If you've been grilling on an electric grill, propane or gas grill, or a charcoal grill, but want to learn how to purchase the best smoker for beginners, there's essential information you'll need to gather.
Switching to a smoker for some backyard barbecue enthusiasts is easier if you've already used a grill to try and simulate the delicious, tender, aromatic results.
Backyard BBQ masters use attempt to accomplish this with lower temperatures for longer time. But there is no comparison to an actual smoker. A smoker uses lower heat for an extended period of time to seal in juices and flavor.
Grilling reaches temperatures of 400 to 550 degrees and you don't leave the meat or poultry on the grill very long, while barbecuing can cook for hours at lower temperatures of 190 to 300 degrees. Smoking uses temperatures of only 65 to 175
degrees for hours, days, or even weeks.
Smokers are designed to work with many types of fuels. Wood charcoal allows for the most variety of flavors. The job of the cook who's using the smoker is to keep the desired temperature for the type of food they're smoking and to be sure there is plenty of smoke.
If the smoker you use is not fueled with wood, you will have to add wood chips to a separate chamber of the smoker to create the smoke.
There are many types of smokers, but here we wanted to help you make a decision to buy your first smoker and be able to start enjoying it right away. After you get accustomed to the different ways to smoke your food, you may want to investigate all the options and choices smokers offer.
Best Smoker Reviews
- Best Smoker Reviews
- 1. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 18 Inch Smoker
- 2. Pit Barrel Cooker Package
- 3. Masterbuilt Outdoor Barbecue 30" Digital Electric BBQ Meat Smoker Grill
- 4. Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
- 5. Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18"
- 6. Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36" Propane Smoker
- 7. Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36" Vertical Charcoal Smoker
- 8. Smoke Hollow 38202G 38-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker
- 9. Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker
- 10. Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker
- 11. Old Smokey Electric Smoker
- 12. Masterbuilt Patio-2-Portable Propane Smoker
1. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 18 Inch Smoker
The Smokey Mountain Cooker™ is a coal-fueled smoker designed as a bullet shape. It's made from long-lasting steel and coated with durable chrome and porcelain.
This smoker is a mid-sized unit as opposed to larger higher capacity smokers measuring at 41"H X 19"W X 21"D. The 'not too small, not too large' size gives a beginner smoker enthusiast the opportunity to experiment with their first delicious meats and meals and expand their choices as they get the hand of smoking.
This Weber smoker has two cooking grates to smoke different foods at the same time. Because of the porcelain-enamel finish, the lid, center, and bowl retain the most heat but will not rust over time.
It comes with a grommet temperature monitor and dampers for adjusting the temperature throughout the smoking and cooking time. Adding more wood or charcoal can be tricky, but this Smoky Mountain Cooker has a fuel door that can be removed to make adding more fuel easier!
Safety is important so Weber added an aluminum heat shield attached to sturdy legs. This is a great starting smoker for the outdoor cook!
2. Pit Barrel Cooker Package
If you start out learning how to smoke foods with a complicated smoker, you may encounter a disaster and not want to use your smoker again.
This Pit Barrel Cooker is a complete package including a 30 gallon drum, 8 hooks for hanging meats, a charcoal basket, grill grate, wooden hook remover and a 3 point barrel stand.
The drum is porcelain coated for proper heat conduction and longevity and the Pit Barrel Cooker Company designed this smoker/cooker to cook your food with a 'Hook-and-Hang' method that positions the food in the center of the heat and smoke to cook your food from all sides providing even cooking.
The result is perfectly cooked meats and foods with great flavor! The Pit Barrel Cooker is known as 'The #1 Drum Cooker in the World' and its vertical cooking method allows shorter smoking and cooking times and stable temperatures.
This smoker is easy to use and portable making it a great option for beginner smokers. Steven Raichlen, a native of Japan, is culinary writer and TV host who teaches at a 'Barbecue University' and he values this smoker so well, he places it alongside smokers costing thousands of dollars!
Easy to use when starting out and award winning, this smoker/cooker is a great choice!
3. Masterbuilt Outdoor Barbecue 30" Digital Electric BBQ Meat Smoker Grill
The Masterbuilt name represents a trusted and long-lasting company that manufactures cooking products for indoor and outdoor cooking.
Starting out with a Masterbuilt Smoker and combination barbeque grill is a great way to learn more about smoking meats and foods. The beginner smoker will appreciate the easy to use digital controls and simple operation of this electric smoker.
No charcoal or propane is needed, yet this smoker provides delicious meats and foods with little effort. A digital panel displays the temperature and time and has an off and on control.
The insulated smoker body has ample room and comes with 4 chrome coated racks.
Wood chips are added effortlessly though the side wood chip loader which does not require you to open the smoker door, letting smoke escape and lowering the internal temperature.
The perfect combination of size, ease of use, and not needing a fuel source make this Masterbuilt Smoker a great choice for grillers ready to try smokers for the next level of outdoor cooking.
4. Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
Every backyard barbecue Grill Chef knows the name, Char-Broil. So when a griller wants to explore smoking, purchasing a Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker is a great start.
This smoker is run on electric so no charcoal or gas needed. Double-Wall construction holds in heat and helps to regulate the temperature. A digital control system boasts an easy-to-read, blue LED screen for simple use.
Its glass front gives you a visual of your meats progress, giving you more assurance you're on the way to a successful first smoker experience. High quality design provides a stainless steel latch that provides a tight seal to keep smoke inside the unit, a removable food thermometer, 4 adjustable racks that can be removed, and the glass front door that can also be removed.
This smoker even has wheels and a handle making it mobile! With a large smoke box, you can load enough wood chips to last 4 to 7 hours before having to be refilled. Just sit back once the meat is loaded and wait for amazing, hassle-free smoked meats and food.
5. Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18"
Whether you want to smoke a large turkey for Thanksgiving or a whole pork butt for a family barbecue.
The Camp Chef Smoke Vault provides a simple system and easy to understand instructions.
Although beginning smokers may not feel propane will produce that restaurant style pork barbecue or that perfectly smoked brisket, many eating establishments and professional chefs use gas-fired smokers.
The propane provides consistent heat and your choice of wood chips infuse the meat with amazing flavors.
The smoke vault has 2 adjustable racks and 3 dampers to control air flow and smoke production and a built-in door thermometer to make it easy to monitor the temperature.
Simple operation includes an effortless matchless snap-ignition, a covered burner drum to maximize temperature control, and even a removable porcelain tray for easy clean up!
Not only will this smoker provide delicious ribs, turkey, pork, beef, salmon, and chicken, but it comes with a recipe book that has recipes for pies and bread! Sturdy legs and safe propane hook up hardware make this a perfect backyard smoker.
6. Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36" Propane Smoker
When you decide to give smoking meats and foods a try, you'll want to start with a smoker that has simple operation while still providing tasty smoked meats and foods.
Cuisinart created this smoker to make smoking delectable foods easy and fun! The backyard barbecue chef will appreciate the compact design that makes this smoker ideal for patios and decks.
The propane hose is 40 inches long so you can place your propane tank out of the way and the regulator is designed for standard propane tanks. Once you light the propane ignition, it will heat up for use in only a few minutes.
The gas supply is adjustable so you can have precise control over the amount of heat and a rear vent allows you to adjust smoke exiting the oven. The front door is fit with a thermometer and the door seals tightly with a sturdy handle.
Enjoy the rewards of smoking beef, pork, poultry, ribs, seafood, vegetables, and whole birds. No special training is needed to produce amazing meals for your family and friends when you choose this Cuisinart 36 inch Propane Smoker.
7. Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36" Vertical Charcoal Smoker
Dyna-Glo is a subsidiary of GHP Group, Inc., a manufacturer of fireplaces, electric log sets, heating units, and barbecue products.
Expertly designed grills and smokers means they deliver durability and low maintenance products and they also provide reliable service.
This Dyna-Glo Vertical Charcoal Smoker has a tall design which is conductive for riding heat that provides better charcoal efficiency and intense smoke flavor!
A smoke stack on top of this smoker also improves air flow and heat distribution to make for precise conditions for your meats and foods. The charcoal chamber is engineered to allow briquettes to stack tightly for maximum burn and lasting heat.
This vertical smoker includes 4 cooking grates and a stainless steel temperature gauge that has an indicator for the ideal temperature to ensure a perfectly balanced smoke flavor for your foods.
This unit is also designed with a charcoal and ash clean up system with a charcoal chamber, a removable ash pan, and a charcoal grate. What better way to start out on your smoked food adventure than with this outstanding Dyna-Glo Charcoal Smoker!
8. Smoke Hollow 38202G 38-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker
Smoke Hollow is a manufacturer of "Electric Smokers-Grills-Combo Grills and Smokers-BBQ Accessories" based in Columbus, Georgia.
They produce durable and well-designed smokers and grills and provide many options for barbecue accessories.
This 38-inch Gas Smoker comes with 4 adjustable chrome-plated racks and a sausage hanger. The large wood chip pan allows you to use wood pellets or actual wood chips/chunks giving you more intense heat and a longer lasting smoke time.
A two door system enables loading the water and wood chip pans through a separate door without losing heat as you don't have to open the main door.
Heating this smoker to temperature is easy; light it with a push-button ignition switch and it quickly roars to life the 20,000 BTU propane burner! If you need to adjust the temperature and smoke, there are two vents to give you more control.
Included in this innovative design is a heat indicator, spring wire door handle that stays cool to the touch, a tempered front window for a visual inspection of you food's progress, and a gas control system.
The cabinet is made from strong steel and the burner is made with cast brass. New barbecue smokers will love the precise operation and easy use of this quality smoker!
9. Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker
Sometimes a basic, no frills smoke make the best one for beginning smokers. The Little Chief Smoker has been in use for more than 30 years along with the Big Chief Smoker by Smokehouse products.
These smokers were introduced to the fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest in 1968 and hold their popularity today. This smoker is a medium size but can easily smoke up to 25 or 50 pounds of meat or fish at one time.
The 250 watt element and sturdy aluminum walls keep the heat and smoke where you want it—in the middle of the smoker for even cooking. Being electric, there is no need to wait for coals to heat up.
Just plug it in and add your beef, poultry, fish, pork, and game meats for delicious smoke food.
Although there is not a temperature adjustment, the simple design and venting make it a no-guess unit for fool-proof smoking.
The safe drip grease pan is dishwasher safe and the wood pan is ample enough for the right amount of flavorful wood chips or pellets.
What more do you need when starting out as a smoking enthusiast and want the simplest yet best flavor-producing smoker there is!
10. Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker
Surprise your family and friends with delicious smoked meats and foods using your Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker.
The large smoking chamber allows you to cook for a large group of people and it comes with 3 adjustable cast iron, chrome-plated grates.
While smoking seems like a monumental skill to learn, electric smokers get rid of the preparation and fuel acquisition. Just plug in the 1500 watt heating elements and within a few minutes, the temperature is ready for you to load your meats and other foods.
The wood chips and water pans are good-sized to make adding the wood flavor of your choice in either pellets or chunks and under these are the porcelain ash pan and easy-to-clean grease collection cup.
The lid has a beveled area with an adjustable temperature gauge and power off and on button.
There is also a temperature gauge on the front door. For even temperatures and cooking results, the double-walled box is also insulated.
Create amazing smoked meats and foods with your Char-Broil Electric Smoker and impress your family and guests!
11. Old Smokey Electric Smoker
Old Smokey began manufacturing BBQ products in 1923 based out of Houston, Texas.
Their goal has always been to create barbecue products and accessories that actually 'make people happy.' Knowing the new BBQ grillmaster has many options to purchase more detailed or expensive smokers, Old Smokey created this Electric Smoker to leave the complicated methods behind and provide impressive smoked foods with little work or training!
This electric smoker has a 120 volt heating element running at 1250 watts much like the one in a home oven.
The smoker body is made with aluminized steel that resists corrosion and provides a tight seal. No water is needed with this Old Smokey Electric Smoker; instead, a flat top design drips back the juices from your food and provides a continuous basting for ultimate flavor.
An ample-sized wood chip tray sits above the heating element to provide the flavorful smoke. Old Smokey includes 2 cooking racks, a drip pan, carrying handles on the top and sides, and a starter bag of wood chips. This is a great smoker for effortless operation and delicious results.
12. Masterbuilt Patio-2-Portable Propane Smoker
Not only does a propane smoker make smoking foods quick and easy, it also means you can carry a propane tank to be on the move!
Whether a day-trip to the beach, or a long weekend camping in the mountains, the Masterbuilt Patio Portable Smoker gives you the freedom to smoke foods for a delicious meal almost anywhere!
For a small yard or a patio only yard, the size and portability of this propane smoker give you the freedom to make friends and family delicious meals while it's still large enough to smoke a whole turkey, a ham, a large slab of ribs, or hamburgers and other foods for tailgating.
Being smaller and portable doesn't mean you miss out on all the Masterbuilt quality design elements.
You still get a built-in temperature gauge, quick and instant push-button ignition, adjustment knob for the flame of its 5000 BTU burner, 2 smoking racks, damper to control temperature, moisture, and smoke density, slide out wood chip or pellet tray, a water bowl for additional flavor or moisture, removable grease tray, and foldable legs for storage and transporting.
That's as many features as a larger, full-sized smoker, but you can take this one on the go! A great idea for RV travelers or even a condominium owner with a patio or balcony. (Always check your condo or apartment regulations for patio grilling and smoking.)
We hope our reviews of the best smokers for beginners eased your hesitation to take your backyard cooking to the next level of master chef cooking.
Once you get over the fear of learning an entirely new method of cooking meats and foods, you'll realize the benefits of smoking food.
There is no more tastier or juicier way to tackle outdoor cooking than using a smoker.
Regardless of whether you choose a charcoal smoker, propane, or electric one, the results will be the same—tasty and moist foods cooked to your desire with the endless choices of smoky additions of wood chips or pellets to create that fresh-smoked aroma and flavor.
Purchase one of these easy to use smokers today and get started on your smoked foods experience!