These are my top three tips to save you time and money when deciding what type of barbecue smoker (cooker) is right for you. There are a few different styles of smokers, and various ways to create heat and smoke that must be considered. I have broken this down into three general categories:
Physical set-up of the smoker
Type of fuel
Cost of a good smoker
Physical set up of a smoker. There are basically five types of smokers for cooking real barbecue:
1. Offset smoker. This is what is most likely to be found used by most competitive teams at a barbecue competition. In an offset smoker, the fire is contained in a firebox set to the side, (offset) from the chamber of the smoker. The smoke enters the smoke chamber, travels around the meat and exits the smoke chamber through a chimney.
2. Vertical smoker. Several manufacturers make vertical smokers. A vertical smoker has a heat source, usually located at the bottom and a water pan sitting over the heat source. There are two or three levels of grates where the meat is place for smoking above the water pan. The whole unit is covered with https://offsetsmokerpoint.com/ vents at the top so the smoke can flow through. These are very easy and convenient to use and the smoke is created by throwing water soaked wood chips on the heat source. These units can be fueled by charcoal/wood, propane or even electric.
3. Kettle grill. Almost every backyard cook already has one of these. The most popular models are the ones made by Weber. They can easily be set up for barbecue smoking simply by building the charcoal fires off to the sides of the smoker, and placing the meat in a spot not directly over the fire. Very good smoked barbecue can be produced by these type of smoker/grills if set up as a smoker.
4. Insulated or ceramic smoker. These types of smokers are made of very heavy, insulated ceramic material. They retain heat very well, and can generally cook all day on a small amount of fuel. They are usually egg shaped, and the most popular manufacturer is The Big Green Egg. These will turn out excellent barbecue, but do not have a lot of surface area for cooking. You cannot smoke a whole lot of food at one time on these.