Hey there, folks! Backyard Charlie here, and I'm excited to share with you my thoughts on grilling smokers. Now, there are four main styles of smokers: vertical, horizontal, combination and pellet smokers. Let's dive into each one and see what makes them unique.
First up, we've got the vertical smoker, also known as water or bullet smokers. These bad boys are designed with three layers: a heat pan on the bottom, water pan in the middle, and one or two grill grids on the top layers. They're affordable, starting at around $30, making them a great entry-level option for those new to smoking. But, beware, these smokers require constant and careful attention due to their lack of ventilation openings. You'll need to learn how to create an updraft using the small door and lid openings. But, the food layers in these smokers help to baste each other from the top down, making for some tasty and tender results. If you decide to go with a vertical smoker, check out models made by Weber, and Charbroil for the best options.
Next up, we have the horizontal smoker, which is the go-to choice for championship barbeque teams. These smokers have a side firebox and a separate smoking chamber and start at around $150. The thicker steel used in these smokers allows for better heat retention, temperature regulation, and overall efficiency. The side firebox makes it easy to refill fuel and manage heat and smoke, and it can even function as a grill if you want. If you're serious about barbeque and want to compete, consider investing in a commercial-grade horizontal smoker, which can go up to $2,000 or more, depending on your needs and capacity.
Third, we have combination smokers, which combine the side firebox of the horizontal smoker with the vertical smoking chamber, or even both horizontal and vertical chambers. These are great for both home and professional use, and models from Pit Boss and are worth checking out.
Lastly, what if you want to take your smoking game to the next level? Enter the pellet smoker.
Pellet smokers use wood pellets as fuel, which are automatically fed into the smoker from a hopper. The temperature is controlled by an electronic controller, so you can set it and forget it. This makes pellet smokers much easier to use than traditional smokers, and they're also more efficient and produce less smoke.
Pellet smokers come in a variety of sizes and styles, from small portable models to large commercial-grade smokers. Some even come with built-in Wi-Fi, so you can monitor and control the smoker from your phone.
One of the benefits of pellet smokers is that they produce a consistent and predictable smoke flavor, thanks to the controlled temperature and smoke output. They're also versatile, allowing you to smoke, grill, roast, and even bake in the same unit. Our go to pellet smokers are from Halo Products and Pit Boss.
So, there you have it, folks! Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned pro, there's a smoker out there for everyone. Happy grilling!