Are you a professional griller or a beginner? You have a lot to learn from this article titled “ultimate grilling and smoking guide”. A lot will be learnt about grillers and smokers in a bid to help you make an informed purchase decision.
Read along, and make your choice!
The Basics: What is a Grill, And What Does It Do?
- The Basics: What is a Grill, And What Does It Do?
- Factors to Consider Before Purchasing
- Warming Racks
- Main Type of Grill
- What is a Smoker, And What Does It Do?
- Things to consider before purchase
- Main Types of Smoker Grill
- Vertical Water or Bullet Smokers
- Kamado Grills/Ceramic Smokers
- Horizontal Offset Smokers
- Ugly Drum Smokers
- Pellet Grills and Smokers
- Electric Smokers
- Propane/Gas Smokers
- Cabinet Smoker/Vertical Smokers/Box Smokers
- Gravity Feed Smokers
- Wood Fired Ovens (WFOs)
- Pig Cooker/Smoker
- Stove-Top Smokers
- Handheld Smokers
- Charcoal Grill
- Gas Grill
Grilling makes use of dry heat to cook food and meat. It works by applying heat to food surfaces from the top, side, or bottom.
Grilling often uses a high temperature direct, radiant heat which makes it faster to cook meat and vegetables. Grilled foods are achieved on an open wired grid-like gridiron with a temperature source above, side or below.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing
Ensure to take note of the materials used in constructing the grill. This could either be ceramic, cast aluminum or iron and stainless steel. More often than not, stainless steel is a preferred option for professionals because cleaning is easy and it doesn't rust.
Some ceramic grills have also become very popular because they maintain the taste and freshness of your food while giving you a spectacular experience as you grill.
Although the cost of a grill may not entirely be the first option when the taste is involved, it is important to consider fuel costs. Liquid propane or natural gas grills are quite higher in price, but in the long term, fuel is lesser than that of charcoal.
Help, Support and Maintenance
Care and maintenance of your grill help maintain its performance and life span. Ensure to ask appropriate questions about maintenance and cleanup of whatever type of grill you want to buy. In terms of support, getting a manufacturer that operates on top customer service saves you lots of frustration and disappointment along the line.
Having more burners gives you more and better control of the heat. Stoves bring about warmth, directly or indirectly.
Cooking grates are available in two forms; stainless steel and enameled porcelain. For that of stainless steel, it is resistant to rust and other kinds of corrosion as a result of hard weather.
Porcelain-coated grates, on the other hand, act as protection for the steel structure from heat and damage due to rust. Porcelain is an excellent insulator, making the grill maintain high temperatures. Modern grates make your grilling exciting and fun.
These are a new technological improvement in cooking outdoors because they dry food entirely each time they are used. First of all, the heat from the gas burner is directed to a tile made of ceramic. The heat is then converted to infrared energy. The temperature is finally radiated to the food. With infrared burners, one can attain very high heat and food easily and quickly be seared, locking in juices to the meat.
This is an excellent modern addition to your grill. The push-button ignites the grill, letting you cook easily and quickly.
Their function is to get the food heated all over to get meat that is juicy, slowly roasted and well cooked. Cooking with Rotisserie requires less heat than other conventional cooking methods.
These are used for cooking pots, sauté pans and other items that don't require grilling, but heat is needed. You can quickly cook full meals with side burners without the rigorous to-and-fro journey to the kitchen.
This is used in checking temperature while cooking and is usually located on the body of the grill. For most grills, they have a removable all-purpose grill which is used to measure and monitor the internal temperature of the food.
Warm-up baskets or warming racks can be attached to the inner compartment of the grill and little space added to ensure the grilled food is kept warm.
Grime and dirt left over after grilling can damage the grill structure, ruining the taste of the grilled food. Using grill brushes make cleaning up of the grill quite easy and fast and can also extend its life span.
Carts & Drawers
The grill carts and drawers provide extra space for storing foods. In some newer models, there is a provision of various compartments for storage, shelves, work surfaces and much more.
There are other personal preferences to consider such as cookware, covers, drip pans, and grill ware.
Main Type of Grill
From the name, electric grills get power from conventional power outlets which are designed to be used indoors. This electric grill can be used indoors because it does not smoke.
Note that you shouldn't use a grill, either electric or any type indoors if you notice any kind of smoke emissions. Open fires or smoke indoors is dangerous and can lead to smoke damage to your walls.
Electric grills are usually small in size and are made for use in countertops. If you want a more comfortable and faster way to grill food, an electric grill
- Plug and play – All you have to do is plug in the grill into a power outlet and start cooking.
- It is designed to be used indoors, for convenience and ease of use. It can also be used in apartments.
- Ease of maintenance and cleaning.
- Cost of fuel is almost nothing.
- Electric grill prices are relatively, very cheap.
- Most times, electric grills don't occupy much space for Cooking, as you can't grill for a large crowd or family event.
- There must be close by electric outlet. An electric grill cannot be taken on the go.
- The conventional smoky BBQ flavor cannot be gotten from an electric grill.
Propane and Natural Gas Barbecue Grills
Across the United States and the world at large, Gas grills are the most popular and widely used grills. It's not so difficult to understand this; these grills are efficient, comfortable and convenient. If you're a beginner or one who grills on casual occasions, then this is the perfect kind of grill to go for. Little or no effort is required for the gas grill to attain the highest temperature easily and get you nice food for you and your family.
Propane Gas Grills
Energy or fuel for this gas grill is provided by propane or Natural gas, thus the name "Propane gas grill". These propane grills are portable when compared to the two, mostly because storage of propane is in tanks which can easily be bought at a local store. It's straightforward to use these propane grills, but constant refilling is required for the propane tank.
Natural Gas Grills
For natural gas grills, it is connected to your inbuilt home natural gas line and can serve for inbuilt grills as well. But, some standing grills also get fueled using a natural gas linkage. With natural gas grills, you no longer need to buy fuel from a store. All you need to do is get some from the gas lines already installed in your house.
- With gas grills, you can quickly grill gourmet food as much as you want; be it fish, beef, vegetables and lots more.
- It is very efficient and convenient to use. Gas grills heat up efficiently and cool down almost immediately, with little or no prep and clean up time.
- If you probably see yourself as being likely to get food grilled after work, then this is the perfect grill for you. You need not worry about setting up a fire and cleaning afterwards.
- The prices are affordable. You won't spend much; just a good bit to get a right gas grill, while you can get some with bigger grills for about $2,000 or more. With only $200 or less, you can also get a great gas grill.
- Foods prepared using gas grills often don't have that unique BBQ smoky flavor we love. Besides that, gas grills make really lovely foods.
- Inefficient and poorly constructed grill units may be distributed inconsistently and unequally. While buying, ensure to get units built from sturdy materials such as stainless steel.
Charcoal grills can also be classified as one of the widely used grills. They are quite different from gas grills in that the heat is fueled in a different way. When using a charcoal grill, your fuel source for fire is usually charcoal gotten from a store. You can light up the coals using a light fluid, making a heated coal bed which cooks your food.
Lighting coals and managing fire to the appropriate temperature can be quite time-consuming. Pitmasters who want to be more tender and caring can consider this as a perfect means of spending the weekend.
- They are an excellent option for those who want to add extra flavor. They are also great for grillers with lots of experience who have no problem investing time while managing a fire.
- Some models, like kettle grills, are very light in weight and great for camping or tailgating.
- In general, charcoal grills are cheaper than other kinds of grills. It's therefore essential to consider getting a well-made charcoal grill even if it costs some bucks extra. Nobody wants a grill that is poorly made, not sealed properly and cannot retain heat.
- You can try out different kinds of wood chips to get various flavors on your grilled food.
- It takes time to manage the fire. Charcoal heating to the right temperature often takes up to 30 minutes or more. It also involves cleaning ashes after cooking, but this is time-consuming.
- It's often hard to get a consistent temperature in cold or windy weather.
- Fuel or charcoal used for Cooking Is more expensive than propane and natural gas.
The brazier is somewhat different from other grills as it does not have vent and lids, with its charcoal-filled metal pans under a mesh grate or wire. They are available in various shapes and sizes, and are usually small, rounded or square grills that do not have covers.
Pellet grills are another category of grills that use fuel from tiny wood pellets. This is to say that pellet grills are also wood fire grills and the outcome on your grilled food is one with delicious flavor. Wood pellets are available in various flavors ranging from Apple, Maple, Pecan, Hickory, and Mesquite to other wood pellet flavors available for pellet grilling.
Square Charcoal Grill
This is similar to a combination of brazier grills and kettle grills. This kind of grill has become more popular than braziers since its introduction in the 1960s. The design of the cover is like that of a kettle grill, with vents that are adjustable and legs numbering four. Two out of the legs are wheels which serve as units for movement of the grill to a storage spot when not in use. There are no extra options or features such as shelves for hotdog or baskets in this model, but some models often come with these.
Hibachis are similar to Shichirins, which are conventional Japanese cooking devices. They are small grills, usually portable models manufactured from metals like cast iron, steel or aluminum. They provide two small grills for cooking usually placed on a metal sheet charcoal pan.
These adjustable grids allow the user to move them; however, he pleases in a bid to increase or reduce heat getting to the food. These Hibachis can be carried around quickly, and do not have extra accessories like lids.
Kettle Charcoal Grills
Kettle charcoal grills are smaller than the regular charcoal grill, both in size and grilling surface. They are named after their unique kettle shaped structure. Typically, they are lighter in weight and can be carried around for camping trips and are also great if you desire that local smoky flavor that can be gotten from BBQs.
Ceramic grills are not only useful but versatile, and the chamber is capable of retaining heat and moisture better than other charcoal grills.
They can be used both in smoking and grilling and in some cases, in baking pizza at a temperature of 500 degrees. The heat retention property of the ceramic shell produces about 750°F temperature.
The air vents, both top and bottom have control over the temperature. Paying attention to the vent system helps you understand its operations and know that you can control temperature by adjusting airflow. These charcoal grills can be used in cooking everything that is fitting with even distribution of heat.
This invention came as the need for alternative cooking methods in Pakistan and India arose. The source of fuel for this Tandoor oven is wood. The food or meat to be prepared is skewered and out in an oven from the top.
Cooking is done both by oven cooking and grilling. The air in this kind of oven often exceeds 500°; thus, foods like chicken can cook faster in comparison to other sorts of grills.
Portable Charcoal Grills
Another Portable and innovative development, these grills are usually rectangular or square and are designed to be moved easily before storage and after. They are popularly seen in apartment complexes and tailgates and offer ease of mobility like foldable legs and other extra features. Some of these features include legs made from steel and venting lids. Some models can be enclosed after use, without ash escapes or vents and it prevents smoldering ash from escaping.
Portable Backpack Grills
Portable grills are another subdivision of grills that are categorised on the list of grills. Whether they are fueled by charcoal or propane, a portable grill can always be carried with you as you go on. It is a great way to grill sumptuous foods for travelling and camping or anywhere you travel to.
Hybrid grills, otherwise called combo grills, refer to grills with various options for fuel sources such as the addition of a charcoal point to a gas grill. Another kind of hybrid grill available is the hybrid infrared gas grill. The only fuel option for this kind of grill is gas.
With this kind of grill, it is hybrid because of the burners, and it comes with one local convection burner and infrared burners, each on both sides, letting you cook foods at low temperatures when necessary and also sear meats at a higher temperature.
This is used for all kinds of grilling, from burgers to egg sautés to broiling salmon steaks and lots of tasty dishes, the equipment available in this type of grill are some of the best and most reliable for a modern kitchen.
A commercial griddle or grill is used in preparing food menus for all occasions, be it breakfast to dinner. Broilers are suitable for use when cooking food in large quantities, easily and quickly. With Charbroilers, you can prepare dishes with the same great appearance and taste that can be gotten when you cook over a fire.
This is another category of indoor grills that offers more options for grilling and ensures steam and smoke is properly contained. When making a purchase, ensure to go for one that has a lid, though it is common with most of them.
- They are suitable for individuals who lack enough outdoor grilling space, and those who may be limited by one factor or the other, be it the weather or other environmental conditions.
- It enables Cooking of food on both sides, thus allowing the food to get done correctly and avoid burning or drying out of the food. There are a few challenges in folding contact grills, though.
- They tend to remain at a particular temperature once they get there, making burning or overcooking easy.
This can be done simply by adding a tall lid to an open grill, one you can open and close and you have yourself a covered grill. It may seem so easy, but a covered grill helps you add to other methods of live Cooking which are smoking and indirect grilling. It can be used for grilling thick or large foods directly, as well as smoking and indirect grilling.
Having these grill rotisseries in your outdoor kitchen is an excellent option for every chef. If you don't know already, a rotisserie is significant in making delicious dishes of all kinds. The grilling of large meat chunks or whole poultry on a grill helps dry it out faster but turning a rotisserie steadily ensures the food is adequately cooked and juiciness retained.
- Even Cooking: it is the most effective method of cooking roasted food and ensuring the meat is juicy and tasty.
- Less Work: You don't have to worry about turning large chunks of meat anymore. Simply install an automatic rotisserie and frequently check to know if it is done. This saves not just time but energy.
- Ability to Roast Large Cuts of Meat: Searing is easy on direct heat grills. For this kind of grill, it is sufficient to cook small meat chunks. Bigger chunks of meat like lamb legs, tri-tip, pork lions, whole poultry require longer items, with less heat intensity and thorough Cooking.
- Universally Unavailable
- Rotisseries do not usually come with all kinds of grills.
- Cost: Although this isn't much of a challenge, it is more costly to get a grill with an inbuilt rotisserie than others. It is recommended to opt for barbeque rotisserie as it offers versatility and can be used for different kinds of recipes.
This is used to describe deep ceramic grills with thick walls that are dependent on the heat radiating from the sidewalls and direct heat from coals in cooking food. The food may be prepared directly or placed on a vertical split located inside the firebox, rather than using the grill grate.
It is used for roasting with high heat. Suitable foods for this kind of grill include flatbreads which can be cooked directly on the tandoor walls. Other foods like chicken, peppers, kebabs, fish steaks and goat and lamb legs can be cooked on vertical splits.
Smoking has been categorised as one of the oldest methods of cooking and storing food. Still, the smoker is an invention of the North Americans in the 20th century, which is a simple backyard barbecue.
Grilling is a regular tradition, but smoking is quite different, as not all cultures practice smoking. It can be used to smoke foods using low/moderate temperature through indirect grilling. It is suitable for tough juicy meats like ribs and briskets.
Open Pit and Campfire-Style "Grills"
Earlier, Cooking wasn't done by grilling, but directly over a campfire or close to it. This primitive method is still widely used, especially in America. It is used for roasting using radiant heat and is suitable for goat, salmon, pig, whole lamb, beef rib rack, and fish fillets.
What is a Smoker, And What Does It Do?
Smoking involves cooking, flavoring, browning, and food preservation through exposing to smoke. Smoke is generated through burning or smoldering material, usually from wood. Some of the widely used foods smoked include fish and meat. Smoking usually tenderizes meats which usually would have been so hard to eat.
Things to consider before purchase
The reason for buying Your Smoker
The purpose of obtaining a smoker should be known before any other factors come into place. Do you need something for your backyard? What is the frequency of use of your smoker? Do you intend to have a smoker for your immediate family or you have a large family you want it to serve?
The right answers to these questions will help you make the right choice of smokers to purchase.
Smoker Grill Size
The size of your family and those the smoker will serve determines the size you should buy. There is no point buying a sizeable commercial smoker and spending lots of money on it when a small-sized smoker will do.
Smokers can cost so low and so high; ideally, you should get a smoker from $100 and above. Your budget will play a crucial role in your choice of a smoker to purchase. Plan wisely.
Another essential thing to consider is your place of storage. If you live in an apartment with limited space, then you should choose a small-sized smoker and vice versa.
Durability and Materials used
Care must be taken when choosing a smoker, consider its strength and stability. Also, avoid products with sharp edges which may increase the chance of injuries. Choose smokers with materials prone to rust, such as the stainless steel material.
Choose a smoker with a top-notch thermometer which can be situated at the grate level, rather than the lid. Your thermostat should also be easy to regulate when cooking.
Warranty and Support
Always lookout for warranty of the product in the case of damages or issues operating. Also, read up reviews online about the product so you can avoid the ones with negative reviews from verified users.
The last thing to consider is the range of temperature. Ideally, you should choose a smoker with a vast array of temperature. Also, the smoker should be able to withstand high temperatures of about 500°F over direct heat in case you need to heat up to this temperature range.
Main Types of Smoker Grill
Vertical Water or Bullet Smokers
These are some of the famous and widely owned charcoal smokers. This is because most amateurs start their grilling experience with a bullet smoker.
They are portable and easy to use, and provisions are made for small footprints so as to enter even the smallest patio, with electrical or mechanical parts. They are so named because of their shape.
It is also often referred to as 'vertical water smokers' and is fueled by wood chunks and charcoal at the bottom. They also have a water pan, sitting above the charcoal that distributes heat evenly and captures the fat dripping from the meat, making the environment moist.
- Portable, it does not consume much patio space
- It is one of the cheapest types of smokers available
- One can quickly learn to use it
- Can be bought in local stores or big retail shops or online
- Transport is done promptly in a truck or removal of ashes and movement in a car trunk.
- Little cooking space
- Greasy water pan which will require cleaning after cooking every time
- A good smoker
Kamado Grills/Ceramic Smokers
A typical Kamado grill is made from ceramic which has high insulation, and once the temperature becomes high, you can easily maintain stable temperature over prolonged periods. They also attain high temperatures exceeding 700F, and you can cook delicate dishes such as pizza or sear your meat.
- They can be installed to sear, bake, smoke grill, roast or make pizza, making it an all-purpose cooker.
- Durable and sturdy build. It can last for many years if properly taken care of
- It can retain temperatures for a long time with little or no work
- Portable, does not consume patio space
- One of the most expensive smokers
- They have a sturdy build and can stand, but the ceramic will fracture if it falls on the floor or patio.
- When preheating, if you extend the specified temperature, it takes longer to go back to the initial or desired temperature. You, therefore, have a lot of learning to do.
Horizontal Offset Smokers
Originally, Offset smokers can be manufactured at home using scrap metal and already used propane tanks. The tank is turned over and made to enter a stand. Small pieces are cut to form doors and fixed with handles and hinges. Cooking grates are also fit into the tank, while a smokestack is placed and a firebox welded to the side.
The fuel source is from wood logs which heats the propane tank, with the smoke giving the extra meat flavor.
- They are available in various sizes and shapes, but the small models can also cook pork weighing 6 pounds or more
- A costly offset smoker can last for years if properly taken care of
- An expensive model can retain heat using its thick metal build-up
- It is known to be one of the hardest smokers to study as it requires knowledge of fire control
- They can be used for different kinds of food; thus it is necessary to rotate the food away from the firebox for it to cook well
- Constant monitoring and checkup are required. You may need to add fuel hourly.
Ugly Drum Smokers
This is popularly called UDS and is quite simple t. It has a basket under the drum, which is usually loaded with wood chunks and charcoal. Above the charcoal basket is a grill grate that sits high off, with the lid extending to the back of the barrel. The vents are located below the charcoal basket and the cover in controlling temperature.
Their simple design and small parts make it easy for people to build ugly drum smokers on their own.
- Portable and does not consume patio space
- Can be built quickly at home using few parts and is most likely the cheapest smoker available
- It can hold temperatures for extended periods with little or no effort
- Ease of use
- Can also serve as a grill. Rather than add lit charcoal to a basket with unlit ones, just get a full chimney with charcoal and light it.
- They were given the name ugly drum smokers with a reason. This is because they may not be as shiny and fitting as a new smoker.
- Limited space for Cooking
Pellet Grills and Smokers
These are quite similar to offset smokers we earlier discussed. The difference is that these smokers are a bit higher in technology.
Pellet smokers are powered by electricity and typically have a thermometer that controls the temperature inside the chamber for Cooking. All you have to do is set it and do other things. You can set the heat, and it'll remain at that temperature, thus adopt a method of operation similar to that of an oven.
- They are available in different sizes; large models have shelves that can carry more than ten pork shoulders, and smaller models are suitable for small families.
- Easy to use. You just have to fill the hopper, put it on, set a particular temperature, and do other things.
- It is an expensive option
- It is made just for meat smoking
- Wood pellets may become soggy if kept in the Hopper for Long and it gets affected by moisture or humidity.
- The "set it and forget it" technology is enticing, but you may run out of fuel while cooking, most notably in cold weather.
- It has moving parts capable of failing
These are another excellent example of the 'set and leave' technology. They do not require charcoal or monitoring of the propane amount of charcoal remaining in the smoker. It does not leave any ash after cooking, thereby saving you stress.
Operating this smoker is easy and does not require stress. What you have is an electric heater with a plate above for wood chips and chunks. The smoker will be heated to an appropriate temperature, causing smoldering of the wood and smoke afterwards.
- Available in various sizes, smaller units are great for family cooking while bigger units can be used to feed a crowd
- The smaller designs can hold food weighing many pounds.
- It consumes less patio space
- It is easy to use, simply place the wood, plug it in and set the temperature.
- Cheap units have difficulty holding heat, releases smoke, thus making it difficult to get accurate results.
- Being an electric unit, it should be stored inside a waterproof cover or under it for protection.
This is similar to its electric smoker counterpart in style and method of operation. Rather than have an electrical heat source, with wood smolders, a gas burner takes its place. These kinds of smokers do not have thermostats. The door of the smoker may have bimetal thermometers which can be used to check the temperature. This kind of grill can be found at local big box and hardware stores.
- They are also available in various sizes, like electric smokers.
- It consumes less patio space with its small footprint
- It is easy to use; you just have to turn your gas up and reduce the temperature
- It is cost-effective and affordable.
- Units are cheap and may not be manufactured well
- Source of fuel is propane, and you'll need a spare reservoir to carry you for long smokes.
Cabinet Smoker/Vertical Smokers/Box Smokers
This is just like bullet smokers discussed in the article. They are available in various shapes and sizes like other smoker grills and are easy to construct. They are so named because of the way the smoke travels vertically, looking like a filing cabinet.
The source of fuel is wood chunks and charcoal. It has a chamber below the smoker with a buffer in the middle. Sometimes this buffer may have water pan or it may not, just like water smokers. The cooking chamber is above the charcoal point with shelves to keep the meat. Temperature is regulated by vents on top and beneath.
- Can last long as a result of its robust design
- They occupy a small patio space with a small footprint, even with the various sizes.
- Can be used to prepare food for a large number of people
- It is also one of the expensive smoker grills
- Its large chamber size makes it challenging to attain a suitable temperature
- Can be gotten only at specialised stores or online shops
Gravity Feed Smokers
Although these smokers resemble cabinet smokers, they are actually different from them. Instead of having charcoal and firebox under the cooking chamber, it has a coal chute filled with charcoal to give a steady fuel supply. They are typically well constructed with insulation in the Cooking and coal chute enclosure.
It is also designed with the 'set and forget' smoker style, with proper insulation and tight sealing, which is the only channel of oxygen getting into the smoker through vents below the coal enclosure.
Exhaust pipes are also present on top of the cooking chamber. The charcoal burns in an environment with low oxygen and does not light the chute. The exhaust stack then sucks in the smoke into the cooking unit, over the food and out of the cooking chamber.
- Sturdy construction
- Variety of sizes can serve as a small cooking unit for the family or a big unit for the crowd.
- The small unit can accommodate large meat chunks, including briskets or Turkey.
- Oxygen level entering the fire is low with thick insulation, making it a set and forget model, thus holding temperature for as long as 12 hours.
- It is one of the costliest types of smokers
- The small units are heavy and large. It is only suitable for veteran BBQers.
- Charcoal may enter the chute and get stuck, causing a decrease in temperature or extinguishing the fire. The grill is quite simple, but it requires attention.
- Serves as a smoker and nothing more
Wood Fired Ovens (WFOs)
These are best used in cooking Neapolitan-style pizzas, but can also help for meat smoking. You can also prepare Sunday roasts and bake various slices of bread, desserts and lots more. The WFO can be used to cook anything that can be done in a local kitchen, but it adds a sweet wood-fired flavor to it.
- A wood-fired oven can also serve as a smoker
- You can cook pizza with it at high temperatures, as well as slow meat as it cooks for long hours, retaining heat extensively and baking bread and other pastries as the oven gets cool.
- It gets cool quickly
- They are often expensive. It is not recommended to be bought just for smoking meat.
- Monitoring and attention are required for temperature and ensuring the fire aren't excess or too low.
- Access to a constant supply of wood logs dried with a kiln is needed.
Just like the name is, this smoker is rectangular and designed for cooking large meat chunks. It can be fueled by propane or charcoal and is similar to most propane burners that reach below the smoker, with a heat diffuser in between the source and the cooking grates. This shields heat, allowing indirect Cooking.
- Its solid construction that can last for years
- Can also serve as a grill
- Small smokers can cook large food quantities
- Big enough for whole meat chunks
- Little movable parts
- Can be expensive
- Heavy and difficulty in moving around
- Addition of fire requires the removal of food and grate.
If you cannot smoke on a conventional grill or smoker because of your apartment, the stove-top smoker is the best option for you.
Some are portable units with racks where the food sits, just above the sawdust or wood chips in a pan.
The pan extends into the smoker, and the smoker rests on the stove burner. As it is heated, the sawdust and wood chip burns. When all the wood is burnt, the unit is put inside the oven to finish the cooking process.
- Very cheap
- Suitable for people who cannot smoke freely in their house for one reason or the other
- It will always result in smoke in the kitchen, irrespective of what you do. If you don't have a suitable ventilator, your entire kitchen will be filled with smoke afterwards. In some cases, the smoke detector may not work.
- Knowledge of smoking methods and practice is required.
- Some of these smokers are small in size and cannot cook large quantities.
Similar to stove-top smokers, handheld smokers are ideal for users without access to traditional or patio smokers.
Handheld smokers are useful for those that intend to add a smoky flavor to their food. They are battery-powered fitted with a small wood chip opening and a long tube for the smoke to blow through.
- Ease of use
- Ideal for kitchen use
- Allows adding of smoke flavor to foods
- It usually creates smoke in the kitchen regardless of how you use it
- It adds smoke flavor but doesn't cook your food
With this type of grill, you could easily smoke your food as you can achieve indirect two-zone cooking with it. All that's needed is to gather your charcoal to a side, put lit charcoal and wood chips on top, adjust your vents (top and bottom) to control temperature and your Cooking starts.
- You can use the kettle for grilling purpose
- Quite cheap, arguably the cheapest in the market.
- You can't easily fit food on it
- It requires a lot of learning and practice to figure out how to set up and also open/close the vent.
Gas grills are great for smoking meat; even you can cook with it depending on the grill size. A gas grill helps users to achieve meat smoking via an indirect cooking method. It's easy to use and regulate temperature through the knobs.
- Multi-purpose as it serves as a smoker and grass grill
- Ease of setting up
- Inexpensive to use and maintain
- Limited to users grill size
- It only makes use of the indirect side of the grill
So, now you have all the necessary information about grillers and smokers. All you need do now is to make your choice from the plethora of options available. Ultimately, your budget, cooking needs and occasion will determine the choice of griller and smoker you will purchase.
Grilling and Smoking get more comfortable when you have the right tools and knowledge. Now is the right time to make your choice, and I hope you will make a sound choice with all the information you have at your disposal. Cheers to your sumptuous meal!