- 1 Our Top Picks for the Best Smokers for Beginners
- 1.1 1# Pit Barrel Cooker 18.5″ Classic
- 1.2 2# Char-Griller AKORN Jr. Kamado
- 1.3 3# Kamado Joe Classic I Charcoal Grill
- 1.4 4# VISION Grills Ceramic Kamado
- 1.5 5# Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker – Amazon’s Choice
- 1.6 6# Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill – Amazon’s Choice
- 1.7 7# Realcook Vertical Steel Charcoal Smoker – Amazon’s Choice
- 1.8 8# Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker – Amazon’s Choice
- 1.9 9# Z GRILLS Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker – Amazon’s Choice
- 1.10 10# Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker – Amazon’s Choice
- 1.11 11# Dyna-Glo Signature Series Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill – Amazon’s Choice
- 1.12 12# Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill & Smoker – Amazon’s Choice
- 2 What Is a Smoker?
If you are new to using bbq smokers, fear not! It doesn’t take long to start cooking with the best electric smokers for beginners. All you need is a good smoker, a good recipe or two, and a little patience! When I discovered my enthusiasm for meat smokers about four years ago, I probably ran into the same problems as any newbie. Therefore, in this article, I will describe in more detail how I started using a smoker and which are the best smokers for beginners.
Our Top Picks for the Best Smokers for Beginners
Here are the 12 best meat smokers for beginners. If you want to cook tender and tasty meat, then you should get one of these models!
1# Pit Barrel Cooker 18.5″ Classic
It is high quality and reliable beginner smoker which is made of durable 18 gauge steel and has a porcelain enamel finish. You can cook juicy steaks, ribs, burgers, and more with this device thanks to the 360ºC All-Round Heat Dynamics. The grill has two convenient stainless steel grill grates that will allow you to place a large amount of food at the same time. It is the perfect choice for the novice user as it guarantees perfect cooking. All you need to do is follow the instructions and you will succeed!
2# Char-Griller AKORN Jr. Kamado
This device has established itself as a reliable and easy-to-use meat smoker for beginners. It features heavy steel construction and a double steel base for durability, cast iron cooking grates, stable legs, and many other clever details for your convenience! The smoker has a 153 square inch main grill area, thicker legs, and a temperature sensor on the lid. The device has a hinged lid that is held in place and does not interfere with you during cooking. It is a mobile smoker with integrated handles and a lockable lid. You can easily clean the ash bin and it also has an extra heating stand to keep your food warm.
3# Kamado Joe Classic I Charcoal Grill
Classic is the original grill of legendary manufacturer Kamado Joe, setting new standards for craftsmanship and innovation. An elegant kamado grill, painted in a pleasant red color, will complete the decoration of your suburban area and turn the previous idea of a barbecue upside down. Beneath the easy-to-open lid, there is a large work surface made of quality 304 stainless steel that can easily accommodate 10-12 fillets or chicken breasts. Despite the solid weight of the grill, it is easy to move it from place to place, because for this it is installed on a stand with reliable transport wheels. The grill is equipped with the unique Divide & Conquer cooking system, thanks to which you can cook food in different ways at the same time. The workspace is divided into 2 levels such as upper and lower. And the lattice consists of two semicircular parts.
Therefore, you can place one half of the wire rack on the first level directly above the fire and fry a solid steak on it, and on the second, located higher, cook vegetables for it. In addition, a ceramic heat deflector is supplied with the grill, also consisting of two parts. This allows you to combine different cooking methods, both with direct exposure to fire and with reflective heat. The temperature is controlled by opening or closing the damper and the upper duct. This unique cast iron air duct on the grill lid consists of two valves. An accurate thermometer is also installed on the lid, which constantly keeps you aware of the current temperature inside the grill.
4# VISION Grills Ceramic Kamado
This smoker offers you safe cooking of juicy meat and more. It has many modes for frying, smoking, and baking. It can withstand temperatures up to 700°C. The smoker has an ultra-modern, easy-to-read branded thermometer with cooking temperature zones. The lower compartment includes the knobs for the smokehouse and brazier controls, a removable ashtray, and a compartment for the starter – electric ignition. The upper compartment contains the smokehouse and draft control units. Side tabletops allow you to place sauces, condiments, and more, as well as ready-made meals there.
5# Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker – Amazon’s Choice
Smokey Mountain Сooker is a charcoal smoker with a diameter of 47 cm, developed by the Weber brand for the preparation of large pieces of fish and meat, whole poultry carcasses (duck and chicken). The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is a real find for hot smokers! The smoker has two massive chrome-plated steel grates, located on two different levels, a thermometer installed in the lid, and a large water tank for perfect smoking. Chrome-plated steel grates allow you to cook on two levels at the same time.
A built-in thermometer helps keep the temperature under control, while aluminium vents provide airflow to keep you warm. A spacious enameled tank is filled with water to generate steam, which prevents food from drying out, gives the food juiciness and delicate taste. Three aluminum feet provide stability on uneven surfaces. Durable handles made of heat-resistant plastic do not heat up and do not slip, making cooking safer and more comfortable. Now you can smoke fish or meat yourself, and you will be confident in the quality of the product.
6# Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill – Amazon’s Choice
The sweet smell of smoke wafts through the air. Neighbours stick their heads over the fence, smelling something delicious. These are the chicken, vegetables, and steaks you cook on your Char-Broil Big Easy. This versatile grill smokes and bakes, giving you a guaranteed way to befriend all the neighbors around you. The Char-Broil Big Easy is a unique infrared gas oven with a top grill compartment that allows you to cook a very wide range of foods in multiple ways at the same time. The lower part of the smoker is a closed chamber, under which there is an annular gas burner with a power of 5.2 kilowatts. The burner heats up a large metal flask, inside which a basket with the product is installed. The dimensions of the basket and the power of the burner allow you to bake a whole 5 kg turkey for 2 hours.
A separating grid can be installed inside the basket and cook two different dishes on two levels at the same time. Cooking takes place without the use of oil, which makes grilling safer and preserves the natural properties of the product. In the upper part, under a hinged lid, there is a removable grill grate on which you can cook steaks, vegetables, or mushrooms. The uniqueness of the grill is also added by the fact that this grill is made using TRU Infrared ™ technology, the special shape of which is the hallmark of Char-Broil. When cooking on such a grill, the meat is heated not by an open flame in the grill, but by the heat directly coming from the grill, which makes the finished dish juicer, reduces cooking time, and saves fuel.
7# Realcook Vertical Steel Charcoal Smoker – Amazon’s Choice
This is a stylish and functional bbq smoker that offers you many features. With this device, you can smoke, bake, braise, grill, steam, roast, and more. The smoker has a built-in thermometer with a temperature scale allowing you to cook in the widest temperature range. Plus, it has an impressive 453 square inches cooking area. You can easily move the smoker thanks to bakelite handles.
8# Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker – Amazon’s Choice
The compact and very convenient smoker from Cuisinart allows you to use it both on the terrace of a country house and on small picnics. The grill is not heavy, very compact. Easy to transport. The device has stable legs for stable operation. This device has enough room to smoke juicy burger patties, seafood, vegetables, chicken breast, legs, or wings. On the door, you will find a built-in thermometer that allows you to monitor the internal temperature. You will also be able to control the amount of heat thanks to the regulated gas supply. I find the Cuisinart smoker very user-friendly and easy to clean.
9# Z GRILLS Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker – Amazon’s Choice
This is a stationary smoker for a large company or family. A fairly large model, equipped with large wheels for manual movement. Good assembly of the grill. This is a multi-functional model. You can cook your favourite meals such as juicy steaks, burger patties, delicate ribs, chicken, crispy wings, and more. Smoking will add additional flavour and aroma to the dish. Cast iron grates and a spacious chamber do not limit you in the preparation of any dish. The main feature of this grill-smoker is, first of all, the raw materials on which it works, these are wood pellets from hard and fruit varieties of wood. When burned, the pellets will give your dish a unique smoked flavor.
10# Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker – Amazon’s Choice
The Masterbuilt smoker is a godsend for lovers of delicious and aromatic dishes. These electric smokers for beginners are versatile. Various foods can be cooked in it. Dishes cooked in a smoker are juicy and tender, without traces of burning and soot. At the exit, they have a pleasant aroma and a golden-brown hue.
11# Dyna-Glo Signature Series Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill – Amazon’s Choice
For lovers of tasty food and pamper family and friends with homemade smoked meats, a smoker from Dyna-Glo will not be superfluous in the household. The device will not take up much space on the territory. It looks neat and presentable. This unit offers a 1382 square inches cooking zone. It is a mobile smoker thanks to its reliable wheels. The device provides easy access to food thanks to the cool-touch spring lid grip.
12# Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill & Smoker – Amazon’s Choice
Do you want a multifunctional technological smoker of a new generation? Then this pellet grill Trager is just for you! It has a built-in grill control panel Digital Pro Controller Automatic and fuel supply PRO D2 Direct Drive. Thanks to it, it is possible to save fuel as much as possible, namely – eco-friendly pellets Traeger. This pellet grill is the perfect example of the price/quality ratio. The grill is equipped with a two-level grill coated with porcelain. It is easily warming up, pursing evenly, and after completion, cooking is easily cleaned by any brush. The main grille area of 418 sq. in., Additional 154 sq. in. This is quite enough to prepare two dozen burgers at once, half a dozen of pork ribs, or three grilled chickens.
What Is a Smoker?
What to look for in a beginner smoker? A smoker is a tool that will allow you to experience the authentic taste of a real American barbecue, where meat is cooked at low temperatures and enveloped in smoke for many hours. The smoked meats are tender, tasty, and will definitely please the public. Smoking takes longer than any other cooking method, but it’s always worth the wait. After you’ve eaten perfectly smoked ribs, brisket, or pork, you may never want to eat meat that has been cooked in any other way. Smoking produces aromatic and tender meat due to the long exposure to the aroma-absorbing smoke and low cooking temperatures. Anyone can smoke good food if they have a good smoker, a recipe or two, and a few hours of free time. While you should spend hours looking for the best marinades, it doesn’t take that long to find the right smoker for your family. In my list of best bbq smokers for beginners, you can quickly find a suitable device for yourself.
Types of Smokers
How to choose your first smoker? Horizontal smokers are called offset, they have 2 separate chambers, the smaller one is called the firebox, and the larger one is the cooking chamber. The firebox is equipped with air intakes to regulate the combustion of coal and wood, while in the cooking chamber a chimney and thermometer protrude to keep the cooking temperature under control. The operation is quite simple, coal or wood is kindled inside the firebox and the whole smokehouse warms up well, the inlet air intakes and the chimney opening for the smoke exit are regulated. The combination of air intake and exit rate regulates your smoker’s temperature for slow cooking and smoking. With this method, you can taste the real flavor of typical American barbecue dishes such as braised pork, brisket, and ribs.
For those who love round grills, simplicity, and, above all, speed of use, there are vertical smokers. These are smokers, in which the combustion chamber and cooking chamber are combined into a single body, located one above the other, usually divided into a “bowl” that prevents heat from directly entering the smoked food. They are easy to assemble, lightweight, and above all simple and quick to use. After 20 minutes, you will turn on and warm up your device, which will be ready to smoke without any problems.
The bottom-up vertical smoker consists of:
- The charcoal basket can hold a large amount of charcoal and guarantee a long cooking time.
- Deflector, “bowl“, which I mentioned earlier. It serves to protect against direct heat and therefore allows smoking and indirect cooking, it can be filled with water or coarse salt as required, which, in addition to creating moisture, acts as a heat flywheel to more easily stabilize the temperature.
- One or two cooking grates for comfortable smoking even large quantities of food on several levels at the same time.
- All of these components are enclosed in a sheet with adjustable bottom holes, an “air vent” to regulate the oxygen supply, and an upper hole, called an “outlet”, to regulate the smoke output.
- Also, in this case, the temperature is controlled by synergistic input and output control.
Some models are modular and can therefore be easily assembled and disassembled, others have doors for checking the bottom grate and charcoal area without having to open the lid.
My First Steps to BBQ Smokers
For the first time, I met a smoker at a summer festival, or rather with meat that my friend cooked. I loved the beefsteak and sausages so much that I actually ate too much than I thought. Anyone who has never tasted the meat from a smoker will immediately notice the difference. Then I spent the whole evening talking to a friend of mine who is admittedly a real pro in my eyes in cooking and using a smoker. I was curious to know more and also searched the internet for information where I really didn’t find anything. This is why I also want to help people who are currently thinking about starting to cook meat with a smoker and are not quite sure how to do it.
Why Is Time Factor Important?
Last but not least, I want to address a factor that many people underestimate. Time plays a very important role in teaching smoking. I have been using a smoker for about four years and I am constantly learning new things about cooking times, optimal cooking cabinet temperature, or wood used. Ultimately, things are a little different for every smoker, so you can’t set exact rules, but rather guidelines. Rather, it is about making no serious mistakes. Over time, everyone gets used to their smoking grill and gains experience. It takes patience before you can cook the perfect steak for the first time. I wish you a good time with your smokers and I hope you enjoy their smoking process as much as I do.
Cooking food on fire is one of the oldest and most wonderful ways that shows how people differ from animals. Dishes made with bbq smokers taste almost magically. This is why sales of smokers skyrocket in the summer. In this article, I have shown the models that are best for beginners to buy. If you still cannot make a final decision, I advise you to pay special attention to these models 1# Pit Barrel Cooker 18.5″ Classic, 2# Char-Griller AKORN Jr. Kamado and 3# Kamado Joe Classic I Charcoal Grill.
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