Choosing the best food smoker / BBQ smoker

Choosing the best food smoker / BBQ smoker

We hope the following information will help you to choose the right food smoker / BBQ smoker. Or call us on 01483 550694 for special offers.

You may also be interested in our HOW TO videos

Type of Food Smoking / BBQ Smoking

For those new to hot and cold food smoking these smoking methods are often confused so here are the differences:

Cooking meat at low temperatures for long periods is referred to as BBQ smoking and also hot smoking. It uses an indirect heat supply. Smoke is introduced for about an hour of the total cooking time. Slow cooked meat like pulled Pork are popular foods cooked using this method.

Smoking food without heat is synonymous with smoked Salmon. Cold smoking involves exposing food to a constant flow of cold smoke for long periods of time. This process cures the fish and imparts that delicate wood flavour.

Cold Smoking Food

Cold smoking is a food preservation & smoke infusion process using a combination of curing with brine or salt rub and then exposuring fish to COLD smoke for long periods of time. It is an exacting process that requires attending a cold smoking course or reading up on the subject.

Once you have mastered the basics it is very easy - home smoked Salmon can be better and cheaper than bought smoked Salmon. All you need is salt, smoke container, wood dust or chips and a cold smoke generator.

Vertical or Horizontal Smoker

For hot smoking / BBQ smoking there are 2 shapes to choose from: vertical or horizontal both work well but do have their differences.

Horizontal smokers are also known as barrel smokers or offset smokers. They have a firebox bolted to the side with a hole between for the heat and smoke to enter the main chamber. The advantage of a horizontal smoker is that they double up as a BBQ grill, the disadvantages is that they don't have a water bowl and the fire needs to be replenished more often than with a vertical BBQ smoker.

Vertical smokers are bullet shaped. They have a fire basket at the bottom and a water bowl above to shield the food from the direct heat of the fire. There are normally 2 grill shelves for the food.
If your main requirement is to smoke meat and fish then a vertical BBQ smoker will be the best choice.

Pellet Smokers

Pellet smokers but more commonly know as Pellet Grills are popular in America but are starting to take off in the UK. Pellet smokers aren't cheap as they have a lot of technology built into them making slow cooking pretty much a hands free operation. The main advantage is that you fill the hopper with wood pellets, set the cooking temperature and let it do its magic - great for those unattended over night cooks. Bit more expensive to run compared to a charcoal BBQ smoker.

Electric Smokers

Electric smokers is an oven with a smoke supply. Smoke is piped in or there is an automated hopper system that feeds wood bisquettes into a burner. The smoke is then fed into the main chamber. You can control the amount of smoke.

Electric smokers are great for restaurants who have a need for a constant supply of slow cooked food. Easy to use and can be run overnight for those long cooks. The results are good, but better with a charcoal BBQ smoker.

Vertical Food Smoker Check List

Look for the following design features when choosing a vertical BBQ smoker:

1/ Modular design so it can be increased or decreased in size
2/ Easily lift off top sections for full access to both grills.
3/ At least 4 vents for full control of air flow. Important for extended cooking duration.
4/ Mesh fire basket for even burning charcoal and to ensure that the charcoal briquettes don't go out.
5/ Stainless steel grills which are much easier to clean and won't rust
6/ Side inspection door to add wood chips to fire and view meat on lower shelf

In terms of cooking capacity for family and friends the 14" Ranger vertical smoker will satisfy most needs. If you like your ribs then consider look at the ProQ Frontier or Excel.

If in doubt call us on 01483 550694.