Kitchen Talk – Taking Smoking to the Next Level
Throughout April, we have guided you through BBQ, starting with basics and working up to using your gas grill as a smoker. If you tried it and enjoyed it, this post talks you through going to the next level.
Several types of smokers are available, each with unique features and benefits. Some require more monitoring, while some can help you get the desired results without being tied to the smoker all day. See what features you are looking for, and what will fit your price range before buying. We have provided links to reviews of each type of smoker to give you an idea of the range within each category.
Here are some of the most common types:
This is a classic smoker design where the firebox is separate from the cooking chamber, and smoke and heat are drawn through a connecting vent. The offset smoker is ideal for cooking larger meat cuts and longer smoking sessions.
Offset smokers use a firebox on the side of the smoker where you light the wood or charcoal. As the wood or charcoal burns, it generates heat and smoke drawn through adjustable vents into the cooking chamber.To add smoky flavour to your food, you can add wood chips or chunks to the firebox directly on top of the burning wood or charcoal.
This type of smoker features multiple racks for cooking, allowing you to smoke or grill multiple items at once. Vertical smokers are great for smoking smaller cuts of meat and are often more compact than other smokers, making them ideal for those with limited space.
To use a vertical smoker, light the charcoal or wood in the firebox or charcoal tray at the bottom of the smoker. As the charcoal or wood burns, it generates heat and smoke that rises through the smoker. To help regulate the temperature and create moist heat, some vertical smokers have a water pan above the firebox or charcoal tray. The water in the pan evaporates and creates a humid environment, which helps to keep the food moist.
Vertical smokers offer a large cooking capacity, making it easy to smoke multiple items simultaneously. However, they may not offer the same level of temperature control or precision as other types of smokers.
Electric smokers are convenient and easy to use, requiring only a power source. They are also easy to clean and maintain but may not offer the same smoky flavour as other smokers.
Electric smokers are easy to use and only require a wall plug-in. Once it's plugged in, the heating element inside the smoker is turned on, and the temperature rises. Wood chips can be added to a tray or box near the heating element, and as they heat up, they release smoke that flavours the food.
This popular type of smoker uses charcoal as the main fuel source. Charcoal smokers are versatile and offer excellent flavour but can be more difficult to use than other smokers.
Once the charcoal is lit, it is placed in the smoker's firebox or charcoal tray. Charcoal smokers have adjustable vents that allow you to control the airflow and temperature inside the smoker. By adjusting the vents, you can keep the fire burning, or restrict the airflow to lower the temperature. To add smoky flavour to your food, you can add wood chips or chunks to the smoker. The wood is placed directly on top of the charcoal, and as it burns, it releases smoke that flavours the food.
You might know of the Kamodo Smoker, commonly referred to by the brand name, The Big Green Egg, or just as an Egg Smoker. The Big Green Egg is a type of Kamado smoker based on a traditional Japanese clay oven design. It features a thick ceramic shell that helps retain heat and moisture and can be used for smoking, grilling, and baking.
Kamado smokers work by using natural lump charcoal as a fuel source. The charcoal is lit using a chimney starter, and the smoker's adjustable air vents control the temperature. The thick ceramic walls of the smoker help to retain heat and moisture, which results in evenly cooked and juicy meats.
This is a newer type of smoker that uses wood pellets as fuel. Pellet smokers are easy to use and offer precise temperature control, making them ideal for beginners or those who prefer a more hands-off approach to smoking.
The smoker works by feeding the pellets into a hopper, which is connected to an auger that delivers the pellets to the combustion chamber. An igniter rod then lights the pellets on fire, and a fan blows air into the chamber to maintain the fire and control the temperature. The amount of pellets fed into the chamber and the air flow are controlled by the smoker's computerized controller.
See Serious Eats for The Best Pellet Smokers and Grills at Every Price Point or head down to Backcountry Grills for to check out their Green Mountain Grills.
Finding the Right Fit
There are a lot of options when it comes to smokers. The best thing you can do is start asking questions. Head down to see our friends at .
Or if You’re like Eric, buy one of each.
We hope you have enjoyed April’s BBQ month and have learned some new tips or techniques. We will continue to feature more recipes for the smoker through BBQ season but come back anytime to review our BBQ month blog posts.
This week, our Feature Product is Big Meat, the original Township27 blend designed specifically for smoking. You also won’t want to miss Friday’s Weekend Meal Inspiration, where we will smoke a brisket using a tried-and-true method. Stay tuned!
If you want to see any Weekend Meal Inspiration recipes or Kitchen Talk ideas featured, let us know on Facebook or Instagram!