Review Of The 3 Best Smokers Of 2016 - Kitchen Chatters
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Review Of The 3 Best Smokers Of 2016

Don’t you just love meat that has that deep, rich, smoked flavor? Hamburgers. Chicken. Steak. Just thinking about it is enough to make your mouth water.

Thanks to today’s modern and easy to use smokers, you don’t have to go out to your favorite rib joint in order to enjoy some great, smoked ribs. You can make them yourself, right in your own backyard.

Finding a great smoker isn’t as difficult as you might think. In fact, here are some smoker reviews to help your search get off to a great start.

Smoker Reviews


Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker

The Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker gives you complete control over the meat smoking process. Thanks to its digital technology, you can use the settings to control the temperature the meat is smoked at, how much smoke will be used, and just how long your food will be smoked for. Since all of these factors can affect how your meat tastes, being able to control the timing, temperature and amount of smoke used means that you can make sure your meat tastes exactly the way you like it.

The Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker is extremely versatile. With this outdoor smoker you can automatically smoke, roast and barbecue your beef, pork, chicken, fish, or anything else you have a taste for.


Char-Broil Big Easy TRU Infrared Smoker, Roaster, and Grill

The Char-Broil Big Easy TRU Infrared Smoker, Roaster, and Grill is a versatile and convenient outdoor cooker. In it, you can do all of your smoking, grilling and roasting, no charcoal or oil required. You don’t have to worry about balancing a spit rod, or fighting with a rotisserie, either.

The Char-Broil Big Easy TRU Infrared Smoker, Roaster, and Grill has a double-stacked, rotating cooking basket that can hold up to 25 pounds. So you can roast a whole turkey in the cooker with no problem. And the 180 square inch stainless steel grilling grate can hold plenty of hamburgers, steaks, or chicken legs.

Smoking meat packs it with delicious, smoked flavor. And the Char-Broil Big Easy TRU Infrared Smoker, Roaster, and Grill comes with an internal smoker box that can make your meat even more flavorful.

One problem many experience when using an outdoor cooker is flare-ups that can end up burning the food. But with the Char-Broil Big Easy TRU Infrared Smoker, Roaster, and Grill, flare ups aren’t a problem thanks to the Infrared cooking system. So your food will cook evenly, without any “burnt spots.”


Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

Whether you have a lot of experience with using smokers, or you’ve just decided to try your hand at smoking meat for the first time, the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker might be just the smoker you’re looking for.

The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker has four chrome-coated cooking racks that provide you with 730 square inches of cooking space. You’ll have plenty of room to smoke your favorite meats, fish and vegetables. And the digital temperature and timer controls let you take charge of the temperature and length of time your food will be smoked at.

The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker has many features that make it easy to use. With the side-loading wood tray, you can add wood chips easily and safely. And, for your convenience, the drip pan is removable.


Smoking, Grilling and Barbecuing: What’s the Difference?

Smoking, grilling and barbecuing have a lot in common. But there are also quite a few major differences between these cooking methods. And since many smokers can also grill and barbecue, it doesn’t hurt to know what the differences are, and when you might want to choose one of these cooking methods over the other.



Grilling. Of the three cooking methods, grilling is probably the most popular with the majority of casual outdoor cooks. When you grill, you cook your meat over a high heat (as much as 550° F) for a relatively short period of time. The quick cooking time and high heat sear the surface of the meat fast and seal in the juice. And the outside of the meat has a delicious, smoky crust. However, the interior of the meat doesn’t have enough time to absorb a lot of the smoke. So, once you get past the surface, the meat won’t have as much of a smoky flavor.

While grilling isn’t the best method for really tough cuts of meat, it works great with things like chicken, ribs, and premium quality steaks.



Barbecuing. When you barbecue, you cook your meat over a low heat (usually between 200° F and 300° F) for several hours. Cooking meat slowly, over a relatively low heat, can make even tough cuts of meat more tender. (Imagine ribs where the meat falls off the bone.) Barbecuing also makes the meat more flavorful because the meat has time to absorb some of the smoke from the heating element. As a result, barbecued meat has more of a smoky flavor than grilled meat, but less than smoked meat.



Smoking. When smoking meat, you cook your meat over a very low heat (sometimes under 100° F) for anywhere from an hour to a couple of weeks. Why so long? It’s because, if the outside of the meat cooks too fast, it will form a sort of shield that blocks the smoke from the interior of the meat, meaning the inside won’t have that great, smoked flavor. By cooking the meat slow, on a low heat, you ensure that the smoke can really penetrate the meat.

While grilling and barbecuing can give meat a somewhat smoky flavor (barbecuing more than grilling), only smoking can give you that truly smoked flavor you might be looking for.


What to Look for In a Smoker

Have you seen all of the smokers on the market today? There are just so many options, so many choices to make. But keeping the following in mind will help make buying a smoker a whole lot easier.


Size. How much food do you think you’ll be smoking at any given time? Unless you cook for dozens of people on a regular basis, you probably don’t need a gigantic smoker, like the ones use commercially. On the other hand, you don’t want a smoker that’s so small that it takes several batches (and a lot of time) to cook all of your food. Before you buy a smoker, try to think about how many hamburgers, hotdogs or racks of ribs you can actually see yourself cooking at once. Then add a little more to be on the safe side, and buy a smoker big enough to satisfy your projected needs.


Quality vs. Price. With many kitchen and cooking products, it’s often possible to find a bargain priced but quality model. They might not be as good as more expensive models, but they still do the job pretty well. But take care when buying a really inexpensive smoker. Getting a smoker for less than $50 might seem like a great deal. And, in some cases, it might be. However, one common complaint made about really cheap smokers is that the temperature can be extremely hard to control. So your meat could end up overcooked, or undercooked, or some strange combination of both.

You might be able to find a cheap smoker that’s really good. But, when you consider the possible downsides, it might be better to pay a little more and avoid the potential hassle.


Types of Smokers. There are three basic types of smokers on the market: charcoal, gas and electric. Which type would be the best smoker for you?

Photo Credit: DAN LITTLE Gazette food writer Lou Groccia with, from left, his gas grill, charcoal grill and electric smoker.

Photo Credit: DAN LITTLE

Gazette food writer Lou Groccia with, from left, his gas grill, charcoal grill and electric smoker.

All three types of smokers have their advantages. For your backyard smoker, you should probably go with either a gas or electric smoker. Both tend to be convenient, and relatively easy to use, especially for someone new to smoking.


For some, nothing can beat the taste of a steak, pork chop or rib that’s been cooked in a smoker. And if you love the taste of food that’s been smoked, having your own backyard smoker means you’ll be able to enjoy that delicious, smoky flavor any time you want.