We’ve rounded up some of the best smoker recipes for you, so you can make the most out of your smoker, and really see the full potential of this popular cooking tool.
But first, if you are new to the world of smokers, here’s what you need to know about them.
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What Is A Smoker?
Smokers are a type of cooking apparatus designed to cook food in a smoky environment at a low temperature. Smokers are often used to prepare barbecue style meats, but it is equally efficient at preparing a variety of vegetables and other ingredients.
There are many different styles of smokers on the market today, including small electric smokers, propane/gas smokers, vertical smokers, kamado smokers, wood smokers, pellet smokers, and cold smokers, to name a few. Choosing the best smoker will be best determined by your budget, how often you plan to use it, how much space you have available for it, and if you are purchasing one for home use or retail use.
If you are a regular home chef looking to add a smoker to your repertoire, you may want to consider one of the Weber brand vertical smokers as they aren’t too big and bulky, and they are reasonably priced. Alternatively, the larger grill-style smokers are about the same size as a traditional outdoor grill, usually can be used for regular grilling, and while slightly higher in price, can still be a budget-friendly option.
What Types Of Fuel Do Smokers Use?
Smokers come with a variety of fuel types. Here’s a quick overview of each.
Charcoal Smokers: Like old charcoal grills, smokers can use charcoal as a primary fuel source. You can use charcoal to get the fire going, then add wood chips to infuse your foods.
Gas and Propane Smokers: Just like your gas grill, smokers can use propane/natural gas. This is a good choice for beginners as temperature regulation is easier on these units.
Pellet Smokers: Small wooden pellets are used as the primary fuel source. Wood pellets are great for maintaining steady temperatures.
Electric Smokers: Electric smokers are easy to manage temperatures so they are great for beginners, but the downfall to these is a reduction of the smokiness.
Who Should Buy A Smoker
If you grill a lot of meat, smokers are a great alternative to traditional grilling. Smokers add a great, smoky flavor essential to world-class barbecue and the meat comes out tender and juicy. And unless you’re getting a giant commercial smoker, today’s home smokers are easy to use and don’t take up more space than the average outdoor barbecue grill. There are even smaller, portable options on the market so you can still have a smoker, even in smaller spaces.
Essential Smoker Accessories
If you are planning on buying a smoker, or already have one, you may want to consider some of these accessories.
Wood Chips & Chunks: These add heat when you need it and add extra smoke to your meats. There are different varieties of wood to add varying flavors such as hickory, maple, mesquite, oak, pecan, alder, apple, cherry, pine, and cedar.
Temperature Controller: If your unit doesn’t have one of these built in, you can buy an external one to help keep your temp regulated.
Remote BBQ Thermometer: Keep an eye on the internal temp of your meat while you’re smoking with a remote thermometer.
Gloves: Get yourself a good pair of gloves to protect your hands from heat while adding and removing your meat and checking the temp while cooking.
What Can You Cook On A Smoker?
Smokers are mostly used for cooking meat and poultry, but can also be used for cooking seafood, vegetables, and fruits. Smokers are great for everything from Tri Tip to Cabbage and even tofu. We have a great list of recipes for you to try. If you’re ready to fire up your skills on the smoker, check out this list of the best smoker recipes.
Heidi Deal is an editor, mother of two, and seasoned home cook who enjoys experimenting with new recipes and teaching her kids how to prepare family meals. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, volunteering, and spending time with family and friends.