Choosing the perfect BBQ smoker can be difficult because there are SO MANY to choose from. In every price range – from $50 bucks to $10,000 bucks there are several different choices. But it is your price range that is the most important deciding factor – so that is what you need to decide on first.
Money, Money Money
Of course, if you can afford a $10,000 custom-made smoker – then suggest getting a custom job with all the bells and whistles. But most of us can’t afford anywhere close to that, so we have to define a budget for our BBQ smoker.
If you have a small budget, or are just starting out, then I would suggest a Weber Smokey Mountain. It’s small, it’s easy to operate and it will be a great smoker that will get you the practice you need to start turning out top-quality BBQ.
The Weber Smokey Mountain (you might hear some people refer to them as WSM’s) actually holds temperature very well and they have the room you need to cook bigger cuts of meat.
You can even use these “starter smokers” in BBQ competitions. In fact, several KCBS BBQ teams just use a couple of these for entire contests. gippro煙彈
Capacity, Capacity, Capacity
The grill you choose will have a lot to do with the function it will be performing. If you are just planning to smoke in your backyard for family and friends, then you don’t need a smoker that is really large.
If you are planning on cooking in competition BBQ contests, then you need a smoker that will handle the bigger cuts of meat (especially if you are going to start cooking in the MBN circuit). I would recommend a small, vertical (upright) smoker such as a Backwoods Party Model or FEC 100. Both these smokers are under $500 and if taken care of properly, they will last you a very long time.
Dry Heat vs. Wet Heat
There are 2 different types of smokers – Dry Heat Smokers and Water Pan Smokers. Water Smokers simply have a water pan that separates the fire source from the cooking chamber. As the fire source heats up, it turns the water into a “wet heat” and provides a moist cooking environment.
This water pan also acts as a heat regulator and keeps the internal temp inside the smoker at an even level. There are a few people that will try and argue that the water pan can prevent a nice bark from forming on the meat, but I don’t have any problem building my bark with a Water Pan Smokers.
I always use Water Pan Cookers because it gives me a juicer, more tender BBQ meat… but some of these smokers can be a little pricey.
The smokers some people refer to as “Stick Burners” don’t usually have a water pan and are Dry Heat Smokers. Some prefer these Dry Heat smokers because they claim to impart more smoke and give a better bark… but they don’t keep the meat quite as moist and the chambers are a little harder to keep at a steady temp.
But really, it all comes down to personal preference. I have meet BBQ pit masters using a Dry Heat Smoker who can cook meat that is just as moist as I can on my Water Pan Smoker. But I can produce the bark on my Water Pan Smoker that is prettier than any cooked on a Dry Heat Smoker.