Ultimate guide on how to choose a meat smoker

Mark Orwig

Are you looking for the best meat smoker? Whether you are buying a new smoker or upgrade the existing one, then you are in the right place. Nowadays, there are many brands of meat smokers available on the market. Therefore, getting the right meat smoker can be a daunting task. Here is the ultimate guide that will help you find the right meat smoker from the electric smoker, propane smoker, charcoal smoker, and pellet smoker. This will provide you with useful tips on how to choose a meat smoker.

1. Propane Smokers

These are the most popular meat smokers that are preferred by many people, especially restaurants. Propane smokers have gained popularity because of their ease of use. All you need is to light the burner and control the temperatures using the valve. In this case, it is easier to maintain perfect temperatures as compared to charcoal smokers.

Propane smokers are more expensive than charcoal smokers. Also, the vapors from the burned propane gas create undesirable flavor on your meat. Another major drawback about these smokers is that they don’t come with propane tanks. In this case, you have to buy at least two separate tanks to allow continuous smoking operations. Propane is highly inflammable, and the punctured tank can easily catch fire. Despite these drawbacks, propane smoker may be the best option for you because of its ease of use.

2. Electric Smokers

There is no doubt that electric smokers are the simplest to use. You just add a small smoky wood, set the temperature and time. The smoker will automatically shut off when the smoking is done. Electric smokers are easy to clean and cheap to operate. There is no need to worry about building a fire or constant checking of the fuel.

smokehouse electric smoker under 100

However, these smokers have some disadvantages. Electric smokers do not offer authentic flavor as compared to that of charcoal smokers. Moreover, these smokers are expensive and may not be affordable to many people. Electric Smoker is the perfect option if you want smoked meat, but don’t have time to build a fire or monitor the propane smokers.

3. Pellet Smokers

They resemble the charcoal smokers but have more sophisticated features and functionality. They have digital controls with automatic igniter, pellet feed, and circulation fan. They can be programmed to smoke for specified period at certain temperatures. All you need is to place the wood pellets into the hopper, and the feed system will automatically supply the correct amount of pellets into the burn pot that contains igniter. Just like charcoal smokers, smoking is done with the real heat and the meat will get authentic flavor.

smoke hallow pellet smoker grill

However, the pellet Smokers have drawbacks just like other smokers. Pellet smokers are the most expensive of all the meat smokers available on the market. Some of these smokers can cost up to thousands of dollars. Also, these smokers do not serve the purpose of a grill since heat source is indirect.

4. Charcoal Smokers

This is the simplest and least expensive meat smokers available on the market. This is the most portable meat smoker since it does not require electricity or gas. At the bottom of this smoker, there is a metal bowl where you build a fire from charcoal. Moreover, there is a drip pan that prevents juices from dripping onto the fire. Charcoal smoker has no moving parts, which makes it easy to clean. These charcoal smokers provide the purest option to smoke your meat. You will not get unwanted flavors that are common with gas smokers.

Cuisinart Vertical Charcoal Smoker

However, you may need a lot of practice to learn how to control temperature using the vents that regulate air-flow in the charcoal smoker.

5. Offset Smokers

An offset smoker looks a bit like a chamber and is divided in two sections: a smoking chamber and a firebox. For more on offset smokers, check out our guide to the best offset smoker.

Which one is the best?

The meat smokers you choose will depend on many factors include price, size, and features. If you are working within a big budget, then you should consider electric and pellet smokers. Also, you may choose propane and electric smokers if you want units that are easier to use. On the other hand, charcoal and pellet smokers will provide your meat with authentic flavors. Portability plays a crucial role when choosing the right meat smoker. Charcoal smoker is highly-portable and is ideal for outdoor activities such as camping. Whichever smoker you choose, just know that it has advantages and disadvantages. The above guide will help you choose the best smoker that is more convenient