For barbecue experts, smokers are one of the most loved appliances in their outdoor kitchen. Food like burgers and steaks are great barbecue classics that everyone loves, but smokers are what many barbecuers believe really takes them to a whole new level of mouthwatering deliciousness. The smoke that’s created inside the appliance can enhance the flavours of a dish and can even make any dish even more delicious.
You can still make smoky dishes with a grill though, so why do you need a smoker? We’ve written this article as an answer to that question and what a smoker is. If you’re interested in replacing your old grill with a smoker or if you want to add one to your own outdoor kitchen, you can check out this selection of Weber smokers and grills.
What are barbecue smokers?
Simply put, smokers are outdoor kitchen appliances that usually burn wood chips or pellets to create the smoke that makes the food so delicious. Some models of smokers can even be powered by electricity, making them a great option for beginners. These appliances often cook for a long time and at low temperatures, so many dishes made in a smoker can take anywhere from two to four hours or even longer.
Why you should buy a smoker
Smokers can be a great idea for many reasons besides just adding flavour to food. There are many more reasons and benefits that you should invest in a smoker, either on its own or with a grill.
Large sizes mean more food
Depending on the model of the BBQ smoker, the amount of room you have to cook with can be absolutely enormous! This makes them especially great for big parties and gatherings, where you have quite a lot of people to feed. Simply season your food and put it in your smoker and you’ll have more than enough food for everyone in a few hours!
Can be used to make all kinds of dishes
You aren’t limited to just beef, pork and vegetable dishes, either! While they are some of the staple dishes you can make, pasta and seafood are great alternatives to put into your smoker too. More often than not, these dishes take way less time to cook in a smoker since they aren’t all that thick or dense. Dishes like smoked shrimp only take 20 minutes to absorb that delicious smokiness and the smoking time for mac and cheese can easily be adjusted to suit your tastes.
More time for other things
While many people might find the long cooking time for many smoked meat dishes to be rather off-putting, it can be quite a good idea. You can easily season a brisket or a few pork chops for dinner and leave it in the smoker to cook for a few hours. During that time, you can go ahead and do some other work, all without needing to check on the food. If you need it or if a recipe you’re following calls for it, you set a timer to flip the meat and continue with your work.
Even if you use your smoker for parties and get-togethers, the long cooking time allows you to spend more time with your friends and family. You can easily prepare your meat and vegetables before they arrive and set up your smoker to cook. While the food’s cooking, you can socialize and be a part of activities in a way that you normally couldn’t with a grill. And if your guests get hungry while your smoker’s doing its job, you can always fire up your grill too!
Easy to use and learn
As complex as a smoker can seem at first, the amount of time it takes to learn how to use it is surprisingly short. Many of the smokers you see on the market are quite simple, and the big ones aren’t much different. Smokers typically either have a hopper or a basket that you can fill with wood chips. From there, you just need to put your food onto the grates and start the smoker. The chips will automatically be moved to where they’re burned for smoke and you’ll only need to flip it once before the food’s cooked.
Electric smokers are even easier to use. Since they primarily use electricity to cook, all you need to do is plug the smoker in before starting it. While these smokers create less of the flavourful smoke you get from wood smokers, many electric smoker models can use wood chips too. This makes it so that electric smokers are the best type for beginners to learn with.
What kind of smoker is good for you
Before you buy a smoker, you should first decide between the different kinds of smokers. Much like a grill, smokers can use a wide range of fuel sources to burn wood chips. Each type also has different advantages that make them far easier to use for beginners.
- Electric smokers. Since these smokers use an electrical source, most models don’t require any wood chips to create smoke. This makes it far easier for beginners to get a hang of smoking without needing to keep a close eye on it all the time.
- Propane smokers. As another great option, these smokers do use wood chips for a far more authentic smokiness but with the added easy temperature control that a more intermediate smoker or barbecuer can work with.
- Charcoal smokers. Likely considered the best option for the most authentically smoked food, charcoal is used instead of wood, but many models allow both to be used. These are perfect for people who have plenty of time to keep an eye out while cooking food.
While there is a wide range of smokers available in stores and online, many models work in much the same way. Wood chips – or even pellets – are burned to create smoke, which gets absorbed by the food in the smoker. This process allows the food to cook as well, though many dishes often take a longer time. The result, however, is often said to be well worth the wait, so many people search for how to get one. We’re ready to help, both with this guide and with our selections!