Standard grills are used to grill food, either using charcoal or propane gas. With smoker grills, you preserve food flavorings when cooking by cooking your food slowly. Smoker grills are different than standard grills. Not only do they take more time to cook the food, but they also cook it differently; smokers are used to adding different flavors to the food while it slowly cooks. You need to learn more about the three types of smokers to be able to choose the one that is right for you.
One type of smoker is electric; it uses electrical power for its heat source. This type is most commonly chosen by people who do not want to constantly tend to the smoker and the food. You set the temperature where you need it, and it will stay consistent. You then add the wet flavor chips and your food and wait until it is done.
The second category of smoker grills is the vertical water smokers. These smokers use a water pan and a fire pit as a heat source. Unlike other smokers, they sit vertically. They are more portable because they are designed to be smaller. People who have never used a smoker grill often choose these grills. The water bowl in the bottom of the smoker helps to regulate the heat from the fire while also providing moisture so that your food does not dry out.
An offset smoker is the final type. It is often chosen by folks who have a lot of experience in smoking food. The firebox holds the fire. The smoking chamber, which is horizontal, is for the food. The chimney, which sticks out the side or the back, is where the vapors vent. Offset smokers cook your food indirectly through a baffle.
In addition to the types of smoker grills, there are other things to consider when choosing one.
- Heat Source
Each category of smokers will have its own range of prices. On average, prices can be as low as $60 or as expensive as $6,000 and higher. When you are trying to budget, consider how much you will use your smoker. If you know it will get a lot of use, a more expensive model may last longer.
The electric smoker grills use electricity, which can raise your bill. The other smokers use wood or charcoal, which can cost money as well. You also need to consider the benefit of cutting your own wood from your property if it is wooded. Consider your local rates for the different heat sources.
Just as there are many manufacturers of standard grills, there are also many for smokers. You may not recognize some brands, but some you will. In fact, there are many standard grill brands that are the same for smokers, like Weber, Char-Broil, and Sunbeam. Choosing a brand is more about picking one that is trusted and has a good reputation.
There are several different sized smoker grills available. To choose the right size, there are some helpful considerations:
- The amount of space – You need to think about the size of your yard or porch. Some smokers are extremely large, and if you are not careful, you could wind up with a smoker and no porch space.
- The amount of food – How much food do you intend on cooking? Not only should you consider the amount of food, but also the size of the food. If, for example, you were planning a big luau party and you are smoking a whole pig, you do not want to purchase a smoker only to find out it is way too small.
- Your experience – The amount of experience you have will ultimately determine which smoker you choose. The three types of smoker grills each have a level of experience that goes along with them. While you may have tons of experience with smoking and choose a smoker that is easier to use, you would not choose one that is hard to use when you are inexperienced.
To get the most from your smoker, you should keep a few things in mind. First, do not use starter fluid to light your fire, even if you are using charcoal. Light your fires with wood kindling instead. You will avoid the bad taste starter fluid gives the food.
When you are using wood smoker grills or flavored wood chips, start small. Add small amounts of wood and then add more in small amounts as well. By using small bundles, you can control how much flavor your food has.
The basic rule with using flavored wood chips for your smoker is that moisture is the key. Dry chips burn without moisture, which means the flavoring does not get added to the food properly. Soak your chips in water before adding them to the fire.
Different woods have natural flavors without adding anything. Mesquite wood chips are ideal for red meats. Hickory chips give foods a smokey flavor. Adding maple chips to smoker grills can give your pork a sweet flavor. Experiment to see what you like.
While comparing smokers, inspection is important. Look closely at the grills. Examine the thickness of the material. Smokers are made from metal. It should be thicker than the metal on a regular grill because it has to hold in heat.
Choose smoker grills that are welded. If they are constructed using nuts and bolts, it is not going to work well. Welded construction means the quality is better; heat and flavor vapors can escape through the holes that are made to hold the nuts and bolts.
Your particular needs and experience will influence the type of smoker grill that you choose. Consider all the various factors to help you make your decisions. When you educate yourself on all the grills and their benefits, you can choose the smoker that is perfect for you; the amount of experience you have and the manner of cooking play a large role.