What You Need To Know When Choosing A Meat Smoker

Meat smoker is one of the famous tools that over one billion dollars are spent on it each year in the U.S along with a grill.

Hence every year, you have a lot to choose from.

This might be quite difficult to find the right type of meat smoker. Fear no more, in this article, I am going to talk about different aspects of meat smokers.

Once you have done reading this article, you would find it easy to search for a better meat smoker.

Now you need to know that there are two methods of smoking meat. One is cold smoking and the other is hot smoking,

I will tell you the difference between these two in a bit. But first, you need to know what is meat smoker.

What Is Meat Smoker?

Meat Smoker

A meat smoker is basically a big chamber where you cook your meat using heat and smoke.

It is rather a slow process then grilling or cooking on a stove. Smoking the meat allows it to have more flavor.

Remember, as I mentioned two methods of smoking earlier. So let us head and see the difference between these two methods.

Cold Smoking:

  • This specific and respective method is utilized and availed for the sake of preserving foods.
  • In this particular and mentioned method, make sure that the set and adjusted temperature range needs to be all up to 80 or less.
  • If you are making use of this technique of cold smoking, then your meat needs to be cured. This is an important point that you have to remember.
  • This process needs a couple of days to get accomplished and completed so remain patient.

Hot Smoking:

On the other hand, this hot smoking process is completely and entirely opposite as compared to using this technique of cold smoking.

  • You can use this particular method for cooking any kind of food.
  • Most importantly, the temperature range needs to be set at a higher spot. In other words, it should be 140 and less or it can be equal to 300.
  • If you are pursuing for cold smoking method, then your meat has to be cured. However, while opting for this technique of hot smoking, it is not compulsory and mandatory for the cook to cure the meat.
  • You can process and complete this cooking technique in a day.

Foods that are prepared on the mode of hot smoking, you can store and keep them in a fridge.

Moreover, the temperature range and average scale in hot smoking need to be able to reach all and completely beyond the danger zone.

How Much Should I Pay?

How Much Should I Pay

Meat smokers come in all different shape and sizes and sometimes offers different features and gadgets, so surely they would have a varied range of prices.

Price Range:

So the very first thing that you need to know is whether you can afford to buy meat smoker or not.

They can cost from $8-$2000, and once you have figured that out now, you need to know the purpose of using it.

If you are hoping to use it for a restaurant then obviously you need to buy a meat smoker that is bigger in size and hence it is going to cost expensive.

 If you are not cooking for a lot of people then you don’t need to go for a large meat smoker.

Another thing that you need to look at is the size of the meat smoker and space where you want to keep it.

Let say you want to keep it in your backyard so you might want to consider a meat smoker that is small in size and fit in your backyard.

 Also, if you are willing to use a smoker for small pieces of meat then there is no need to have a meat smoker that can cook an entire turkey.

Types Of Fuel For Your Meat Smoker:

Fuel For Your Meat Smoker

There are many fuel sources by which you can smoke your meat. But every fuel will give a unique so it is up to your choice which one you prefer.

Wood Pellets/Chips: First of all, you have to remember this point is to avoid using any kind of wood that leaves some kind of resins as soon as you burn it up.

Even more, try looking and keep on searching for the wood type that is not injected with any resins.

It is because resins get mixed up with your food content and destroy the taste and flavor of your meals.

You can have a look at this list that tells you what wood type you should go for:

  • Applewood
  • Cherry wood
  • Oakwood
  • Mesquite wood
  • Beechwood

In addition, avoid using a log as it produces and generates a lot of heat in your food. You just need to go for a smoldering wood approach.

Some cooks like to use wood dust and others like to go for wood pallets.

Furthermore, avoid opting for wood chips as they only burn in a hot manner and cook your food improperly.

Propane Smoker:

Propane Smoker

The propane smoker is much efficient than others as it has a wide surface where you can lay out the whole meat brisket or you can cook many foods at once. 

Now other smokers will tell you to keep the temperature up 300 maximum, but in the case of a propane smoker, you can raise your temperature to a maximum of 450 degrees.

The propane smoker is much efficient than others as it has a wide surface where you can lay out the whole meat brisket or you can cook many foods at once. 

Now other smokers will tell you to keep the temperature up 300 maximum, but in the case of a propane smoker, you can raise your temperature to a maximum of 450 degrees.

Electric:

An electric smoker can be ideal if you don’t want to get into wood or charcoal stuff.

It can easily be placed inside your kitchen if the size is small but the only drawback is that you would not get the exciting flavor as charcoal or gas would do.

  • This electric smoker is very easy and seamless to use.
  • It has got a built-in timer and also installed with a thermostat.
  • This smoker does not require and need any sort of supervision from the user side.

Charcoal:

Charcoal is one of the best fuel sources when it comes to smoking meat.

The reason for it is the unique flavor that embossed it in the meat.

Temperature Control:

The thermometer is one of the essential things for cold smoking as you need to look up for the right amount of temperature.

Most smokers have built-in thermostats but some have not.

So you can use an analog thermometer but the downside of using an analog thermometer is that the minimum temperature it reads is 100,

And for cold smoking, we know that the temperature should be below the danger zone that is below 140 degrees. 

To measure the accurate temperature for cold smoking we can use a digital thermometer, some of them have Bluetooth so you check it if you are a bit far away from the chamber.

Extra Features Of A Meat Smoker:

Meat Smoker

When you buy a meat smoker you would be wondering the extra features that may offer.

Like grilling your meat and smoking with just one meat smoker or any other feature that might be of your desire.

2 in 1:

You buy a meat smoker to smoke your meat now and then but also love to grill it as well.

So you can buy a smoker then help you to smoke your meat and grill at the same time rather than buying different tools.

Moreover, you can attain them in cheap prices as well.

Movable:

Right, if you are looking for a meat smoker that has lots of shelves then you might wanna consider them to be removable.

No doubt you can store small pieces of meat on the individual shelve but what happens if you changed your mind and want to cook a turkey.

Then you surely need to remove some of the shelves to make room for it.

Water Pans:

Water pans are ideal when it comes to controlling temperature, so no matter what type of smoker you want to buy just make sure there are water pans.

Drip Pans:

This may come in handy for an easy cleanup rather than have all the drippings at the bottom.

Also, if you prefer to make a sauce out of the meat dripping then drip pan is definitely the best choice for you. 

Ease of Use:

We talked about the features and other things. But the most important thing song all of these is the ease of use.

Once you are buying you need to make sure that it is easy to add charcoal, water, or wood inside a fuel compartment.

Because smoking meat will be a lot harder then you think so adding fuel wouldn’t be a headache.

Next thing you need to consider the cleanup. Having removable parts is a lot easier to clean and you can reach the farthest corner of it.

Also, the fuel compartment will too need to be cleaned to remove the ashes.

Conclusion:

Once you are able to know the expectations of the smoker, the second step will be to buy one.

But from where you may be wondering, you can buy it from an online store or go to a nearby store where meat smokers are available.


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