What BBQ Smoker Should You Purchase ?
Purists appreciate the days when smoking meat meant slaving over a hickory wooded cooker long enough to achieve moist cuisine tender enough to drop from the bone. Innovations have cleared room for cooks who value timeously served dishes over the nostalgic process of nursing a meal for an entire day. Although today’s typical bbq smoker gets the task done more rapidly, there is no need to sacrifice moisture or tenderness. A few simple questions will help you to arrive at the ultimate choice of the best bbq smoker.
1) Talented chef or novice?
The quality produced by a bbq smoker is intricately linked to the skill of the chef. Whilst some smokers make the task simpler, others present a challenge to all but the highest cuisine masters.
a)Electric: Most people find it difficult to tease haute cuisine out of an electric bbq smoker but those with true talent are able to recreate the most natural flavors with them. The main difficulties of electric models is the fact that they constantly need to be nurtured with wood refills. Some cuts dry out quickly which is counter-intuitive to purists who smoke meat in order to draw out the potential of bad cuts. Those willing to slave over meals at low temperatures will achieve delicious results. Electric smokers are versatile, and able to cope with pork, beef, fish and lamb.
b)Gas: A gas smoker has a distinctive flavor that is loved by some and despised by others. These are simple to fire up outdoors. New gas grills have dedicated burners that overcome the heating challenges of traditional models. They can handle large amounts of food; a facet lacking in electric models. Flavors can be created using pellets, wood chips or pouches.
c)Charcoal and Wood: Temperature and air control are the key methods of creating that natural, smoky taste, and high tech wood and charcoal smokers have enough insulation to maintain the stable temperatures needed for a perfectly smoked meal. Cheaper options are prone to leakage, which destabilizes temperature and leaves you with less control over your cooking.
2) How Big is Your Party?
Size isn’t as important as temperature control when considering guest numbers. Tiny smokers can adequately cater to 20 hungry visitors, yet many electric options are incapable of maintaining temperatures high enough to heat large amounts of food. The meat quality is optimized by the consistency of the temperature. Hot smokers are easy to come by whilst cooler temperatures present a challenge as they are rare. Commercial style smokers handle large meat cuts at a steady heat. Simple smokers for family dinners are more affordable, and need to be capable of maintaining a temperature of between 200 and 350 degrees.
3) Are you a traditionalist or a modernist?
a) If you want to smoke the traditional way, there is nothing better than gathering around the fire pit of an old fashioned wood smoker. The process of tending the flames for hours is part of the fun. In return for all the hard work, wood smokers allow you to fine tune your technique, even if you are a novice.
b) Highly functional vertical models come with practical accessories. Thermometers, perfected smoke levels and hot, cold and wet smoking capacity give modernists a versatile experience that makes perfection unavoidable.
Using BBQ smoker Reviews
Consumer reviews offer invaluable advice about the most flavorsome ways to add a distinctive flair to meals. A bbq smoker is the ultimate way to bring gourmet taste into the garden. With a little practice, you’ll soon be whipping up more complex smoked cheeses, truffles and foie gras.
For budding chefs who prefer spending their time catching fish rather than cooking it, propane smokers offer a simple way to achieve that wood-smoked flavor in places too wild for electric outlets. Smokers add scope to the taste adventures of exploratory cooks seeking new ways to bring out the potential of meat, fish, vegetables and cheese.
The best propane smoker models offer superior temperature control that can be refined to suit cold and hot smoking as well as smoke-roasting. Simpler models retain their steady temperature but do not allow for finer alterations in heat. They are thrifty with wood and charcoal and offer plenty of flexibility for those who like to experiment with wood and charcoal combinations. Slow smoking adds to the tenderness of meats when temperatures are kept below 225 degrees Fahrenheit: a feat that even the simplest propane smokers can generally achieve. Beyond the basic features of a simple propane smoker lies a wealth of features to manipulate to suit individual cooking styles.
Propane Smoker Buying Guide
1) How much control do you need?
A basic propane smoker comes with its own inbuilt thermometer which eases the process for those who favor simplicity and fuss-free smoking.
True cuisine aficionados usually credit instant-read thermometers as the key to superior smoking. The usual bi-metal dial thermometer falls far beneath such lofty expectations, so those who take their cuisine seriously will not accept anything less than a digital thermometer.
Pork and turkey fans, whether they are skilled chefs or amateurs, need to invest in a digital thermometer because the only way to tell whether these meats are done is according to their temperature.
An instant read thermometer keeps steak and burger fans within their perfect range by offering spot checks in less than two seconds.
Leave-in probes keep track of large roasts. Those who prefer tackling pork shoulders, loins and turkey need to nurture their bulky cuts without losing precious heat consistency.
2) Are you a foodie or a techie?
Those who demand the ultimate cuisine from their propane smokers on the day of purchase require high end brands with dampers that allow temperature adjustments, separate wood-feeding doors to retain consistency, and water-tight panels that don’t allow unintentional variations in smoke levels. Another group of propane smoker fans gains more amusement out of pimping simpler, generic models to suit their personal specifications. By adding modifications, these technically adept smoker enthusiasts install their own needle valves, water pans and rust-free covers. Since propane smokers are so adroit with temperature control, a modified gasser bought on a budget is a competent tool that will cook slowly without diluting that all-important smoke. Supped-up smokers don’t always manage the ultimate 225 degree heat but they are usually able to keep to 250 degrees—a temperature that will satisfy unfussy eaters.
3) Are you a traditionalist or a perfectionist?
Those who want to smoke the old fashioned way choose systems that contain separate fire and cooking boxes. A traditionalist chooses a propane smoker because of its simplicity, portability and unfussy handling. In contrast, those in search of a range of self-made flavors and varieties choose smokehouses with complex individual smoking and cooking mechanisms. Commercial models offer highly adaptive humidity and temperature levels, which can be changed according to the whims of the chef throughout the smoking process.
Smoking methods are as versatile as those who use them, with every amateur having their own perfect wood combinations, cooking techniques and magical methods of coaxing the tenderness out of different cuts. Propane smoker reviews are the ultimate resource for discovering tricks, accessories and features that extend the capabilities of a humble gas smoker.
Charcoal Smoker Reviews
Cuisine aficionados in search of the tenderness and taste of an expertly smoked meal demand three aspects of their tools: Temperature control, air regulation and wood chip blends form the trio that makes perfection possible. Charcoal smokers are considered by most to be the premier option that achieves optimum results in all three areas. Whilst even the best charcoal smoker demands plenty of nurturing throughout the cooking process, backyard chefs willing to put in the care required cannot achieve better flavor from other smokers. A few core brands have dominated the market for years but, with a little knowledge in your back pocket, it is possible to find a superior model that doesn’t come at the steepest expense.
Charcoal Smoker Buying Guide
1) How ambitious is your menu?
A charcoal smoker with thick steel walls is capable of achieving both low and high temperatures. Those with a craving for wood-smoked pizza and bread require searing temperatures and superior flavors that are difficult to find in less luxurious models. These heavy-weight smokers can maintain consistent temperatures for hours, so amateurs won’t have to deliver quite as many failures before they find success. Charcoal smoker models are renowned for their superior taste, resulting from their air-tight structures. Those with the lofty goal of serving up the more challenging breads and cheeses on the menu need the connoisseur-worthy taste that only a charcoal smoker can achieve.
2)How fanatical are you?
Charcoal smokers are the ultimate tools of those participating in the competition circuit but some models are costlier than others. Bullet-style smokers offer serious amateurs a superior experience on a reasonable budget. They are designed with low vents that encourage air to circulate to the top for flavorful smoking over low temperatures, whilst water pans produce steam that cooks meat indirectly for increased tenderness. Smokers designed to include insulated walls and steel cabinets offer commercial quality through flawless insulation. These models are less affordable but fanatical smokers choose them for their size, fuel efficiency and incomparable flavor.
3) Are you a Scrooge or a Rockefeller?
The horizontal offset charcoal smoker comes at both ends of the price spectrum. Those with featherweight prices are less durable, using thinner materials that cannot maintain consistent temperatures over lengthy cooking periods. The horizontal design of these models does not encourage the upward movement of heat and smoke, so efficiency and taste are sacrificed. Costlier offset models retain the horizontal shape but channel the smoke using a reverse flow system. Heat is constrained by thicker, airtight materials which also improve the durability of the smoker. These are often used commercially because of their longevity and improved temperature distribution.
4) How sociable are you?
Fussy foodies don’t necessarily have to spend their time nursing their smokers for hours on end in exchange for a meal flavorsome enough to satisfy their haughty palettes. The kamado smoker design has hefty ceramic walls that are supremely good at maintaining consistent temperatures. These designs do the heat control on your behalf, leaving you to entertain your guests whilst your meal virtually takes care of itself. These Japanese models can be bought for a price that is more affordable than that of commercial offset grills but there are also ceramic brands that fetch five times that price. For those with a penchant for large parties, the high-end kamados with increased interior space can manage large rotisseries to feed a crowd.
Adventurous BBQ fans have not completed their smoking tool-sets until they have a complete set of individually-chosen accessories. Charcoal smoker reviews reveal the features required from thermometers, utensils and toppers that help perfect the results of your smoker.
Electric Smoker Reviews
Electric smokers offer the delicate flavors that bring out the subtleties that fish, vegetables, cheese and nuts require. They don’t excel at flavoring richer red and pink meats but they have nonetheless gathered a solid fan base because of their ease-of-use and convenience. An electric smoker presents its own unique set of challenges to foodies, but with a few nips and tucks, it becomes possible to find electric models that are more competent than most.
Electric Smoker Buying Guide
1) How heavy is your wallet?
Many electric smokers fail because they regulate temperature with an affordable rheostat. This limits the foods they are capable of handling, since the searing temperatures required to smoke pizza, bread and certain meats cannot be achieved. Those in the market for the best electric smoker for their budgets are satisfied with the limitations of rheostats purely because of their attractive prices. Most electric models are controlled by thermostats, which helps them to control temperature more precisely. They tend to be slightly larger, making them less portable than rheostat-controlled designs. The fact that electric smokers need to operate near a power source tends to reduce their desirability for chefs who prefer taking their barbecues into the great outdoors, so portability is not generally a concern for electric enthusiasts.
2) How much smoked food can you handle?
One of the reasons electric designs have a large fan base is because they cut out the need for supervision, leaving foodies free to set up their smoker in the morning, put in a hard day’s work and arrive home to a perfectly smoked meal. Thermostat-controlled designs allow you to choose the precise temperature required to smoke a meal for a set number of hours. Those who crave smoked flavors throughout the year need to choose models with excellent insulation so that consistent heat can be retained during the wintry months. Insulated models excel at retaining the moisture of red meats, but they cannot give chicken that crispy golden crust.
3) Are you a traditionalist?
The traditional pink smoke ring and outdoor barbecue experience are not elements that purists are willing to sacrifice but they are not easily achieved with an electric smoker. Purists can set up a secure extension that takes them deep into the backyard by using a cable with a large power capacity. Twelve gauge cords or custom made cables designed according to the smoker’s wattage allow smokers to be taken into the yard. The typical smoke ring can be achieved by using models competent at retaining cooler temperatures of 225 degrees or less. The addition of charcoal to the wood box of the electric smoker also helps to generate the authentic pink ring beneath the meat’s surface.
4) Are you a modernist?
A greater portion of the barbecuing community favors smoking purely because the process is steeped in convention. The electric smoker has carved a niche for itself amongst those who prefer pushing a button to stoking a fire. High end electric smokers may be expensive but the level of automation they deliver turns barbecuing into an intuitive experience that is as simple and convenient as operating a microwave. Changing temperature and smoking time is as simple as flipping a switch. Unfortunately, achieving a cool 60 degree cooking temperature without losing authentic flavor is not quite so easy with electric smokers. The most natural flavor is generated by adding dry wood chips to the burner and adding charcoal to the blend.
Electric smoker reviews are often the ultimate resource for overcoming the limitations of these models. Experimentation is the final frontier that allows foodies to achieve a more authentic taste.