Updated: June 8, 2015

Barbeque Smoker Grill Reviews:

Barbeque smokers are gaining in popularity and make for a perfect 2nd grill. There are 3 types of meat smokers - cylindrical water smokers, horizontal dry wood smokers, and kamado cookers. Experts say that cylindrical water smokers are best for beginners since they are easy to use and very affordable. These models are made from porcelain-coated or powder coated steel while the more expensive versions are made of stainless steel. The multiple stacked sections let you smoke plenty of food at once and many reserve the very bottom area to function as a regular grill. Although smokers can run on electricity or gas, the preferred fuel source is charcoal. Charcoal smokers provide more flavor (say some), while electric smokers and gas smokers are more convenient because they can keep a constant temperature and be left unattended during the smoking process. With the cylindrical water smokers, owners can place a water pan right over the heat source so that cooked food will stay juicy and moist hours after they have been smoked.
meat smoker


Buying Guide - Horizontal dry wood smokers are constructed from powder-coated, heavy-gauge steel and look like 2 barrels sitting next to each other. One barrel is the firebox (the smaller one) and it connects to the bigger cooking barrel via an opening so that hot air and smoke give you "slow and low" indirect cooking. You can also find single chamber horizontal dry wood smokers that are much lighter and cheaper. Many start at $100 and work their way up to $500+ for larger smokers made of higher quality materials. The last type of smoker is the kamado cooker - a ceramic grill with thick walls and an egg shape. Charcoal is the fuel of choice on these cookers and they are pretty cheap to run since the heat gets trapped inside due to the ceramic insulation. A kamado cooker is very versatile with the ability to grill or sear food at close to 800 degrees or smoke foods at a constant 180 degrees. They sell between $200-$1000 depending on the size. The top brands for smokers are Bradley, Brinkmann, Weber, New Braunfels, Cookshack, Masterbuilt, Great Outdoors, and Little Chief. We set out to find just which smokers are the best by researching expert opinions from barbeque masters and grilling gurus. We found excellent reviews listed on Amazon.com, Epinions, About.com, and in forums on Thesmokering.com. If you are looking for a custom built barbeque smoker/grill, we suggest visiting Peoriacustomcookers.com. We also include a section below on building your own meat smoker at home since there are many websites dedicated to just this endeavor. See the list of best-selling barbeque smokers here.

Best Smoker Barbeque:

We read lots of positive reviews on the Original Bradley Smoker but wanted to reserve this slot for the newer Bradley Digital Smoker 4 Rack ($450). It features all the great aspects that the Original Bradley smoker included but adds digital technology. Some hard core smokers and barbequers say this device is to high tech and they prefer a more rugged design and look to their smokers. There is no denying this unit is beautiful and does an excellent job smoking all meats and foods. You can control time, smoke, and temperature making entertaining much more enjoyable while the smoker/cooker does the work effortlessly. Owners say creating flavorful, gourmet foods in your backyard is fun and exciting. The smoker has 4 cooking racks, will cook meat, chicken, pork or fish and gives you 9 different flavors of hardwoods to get your barbeques tasting just right. For a complete rundown on Bradley smokers visit their website at Bradleysmoker.com. The New Braunfels Black Diamond Barbecue Smoker ($220) is much cheaper than the Bradley and offers many of the same features you find on the Original Bradley smoker mentioned above. It's a classic offset backyard smoker is built tough and should last for years.

Budget/Value Charcoal Smoker

The Weber 2820 Smokey Mountain Cooker/Smoker is priced at a little over $200 and sells on sites like Amazon.com. The Weber smoker is large enough to smoke an entire turkey and a whole ham at the same time. The lid and bowl are constructed of premium-grade steel and the porcelain enamel coating ensure it will not fade or rust. The Weber 2820 has rust-resistant aluminum vents and fuel door and you also get 2 triple-nickel plated cooking grates (18 1/2" diameter). The cooker/smoker comes with a heavy-duty vinyl cover, a Weber cookbook and it has a 10 year limited warranty. The Smokey Mountain smoker delivers on flavor and perfect texture to pulled pork, ribs, smoked turkey, chicken, baby back ribs, and ham. Owners say you get restaurant quality barbecue that is great tasting and consistent every time. Users say smoking a rack of ribs, a 15 lb brisket, or pork shoulders couldn't be any easier than on the Weber. For the money, there is no better smoker/grill/cooker on the market.

Electric Smoker:

The Old Smokey Electric Smoker ($100) and the Brinkmann 810-7080-7 Gourmet Electric Smoker & Grill with Outdoor Vinyl Cover ($116) lead this category. Old Smokey has a heating element similar to that found in an electric oven and a chip tray that goes on top of the heating element for wood chips and a smokey flavor. Comes with a drip pan and a lower grill for convenience and the upper level has an extra grill. The top seals tight so flavors and smoke remain inside during cooking and keep cooking time to a minimum. The variable heat thermostat lets you easily set cooking times and styles. Brinkmann is a respected name in smokers and this model has porcelain coated steel charcoal and water pans along with 2 chrome plated steel grills. The 50 lb cooking capacity can handle family and neighborhood barbeque crowds with ease. Owners like the versatility of this double grill electric smoker with it's front hinged door and the ability to convert to an electric grill.

Building a Smoker:

Do you want to build your own backyard smoker? Surprisingly enough you are not alone as 1000's of individuals each year make a homemade smoker. Popular Mechanics ran a great article on building a smoker in August 2006 and it is published online HERE. Building your own backyard smoker is not that hard if you are familiar with the terminology and have previously owned a smoker grill. There are photos and step by step instructions on how to create a quality barbeque smoker.