People who want to tenderize beef or pork, or give almost any food a true smoky flavor, will find myriad uses for a smoker.
What to Know
Smokers can be fueled by charcoal, wood, gas, or electricity. When wood is not used as the primary heat source, moistened wood chips or chunks are added to flavor the food and create smoke. Savory hardwoods, such as hickory or mesquite, are often used to enhance meats; fruit woods, including apple and cherry, work well with fish. Smoking takes a few hours to a full day, depending on the food.
There are four main types of smokers. The water smoker, a cylindrical unit that has a water-filled pan over the heat source, uses heat and moisture to cook food to perfection. Inexpensive and easy to operate, this is the best choice for beginners. Other options include the barrel-shaped, horizontal dry smoker -- good for cooking large amounts of food -- the foolproof electric box smoker, and the kamado cooker. The pricey kamado, usually charcoal-fueled, conducts heat beautifully, thanks to thick ceramic walls and a tight seal.
$50 to $2,000