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.
There are two basic types of smokers - vertical water smokers and horizontal dry or pit smokers.
Vertical Water Smoker Components
- Cylindrical-shaped barrel 2 1/2-3 1/2 feet high and about an 18-inch 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 above water pan
Benefits of Vertical Water Smoker
- Water provides 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 fuel source heat 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