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Popular in Food


Smoking is essentially grilling and can be done on charcoal or gas grills. However, if you're all about the smoke, then you may consider buying a smoker.

Vertical Water Smoker

There are two basic types of smokers: vertical water smokers and horizontal dry or pit smokers.

Vertical Water Smoker Components

  • Cylindrical barrel 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 feet high and about 18 inches in diameter
  • Base of barrel is heat source -- charcoal, gas, or electric
  • Wood chips or chunks are placed on heat source to enhance desired smoky flavor
  • Water pan is placed above heat source
  • One or more grill racks are above the water pan

Benefits of Vertical Water Smoker

  • Water adds moisture to smoking process
  • Substantially less expensive than pit smokers

How Horizontal Dry Smokers Cook

Horizontal smokers cook food by indirect grilling. These smokers have two chambers: one large one where food is placed, and a smaller offset fire chamber where the fuel source heats the food chamber indirectly.

Benefits of Horizontal Dry Smokers

  • Volume of food that can be smoked at one time is substantial

What to Look for in Vertical and Horizontal Smokers

  • Heavy-gauge metal, usually steel
  • Smooth porcelain enamel inside and out for durability
  • Tight-fitting lid to hold in smoke and heat
  • Built-in temperature gauge to monitor heat inside
  • Access to lower half of barrel for ease of adding wood, water, or charcoal as needed
  • Trays for catching and disposing of ashes
  • Sufficient vents to help regulate heat and smoke

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