Many food enthusiasts enjoy the distinct taste of chicken, ribs, and roasts cooked in a smoker. Smoking meat typically involves a wood- or charcoal-fueled smoker that uses low heat over long periods of time to produce unique and savory foods.
It’s important to own a quality smoker that produces a tasteful product after every use. That’s why the This Old House Reviews team conducted the research for you, searching through top-rated smokers to give you a consolidated list of the five best smokers available on Amazon.
As we searched the internet for the best smokers, our team was surprised by the amount of information regarding smokers and its signature cooking style. During our research, we read a variety of reviews to determine the top five products, which you can read more about above. We also compiled a buyer’s guide that provides a crash course into smoking.
Smoker Fuel and Flavor
Before you purchase a smoker, it’s important to know the fuel type it uses to produce its flavor. Here are some of the most popular fuels and the flavors associated with each.
Charcoal produces a distinct, smokey flavor on a variety of meats including chicken, pork, and beef. The downside to charcoal is that it can be difficult to light and maintain a constant temperature throughout your cook.
Our recommendation for a charcoal smoker is the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 22-Inch Charcoal Smoker. This product is a small but durable charcoal smoker perfect for cooking a chicken or roast.
Wood pellets allow you to adjust and maintain your smoker’s temperature with ease to produce a mild, smokey flavor. A downside to wood pellet smokers is that they are susceptible to premature wear and tear that shortens their lifespan.
Our top pick for a wood-pellet smoker is the Traeger Grills Renegade Pro Pellet Grill and Smoke. This wood pellet grill gives customers control over the entire cooking process, featuring six ways to cook, including grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, braising, and barbequing.
Most grill masters are familiar with propane grills. However, propane smokers are available to those looking for a portable smoker with temperature control that helps produce distinct, barbeque-flavored meat.
The Cuisinart Vertical 36” Propane Smoker is our top pick for a propane smoker. Its 45 square feet of cooking space gives you plenty of room for slow cooking your favorite foods.
If you’re looking to get into smoking but don’t want to worry about a complicated heat source, an electric smoker is the way to go. Electric smokers are easy to use and produce meat with a simple, clean taste.
Our top pick for an electric smoker is the Masterbuilt 30-Inch Analog Electric Smoker, which comes stocked with a wood chip door that allows you to add in additional flavor.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Smoker
Prior to committing to a particular smoker, make sure you consider these six important factors before selecting a model.
Temperature is an important factor to consider before purchasing a smoker. Think about the variety of food you want to cook, like fish, veggies, or chicken, and consider the range of temperatures required to properly cook each type of food.
Not all cookers are created equally. Many smokers are made of ceramic, steel, or metal, but the material doesn’t matter as long as it’s properly constructed. To produce food with a classic smoke flavor, the best smokers are made of thick materials that are well-insulated and can hold a constant temperature for hours.
A low, consistent temperature is what produces smoked meat’s tender and flavorful qualities. To produce quality food, you’ll need a smoker that allows you to adjust the temperature throughout the cooking process. The amount of provided temperature control depends on the type of smoker. Most smokers require you to adjust the vent to maintain the temperature, but many electric smokers come with a digital controller that simplifies this process.
Aside from a quality smoker, there are a few tools you’ll need to make smoking meats a hassle-free process.
- Wireless meat thermometer—This tool ensures that your cooked meat is at the right temperature. Many wireless meat thermometers can be left in the meat throughout the cooking process to alert you when your food is at its proper temperature.
- Heat-resistant gloves—When working around a smoker, its outside shell and other components can get hot. Ensure you’re safe by protecting your hands with heat-resistant gloves.
- Stainless steel tongs—Tongs should be long enough to collect your meat from the smoker without burning yourself.
- Basting brush—Basting brushes allow you to glaze sauces and other marinades on your meat while it’s cooking.
- Bear claws—Bear claws let you pull cooking pork while it’s still hot.
- Steel grill brush—It’s important to clean your smoker’s grates after every use to extend its life and maintain a quality cook after each use.
- Smoker jacket—If you’re keeping your smoker outside, you can protect it from the elements with a weatherproof smoker jacket.
Your smoker experiences intense heat and smoke every time you use it. That’s why it’s important to conduct regular maintenance on your smoker. After every use, you should remove and wash the rack, water and drip pans, and smoker box. You can use a grill brush to push excess residue towards the bottom of the smoker before cleaning the bottom.
The products we reviewed ranged between $75 and $300. It’s important that you weigh the five factors above along with the price tag to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth when it comes to buying the best smoker.
Frequently Asked Questions About Smokers
What is the best smoker for a beginner?
We recommend the Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Smoker for beginners. The electric smoker requires little prior knowledge and offers a user-friendly digital panel that displays the temperature and cook time.
What is the best pellet smoker?
The best pellet smoker is the Traeger Grills Renegade Pro Pellet Grill and Smoke. This product, which doubles as a grill and smoker, lets customers smoke a variety of foods in its 380 square- inch frame.
What is a reverse flow smoker?
Some larger smokers are designed with reverse flow. This allows heat to travel over the meat from the firebox to the flue baffle before traveling under the meat. Manufacturers of reverse flow smokers claim this cooking method produces an even cook. One of the best reverse flow smokers on Amazon is the Oklahoma Joe’s Reverse Smoker, which offers over 1,000 square inches of cooking surface and a customizable setup.