A smoker is a nice addition to any barbecue. The smoked meat scent is unmistakable, and while some people simply use the grill they already have, a special smoker is the way to go when you want something different.
Buying a food smoker is not as easy as it sounds, especially if you have never owned or used one. Investing some time in a market research before going to the store will only prove beneficial. You should educate yourself on the different market brands and models, as well as their overall costs. Users’ reviews are also important. Smokers are not small, so before you actually buy one see you have enough space for it. Add to this the fact each smoker is designed to suit certain consumer needs, thus the best product out there may not suit your needs.
Sure, the smoker’s price is important, but not as much as its quality, especially if you want to use it for years to come. Any shop search will show a smoker costing as low as $50. Further research will display smokers priced $10,000 or more, but is this high cost really worth it? As a beginner, you can first purchase a cheaper model as a tryout and later decide whether it was a good idea or not. The purpose for which you want a food smoker should indicate the approximate price to pay for one. Foods have been preserved through smoking for the longest time, and if you want to do this, consider investing in a more expensive model.
You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of your smoker, and you may be surprised to learn they all function differently. Your favorite dish will receive a distinct flavor based on the type of smoker you used. Smokers are priced differently based on the resource they use. Smokers can also be used indoors, but the ones made for outdoors are generally preferred. As a general rule, indoor food smokers are smaller compared to outdoor models.
When researching the market, you will encounter only 4 types ofsmokers:
These machines use scented wood to flavor the meat and this is by far their greatest advantage. The unique flavor is also the main reason why many people prefer wood smokers to any other type. In order to use them correctly, prior smoking experience is a must. Wood smokers are time consuming as the start-up is lengthy. They are large and thus occupy quite a lot of space, but are the prefered choice in cooking competitions. If you are not a professional, make sure you have enough room to add more fuel without opening the lid where the food cooks. Having enough inner room or adjustable racks are other important features of the wood smokers.
The charcoal smoker is the second popular choice when it comes to taste. While the machine uses charcoal as primary fuel, some models also use small amounts of wood for a more authentic flavour. Just like wood smokers, charcoal machines have a long startup time. In addition, you need basic experience to properly use this smoker or you may end up with burned food. All these features allow charcoal smokers to be accepted in cooking competitions.
As the name suggests, these machines consume electricity to cook food. Electric smokers are preferred by many because they are easy to use, with certain models allowing you to adjust the cooking time. The interaction with this type of smokers is minimal and this makes them an appropriate choice for beginners. The taste of food obtained with an electric smoker is noticeably different compared to the traditional ones. A simple trick can make all the difference, so place a small piece of charcoal in the smoker to get a more authentic taste. There are several features that make electric smokers attractive: you can control everything about the smoking process, the cost is relatively low, and you get the chance to smoke any type of food you desire.
Propane (or gas) smokers
This type of smoker comes closer to the traditional models, but it may still slightly alter the food’s taste. Compared to the traditional ones, gas smokers are fast to reach the needed cooking temperature. However, gas smokers are low in popularity due to significant taste difference.
Tips on choosing a smoker
Smokers have different features when compared side by side. The most expensive types usually include all the features available on the market, but this doesn’t mean you need them all nor that you will ever use them all. The smoker’s appearance should be the least important aspect, but instead focus on how easy is it to clean. Make sure the smoker is portable enough not to be left outside when not in use. Some smokers include wheels or are set on a trailer and this is an option worth considering when you move often. A smoker keeps the food edible for a long period of time, even if you are away from home.
Consider the smoker’s size depending on how much you plan to use it and how much food you want to smoke at a time. People who smoke large quantities of food should also check how many racks the machine has, whether these can be removed or repositioned, as well as the accessories that come with it. The type of used resources is another great factor to take into account. For instance, smoking with wood or charcoal increases the costs in the long run, while gas is cheaper to use. If you rarely use your smoker, getting the most authentic taste for your food may become the decisive factor.