Smoked meats have been a way of preserving and enjoying food since man discovered that fire plus food equals cooking. Over time the need to preserve food using smoke has diminished but our desire for great tasting smoked food has never gone away.
From backyards to food service, smoked meats can be found almost anywhere. Some have even taken it a step further and will actually compete in different fairs and festivals around the nation to win awards of prizes and fame. The best part is, anyone can start smoking and join the competition circuit, all it takes is a will and a way.
It’s The Way
There are so many different methods and ideas surrounding competition level smoked meats that it could fill up volumes. However, one of the key elements is a quality smoker. For those that do nothing but competition smoking, most use personal built or constructed smokers of their own design. However, most use a quality smoker that can be found on-line.
Even Kamado style grills are used in competition smoking as they have unique properties that some cooks use to their advantage, although that is certainly not for everyone. The typical smoker is a gas fueled vertical smoker of heavy gauge construction.
The reason that many use gas smokers instead of electric smokers is that more precise control over the flame can be had with a gas fueled model as opposed to the heating element in an electric model. Also, the smoke production and different flavors, derived from various woodchips, are easier to introduce and control in a gas fueled smoker.
Additionally electric smokers, while great for home use, typically don’t offer the higher level of heat production and retention as the heavier gas fueled smokers. Of course, there is no rule against using an electric one but for competition, gas is preferred.
Five Great Smokers That Can Be Used For Competition
Top Compact Gas Smoker to Buy
This propane smoker, Cajun Injector Vertical Series Gas Smoker is of the vertical type, thus allowing the smoke to propagate upwards and infuse the meat.
Producing a nice even burn of 8K BTU this smoker has an all steel fire box with wood containment. Larger temperature rests in the door and is easy to read so you don’t have to open the door to lose heat.
Heavy duty construction and easy to use control knob on the bottom make this smoker easy to use for the beginner. People who purchased this smoker love how it infuses the meat without overwhelming the meat flavor.
Best Smoker for the Price
This vertical smoker, Camp Chef Smoke Vault Smoker is 24 inches of pure smoking space with excellent heat production and retention. This is due primarily to the solid construction and there are three dampeners for excellent heat control.
Propane fueled, this smoke has dual main racks and a jerky rack for smoking a wide range of meat cuts and sizes. Main temperature gauge is large and easy to read and the range is between 50 to 550 degrees for different smoking options.
It is also fast starting and has matchless ignition. Purchasers of this smoker love the excellent room and note it can easily be converted to natural gas for longer cooking times.
Top Rated Portable Propane Smoker
Well known on the competition circuit, Landmann is known for well built smokers and this model clearly shows that. Heavy duty construction enclose over 1500 Cubic inches of cooking space. Large racks and more allow for almost any size cut of meat to be smoked.
What helps make this model, Landmann USA Model #3895GWLA unique is the access drawers that allow you access to the smoke box and fire box without having to open the main door and lose heat.
Easy to read temperature gauge is on the door and the brass burner is highly resistant to rust. People who purchased this unit love the easy to assemble and get started nature of the smoker as well as the excellent results.
Top Competition BBQ Smoker on the Market
Specifically made for competition smoking, this model, Sweet Swine O’Mine Brand Red Box Smoker is a charcoal smoker that has a separate wood chip container for superior flavor and smoke production.
The unit is double insulated and has a reverse flow design for even more insulation while smoking. Large enough for turkeys and more, this red smoker is powder coated to be able to handle almost any outdoor condition.
This model is also designed in such away that it is more fuel efficient than other charcoal smokers of the same size, giving you more smoke for your buck. People who purchased this model remark about how well made and efficient this unit is to use.
Best Classic Kamado Grill/Smoker
While not specifically a smoker, this grill/smoker/oven, Kamado Joe Model #KJ23RH Grill/Smoker and more can do it all. Kamado cookers are different than a normal grill and are a special type of smoking experience that is now coming on big in the smoking circuit.
The design allows for better airflow and smoke production while the heat retention is almost unbelievable. Once mastered, this grill/smoker can bake, roast, smoke, grill, fry and more and it is highly efficient and once one understands the dynamics, easy to use.
Smoking using traditional smokers requires a good deal of patience and attention to detail. One detail is the use of a quality grill or smoker cover to protect the unit when it is not in use.