What Are the Best Smokers for Beginners To Get You Smoking Like A Pro
Smoking food is one of the most exciting hobbies anyone can have in his home and this is the primary reason why more and more people are looking for the best smokers for beginners. Smokers come in a variety of sizes, designs and modes of use. For every design, smokers have their requirements for certain wood use in specific forms. Some smokers need wood chunks while some types need wood chips or wood pellets and some models can use any of these wood forms for smoking and flavoring the food. Smokers also have different heating sources. There are charcoal smokers, gas smokers, pellet smokers and electric smokers.
For the smokers for beginners, these should be easy to use so that their initial use won’t be frustrating. The goal is for them to have fun with their smokers and discover the enjoyment in turning meat into more flavorful food courtesy of their smokers and the trees that grow around them. Essentially, nothing can beat the taste of the natural flavor of wood that is infused into the meat much like the country style of meat smoking.
If you are interested to know some of the most popular meat smokers for beginners, you should read this article because we will tell you some tips on how to find the best smokers that could make your smoking hobby an enjoyable task. We will also give you some reviews of the ideal smokers to buy that are perfect for beginners.
Things to Consider When Looking For The Best Smokers for Beginners
Since you are looking for the best smokers for beginners, you also have to know what things you should be prepared for. So we have a checklist here to help you decide how to find the best smokers that can give you the advantage as a beginner smoker.
Smokers like ordinary appliances have cheap kinds and high-ends. The cheaper products are generally those having basic parts and most are used without the aid of electronic accessories. Examples are charcoal-fed smokers. The high-end smokers or the so-called high-tech smokers are electric smokers but digital types and they can be programmed according to your desired temperature and timer setting.
If you are a newbie smoker, you can start with any of these smokers as long as you can afford to buy it though we recommend buying the cheaper kind of smoker first based on its simple use. The thing is, the best smokers for beginners should help you cook your food without hassles and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Upgrading your cheap smoker.
Let’s say you are already used to using your small, portable and cheap smoker like those that use wood chips or charcoals and you are already familiar with meat smoking. If you want to further your smoking potentials, you can upgrade your smoker into a bigger type at an affordable price level.
The vertical pellet smokers can be the perfect smokers for beginners because these are primarily designed for smoking food only and they generally used wood pellets and chips. The horizontal smokers and the offset smokers, most of them, are designed not only to smoke food but also to grill, barbecue and even bake bread. However, you need a bit more of the smoking skills with these smokers because they usually smoke their woods in separate chambers unlike with the vertical smokers.
Know where to buy the cheapest.
Meat smokers for beginners should not always come cheap because you may find that some of them won’t be meeting your expectations. Moreover, you should also be aware of buying expensive smoker units from companies that promise you a user-friendly smoking process. So if you want a unit that has been advertised by a company, try checking it first from trusted online stores like Amazon and most probably you can buy it at a cheaper price.
Decide which smoker type you want to buy.
It is common for us to look for the best smokers for beginners if we want to taste food that are cooked in different ways other than grilling, roasting and braising. So we may also want to venture into food smoking. But what kind of smokers would you need? Like we have mentioned, there are gas, charcoal, and electric types. Each of them produces a different amount of heat and follow certain cooking processes. They also have their pros and cons but all of these can produce delicious smoked food.
Which Smokers for Beginners is Best For You?
We shall identify now the different types of smokers based on their heat and power source which is very important if you are new to smoking food.
Many people see charcoal smokers as the right smokers for beginners because these require you to check on your food from time to time which can be part of your learning process. As an interactive smoker type, the charcoal smokers usually have 3 or 4 main parts: the lowest part is the base pan which has holes for air intake and where the charcoal pan goes. On top of the charcoal pan, is a grate where the metal box is placed and this contains the wood pellets.
The middle chamber houses the water bowl and the grates/racks and the top chamber is the lid which has the damper for exhaust and the temperature gauge. The charcoal heats the wood pellets and makes it smoke so food is cooked both by the smoke and the heat.
Charcoal can be easily replaced and can burn hot producing the best flavor for the meat.
It can produce the best crust and smoke ring on meat because of the high-intensity heat coming from the burning charcoal.
Easy to use and easy to check on food using a probe thermometer. Just open the top lid.
Temperature inside the smoker can be seen with the thermometer gauge located on the top lid.
Requires more of your attention to prevent your meat from getting overcooked or over- smoked.
Lighting up charcoal can be inconvenient.
Charcoal can be quite expensive to buy.
Propane or Gas Smokers
The propane gas smokers can also be the ideal meat smokers for beginners because these are easier to use and easy to light up compared to charcoal smokers. You only need to set everything up and light up the gas but you should also monitor your meat.
In most gas smokers, they have the temperature control outside of the unit which is not electronically operated but the flame can still be controlled. As the flame heat up the wood chip on the tray, smoke is produced thus the smoke and the heat also go up into the food. The basic constructions of the gas smokers are typically upright so heat directly cooks the food slowly while the flavor from the wood smoke also infuses into the meat.
The set up is simple with gas smokers. At the bottom is the gas burner followed by the first rack for the pellet tray, followed by the water pan and the following racks are for the meat. On top of the smoker is also an exhaust damper. This damper will let you exhaust some of the heat and smoke that are trapped inside and also to control the internal temperature of the unit.
Easier to light up and manage than the charcoal smoker. Also less mess.
By controlling the flame, the temperature can be managed.
A single tank of propane can smoke/cook thick meats like briskets that require long hours of smoking.
Propane gas is easily available.
No fuel residues to clean.
Most likely will not produce the smoke ring on meat.
These smokers generally have narrow bodies so containing a full rack of ribs or turkeys or huge briskets requires cutting them up.
Are not recommended for outdoor use during cold weather because maintaining heat can be a problem
You always have to have a full tank of gas ready or a reserve gas tank filled with propane.
Pellet smokers are very versatile because some are made to use charcoal as fuel while other types need propane gas and the latest models are electrical types. The best thing about pellet smokers is that they require very minimal maintenance. Also, adding the pellets to the hopper is not a hassle.
Wood pellets are easy to find even in grocery stores. You can also choose the more flavorful type of wood for smoking if you want your food to taste a bit of the smokey wood. These smokers can also be the best smokers for beginners because pellets can produce a lot of smoke, not messy to burn, and easy to store. If you want a pellet smoker that requires very minimal management, you can also opt for the electric pellet smokers.
Some types of pellet smokers can also be used for grilling and barbecuing.
A wide variety of wood pellets are available in the market.
Pellets don’t leave messy ash and residues.
Pellets smoke faster than other forms of wood fuel.
With regards to loading pellets, this is quite easy on smokers with hoppers.
Need constant refueling especially when smoking briskets and a variety of food on single cooking.
Some pellets have additives that can make the meat tastes bad.
Electric smokers come in 2 types: analog and digital. The analog smokers can be set with their temperatures and the temperature will maintain the internal thermostat. They usually have manual on/off switch thus they are becoming the ideal smokers for beginners. Still, these smokers also require babysitting.
Digital smokers have more complex controls but you can set the right temperature for the type of meat you want to smoke with their electronic thermostat controls. They also have automatic timers so you can just leave these smokers alone after setting them up. Some models also have blue tooth options that will allow you to connect their system to your smartphone and use it to control the temperature. Nonetheless, both the analog and electric smokers use heating elements to burn and smoke the wood.
They can be controlled thermostatically by setting your desired temperature and the system will handle all the heat.
The hopper will automatically feed the pellet into the burner slowly so there’s no need to watch over the pellet as long as you put a lot into the hopper.
You can cook any type of meat by following the smoker’s manual for the right temperature setting for every meat.
The ash from pellets is very minimal.
With their doors made of glass on some models, you can see the cooking status of your meat.
Pellet smokers are a bit expensive than the traditional smokers that use other sources of fuel.
The digital pellet smokers can be difficult to master especially in setting the right temperature for certain kinds of food without the smoking guide.
Review of the Best Meat Smokers for Beginners
Now that you know now the different kinds of smokers, let’s review some of them to give you ideas about which units are worth buying.
Masterbuilt Analog Electric Smoker
With 3 Smoking Racks, 30 Inch, Black
This propane smoker unit, as they say, is “built like a tank”. Being an electric smoker, this can be of the best smokers for beginners who want to experiment on smoking meat using only gas. It has a built-in temperature gauge while you can also control the temperature using its analog dial. This unit needs wood chips and it has a separate door for the wood chip tray at the bottom so there’s no need to open the top door to where the meat is cooking. With its 3 chrome-coated racks, these are safe from rusting.
With 717 square inches of smoking space and can reach up an internal hear of up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, your meat will have that smokey flavor from your chosen wood. If you want to ignite this unit, you only need to load up everything and push its button and the heating element goes hot. However, this is not a digital electric pellet smoker so you have to watch for the temperature gauge and manually timed your cooking. When it comes to the best smokers for beginners, this is one of the most affordable models you could practice to master your skills in meat smoking.
Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
Looking for the best smokers for beginners that use charcoals? Take a peek at this unit which got 4 steel-plated cooking grates that will let you cook different varieties of meat at one time. Weighing only 24 pounds, this has 286 square inches of cooking space and has a very convenient shape (egg-type) that will let you carry it anywhere you want to camp. For its durability, its legs are also rust-resistant and the door is made of aluminum with a heat shield.
Very easy to assemble although it comes with a user guide, you can do a lot of smoking practice with this unit considering that this has a very simple construction and not much of moving parts. The only small problem with these kinds of smokers is that they are not suitable for use in a cold environment because they are generally not fully insulated. But when it comes to outdoor cooking in a good climate, this one should be perfect.
Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill
This type of wood pellet smoker can be a very good example for those who are looking for digital smokers for beginners. It has a large capacity pellet hopper that will let you smoke your food all the way and being an electric pellet smoker, it has an auto-start ignition system to fire it up instantly. It also has a dual LED temperature readout to show you the internal temperature as well as the temperature of the food you are smoking.
But don’t get confused with this unit’s high-tech capability because this unit also has a basic temperature selection system that will let you choose your heating option. For the pellets, the hopper has the usual automatic auger that will dispense the wood pellet. The one bit shortage you may find with this product is, it only has 429 smoking/cooking space and this is normal for the common/grilling products because these are horizontally designed.
So if you are looking for a multi-purpose smoker and a griller in one, this is one of the most professional-grade meat smokers for beginners that you can enhance your smoking and grilling skills.
If you are one of those who want to eat delicious smoked food, why not buy your own smoker and choose any of the meat smokers for beginners we have shown you above? Honestly, smoking food can be hard from the beginning and even professionals sometimes fail in meeting their expectations.
But if you are serious about having delicious smoked food on your table, you could start with the best smokers for beginners and go from there. You just need to choose the right type of smoker that could fit your budget as well as the convenience to gather that encouragement and goal in improving your food smoking skills.
Do you also want to smoke other food aside from the regular poultry, pork and beef? How about fish? Yes, we also have an article to tell you more about smokers for fish and you will learn a lot from it like how to find the best smoke