Looking to buy a smoker? Read our beginner’s smoker buying guide below to know what factors to consider to find the right equipment.
Summer is the perfect time to host a BBQ. If you want to make fantastic ribs, salmon, pork, bacon, or turkey, then you need to get a special smoker.
Smoker Buying Guide: Things to Consider
There are countless options to choose from when buying a smoker. You’ll want to choose a smoker that best suits your needs. Here are 7 factors you should consider when buying a smoker.
1. The Size
When it comes to the size of a smoker, its best to stay true to your actual needs, even the smallest smoker can produce enough food for parties with friends and family. The largest smoker will make enough barbeque to cater to a party all day long.
There’s no point in spending top dollar on a large commercial smoker if you only plan on using it to cook for family members. However, if you’ve got a really big family or you are a barbeque enthusiast who enters pit competitions then go ahead and spring for the big one.
Think about how much barbeque you plan on making before you buy your smoker. Most smokers will tell you how much food they can prepare at once on the packaging.
For barbeques, the general rule of thumb is to prepare one pound of meat per person attending. That can be a lot of food!
2. It’s Use
It’s also good to consider what you will be using your smoker for. Most people choose a smoker for cooking large cuts of meat. Smokers are designed to cook at lower temperatures over a long period.
This infuses the meat with rich smokey flavor and makes meats juicy and tender. Cuts like ribs, shoulders, and briskets are a great choice. You can even use your smoker when cooking different foods like hot dogs, sausages, and poultry.
Now that you’ve narrowed down its use you can make sure you don’t overspend on features you don’t need. Think about how often you will be using the smoker and where you will keep it too.
3. Your Budget
When buying a smoker you have to consider your budget. A top of the line smoker can sell for several thousand dollars but there are also some pretty good affordable options.
Take a look at your budget for smokers and try to stay within the range you want to spend. It’s up to you to spend wisely. You’ve already taken a look at the use and size you will need so you can write off options and features that don’t suit your needs.
When comparing smoker prices take a look at the various types of smokers: electric, wood, gas, and charcoal. Be sure to think about the cost of each of these fuels and decide which one is the more economical choice for you. Try to strike a balance between cost and quality.
Speaking of quality that’s exactly what we mean when we talk about durability. You want to make sure that you are buying a smoker that is going to last you a while. Make sure it is made from a material that won’t rust like stainless steel.
Check the stability of the legs and wheels. Read online reviews to see if other people who purchased that particular model experienced any issues. Find out if your smoker comes with a warranty.
Maintenance for smokers can range from quite simple to more complex. Be sure you know what kind of maintenance your model will need before you make the purchase.
It’s important to consider where you are going to keep your smoker. Most people choose to store their smoker in the garage, shed, or on their patio. Think about your space and how much room you have to store a smoker.
Nothing is more frustrating than buying a smoker, bringing it home and setting it up only to find out you don’t have enough space for it.
It’s best to store your smoker in a covered area because the weather outside can take a toll on your smoker. Indoor storage is highly recommended to prolong the life of your smoker.
6. Temperature Controls
One of the latest technological improvements to new smokers is enhanced temperature controls. These controls help you adjust the smoking time and temperature.
They are common in electric smokers but these days gas and charcoal smokers make temperature control features too. These features sense what you are cooking and automatically adjust the temperature for you.
If you are not looking for all that fancy-schmancy technology at least consider buying a high-quality thermometer. A thermometer can be placed at the grate level, not at the lid.
Look for something that will be easy to maneuver while you are cooking. If you are going to purchase a long offset smoker, you will need two thermometers, one for each end.
7. Fuel Type
Choosing the fuel type may be the hardest decision when purchasing a smoker. There are many different types of fuels, and each gives you different results.
Charcoal smokers use a combination of wood and charcoal. It’s affordable and customizable. There are many different combinations of wood chips you can use.
Electric smokers use a lot of energy, but they have a lot of high-tech sensors and controls. Electric smokers allow for careful programming and temperature balance, but they often produce less of that rich smokey flavor.
Propane smokers are fast and easier to control than charcoal. They also produce better flavor than electric smokers. Propane smokers are a popular option for beginners.
Pellet smokers are making a comeback. These smokers use electricity of gas to burn wood pellets. They are a modern take on smoking.
Keep in mind there is also a wide range of hybrid options you can choose from.
Buying a Smoker is a Great Decision
A smoker is a great addition to any summertime barbeque. Buying a smoker doesn’t have to be complicated. Think about these 7 factors when purchasing your smoker to get the right smoker for you.
At BBQ Ultimate, we have all the knowledge you need to help you purchase the right smoker. Check out our guides and learn more about smokers today.