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Curated Experts Can Help You Find the Best Smoker for Your Outdoor Cooking Needs
What is a smoker? I’m glad you asked! Smokers are wonderful cooking devices primarily used for slow-cooking meats—such as brisket and pork shoulder. These meats are wonderful but require a long, slow cooking process to break the meat down and leave it tender and juicy. A quality smoker will also allow you to control temperatures for long periods. Smokers come in all shapes and sizes with multiple fuel types. However, the common denominator between them is the ability to cook low and slow (and also, to incite arguments over which is best—Texas, Memphis, or Kansas City BBQ)!
Types of Smokers
Smokers are typically broken down into two main designs—upright smokers or offset smokers—and come with a variety of fuel types, such as charcoal, wood, gas/propane, electric, or wood pellet.
Upright smokers are just what they sound like. They are vertical, with the heat source at the bottom and food above. These smokers have several variations, so choosing the right option can take some time and research. Some are heated with an electrical heating element, some with charcoal (which requires a bit more maintenance during the cooking process), others with gas or propane, and even wood pellets. The upright orientation allows the smoke and heat to travel evenly across the meat. These smokers are typically very easy to use as well. Another benefit of the upright smoker is its size. These smokers are usually small enough to be somewhat portable, versus their larger and heavier sibling, the offset smoker.
Offset smokers are typically laid out horizontally and have a firebox on the end of the unit where the fuel source is located. These smokers are often able to handle not only charcoal but also lump wood or—in larger units—wood logs. These are the smokers most people think about when dreaming about BBQ. They are typically larger and often extremely heavy as they are usually made from heavy-duty steel, which helps maintain the internal temperature. If you need to cook for a larger group of people, then the offset smoker is likely a better choice than the upright smoker.
One other smoker that is worth mentioning is the pellet smoker. True pellet smokers are typically upright in orientation. They operate in the same manner as other upright smokers other than the fuel source, which is provided through a hopper filled with pellets. One beautiful thing about these smokers is that—as a pellet-fired product—you will have precise control over temperatures since most pellet-fueled grills and smokers are controlled with a digital thermostat. In addition to the upright pellet smoker, you can also smoke meats low and slow on most pellet grills. These grills and smokers are incredibly versatile cooking devices!
Talk With an Expert
Wondering which smoker is right for you? Chat with a Grill & Outdoor Kitchen Expert here on Curated who can help connect you to the perfect smoker. If wafting smoke is in your future, then our team of Experts will make sure you make the best decision and purchase the perfect smoker for you.