The 10 Best Barbecue Smokers for Pitmaster-Quality Meals at Home
Few things make us more excited than the perfect barbeque spread. And while we love indulging in classics like burgers and grilled veggies, there's no denying the mouthwatering masterpieces that can be accomplished from a smoker.
What is a barbecue smoker?
A smoker is an outdoor appliance used for cooking at low temperatures and long periods of time in a controlled, smoky environment. While your standard barbecue grill relies on high heat to cook foods—we do love those pretty grill marks on our meats and vegetables—smokers enhance flavor with, you guessed it, smoke. If you're a seasoned griller ready for rich, fork-tender foods, purchasing a smoker may be a natural next step.
What type of smoker do I need?
Barbecue smokers come in many different types and sizes, from small electric options ideal for tailgating to large rigs that could feed an entire football team. Smokers are great for cooking large cuts of meat like briskets, ham, and ribs. They also work well for dried foods like jerky.
Just like grills, there are very easy-to-use smoker options, as well as ones that demand a bit more skill. One of the simplest smokers to handle—and one we recommend for beginners—uses wood pellets. From hickory to maple to applewood, you can have fun infusing your smoked fish, veggies, cheeses, and meats with a range of different unique flavors. (Applewood smoked bacon, anyone?)
Gas smokers are another convenient way to make pitmaster-quality smoked meats. They operate similar to grills that use natural gas or propane tanks and require less cleanup than other options. But if you don't mind getting your hands a little dirty, you might want to consider a charcoal smoker. Charcoal lights easily, burns clean, and, unlike wood, produces very little ash. It also heats quickly and fairly evenly, which is why so many professionals swear by it.
To help you sort through the options and find the best barbecue smoker for your needs, we've combed through thousands of reviews from actual customers who have purchased and used the appliances for themselves. Most shoppers turned to brands like Cuisinart, Masterbuilt, and Oklahoma Joe's, and left high marks, value, quality, and size, as well as ease of use. Below we've rounded up the 10 best barbecue smoker options for every type of outdoor cook.
- Best Electric: Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Meat Smoker
- Best Small Electric: Cuisinart Electric Smoker
- Best Wood Pellet: Traeger Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill
- Best for Beginners: Realcook 17-Inch Steel Charcoal Smoker
- Best Charcoal: Weber 14-Inch Charcoal Smoker
- Best Smoker-Grill Combo: Kamado Charcoal Cook Surface Grill & Smoker
- Best Budget-Friendly: Dyna-Glo Charcoal Smoker
- Best Offset: Oklahoma Joe's Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
- Best Portable: ASmoke AS 300 Portable Wood Pellet Tabletop Grill & Smoker
- Best BBQ Pit: Pit Barrel Cooker Vertical Smoker
Ready to enjoy pitmaster-level dishes from the comfort of your own home? Keep reading for more on the top-rated barbecue smoker picks in 2021.