Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Best Charcoal Smoker for the Money

When the sun is shining and the workload is light, we often feel inspired to catch up on neglected hobbies and tasks that have fallen to the wayside. A perfect summer day may start with sunshine and friends, but with promise, will lead to an afternoon of barbecue smoking.

Looking for the BEST Charcoal Smoker For the Money?

Smoking meats fully captures the true smoky flavor of outdoor cooking. Mastery of outdoor cooking is an art of relaxation and a common pastime of North Americans. Each barbecue smoking chef has a method to his or her madness. To each his own, but flavor wise, charcoal smokers come highly recommended—money well spent.

Types of Smokers

Vertical Water Smoker

One of the most popular smoking methods, the Vertical Water Unit can use electric, gas, or charcoal as a heat source. With three separate compartments in the smoking chamber, the bottom layer containing your heat source, the middle your water pan and the top including your meat. The water pan is crucial to smoking process. Responsible for storing and regulating heat, the water pan keeps the cooking slowly and steadily. This kind of cooker can prove difficult to regulate temperature depending on heat source.

The Weber Smoky Mountain is the classic example. Check out the 22 inch version here – it is the biggest!

Offset Dry Smoker

We often see these smokers toted behind the back of a truck. The offset dry unit produces high flavor with low heat. The offset box of the unit is filled with briquettes or wood, and the heat then begins in the offset firebox and travels through the smoking chamber. This kind of barbecue box usually has a higher price tag and more of maintenance, but enthusiastic barbecue-ers swear by the taste this smoking style gets you!

See the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker at Amazon.

10 Steps to Charcoal Smoking

  1. Novices to meat smoking should make sure to review the owner’s manual of their specific unit. It is also important to make sure to find out what is recommended for seasoning or curing your smoker. A popular method is to grease your barbecue box then leave it on high.
  2. Before putting meat in the cooking chamber, be sure the meat has come up to room temperature. The even temperature allows the meat to cook perfectly throughout.
  3. Make sure to butcher and season your meat accordingly. Acidity does well with the smoking process, so with pork you could try a mojo seasoning or a more traditional Montreal Steak Seasoning for a cut of beef.
  4. We will need to prepare the briquette pan for the smoker. We must fill the pan about halfway full with briquettes. These briquettes come in assorted hardwood flavors or wood chips that can be moistened and wrapped in foil, then placed in the briquette pan for additional smoky flavor. Wood chips should be replenished every four hours while smoking for optimum taste.
  5. After preparing the briquettes, you will light it. After the briquettes burns for a few minute you can begin to add more briquettes a little at a time. Verify that all the briquettes have caught flame before putting away the charcoal tray.
  6. Once all briquettes are let you can return the pan back to the smoking chamber. Make sure to do this cautiously as to not put out the flames you just built.
  7. Fill your water pan about three-fourths full, the water is needed in the smoking chamber to create vapor. This vapor provides even cooking for you meats and such.
  8. Your smoking chamber must be properly ventilated, but also maintained. There are vents on the smoker to vent out excessive smoke. The air damper is also used to hold in smoke when trying to achieve strong smoke flavors.
  9. Monitor the temperature of your barbecue box and meat with the temperature gauge. Your meat can smoke anywhere from just a couple of hours to all day, depending upon what you plan to smoke. Regardless, a properly smoked meal is always well worth the wait.
  10. Remove your meat and let it rest again.

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker

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Weber provides quality products foremost. With a ten-year warranty on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker, it is safe to assume you are getting the bang for your buck with this smoker. The Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Cooker assists smoke experts in achieving authentic smokehouse flavor, from your own backyard,

Crafted of porcelain-enamel steel, this black bullet of a bbq’er is not only attractive, but also incredibly durable. Open your smoke chamber up and you will find plenty of space for all of your smoking needs. There are two nickel plated racks, each over 18 inches wide that can accommodate both a turkey and a ham for any occasion.

Weber Smokey Mountain prides themselves on honoring the traditions of barbecuing while simultaneously embracing advances in cooking technology. Modern design and features like electronic temperature controls place this unit as one of the leading charcoal smokers of its kind.

Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset Smoker

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

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Using the offset style smoker can be the most rewarding cooking experience, gaining hands on knowledge of smoking your meat to a succulent finished product. The Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset model design allows optimum ventilation of meat and heat control. Smoke travels from the offset firebox throughout the porcelain steel chamber, releasing air through the damper and flavoring your meat.

Inside the Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset, six cook grates provide 284 square inches of cooking space. In other terms, this means your unit could hold up to 100 hundred pounds of meat! These shelves are also adjustable, allowing to smoke cuts of meat of any size.

See the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker at Amazon.

Dual door design also helps facilitate temperature control. When adding wood chips or briquettes to the offset box you can utilize the offset box door, leaving the smoking chamber effectively unchanged. The smart design, sturdy construction and quality assurance of the Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset Model make it a smart addition to any home!

Char-Broil 12201570-A1 American Gourmet Offset Smoker

Char-Broil 12201570-A1 American Gourmet Offset Smoker, Black,Standard

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With its offset smoker, the Char-Broil achieves tender and appetizing meat. This version is constructed of steel and has 430 square inches of cooking space–that’s enough for 18 burgers at a time!

Charcoal, tasty and succulent, is cooking the way your father did, but with top of the line advanced equipment. Multiple dampers help you adjust airflow to control the heat and temperature, so you can cook quickly or slow and low.

A lid-mounted temperature gauge makes reading and adjusting the inside temperature easy. This model includes a side shelf with stay-cool handles for utensils and condiments, and the base is made of four steel legs, two with wheels, to make this grill mobile.

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