cooks at a low temperature without the food coming into contact with the heat source. Depending on the type(s) of wood burned, the smoke improves the flavour. The food cooks directly over an open flame when used as a grill.

How Do I Choose a Backyard Smoker?

front view barbecue outdoors
source: traeger.com

While browsing the range of outdoor smokers for sale you’ll come across four main types. You’ll need to learn about each of them so you can decide which would be best for you.

“How much do you want to babysit your meat?” is the crucial question to ask first. Depending on how many kilos of meat you’re smoking, the cooking procedure on some smoker grills might take between 10 and 20 hours. With other smoker grills, you may watch the football game while the meat’s cooking. Additional factors include:

  • Fuel. Do you prefer gas, electric, pellet or solid fuel?
  • Size/Capacity. If you frequently host events, get more rack space.
  • Versatility. Do you want a single device that grills, sears, and bakes, or only smokes?

The 4 Types of Outdoor Smokers

Offset Smokers

outdoor barbecue grill with meat
source: barbecuebible.com

An offset smoker, also known as a horizontal smoker, is popular among barbecue enthusiasts for its ability to impart rich smoky flavours to food. This type of smoker features a distinct design that consists of two main components: the cooking chamber and the firebox.

Offset smokers offer excellent temperature control, allowing you to adjust the heat levels by adjusting the airflow through the firebox vent and chimney. This enables you to achieve the desired smokiness and doneness level. One advantage of offset smokers is their large cooking capacity, making them ideal for cooking for larger gatherings or events. They provide ample space for smoking multiple racks of ribs, briskets, or whole chickens.

While offset barbeque smokers offer exceptional smoking capabilities, they require some skill and attention to operate effectively. Achieving and maintaining the ideal temperature requires practice and familiarity with the specific type you’re using. However, with experience, an offset smoker can be a valuable tool for achieving delicious, authentic barbecue flavours.

Vertical Smokers

Vertical smokers, also known as cabinet smokers, have a tall narrow design featuring multiple racks to accommodate food items. Their design allows more efficient use of space compared to other BBQ smoker types. With shelves stacked vertically, you can smoke a more considerable quantity of food in a compact footprint. This is particularly advantageous for larger gatherings or events.

One of the essential advantages of vertical smokers is their ability to provide a consistent smoking environment. The vertical design allows heat and smoke to rise naturally through the smoker, enveloping the food on each rack. This constant circulation ensures that all the food items receive the same warmth and smoke amount, resulting in even cooking and flavour distribution.

Vertical smokers are known for their versatility in smoking a wide range of foods. From tender meats like ribs, briskets, and whole poultry to vegetables and cheeses, you can experiment with various ingredients and flavours using a vertical smoker.

When using a vertical smoker, it’s critical to consider the arrangement of the food items on the racks. Ensure that there is sufficient space between each item to allow for proper airflow and even cooking. It’s also recommended to periodically rotate the food racks during the smoking process to ensure consistent heat distribution.

Kamado Smokers

man with barbecue nature
source: bobvila.com

Kamado smokers are renowned for their unique egg-shaped design and exceptional versatility in outdoor cooking. These smokers are constructed using ceramic materials, contributing to their excellent heat retention properties and durability. The distinct egg-shaped design of Kamado smokers is not just an aesthetic feature; it plays a crucial role in their performance too.

The thick ceramic walls provide superb insulation, allowing the smoker to retain heat efficiently and distribute it evenly throughout the cooking chamber. This insulation also helps fuel efficiency, as less heat is lost during cooking. One of the essential advantages of Kamado smokers is their ability to perform multiple cooking functions. While they excel at smoking, they can also be used for grilling and baking.

It’s worth noting that the ceramic construction of Kamado smokers requires careful handling and maintenance. The ceramic can be fragile, and you must protect the smoker from impacts or extreme temperature changes. Additionally, regular cleaning and proper ash removal are necessary to maintain the performance and longevity of the smoker.

Drum Smokers

Drum outdoor smokers for sale or Ugly Drum Smokers (UDS) as they are commonly referred to, offer a simple yet effective solution for outdoor smoking. These smokers are constructed using repurposed steel drums, making them an economical and environmentally friendly choice.

The design of a drum smoker is relatively straightforward. A steel drum is the main cooking chamber fitted with various components to create an optimal smoking environment. The drum is typically cut in half horizontally, with one section acting as the lid and the other as the cooking chamber.

One advantage of drum smokers is their fuel efficiency. The compact design of the drum, along with the effective insulation provided by the steel walls, allows for efficient heat retention. That means you can achieve and maintain the desired smoking temperature using a relatively small amount of fuel.

The portability of drum smokers is another notable feature. The compact size and durable construction make them relatively lightweight and easy to transport. As such, they’re adequate for tailgating, camping, or other outdoor events where smoking is desired.

By Anthony Hendriks

The life of the party, Anthony is always up for spending some time with family and friends, when not blogging of course! Ever since a child, his love for books of mystery, race cars and travelling keeps on growing so it's difficult for him to single out that one all-time favourite hobby. If there's one thing he hates, though, it's having pictures taken but you already guessed that from his choice of plant photo for the blog.