Smokers smoke food at moderately low temperatures under a smoky, controlled environment. They are used in barbecues and have tremendous popularity, especially among the barbecue community. Smokers come in various sizes with different features. Some smokers will feed a small family, others will feed an entire army. But what smokers do the pros use?
Different smokers operate under different fuel sources, such as pellets, electricity, charcoal, propane, wood, and natural gas. Here are the top 5 smokers most professional use in the market.
What Smokers Are the Professionals Using
1. Electric Smokers
Electric smokers are all about the “fire and forget” method in smoking. The trouble of burning charcoal, wood, or dragging around a propane cylinder can exit the door. You’ll also don’t need to deal with the proper cleaning up after use. You can get a Bluetooth app for electric smokers and set your time and temperature in electric. These smokers use a heating element and not some combustible fuel for creating heat. Since there is no combustion, you’ll need to use wood chips for producing the smoke. Here, the wood chips are suspended on top of the heating element.
The majority of the electric smokers consist of vertical construction, with its heating element present at the base. The water and wood tend to pan between the food racks and the heating element. The water pan offers two functions. First, it produces water vapor for enhancing your food’s smoky flavor. Second, it produces an indirect cooking atmosphere that shields the meat from direct heating. It keeps the smoking time and temperature slow and low.
- Easy-to-use for both professionals and beginner smokers. a need for fuel sources like charcoal, gas, and pellets. You’ll save more money and also escape the trouble of storing stuff.
- It does an excellent job in retaining temperature without running out of fuel. You don’t need to babysit your electric smoker and expect it to do all the work.
- You can get electric smokers with glass doors to watch your food cook.
- The lower smoldering temperature from the wood chips and the lack of real combustion may sometimes not bring the best flavors.
- The absence of the combustion gasses doesn’t create a smoke ring for your meat. Smoke rings come from the presence of nitric oxide and carbon monoxide.
2. Pellet Smokers
In the summer or winter you can use your pellet smoker, they are mixture of a smoker and grill, so work at most temperatures. One of its greatest advantages is that you can use it as a smoker, oven, and grill. It uses compressed sawdust i the shape of pellets. These pellets tend to sit on the smoker’s side in a hopper and are fed inside a firebox by using an auger drill.
There is a heated metal rod present in the firebox that enables the pellets to start combusting. It produces both heat and smoke inside the cooking chamber present above. High end pellet smokers utilize an in-built thermometer for keeping the temperature stable. It also changes airflow and the number of pellets fed inside the firebox for creating consistent heat.
- It combines the cooking system and the flavor enhancement of wood smoke. You can easily set it up and walk away from it.
- Pellet smokers are incredibly versatile, allowing for an All-In-One cooking method.
- The wood pellets burn to nothing, allowing for an easy clean-up after the cooking process. All thanks to its convenient removable firebox.
- It’s harder to find a pellet smoker on a budget compared to other smokers.
- Some require electricity for igniting the pellets, the drill, and the fans.
- Wood pellets aren’t as accessible as gas and charcoal. So, it requires you to keep them in a stockpile.
3. Gas/Propane Smokers
Gas smokers work by using propane or natural gas for producing heat. When it comes to fuelling the smoker, there is a reasonably interchangeable use of the terms “Propane” and “Gas.” Propane also goes by the term Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG). A Gas smoker requires a refillable gas bottle for operating it. It’s convenient because you can find these refillable bottles from your nearest gas stations.
The majority of the gas feature a cabinet style and the vents and burner present at the base, and the dampers and chimney on top. The gas tends to travel from the bottle via a manifold and right down to the cooking area. Once it’s ignited, it starts flowing out of these burner valves. Gas smokers can’t naturally create smoke, so you’ll require wood chips for creating that smoky flavor.
- Gas smokers are extremely easy to use, and you can quickly obtain its fuel (propane).
- You have easy and full control over the temperature level. Also, it’s so much easier to change the heat compared to the pellet and charcoal burners.
- It starts fast, and you can end up cooking in just 15 minutes.
- You might need to have at least two gas bottles for safety, so you don’t run out of one in the middle of your cooking.
4. Offset Smokers
The creation of offset stems from unused oil drums, which you can see from their barrel-like shape. Offset smokers are bulky, large, and possess sufficient room for feeding an entire city block. You get to have delicious smoked food by owning one. The name “Offset” stems from the fact that its firebox is present below and to the side of the primary cooking chamber. The heat + smoke start drawing across the food inside the cooking chamber and out of the chimney when you burn charcoal and wood inside the firebox.
You’ll find the present chimney opposite to the firebox in a standard or regular offset smoker. This smoker also uses a reverse flow system that utilizes baffles for forcing the heat and smoke over and under the food. Offset smokers with the reverse flow are easier to spot with their mounted chimney present above and not opposite its firebox.
- Great for larger BBQ’s! Its big barrel chamber for cooking enables you to cook large batches of food.
- Specific models come with a grill plate that attaches on top of the firebox. It offers you a 2-In-1 smoker and griller.
- The cooking chamber and firebox are separate. In this way, you’ll be able to add additional fuel to your fire without allowing the smoke and heat to escape.
- An offset smoker takes a long time to start up. You’ll at least have to wait an hour to reach your desired cooking temperature.
- It doesn’t give you the “fire and forget” experience like your electric smoker. You’ll need some time to master it.
You’ll find most pros using an offset smoker because of the size, but also other reasons. However, the listed types of smokers are familiar for most BBQ professionals. You can also delve deeper into the models that these line-ups offer or check out our best smokers under $1000. Like any other product, you can expect these smokers to have their perks and certain drawbacks.
When it comes to picking one, your personal preference, purpose, and convenience play a significant part. So, make sure to consider certain key factors before choosing.
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