Smoking foods gives them a great flavor that you can’t get from an oven or even a grill. In the old days, you had to build a smokehouse to smoke your meats and other foods. But the art of smoking has come a long way since then. There are a lot of different types of smokers these days, and each one has it’s own unique features and benefits. The wide variety of smokers can sometimes make choosing one even harder than building your own smokehouse! But don’t worry: This article will help make choosing a smoker a lot easier.
Four of the most popular types of smokers today are electric, propane, charcoal, and pellet smokers. Let’s take a look at how they stack up against each other.
If you’re all about push-button convenience, the electric smoker is for you. Since it needs to be plugged into an outlet, an electric smoker isn’t as portable as other smokers. Electric smokers come in both analog and digital styles. Analog electric smokers come with an adjustable thermostat dial to set the temperature, while digital electric smokers have a digital screen with push buttons to set the temperature. An electric smoker can cook food faster than a propane smoker, but doesn’t always give the richest smoky flavor.
Propane smokers are a great alternative to electric smokers. You never have to worry about losing electricity and spoiling your meat. And since you don’t have to plug a propane smoker in, it’s very portable. Propane smokers also give a better smoky flavor when compared to electric smokers. Similar to the advantages of a gas grill, propane smokers are more convenient than charcoal or pellet smokers. A propane smoker is also similar to a propane grill in that it has push button ignition and a built in temperature gauge.
The charcoal smoker gives the most authentic smoked flavor to your food. But this comes at a price. You’ll have to start, stoke, watch, and dispose of your charcoal, just like you would with a charcoal grill. With a charcoal smoker, you can add two levels of wood flavoring by burning flavored charcoal and wood chips together. This let’s you mix and match woods to create deep, nuanced flavors. The charcoal smoker is the choice of the gourmet smoking enthusiast.
The pellet smoker tries to combine the convenience of the electric and propane smokers with the flavor of the charcoal smoker. A pellet smoker usually has a dial to set the temperature and let your food cook while you focus on your rubs and sauces. The pellet smoker gives you a deeper smoky flavor than the electric and propane models, while keeping most of their convenience. You will still have to make sure you have enough wood pellets, but the ability to set and forget is still there. You can also still mix and match wood flavors like you could with a charcoal smoker. However, the smoky flavor the pellet smoker gives isn’t quite as deep and rich as you would get from charcoal.
Pick the Smoker That Fits you Best
Decide what your top priority is. If you’re after convenience above all else, go with an electric smoker. If you want the best smoky flavor at all costs, then you’ll want a charcoal smoker. If you mainly want convenience, but you’d like better flavor than the electric offers, get a propane smoker. If you want a great balance of convenience and flavor, you’ll be happy with a pellet smoker.