So you decided to buy yourself a BBQ smoker but as soon as you headed to your preferred store (either online or local) you were taken aback with the immense amount of brands and options out there.
Suddenly, new questions arise: will you use wood, charcoal, gas or electricity? Do you need your smoker to be small and portable or large and still easy to move? Do you also want it to be able to grill or simply smoke your meat? And we haven’t even covered the designs, special features and other useful controls that are bound to make the experience more satisfying for you.
I ended up buying the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker looking for a challenge so I saved up and went on to purchase it, and haven’t looked back since. It allows me full control over the heat and ventilation while still being easy to use so I don’t stress while smoking my meats. I have a medium-sized yard so this BBQ smoker was the clear choice for me. It doesn’t take up much space while maintaining the quality and a great overall flavor.
However, if you don’t have enough yard space or you would prefer something with simple controls and that you can even use indoors, you might prefer to look into an electric BBQ smoker, like the Masterbuilt 30-inch Digital Smoker. They’re pretty awesome too since they have external controls that allow for hands-free smoking. You can set everything up and then forget about it until it’s done. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
I understand what you’re going through, because when I first decided to buy one I had no idea what I had gotten myself into and had to do all this research on my own, looking all over the place because I couldn’t find a single trustworthy source. So today I want to help make this adventure much easier for you by sharing the best BBQ smoker brands out there so you can make your own educated choice.
To sum things up before we dig in, I tested a few in order to give you the best recommendations I could and I have to say I picked these two as my favorites, since you can choose the one that best suits your needs. These are my two definitive choices in smokers that you should consider before moving on:
|Weber and their
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
|High-quality charcoal smokers with years of experience to back them up and 10 years of warranty.|
|Masterbuilt and their
Masterbuilt 30-inch Digital Smoker
|Easy-to-use electric smokers that make the experience of smoking meats easier than ever. Perfect for beginners.||
As I mentioned before, those two are my preferred brand choices. However, if you would like more information on brands before deciding which one is the best for you to invest in, continue reading. I will provide useful company reviews and information so you can decide which brand is better suited for you.
Before we start, what is a BBQ smoker?
A BBQ smoker is an appliance that can produce smoke and wrap it around the meat for long periods of time while also maintaining a low temperature. The meat then absorbs the smoke, acquiring a “smoky” flavor.
There are BBQ smokers to fit any budget, since their prices range from $50 up to $5,000 and higher. And like we mentioned before, deciding the best one for you will depend a lot on your particular needs for a BBQ smoker. So whether you’re just getting started and want to give it a try or you already have a simple one and want to move on to the more sophisticated ones, you can rest assured that there’s a BBQ smoker tailored just for you (or that you can tailor with a few modifications).
Why does the BBQ smoker brand matter?
You’ve probably never heard about the names or logos stamped on the BBQ smokers you will find while browsing but it’s always important to do your research into the company that produces them.
This is especially important if you care about future service or support. Many generic brands will leave you high and dry if something malfunctions and you will end up with a device that wasted your money and is now only occupying space in your home so it goes straight to the trash.
By paying attention to the brand, you can better understand the quality of the product you’re acquiring. Does your smoker include a warranty? Is it for a long period of time? Will you have to pay for any additional maintenance?
To answer these questions, look into expert reviews and the most useful source of information nowadays: customer reviews and recommendations. Remember to take them into account before acquiring since they can give you an honest insight without the expense.
So, what are the best BBQ smoker brands out there?
To give you a quick summary, these are top five BBQ smoker brands, in our opinion. We took the time to test out their best smokers and this is what we got:
- Weber: inventors of the revolutionary kettle grill, this brand has been in the market since 1952 so you can trust they know what they’re doing. Their motto: by grillers for grillers.
- Dyna-Glo (GHP Group): aside from having more than 100 years of industry experience combined, Dyna-Glo stands out to their marvelous service standards. You can be sure that they will be you every step of the way.
- Oklahoma Joe’s: started in 1987, these smokers were so good that they got hundreds of orders on their first big sale. These smokers are durable and resistant so they are built to last.
- Masterbuilt: a company that truly believes any skill can be mastered if you’re given the right tools. That’s why their products are designed to give you every advantage so you can master the skill of smoking faster than you can say BBQ smoker.
- Pit Barrel Cooker: truly amazing and traditional BBQ smokers. The design isn’t anything new but this brand stands out due to their affordability and ease of use.
Choosing a specific brand just got a little bit harder, didn’t it? As you can see, all these brands are amazing and they all feature products that are bound to make your experience a satisfying one.
However, to better tailor your needs I will now go into detail on each one of them and their best-selling smokers.
As we mentioned before, Weber is a well-regarded brand which guarantees a great build quality so you can be sure your smoker will last a long time. As a matter of fact, the Weber brand is so sure of their quality that they offer a 10-year warranty with their products. Doesn’t that make you feel at ease?
Their staple smoker is the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. It features a porcelain enameled exterior and a heat-resistant nylon handle for safety reasons. It also features an aluminum vent and fuel door which helps protect this bad boy from rust. A big plus, in my opinion, is the porcelain coated water place since it tenderizes the meat as you smoke it.
It comes in three sizes for you to choose from: 14, 18 and 22 inches. We recommend the 18-inch model since it guarantees an easier overall experience for the price. This model can maintain a more stable temperature as opposed to the 22 in one, which can get a bit too hot if you’re not careful.
With years of experience in the industry, Dyna-Glo smokers are built to last and that shows through their careful and well-thought design. These smokers are the best choice for charcoal enthusiasts.
Their best-known smokers are vertical since they believe that’s the best shape to capture the maximum smoke flavor. Additionally, they feature a double door design which helps reduce heat loss when you need to access fuel or the food you’re smoking.
I know it can be very annoying to have the temperature go down simply because you needed to check on things, so this is a nice addition.
So it’s no surprise that their Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset Smoker is so popular. It features enough space to cook up to 150 lbs of meat in one go. As you know, meat smoking is a time-consuming process, so being able to make as much as possible at the same time will definitely save you time in the cooking process.
There’s a good reason Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ smokers were so coveted when they were first sold and continue to be today. These smokers are all about Texas-style barbecue. And to prove they’re just that good, Joe (their designer and manufacturer) continue to use them and even wins barbecue competitions with them.
If that doesn’t say a lot about the quality of these smokers and the flavor they produce, I’m not sure what will.
Their offset smokers are some of the most sold on Amazon (link to search results for Oklahoma Joe offset smoker) and for a good reason. Offset smokers are amazing because they give you heat control by removing the heat source from the meat itself. The best one is their Highland Offset Smoker.
These smokers are also a great choice for places with poor weather conditions, thanks to their heavy-duty construction. Overall, Oklahoma Joe’s offers great smokers, that are built to last, affordable and easy to control.
Remember Masterbuilt’s belief? Any skill can be mastered. That’s why their products (link to search results in Amazon for masterbuilt smokers?) aren’t only high-quality (to make things easier for you), they also feature different fuel sources: electric, propane, charcoal or pellet.
We’ve got a whole separate article on the masterbuilt if you’re interested to learn more.
And not only do they make these tools great, but they also share multiple videos on their website to help you master those skills. With topics ranging from how to cold smoke to how to pre-season and make the most out of your smoker, you’re bound to learn in no time.
That’s why it’s no surprise that one of their best-selling smokers is the Masterbuilt 30-inch Digital Smoker. It lets you focus on the flavor and takes all the work out of smoking meats. Instead of having to adjust the temperature manually by moving hot coals, you can handle everything through the top controller.
It features a digital timer with auto-shutdown for safety, but it also keeps your meats from getting dry because they were in there too long. Each rack is chrome plated and thanks to heavy insulation, it’s also very energy efficient.
But what if it breaks down? We’ve got you covered. It features a replaceable heating element that is easy to swap out in the strange chance that it breaks down. This is the best BBQ smoker for beginners, and with some of the best customer support out there, you’ll be mastering smoking in no time. Want some more insight? See what some of the reviewers are saying.
Pit Barrel Cooker
Featuring a Hook-N-Hang Method, versatile grilling, durability and style, and portability, it’s only natural for this veteran-owned business to be one of the best smoker brands out there.
With durable steel and porcelain enameled coating and enough accessories to cook up large amounts of food, it doesn’t get any better than the Pit Barrel Cooker.
This smoker is so good that it won the Best Value Gold Medal Award from AmazingRibs.com and has even been endorsed by celebrity chefs. If you want a high-quality smoker that is very hands-on, this is the best value for your money.
However, it’s important to note that heat control can be a bit tricky and to make sure it lasts for a couple of years, you will need to keep it in a safe, dry place when not in use. But that’s a small price to pay for the portability benefits of this smoker.
You got the general idea from this article, but finding the best BBQ smoker for you is harder than choosing any other grill since the particular smoker for you will vary depending on cost and time-consumption.
However, since smokers are available in so many shapes and sizes, and even feature different fuel types, if you take your time you will find the one that’s best suited for you. If you have any doubts, focus on the best support you can find and go through customer reviews
In my case, I continue to stand by the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker since it has proven to be an amazing smoker and with the Weber brand backing it, I couldn’t have made a better choice.