Whether you want to barbecue some tasty meat for your upcoming party or you just love the taste of smoked food, having a smoker is a prerequisite to enjoying homemade smoked meals. However, there are a few things that one should keep in mind before choosing a smoker as these pieces of equipment can last a very long time. There are multiple factors like size, build quality, design, fuel type, and much more that you need to be mindful of while making the purchase. Smokers don’t come cheap either, and this is why you need to be 100% sure about what you’re looking for.
All of this is easier said than done, and many people feel clueless when they finally decide to purchase a smoker. However, we’ll be discussing the major factors that should be influencing your decision as well as the pros and cons of particular smokers. Not only will this make your decision easier, but it’ll also make you more aware of the various types of smokers as well. So without further delay, let’s get to it and find out how you can choose your next smoker.
1. Fuel Type
Perhaps the most remarkable differentiating factor among smokers is the type of fuel they use. This is also a difficult choice to make as it can greatly affect the overall results and the meat quality. There are a few major types of fuels used by smokers like gas, electricity, charcoal, and pellets which can affect the overall taste as well. While charcoal is relatively easier to acquire and cheaper than the other options, it’s also far more difficult to be precise with the temperature inside the charcoal smokers. Electric smokers are quite popular due to the ease of use, but these smokers consume a lot of energy and don’t provide as strong a smoky flavor as the others. Gas smokers utilize propane and offer a middle ground between charcoal smokers and electric smokers. The pellet smokers are just a hybridized version of charcoal and electric smokers and you can look into them if you’re willing to splurge.
The design of a smoker is something that’s meant purely for utilitarian purposes. The best advice in terms of choosing the right design is to choose it based on your needs rather than aesthetics. The bullet-shaped smokers are usually ideal for those who want to cook for their family or as a new hobby. You should only be choosing the bigger and more sophisticated designs if you know that you’re in this hobby for the long haul or if you need to host a huge party. You can choose from offset smokers or reverse flow smokers if you’re serious about smoking as a hobby. Don’t change your mind based on the apparent complexity of the equipment either. The larger smokers like reverse flow smokers can seem too complicated to operate, and this can deter many people from using them. However, you can always refer to any guide to reverse flow offset smoker available on the internet and it’ll just take some practice to master. Also, you don’t want to choose a smoker that looks aesthetically pleasing but is inadequate for your needs. Choosing a design should always be a matter of usability and never be dependent on any other useless metrics.
No matter what you go out to buy, pricing is one of the major concerns of any buyer. Even if you have more than enough money to shell out on top-of-the-line products, you should probably exercise more caution. Spending more doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get the smoker that matches your needs. Maybe a cheaper smoker is what you’re looking for. The traditional charcoal smokers are usually the cheapest, and they provide a unique smokey flavor that more expensive options can’t. However, if you want to go for a smoker that’s cleaner and more efficient then you might want to look into the more expensive electric smokers.
These are some of the most important tips that one should remember while buying a smoker. A smoker is a fairly rugged piece of equipment and it usually lasts years if maintained properly. This is why you need to be extra careful while buying one as it’s a long-term investment that will be at the center of some of the best moments in your life. These tips aren’t exhaustive by any means, and you can definitely consider more factors before making a purchase. However, this should be a good starting point in your journey to buying the perfect smoker.