If you like to grill meat, a smoker is the perfect addition to your stockpile of appliances. But shopping for one will require some forethought and a little bit of smoker knowledge.
There are hundreds of smokers to choose from on the market, from stovetop and handheld smokers, to the colossal rigs used for commercial purposes. Such styles include offset barrel smokers (stick burners), gas smokers, electric smokers, pellet smokers, water smokers, cold smokers, kamado-style cookers, combo-ovens, and more, all of which vary in price, quality, features, and performance. In order to bring home the right smoking equipment, you must start by doing your research and narrowing down your options. Fortunately, you can do this with 3 simple steps.
❶ Determine Your Capacity
The first factor to think about is volume. How much meat do you intend to smoke at one time? Are you using it for personal or commercial applications? Restaurants and large facilities will require a bigger smoker than someone who simply wants to smoke meats at home. In another example, a person who will be smoking meats for a family of four will need a larger personal smoker than someone who is cooking for one.
❷ Consider Your Space
Since smokers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, you want to think about where it will go and how much space you have. Do you have room for a vertical smoker in your kitchen? The garage? Will it be stored on the patio or in a backyard shed? Designate an area before making any final decisions so that you have the room to conveniently store it away. Furthermore, it is important to learn the proper way to store a smoker. Freezing temperatures and heavy precipitation can interrupt performance and overall quality.
❸ Set a Budget
It is very important to set a budget before shopping around for smokers. Not only will this help narrow down realistic options, it will provide a boundary for spending and help resist pressure to buy an upgraded version you do not need. Smokers range in price from as low as $50 for condo or apartment units, and as high as $10,000 or more for professional grade. It is recommended for beginners to start with a small vertical water smoker that costs between $100 and $300, but this is entirely up to the consumer.
Beginner Brands To Consider:
As a beginner smoker, there are several popular and highly-reviewed make and models that will serve you well. Here are a few to consider:
↣ Weber 22-Inch Original Kettle Charcoal Grill – $149
↣ Pit Barrel Cooker Package – $299
↣ Camp Chef 24-Inch Smoke Vault – $250