This tradition is alive today in the culinary art form of barbecue. While barbecue and smoke curing are not exactly the same, it is often combined and considered in the same category. For this reason, many barbecues are accompanied by a firebox for smoking. However, a separate smoker, that can double as a grill, is a preferred method among backyard chefs and barbecue purists alike.
The Difference Between Barbecue and Smoking.
Like other aspects of the culinary arts, there are debates as to which is better, smoking or grilling, which type of grilling or smoking is better and which process is better. There are even regional differences that will appear in these debates. However one thing is for certain. It all boils down to individual preference and taste. Still, there are some important differences that must be considered.
To start with, the difference between smoking and grilling. Grilling is essentially the process of cooking food on a grill or grate. It can involve various preparation techniques but the principle of cooking with an open flame is very simple. Smoking is a tad more involved as it requires maintaining the correct ideal temperature and the conditions to keep the meat moist.
The process involves a heat source and a water vessel. The water vessel provides both the humidity and the smoke. The smoke is from the added wood chips in the water. There are other processes but these are the most common for the home chef. Regardless of which process is used, when smoking here are five of the top smokers available on the market.
Best Propane Smoker
Brinkman is a household name in grilling and barbecue accessories. The Brinkman All in One Smoker is an all in one grill and smoker and is perfect for the home chef who doesn’t want to deal with the hassles of charcoal. That is because this unit uses gas as a flame source.
It will grills and smoke and has room for approximately 50 pounds of food. The internal bowl is porcelain coated for better heat distribution. It is relatively small and compact enough for an apartment patio.
Best Charcoal Smoker for the Money
Weber is another name brand that is recognized in the grilling and barbecue circles. The Weber Model #721001 Mountain Smoker is typical of the home smoker. It has dual grates, a temperature gauge and a water vessel. The internals are porcelain coated for heat distribution and it has dampeners for exacting flame and smoke control.
It has an aluminum front door for easy access and the unit is large enough to handle a large turkey. This is an excellent smoker for the home or patio. It uses charcoal and wood chips for the smoke, allowing for a wide variations in smoke and flavor.
Best Vertical Gas Smoker to Buy
This vertical gas smoker is a 38 inch upright cabinet style smoker with two drawers for wood and water. The Smoky Mountain Vertical Smoker has adjustable side vents and bottom dampeners for precise smoke control and it uses gas as a flame source. It is heavy duty but still light weight enough to take on camping trips and tailgating events.
It has a wood chip box, steel pan and grease pan and it has 5 internal grates and one meat hanger. This is a great cabinet smoker for the home chef and will provide a long time of great smoky flavor to fine meats.
Best Smoker for the Money
Technology has not left good smoked meats behind. This is the Bradley digital smoker. This digital, cabinet smoker is designed to deliver precise and accurate control over the cooking and smoking process. The Bradley Smoker Black Original Cabinet Smoker provides up to 280 degrees of heat to get even the hardiest of meats prepared. It is fully ETL and CE certified for quality and safety and is a great way to have perfect smoked meats time and time again.
It even has a dripping pan that can easily catch the meat drippings for excellent gravies. For those that want accurate and precise control and perfectly done meats time and time again, this is the perfect smoker.
Best Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker
The concept of Kamado grilling has been around in some for or another for over 3,000 years. Kamado grills have grown in popularity because of the awesome heating ability and the versatility of the cooker. The Char-Griller Model #16620 Akorn Kamado Smoker can be used for grilling, smoke, roasting and baking. It is an all around work horse of the culinary arts. This model has 306 square inches of cooking space and has two racks.
As with all units that contain heat, it is imperative that you operate the unit according to the procedures in the operating instructions. Never place flammable materials near a hot or cooling grill or smoker and make sure that all precautions are taken to ensure a safe operation.
Never operate a grill or smoker on a surface that is uneven or even slightly non level, as tipping could occur. Also make sure to eliminate any grease buildup inside the unit to prevent potential flameups or flash fires.