Buying a Smoker
Unlike grills, where the heat is more direct, smokers cook the meat (or veggies) with smoke heat and add an unforgettable smoked flavor. Smokers allow for longer cook times when you want to achieve that mouth-watering “fall off the bone” consistency.
Cylinder Smoker or Offset Smoker
Offset smokers are often recognizable by the large cylinder shaped chamber where your food is smoked alongside an attached firebox. The firebox is filled with wood or charcoal and sends smoke to the main chamber. These smokers typically have vents on both the firebox and main chamber and require a bit more attention to temperature control. Contrasting the vertical smoker, the smoke and heat flows from the firebox to a pipe on the opposite side as it cooks and flavors your food in the main chamber. These smokers are just as popular as vertical smokers and can also be used to grill.
Perfect for your backyard, you are just as likely to see offset smokers when heading to the cook-off.
The Kamado design is popular due to its ability to be used as a grill or a smoker. The Kamado style uses ceramics, lava rock, cement, and other refractory material to absorb and radiate heat with venting that allows for high-searing to slow-smoking temperatures. When using a Kamado as a smoker, you want to aim for a lower temperature when heating as the ceramic walls tend to retain heat and will take longer to cool down if you overshoot. Charcoal is placed at the bottom of the bowl and functions similarly to the vertical bullet smoker with the upward flow of heat and smoke with a domed cap. Sometimes smaller than traditional smokers, Kamados have the capacity for two-zone cooking, with both direct and convection heat, making the design perfect for smoking or grilling.
Aside from type of method, take into consideration home use when choosing the perfect smoker. Of course, you don’t need to be confined to one smoker, but your outdoor space provides a place for entertainment and a larger smoker is suitable for larger outdoor spaces. Most smokers will fit any outdoor space; however, you also want to look at larger sizes if you plan on feeding multiple mouths in a short amount of time. As with grills, there are a variety of features, and details that reflect your style, complement your home, and set the vibe.