12 Types of Smokers to Cook the Perfect BBQ at Home
Author: Rick Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
When it’s about intensifying the flavor of your BBQ recipes, a smoker is the best option you have. And different types of smokers come with unique features to take your culinary skills to a whole new level.
But the question is, which one will be a better option for you? Don’t worry; if you have any confusion regarding smokers, it will be gone by the time you finish reading this article.
Here we’ve discussed all the common types; thus, you’ll get an elaborate idea to make the right choice. So, without further ado, let’s get to know these smokers.
12 Types of Smokers
Every smoker is exclusive and has something special to offer. Therefore, before making the purchase, you should learn about all the aspects to get the best results.
Now, it’s time for us to look at our options when it comes to getting the ideal smoker styles according to our needs. Let’s proceed.
This particular type of smoker is also known as propane smoker as it runs on this fuel mostly. You can use it with a direct gas line or any refillable bottle, whatever comes in handy.
However, to smoke your meat in this, you need to use wood chops to give your recipe that signature smokey flavor. And the temperature is pretty easy to control, and you can cook your ingredient in the fastest amount of time.
While smoking your meat on these smoker types, you have to monitor it all the time. Otherwise, you’ll end up burning your meat, and you don’t want that. They're like super-duper types of ovens where the temperature can get out of hand on you quickly, so stay close.
Of all the different kinds of smokers, almost all of us have seen or used a charcoal smoker before. The benefit to these is that it's a quick trip down to the gas station or grocery store for more charcoal since nearly any convenience store stocks it.
People feel as if the flavor when using charcoal is superior to gas or electric smokers, but they also require more effort and time. You have to light the coals and then wait on them to be ready and to raise the internal temperature of the smoker.
Many people will add woodchips to their charcoal styles of smokers so that when they smolder in the heat they produce even more flavor enhancing chemicals, such as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.
You can control the temperature on these by regulating how much air you allow into the coal reservoir. Many come with a thermometer on them to help you set the air intake properly. For many, these are the only types of smokers they'll use, and you can find them in nearly any size.
If you’re looking forward to doing some effortless smoking, electric smokers are the best thing for you. All you have to do is to set up the mechanism, and you’ll be notified when the meat is ready.
As you don’t have to get any separate fuel such as propane or wood, many bucks will be saved. And some high-end models will allow you to fix the timer and temperature using Bluetooth, so we can surely say that the future is here.
But when you use an electric smoker, you have to add the smokey flavor manually. Meaning, you need to create the smokey flavors using woodchips.
The electric smoker styles are made with wood and water pans that can be used for steaming and smoking the food. And this appliance cooks your meat pretty slowly, so you’ll get a super intense BBQ taste in every layer of your meal.
Though it isn’t a typical smoker, you can use it to smoke your meal. Therefore, kettle grills will always be on the list when it's about the most efficient smokers. Make sure you look into the types of spatulas too to enhance your cooking experience.
To turn these types of grills into a smoker, all you need is a water pan and some woodchips. After that, just arrange the coals inside it following the snake method, and you can easily give your meat a smokey aroma.
But as it’s not a smoker technically, operating this thing can be a little problematic. Furthermore, the usage of charcoal will make the cleaning procedure more hectic, so keep that in mind before using it, especially since you'll end up tracking some in on your shoes and creating a charcoal stain on your carpet.
This gadget is an innovative combination of an oven and smoker. And it’s one of the most futuristic gadgets you can get to make some delicious BBQ.
The pellet smoker can be used as a grill, oven, or smoker, so it’s a pretty handy device, you can say. It has pellets that sit in the hopper on the side of the appliance and are fed into the firebox using an auger drill.
And there’s a heated metal rod inside the firebox. It will trigger the pellets to combust. This way, smoke and heat are produced, and the meat will get cooked and smoked. People love smoking all types of pâté, chicken, hamburgers, brats, fish, and veggies in these.
These types of smokers come with a built-in thermometer to keep the temperature in control. Thanks to this feature, your ingredients will get an optimal amount of heat, and your meat will be prepared perfectly with a signature smokey flavor.
The wood pellets used in this smoker turn into nothing when you’re done with the whole process. As a result, there will be no hefty cleaning procedure, which is good news for some cooks out there.
These smokers are bigger and bulkier, perfect for making bigger batches of BBQs. So, when you have a party in your mind, getting it for your backyard will be perfect.
It comes with a firebox to burn the woods for creating smoke and heat. And the smoker types of chimneys are always located opposite to the firebox to get rid of the excessive smoke and pull heat and smoke across the food.
As the firebox is separate from the cooking chamber, you can add more fuels to it without losing any heat. In this way, the meat will be cooked and flavored perfectly, which is all you need.
However, while smoking meat on this appliance, you’ll need to monitor the process carefully. If not, the meals will be burned in a second, and you don’t want that.
You may also know this appliance as the bullet smoker. As it has a compact design, you can get it to throw a BBQ party in a tight space.
Vertical Water Smokers
The vertical smoker is pretty straightforward because it doesn’t have any mechanical parts. And this smoker is fueled by charcoal which is available everywhere.
You have to use woodchips to smoke the meats if you use this appliance. Furthermore, the water pan will sit over the charcoal layer, so your meat will get enough moisture to become tender and juicy.
Different manufacturers design bullet smokers in different sizes. Therefore, you can easily get the one according to your preference. However, if you use this smoker, you have to clean the water pan every time you cook something, which can be tedious.
Drum smokers are always at the top when it comes to DIY smokers. This thing is super easy to put together and get ready, and you can cook a huge batch of meat without any trouble.
These types of smokers are pretty straightforward, to be honest. A basket goes into the bottom of the drum, which is used for keeping charcoals to cook and smoke the ingredients. And there’s also a lid and several vents to keep the temperature in control.
Though the construction of this appliance is on the simpler side, cooking some meats in this smoker can be troublesome. If you don’t have any prior experience, you will feel difficulties while controlling the temperature.
But once you know how to utilize it, you can use it for throwing a huge BBQ festival in your backyard. And the design of this smoker is compact, making it more popular among BBQ enthusiasts.
Cabinet or Box Smokers
This smoker looks like a filing cabinet, and that’s how it has got its name. Though the construction of this appliance is similar to the bullet smoker, the smoke on it travels vertically.
As it doesn’t come with any tricky mechanical parts, you can easily use it for smoking your meat. Additionally, you don’t have to give much effort to clean it, which is one of the best things.
There are two chambers in this smoker; one is used for charcoals, and one is for cooking meat. So, when you add more charcoals to create more heat, the cooker won’t lose any temperature, and your ingredients will be well-cooked.
But this appliance isn’t a compact one when it comes to size. As a result, if you want to make BBQ occasionally, this one is not for you. And these smoker types take time to build up the temperature, which can be a little irritating if you have to serve many people in the shortest amount of time.
Gravity Feed Smokers
Once you hear this name, a super complicated device may show up in front of your eyes. But that’s not the case. Yes, it is quite different from any other regular smoker, but not complicated.
Instead of a firebox, it comes with a charcoal chute that must be filled with charcoal to ensure constant heat. Furthermore, the chute and cooking chamber are outstandingly insulated, so there will be no temperature loss whatsoever.
You can set these different types of smokers for cooking your food and forget about it. And when you come back, you’ll get perfectly cooked meat, which is pretty amazing. Moreover, you’ll get amazing flexibility while choosing a size; thus, you no longer have to worry about space issues.
Stove Top Smokers
Now, let’s discuss one of the indoor smoker styles. Many people live in apartments and small houses with insufficient lawn space. In that case, using stovetop smokers will be a wise idea.
It looks like a compact container and comes with a rack. You have to place the ingredients on the rack and place some wood chips under the rack. Then, you have to put it on the stovetop. You can also stick the whole thing into the oven to finish the cooking process.
Of all the new smoker types on the block, the Big Green Egg takes the lead in terms of popularity. You can find them in smaller sizes, too. What sets these smokers apart is that they're largely made from ceramics. It's nice that you can pop it open and add whatever types of garnish you want on your meat, too.
Like the clay ovens of the past, the rounded shape with the thick walls helps reflect the heat all back towards the center and reduces the loss of moisture in your food. Nobody wants dry food. With these, you could even place a small dish of water to evaporate on the inside to keep the humidity up.
Like kettle grills, these styles of smokers have vents at the bottom and top to control the air flow and achieve the perfect temperature, which you can monitor on the built in thermometer. Some have heat deflector plates to help speed up the cooking times as well.
Types of Smokers to Enjoy Cooking BBQ Right at Home
As you can see, different smoker styles come with unique abilities to cook and smoke your meats. Some appliance is easier to use, and some will give you a little trouble.
But if you’re determined and willing to learn, you’ll become a BBQ expert in no time. And there are different types of smokers, both expensive and affordable, which make the whole experience breezier.