The Smokey Mountain Cooker by Weber is perfect for those who are looking for the most simple meat smoker available, especially when it comes to the features. The best part about this smoker, thanks to the features, is that is takes very little care requirements overall, and lasts for many years to come.
Here are some of the features that make the Smokey Mountain Cooker one of the best meat smokers around:
Even though the features are incredibly basic, they are perfect for someone who wants exactly that - a simple, easy to use meat smoker. One feature that we have found owners love is that the vents and fuel access door are made of aluminum and will not rust should they forget to place the protective cover back on after cooking. It could rain all night, for example, and will not damage the smoker at all.
For a simple, basic, and high quality meat smoker, the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker definitely takes the cake.
Char-Broil is a company known for excellence when it come to outdoor cooking. We chose their Offset Smoker as our choice for best value because it is a perfect option for people on a budget who also want a great charcoal grill. Despite being a “low cost” grill, it has many beneficial features that other "budget brands" don’t, such as:
Considering the Charcoal Barrel Grill by Char-Broil is a budget smoker, you would not think that it would be this exceptional, and yet it's managed to make our list of the top rated meat smokers available.
For a great combination grill and smoker, Get the Char-Broil Offset American Gourmet Grill
When it comes to quality food and meat smokers, Bradley is a name that is at the top of many the list for many serious smokers. We chose their Original Smoker because it is a great choice for both people knew to the world of smoking foods, as well as those with lots of experience.
There are plenty of great features when it comes to the Bradley Original Food Smoker --
Overall, the Bradley Original Food Smoker is definitely a powerhouse that is worth the money, should you have the available space.
When it comes to serious smoking, the Bradley Original Food Smoker is definitely a big bang for your buck. Get yours today.
Masterbuilt started out as a small family owned company in 1973 – and with their commitment to excellence, they have become a leader in the work of outdoor food cooking products. The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker made out list both because of the quality construction, but also because of how powerful it is as a smoker – great for both novices and experienced smokers alike.
One great feature of this smoker is the fact that the top-mounted control panel regulates the temperature as needed, which goes from 100 to 275 degrees, and lets you set a cooking time between 0 to 24 hours. You can find the loading tray for wood on the side, which you can also use while the smoker is in use. The racks alone are a feature on their own, considering they are plated with chrome, and are above a drip pan to catch juices and help with cleanup to make it easier.
If you're looking for a high quality, electronic smoker that is perfect for beginners, get the Masterbuilt Digital Smoker.
When it comes to grills, smokers and equipment for outdoor cooking, Nordic Ware is not a name that will come automatically to people’s minds but we just HAD to tell you about the Kettle Smoker that is part of their 365 line of products designed for indoor and outdoor use – all year long. The reality is that many people love the taste of smoked foods, but don’t want to invest in a full sized cooker (or don’t have the room of for one), and if that’s the case this small-sized smoker is a perfect choice.
The Kettle Smoker comes with a recipe book, non-stick pan, vent, thermometer, non-stick rack for food, liquid pan, and a tightly fitted lid. You will also receive a supply of fine wood chips to start with, which will also give you an idea of the size you will need to buy once your small supply is used.
Overall, the simplicity of the Kettle Smoker is incredible.
Buying the right meat smoker for your needs can be overwhelming considering the sheer number of products available. Adding to this, Smokers today are not what they used to be, and are more advanced with myriad features and can be had in several different shapes, sizes and types, making it even more daunting to get the right one. So unless you know exactly the type of smoker you need whether vertical/cylinder, barrel/cabinet, electric, offset or water smoker, you’re going to be like a kid in a candy store. In order to ease your buying decision, let’s walk you through the four common types of smokers available to choose from.
Vertical, cylinder style aka “barrel smokers” are the most common types of smokers available today for several reasons starting with ease of use, compact footprint and affordability. The interior of this type of smokers includes two bowls, where the bowl located at the bottom of the unit is designated for smoker wood and charcoal, and the bowl at the center is where you would store water or liquid to keep your food moisturized throughout the long smoking process.
The front of a cylinder smoker is appointed with a trap door, which can be opened to replenish charcoal and wood to maintain the temperature in the unit. Your food will be located up top and right below the lid, and will cook with the heat rising from below. This is why it is highly recommended that you avoid opening the lid of the unit when smoking is in progress to retain the heat and smoke inside.
Next up is the vertical cabinet style smokers which are relatively similar in design to vertical smokers, but there are some distinct characteristics that set them apart. For starters, they are larger in size and contain multiple racks that can be adjusted or removed depending on what you are smoking. Furthermore, cabinet smokers provide more options to smoke a variety of smoked dishes simultaneously and can accommodate both large and small items. Although they are similar in functionality to vertical smokers, where the heat rises from the bottom, they do offer better heat control owing to the increased number of vents. It is worth mentioning that cabinet smokers are a tad bit more expensive than their vertical counterparts, but the extra $$$ are well worth the investment especially if you’ are a BBQ enthusiast.
In contrast to larger cabinet style smokers, Water smokers generally have a small footprint, and are a great choice for those with limited patio or deck space. Also referred to as a bullet smoker (although there are also cabinet style water smokers), this type of smoker is easy to operate, and almost guarantees a consistent temperature between 225 to 250 degrees owing to its unique design and thermodynamics. A water smoker is generally the least expensive type of smokers and is divided into 3 compartments – the firebox, water chamber and cooking chamber.
The heating source for water smokers varies and can be charcoal, gas or an electric heating element, and is located at the lower most part of the unit. Above that lies the water pan, which is what makes the magic happen by regulating the heat of the smoker, and deflect the direct heat from the source for a moist cooking environment that prevents your food from drying out. Some meat smokers have dual options available, such as Bradley Smokers Original Smoker, which acts as both a smoker and a slow cooker, with list price of $369.00 (but available for less on Amazon).
Just like the name suggests, electric smokers are your “set it and forget it” type, and use heat sources that burn consistently, and generally offer a larger cooking area compared to other types of smokers. These smokers are also widely used nowadays, and are powered by electricity to ignite the heat source such as wood. Most units such as the Bradley Original smoker are appointed with thermostats or rheostats to monitor the temperature inside the chamber. Another noteworthy feature of electric smokers is that they are versatile, where the heat can be controlled to flow from top to bottom or vice versa.
If you are someone who does not smoke foods a lot, or has a tight budget, you might want to consider an offset smoker that is attached to regular style grill. An offset smoker is popular choice in smokers, and basically features a classic smoker design. It consists of a horizontal chamber that is mated with a firebox, where the former smokes the food and latter provides the heat from charcoal and smoke wood. The chamber of this type of smokers generally features shelves, allowing you to smoke several briskets, racks of ribs and pork shoulders.
However, if you are someone who does not plan on using a meat smoker on a regular basis, are looking for one that is more affordable, and one that is portable, then the Char-Broil Portable Charcoal Grill comes highly recommended. This portable meat smoker and grill is only $93 and is perfect for those looking for a smaller, more affordable option. And of course be sure to check out our reviews of the best gas grills and portable grills if you feel a meat smoker is not for you.
As mentioned earlier, purchasing a meat smoker requires quite a bit of thought and research, so making the process as simple as possible for all buyers is something that we take pride in. Let’s take a look at some of the most the important ones factors to consider when buying a meat smoker.
The price of any product has a large impact on whether or not a consumer will spend the money, and will generally tend to reflect on the overall quality of the product itself. A meat smoker will generally run you approximately $250 for one that is durable and of high quality.
For people who are serious, full time barbecue smokers, you may want to invest in a higher end model, or one that is on the larger side with more features. However, when it comes to meat smokers, cutting corners is not a good idea, because more often than not you'll end up with one that has a really low price tag, with little to offer should you do so. However, there are brands and models that have both a small price tag and added features that are perfect for those looking for a bargain.
For the purpose of this review, we've looked at brands and models that have ranges of affordability to fit any budget, without sacrificing the need for durability and overall high quality. We took different types of needs into careful consideration when looking for some of the best meat smokers on the market, and have come out with options for those who would make use of theirs often, and for those who would not.
Features are important within the decision-making process, and depending on what you're looking for in a meat smoker, whether its simplicity or extensive features, we have taken five of the best rated when it comes to meat smokers with the best features to offer. For example, the Smokey Mountain Cooker comes with a rust-resistant aluminum fuel door, silicone temperature grommet, and a built-in lid thermometer.
You also have the option to choose from electric, digital, woodchip, and charcoal meat smokers, which all depends on the taste that you prefer. For example, some prefer their smoked meats to have the taste that you would only have from applewood wood chips. If you're someone with a very specific taste, then having a feature that caters to your taste, such as an automatic woodchip loader, is definitely best.
Even the most basic of meat smokers come with thermometers and ventilation systems, but the more advanced smokers generally offer multiple digital controls and functions to choose from, which is why we have taken all the corresponding benefits and features for each meat smoker that have been chosen for our top five list into careful consideration.
Depending on how often you plan on using a smoker, the construction and design are important factors. For example, if you want one that can be conveniently stored, paying close attention to the size specifications and whether or not the model you are looking at can fit wherever you are planning to use for storage. You will also want to figure out whether you want a traditional woodchip, charcoal, electric, or digital smoker, and whether or not you want one that has multiple functions to it, and not just a smoker overall. For example, some brands and model offer both a smoker and a slow cooker, such as the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker.
If you're planning on using your smoker frequently, and need a brand that offers a model with a construction and design that caters to large amounts of food, then you're going to need a meat smoker that has more than enough room to properly cook any amount of food you put in. We have only included the meat smokers that have met our construction and design expectations when it comes to durability, being able to hold large, and small, amounts, and whether or not they are sturdy enough to be able to use for many years to come.
When it comes to performance, you have a couple of choices available to you; single-use, dual, and multiple-use meat smokers. Depending on what you plan on using a meat smoker for, narrowing your search down is incredibly easy, especially since we lay everything out for you, including performance and design.
For example, if you're looking for a meat smoker that practically does all of the work itself, then we recommend the Masterbuilt Electric Digital Smoker, which allows you to punch in the simple settings to your satisfaction, and leave it! This meat smoker can also hold up to 80 lbs. of food, which makes it easier to smoke and cook large amounts of food at once, without having to worry about watching the time and switching food items in order to save time.
A high quality meat smoker that is able to have near perfect, if not perfect, ratings with performance and ease of use, should be able to hold a decent size amount of food, have a thermostat temperature that is properly integrated in order to keep a consistent, even temperature, and be able to keep the majority, if not all, of the smoke inside the machine itself.
However, if you're looking for a meat smoker that is compact in size, and even one that can be used indoors, then we have found one of the top meat smokers available on the market that meets both of those requirements, as well. The Nordic Ware Kettle Smoker allows indoor smoking with ease and does not compromise space.