Don't let anyone fool you―great barbecue can be cooked on just about any type of barbecue pit. With a wide range of prices, sizes, and features to choose from, you'll be able to find the perfect pit for you.
One of the most recognizable smokers is the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker. This smoker is great for those who occasionally slow cook. It costs less than $200 and takes up very little space.
If you do lots of slow smoking, consider a large heavy-duty smoking pit. These pits have several advantages over smaller ones: They keep their temperature for longer periods of time, which means less fire maintenance; they hold more meat; and with proper care, they will last practically forever.
The barrel-type smoker with an offset firebox has long been a favorite of Texans. The Tejas Smoker Model 2040 is made of heavy-plate steel and has a 20- x 40-inch smoking barrel. A large drain valve makes cleanup easy. The lid opens up on top of the firebox, exposing a grate right above the fire for grilling.
If you like the convenience of a gas grill for your steaks and you like to cook things low and slow, try the All-in-One Grill from Pitts and Spitts.The smoker sports stainless steel construction, a heavy-duty firebox, and an attached gas grill.
One of the easiest-to-use smokers is the GenuSwine Backyard Rotisserie. It has four rotating cooking shelves. Meats will baste themselves as drippings fall from the rotating shelves. Because the cooking shelves rotate, there are no hot spots.
- You must have a good pit thermometer and an instant-read meat thermometer. The pit thermometer will give you the temperature in your cooking chamber and is made to mount inside the lid of your smoker. Use the meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of meats. Tel-Tru Manufacturing makes barbecuing thermometers in a variety of sizes and styles.
- A charcoal chimney starter will light your fire quickly. Place charcoal in the top. Wad newspaper in the bottom of the starter, and ignite. Place the starter on a concrete surface for safety.
- A good basting mop offers an efficient way to mop your meats with sauce yet still avoid long periods with the smoker lid open.
- Basting brushes are used to apply thick sauces to meats. Most labeled as "barbecue brushes" are for small jobs. For big jobs, look for a large paintbrush with natural bristles. Synthetic bristles can melt if they touch a hot grate.
- A rib rack is for holding ribs in a vertical position, saving space on the smoker.
- A grill brush will make cleanup faster. A stiff wire brush works best. Scrub down cooking grates before the smoker cools.