Flavor and smoke your meat all with the convenience of a wood smoker.
If you’ve been looking for ways to get that barbeque taste with your home cooking, the best way to do it is with wood pellet smokers. Using wood chips and pellets, these smokers cook your favorite meats and vegetables for hours, infusing them with delicious smoky flavors that you can only get at an authentic barbeque restaurant.
The best part of using wood smokers is that they can easily be used for a multitude of foods including chicken, pork, and even steak. Find out how wood smokers work, and which model is best for you below.
How do Wood Smokers Work?
If you’ve been to a barbeque restaurant, chances are you’ve seen their large barrel-style smokers. These big ovens are filled to the brim with wood and charcoal, and then used to cook meat for hours. A wood smoker is basically a miniature version. While they come in various shapes and sizes, the most common are the small barrel and “bullet” shaped smokers.
A bullet shaped smoker gets its name because of its appearance. These smokers are freestanding, and come with multiple tiers. At the bottom of the smoker is where you will find the heating element. For a wood smoker, this is where you will stack your wood chips. You can also use wood pellets for smokers, which are easier to manage, and remain lit for longer.
Above the wood, will be a tray with water, or if you’re adventurous, beer, which is then heated to a vapor that helps to keep meat moist while also infusing it with additional flavor. On top of that tray are the racks where you position your meats. As the heat and steam combine, they create a hot and moist environment, which is what actually cooks your foods.
Over time, you may have to replace the wood or pellets to ensure that the smoker remains hot. Most smokers come with handy drawers, which allow for replacement without compromising the temperature in the area where your meat is cooking.
5 Best Wood Smokers for Sale Now
There are plenty of options when it comes time to choosing a smoker for your home. Our top five brands that have quality wood smokers for sale include:
- Camp Chef Smoke Vault
Because there are so many brands out there creating quality smokers, it’s important to keep some helpful buying tips in mind. First, you should always have a budget. Smokers can reach well into the thousands, which is why having a set budget can help narrow down your search.
Another key element to buying a wood smoker is the design. While we’ve seen traditional barrel smokers, which come in household sizes, cabinet smokers are also a great alternative with a cleaner look. They have tiered shelving, and come with easy handles to open, even during operation.
Finally, it’s important to know what size smoker you need. If you plan on hosting parties, for example, having a large wood smoker that can accommodate plenty of food is the way to go. Also consider the space you have and where you can store your wood smoker, as this can become a major inconvenience.
Choosing the Right Wood Pellets for Your Smoker
Wood pellet smokers rely on pellets as their source of heating for the cooking process. Finding the right pellets for your smoker can go a long way to add flavor during use. Some key tips for choosing the right pellets are:
- Find the Right Flavors: Wood pellets come in a multitude of flavors, and not all flavors pair well with your protein of choice. While you can test to see which work best for your foods, some easy combinations include mesquite with pork, hickory with meats, and oak with seafood. The beauty of wood pellet smokers is that you can experiment with the flavors to find your perfect fit.
- Pricing Matters: While you don’t have to buy the most expensive wood pellets, it is important to get quality pellets. If your wood smoker has uneven temperatures, or it takes too long to heat up, your wood pellets can be to blame. Poor quality pellets can actually produce more ash, which will dampen the heat and cause those drops and spikes in temperature.
- Heating vs. Smoking: If you’re just starting out with your wood smoker, mistaking heating pellets with smoking pellets is a common occurrence. Heating pellets are used to actually light and raise the temperature in your smoker, while smoking pellets are mainly used for flavor in conjunction with other wood chips.
Now that you have your picks for the best wood smokers, and the right pellets, you’re ready to make delicious smoked barbeque in the comfort of your home.