Yesterday I came home to a failure: my son, my own family, had brought home a grill. Not just any grill, but a gas grill. Taken aback as he wheeled the grill across the patio pavers, Josh could not understand my disapproval. He had declared the purchase culinary genius. He was mistaken.
Stopping my son, and that “grill”, in their tracks, I explained the fine beauty of the Best Backyard Smoker. I spent the afternoon making sure Josh fully understood the mastery of properly smoking and barbecuing your favorite meats.
With the passing of the grill tongs, I passed along the family tradition and art of slow cooking. My father had taught me as a boy, and my grandfather had taught him, and now I had defended our legacy against gas grilling.
We spent the afternoon preparing St. Louis Spare Ribs, and they made it to the table with no time to spare. Supper was ready. We were not looking for a fast meal, but the pecan smoky flavor only achieved by the slow, smoky goodness.
Advantages of Smoking versus Grilling
There are many benefits to using a smoker rather than a griller for your regular cooking routine. We promise smoking your meats will introduce flavors to your menu you thought were only possible in a restaurant. The reason for this restaurant quality taste lies behind the key difference between a smoker and a grill.
When cooking with a smoker, unlike a grill, your meat never comes into contact with flames—this allows a slow cook, thoroughly captivating your favorite smoke flavoring or marinade.
Another benefit to smoking your meat is the minimal loss of nutrients in the smoking process. Try your first barbecue box today. You won’t be disappointed by the healthful and flavorful treat!
Types of Smokers
Vertical Water Unit: One of the most popular methods of smoking, the Vertical Water version can use electric, gas, or charcoal as a heat source. The barbecue box is broken up into three compartments, the bottom compartment containing the heat source.
The middle compartment of the Vertical Water version houses water, making the whole smoker tick.
Finally, the water pan stores and regulates heat. Regulated cooking provides a controlled and moist environment in the top compartment for your most tender brisket on a Sunday afternoon.
The key drawback with this style cooker is the lack of temperature control and small cook top space.
Offset Dry Unit: We often see these smokers hauled on the back of a truck, towing off to their next barbecuing destination. These offset dry units produce a sought after flavor with low temperature created by the offset firebox.
This box is filled with charcoal or wood, and the heat travels through a vent or chimney. The heat will then travel throughout the cooking chamber then escape, maintaining the low cooking temperature.
This type of unit is a little pricier and more of maintenance for temperature control, but avid barbecue-ers swears by the full flavor this smoking style gets you!
Electric Unit: A wide variety of options and extremely-user-friendly features make the electric models a desirable investment. Modern amenities like digital temperature readings and multiple racks allow the ultimate temperature control for all of your smoked meats. Spend as little or as much as you want on your new electric griller, there are options of all prices. This easy-to-use model is great for low-maintenance cooking.
How to Choose Barbecue Box
Three important questions you can ask yourself before purchasing your new smoker:
1. Where will you put it?
The location of your barbecuing area can be an important deciding factor. If you have a small amount of space to dedicate to your new hobby, than an electric version may be the best option for you.
There are compact units available that could easily be placed on a patio, requiring little ventilation. If you have more space to worth with, perhaps you would prefer a larger smoker using charcoal or wood as a heat source. These larger units will need more space for storage and room for ventilation.
2. What heat source would you like to use?
Do you want to build the fire or just enjoy it? Some people enjoy the art of barbecue and others only enjoy the art of eating barbecue. Give some thought to which category best suits you.
If you find yourself enjoying the artistry of smoking than maybe you should try charcoal or wood as a heat source. These heating methods require more attention from the smokemaster.
If you would rather sit back while the smoker does the majority of the work for you, maybe give an electric smoker a go! Many electric models can be controlled with a remote from the comfort of your pool raft.
3. What does your budget look like?
When you factor in your budget you will get an accurate idea of your options and hopefully eliminate some too, making your final choice easier! There small units available for the countertop as low as $30 ranging upwards to several hundred-dollar units.
The features and extras of the specific version will determine the cost. The men of my family use the Smoke Hollow 30162E Electric Smoker, but shop around and see what is best for you.
Smoke Hollow 30162E: A Premium Model
With this electric smoker transform your backyard into an escape. Make any meal into a feast. Smoke any meat from your local butcher or grocer, and we promise you will not be disappointed. Our smoker locks in flavor from your favorite hardwood chips or marinade, resulting in a guaranteed tender, delicious, and flavorful meal.
The Smoke Hollow outdoor model brought to you by Outdoor Leisure Products features endless convenient amenities. Smokemasters and chefs alike appreciate the 2 cook surfaces, 16 by 14 inches. This spacious surface allows anything from salmon to pork loin to cook to perfection every time. Poultry is perfect for the smoke box too!
Whole chickens cook at about 45 minutes per pound. Who has the best beer can chicken recipe? Stress free clean up is one of our favorite amenities too, wiping the smoking chamber clean with ease.
All in All
The Smoke Hollow Electric provides cooking with controlled temperature, a sought after quality in smokers. With three different temperature settings, you can customize your smoking experience.
Whether you want to slowly smoke a Sunday supper or quickly prep a weeknight meal, our model can accomplish it. Constructed of high-temperature painted steel, the wood chip box is designed to last throughout years of smoking. Atop the wood chip box, the steel water pan is coated in porcelain for additional protection.
The top of the unit features a magnetic latch, making sure there is always a tight seal on the smoker. At about 30 by 16 by 14 inches, this compact unit is the perfect addition to any patio or backyard. Also, if you wish to take your unit on the go, two side handles make portability simple for a trip to the beach. Assemble this model with ease, and enjoy!
Oh and if you want to look to at something other than smokers, have a look at our list of large capacity slow cookers for another way to slow cook food indoors.