- Best Smokers for Beginners – Our Top Choices
- Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
- Z Grills 700E Pellet Grill
- 18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker
- Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, 30″
- Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker
- Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker
- Masterbuilt Mps 230S Propane Smoker
- What Makes the Best Smokers for Beginners?
- Heat Retention and Distribution
- Which Types of Foods Do You Plan to Smoke?
- How Many People Will You Smoke For?
- Do You Need a Portable Smoker?
- Do You Need a Grill or a Smoker?
- What About Grill and Smoker Combos?
- Best Smokers for Beginners – Which Types of Smokers Should I Get?
- Charcoal Smokers
- Electric Smokers
- Offset Smokers
- Gas Smokers
- Kamado Grills
- Pellet Grills
- Which Accessories Do You Need?
- Probe Thermometer
- Wood Chunks and Lump Charcoal
- Slicing and Trimming Knives
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Easiest Thing to Smoke?
- Final Thoughts
There are a lot of reasons to take the plunge and buy your first smoker.
Maybe you had some delicious brisket at your local BBQ joint and decided it’s time to give it a try at home. Or maybe you’ve been grilling for years and now you’re ready to try your hand at smoking.
Either way, now is always the best time to get your first smoker! I’ll agree though, there are tons of different options and types of smokers on the market, so picking out your first one can be tough.
That’s where we can help – we’re here to help you find a great fit. We’ve compiled a list of the best smokers for beginners right here in this article. After we go over that list, we’ll talk about some different aspects of smokers and what you should be on the lookout for when you’re acquiring one.
Best Smokers for Beginners – Our Top Choices
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
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(Here’s our detailed review of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker)
For a first smoker, you want something that’s affordable, easy to use, yet built to last. The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker checks all of those boxes and is undoubtedly one of the best smokers for beginners.
Drum smokers in general are a great type of smoker for those new to smoking due to the general ease of use factor. The Weber Smokey Mountain has a slim profile – so it’s easy to fit into just about any spot on your deck or patio.
Even though the profile is slim, you’re afforded a generous amount of cooking space. Two separate cooking grates give you tons of space to cook two large pieces of meat at once on – no matter whether you choose the 18 inch, and 22 inch diameter units.
Obviously, the 22 inch diameter smoker has the most cooking space with 726 square inches across the two cooking racks. But thanks to the drum design, there’s plenty of room vertically in all of these sizes to handle your cooking needs.
If you’re worried about fire management, the Smokey Mountain makes things pretty easy in that department too. A side mounted easy open fuel door lets you add to or stoke your fire mid cook. Built in dampers let you adjust your airflow and you can also monitor temperature with a built in lid mounted temperature gauge.
A quick word on the Weber brand: in case you aren’t familiar with that name, Weber has been building grills and smokers since the 1950’s and have a sterling reputation in the industry. You really can’t go wrong with any type of Weber grill – and this particular smoker is backed by a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty.
Things We Like
- Incredibly well made. The Smokey Mountain is actually used by professionals in BBQ competitions, so it’s the sort of quality that literally anybody can appreciate. It’s the sort of smoker that can last decades with proper care.
- Super easy to use. Just because pros use it doesn’t mean it’s not good for beginners – quite the opposite. Everything from temperature control to firebox management is made incredibly easy, so you can be set up for success.
- Design is versatile. No matter which size you choose, the drum design provides a lot of room to get your smoking done. Pretty much all types of meats for smoking will fit into even the 14″ smokey mountain.
- Great value – price is really hard to beat. This is one of the best smokers for beginners in large part because you get an easy to use unit that’s well made at an incredibly reasonable price.
Things We Don’t
- A few (not many) customers have noted quality control issues with parts that get shipped to them. If this happens to you, reach out to the manufacturer and Weber will replace any parts that aren’t working right.
Z Grills 700E Pellet Grill
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Pellet grills are another type of grill that also make great smokers. They’re known for their versatility and ability to both maintain smoking temperatures for hours and reach scorching searing temperatures if needed.
The most common household brand name in the pellet grill space is Traeger. Traeger is actually the manufacturer who invented the pellet grill, and only a few years ago did their patent expire, allowing other companies to enter the marketplace.
Don’t get us wrong, Traegers are fantastic grills, but as far as the best smokers for beginners go – Z Grills is a little bit of a better choice. We feel like you get a lot of the same quality and benefits of a Traeger, just maybe not the same brand name.
In particular, the Z Grills 700E makes our list of the best smokers for beginners due to its combination of performance and affordability.
For a reasonable price, you get 550 square inches of primary cooking area. If you’re unfamiliar with pellet grills, they utilize wood pellets that are fed through an auger and ignited to cook your food. Setting your heat to an optimal smoking temperature is as easy as turning a knob!
Pellet grills come with the added benefit of traditional, wood fired taste being added to your food. Compared to an electric smoker, your food cooked on a pellet grill will come out with a tastier and more complex smoky flavor.
Another nice feature – Z Grills backs this smoker with a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty.
Things We Like
- Best value for a pellet smoker. For what you get, you can’t beat the price here.
- Pellet grills are versatile and easy to operate. With the turn of a knob, you can switch between low and slow smoking and searing temperatures. If you’re in need of an all in one unit, a pellet grill is a great fit.
- Wood pellets are easy to get ahold of and a cheap fuel source. You can easily experiment with different flavors and try new types of wood to smoke with on a pellet grill without breaking the bank.
- Even heat distribution and retention. You don’t have to worry about consistent, even heat during your smoking session. Z Grills has constructed a well made cooking chamber that leads to delicious, consistent results when smoking.
Things We Don’t
- Z Grills is a pretty bare bones product, which on some level is great for beginners – but when you’re ready to advance you might find the lack of upgrades compared to Traeger or other brands to be frustrating.
18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker
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Pit Barrel Cooker Co. is the manufacturer of the 18-1/2 in Classic Pit Barrel Cooker, which has a timeless barrel smoker design that’s optimized for efficient cooking.
As far as charcoal smokers go, you’re going to have a hard time finding a smoker for beginners that walks the line between quality and low price like this one does. It’s a worthy alternative to the Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker and will consistently cook delicious food.
The Classic Pit Barrel Cooker utilizes 8 stainless steel hooks and a hook-n-hang system for smoking your food inside the barrel. A stainless steel grate is also included that can be used for both smoking and direct heat grilling.
The hook hanging system might sound a little unorthodox, but it’s actually a great way to maximize cooking space within the cooking chamber. For example, you can hang up to 8 racks of ribs vertically and smoke them all at once because of this design feature. That’s a ton of food to cook at once inside of an 18.5″ diameter smoker!
Things We Like
- Hook design is unique and effective. Sometimes unique doesn’t mean practical, but that’s not the case here. The hook design means maximum efficiency in terms of space usage, so you can cook a ton of food inside of this barrel.
- Quality construction means consistent heat. Remember, smoking meats can be a 3-12+ hour long process depending on what you’re cooking. No matter what your skill level is, it’s an absolute must for your smoker to retain heat throughout the duration of your cook. The Classic Pit Barrel Cooker passes this test with flying colors.
- Will last decades with proper care. No stone was left unturned when it comes to materials used. The drum is made of 18 gauge steel that has a porcelain enameled coating that’s easy to clean and durable.
- Reasonable price point. Although this smoker is a hair more expensive than some of the others on this list, you still get incredible value for your dollar – and relatively speaking, it’s not super expensive compared to some of the stuff out there.
Things We Don’t
- The ash management system could be better. You can purchase an ash pan extra but I’d like to see a more intuitive way to handle ashes included with the basic package.
Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, 30″
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When it comes to the best smokers for beginners, electric smokers are another great type due to the general ease of use and price factor. Particularly, the Masterbuilt 30″ Electric Smoker is a favorite of ours.
Electric smokers are great for beginners because they take a lot of the guesswork out of smoking. All you need is a standard electric outlet to get started!
Electric smokers rely on an electric heating element to slow cook your food. All you have to do is plug your unit in, turn the knob to set your temperature, then sit back and relax while your ribs, brisket, chicken, or other food smoke!
Smokey flavor is added to Masterbuilt smokers by a wood chip tray that easily slides out. You add wood chips that get burned to produce delicious smoky flavor which gets absorbed by your food.
Electric smokers get a bad rap from some “purists” in the BBQ community, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them and they can make some delicious food. The “downside” of an electric smoker is that your food won’t get quite as much robust smoky flavor as it would if you were to smoke in a charcoal or wood fired smoker.
The key is to make sure your electric smoker is well insulated. Some of the cheaper models don’t do a great job of this, but Masterbuilt is the leading electric smoker brand and you can’t go wrong with their MB20070210 30″ Electric Smoker.
Things We Like
- Entry level price point for great quality. Just because the price is good doesn’t mean you should settle for a poorly made smoker. Masterbuilt makes really nice quality electric smokers at a more than fair price.
- A true set it and forget it smoker. Electric smokers could not be easier to use. All you have to do is plug it in and turn your temperature dial. From there, you can relax and take it easy while your food cooks low and slow.
- Nice amount of cooking space. With 536 square inches of cooking area across 3 chrome plated racks, you have tons of room to handle any type of food you could want to smoke.
- Cleaning/Ongoing maintenance is a breeze. From the easy to remove ash pan to the general design that makes cleaning your electric smoker simple, you won’t be spending very much time at all cleaning up.
Things We Don’t
- Electric smokers simply don’t impart as much smoky flavor into your food compared to charcoal or wood fueled smokers. Many people might not be able to tell the difference, but there’s definitely less of a traditional smoky BBQ flavor that comes from food cooked in an electric smoker.
Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker
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Offset smokers are typically better for more experienced pit masters, but we simply couldn’t leave the Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker off of our list of the best smokers for beginners.
Mostly, the price point is unbelievably low – and even though some components could be higher quality you still get a great value for the money. It’s a great first unit to purchase and figure out if offset smokers are for you.
It weighs only 50 pounds and comes with built in wheels, so this is also a great option for on the go smoking. If you see yourself smoking at a campsite or while tailgating, this is the kind of smoker you want to bring along with you.
What’s great too is that this unit is a grill and smoker combination. You can both grill with direct heat over a charcoal flame, and smoke with indirect heat utilizing the offset fire box.
On top of all of that, you’re afforded a generous amount of cooking area to work with. There are 438 square inches in the main cooking area, 183 square inches in the side box, and 179 square inches of swing away warming rack. That’s a grand total of 800 square inches!
Things We Like
- 800 square inches of total cooking area. Between the main cooking area, swing away rack, and offset rack, you have access to a ton of cooking area to get your work done.
- Best price. Frankly I’d be nervous of anything cheaper than this smoker. At lower price points you run a high risk of buying a piece of junk.
- Great for on the go smoking. If you’re a camper or a tailgater – this is a nice, more portable friendly option to go with.
Things We Don’t
- As you’d expect with a smoker that costs so little, occasionally customers have problems with the build quality of the main chamber. Specifically, a few customers have reported that the main chamber leaks and doesn’t retain heat like it should.
Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker
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Kamado grills have been the craze in the outdoor cooking sphere for the last 5-10 years, and for good reason. Their distinct egg shaped design and quality build lead to fantastic heat retainers and insulators. They’re effective smokers in addition to being effective direct heat grills.
The top kamado grill brands on the market are Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg by a pretty steep margin. These grills are made with a premium ceramic material and are the creme de la creme when it comes to grilling at home.
Frankly, we don’t recommend Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg to beginners mostly because they are very pricey – and for a first smoker, you probably don’t want to drop $1,000-$2,000 bucks. Those are great grills and smokers to look at after you have a little experience.
The best kamado smoker for beginners goes to the Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker, which has a lot of the same design features as more premium kamado brands.
The big difference is that the Akorn is constructed with a quality heavy duty 22 gauge steel instead of ceramic. Heavy duty steel does a great job insulating heat, and dampers allow you to maximize control of airflow and therefore heat while you smoke your food.
It also has the added benefit of being a little more lightweight and portable than a ceramic smoker. The Akorn weighs only 90 pounds (ceramic you can expect 200+) and comes with capable built in wheels to help you roll it around.
As far as cooking area goes, this entry level kamado comes with 314 square inches of primary cooking area. Additionally, there’s an extra 133 square inch warming rack for a total of 447 square inches of space.
Things We Like
- Entry level price point for a kamado grill. If you wanted to get started with a kamado smoker but don’t want the financial commitment of a premium model, this is a great value for a first kamado smoker.
- Kamados are incredibly versatile. Kamados are known for their ability to smoke, direct grill, and bake all in the same unit – made possible by a temperature range of 225-700°F.
- Easy ash management system included. Minimize the amount of time you spend cleaning up with an easy dump ash tray.
- Temperature control made easy. For beginners, one of the most daunting tasks about smoking is maintaining consistent temperature. This smoker’s insulated egg shaped design combined with easy to use airflow management make temperature control about as easy as it can be.
Things We Don’t
- A couple of customers have complained about low quality components like bolts or temperature gauges. If this happens to you, reach out and get replacement parts.
- Not as durable as premium kamados and other smokers on this list. Expected shelf life is less than a decade, even with proper care.
Masterbuilt Mps 230S Propane Smoker
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The last type of smoker that we haven’t gone over so far is a propane smoker. The Masterbuilt MPS 230S Propane Smoker gets our vote for best smoker for beginners that’s fueled by gas.
Gas fueled grills and smokers are convenient because of the wide availability and access to propane and natural gas. Most grocers and outdoor specialty stores carry propane tanks.
The downside of propane smokers is the same downside of electric smokers. Since you aren’t utilizing wood or charcoal as the primary fuel source, the end results will lack the deep smoky flavor that is synonymous with BBQ.
The Masterbuilt 230S Propane Smoker does have a tray that burns wood chips to impart some smoky flavor – but it just won’t be the same thing as a more “traditional” smoker.
Four chrome coated smoking racks provide ample room to cook lots of food at once. As far as propane smokers go, this one is the best in our opinion by a fairly wide margin.
Things We Like
- Super easy to use. All you have to do to get started is open your propane connection, insert wood chips into the tray, then ignite with the press of a button. From there you can sit back and relax while your food smokes!
- Entry level price point and low ongoing costs. You don’t have to break the bank for the 230S and the cost of propane isn’t that expensive relative to wood or charcoal.
Things We Don’t
- This propane smoker is a little bit on the narrow side, so if you’re needing to smoke for large groups of people, it might not be the most ideal choice. Most propane smokers are pretty narrow.
What Makes the Best Smokers for Beginners?
Buying your first smoker can be an overwhelming process at first. There’s a lot of information out there and it can be tough to sift through all of it. Which features are important? What do you absolutely need to have in your smoker and what can you live without?
To help you with the process and to know what to look for, we’ve put together a list of factors you should consider when shopping for a smoker.
Heat Retention and Distribution
One of the most important features of any smoker is how well it retains heat. Some foods like brisket can be on the smoker for upwards of 8-12 hours – and a unit that leaks heat can wreak havoc on your results.
You want to make sure that the smoker you buy is well insulated and built to retain heat. Consistent and even heat will do wonders for your food – and make you look like a Michelin chef in the process.
Obviously, you should consider your budget before you go into any big purchase. There are tons of smokers out there – and I guarantee that you can find one that suits your budget.
Our two cents about price is that below the $100 threshold, it’s probably not even worth the money. Most smokers less than $100 are pretty junky, and you’ll have to replace them within a year or two – or potentially sooner.
The $150-$400 price point is a really nice range where you can find all sorts of different kinds of smokers that can suit your needs. There are also lots of smokers in that range that are incredibly well made and will be void of issues with heat retention.
Of course, you can certainly go big and buy a smoker that’s anywhere from $500 to the $2,000+ range. For beginners though, we’ve found that the honey hole is that $150-400 area.
One of the most overlooked features of any grill or smoker is the manufacturer’s warranty. It’s crazy to me how overlooked warranties are because many times you’re spending a lot of money to get one of the best smokers for beginners – don’t you want the most protection for your purchase?
I’ve also found that often times, the highest quality smokers have the most generous warranties covering them. Funny how that works. It makes intuitive sense that a manufacturer who is confident in their product is willing to back it with the most generous warranty.
Industry standard warranties for grills and smokers is generally about 3 years. Some companies (like Weber) are known to offer 5 or even 10 year warranties. Our advice: if you’re stuck between two smokers – choose the one with the better warranty.
Which Types of Foods Do You Plan to Smoke?
Picture yourself with your new smoker. What are the types of foods you plan on smoking?
The answer to that question matters a lot, mostly because you’ll want to make sure that you have enough cooking area in your smoker to accommodate.
For example – if you love making ribs, a propane smoker probably isn’t for you. Most propane smokers are pretty narrow, so to fit ribs you’d have to do extra prep work and cut your racks down to a size where they could fit.
It might not sound like the biggest deal, but it just makes the entire smoking experience better when you have enough cooking area to work with.
Generally speaking, the best smokers for beginners are able to accommodate many different types of food so you can experiment and figure out what you like.
How Many People Will You Smoke For?
Are you the type to make BBQ for a big group of people at a backyard cookout? Since smoking often takes a really long time, having enough cooking area on your smoker is incredibly important. It’s not like a grill where you can cook quickly in batches.
With that in mind, just make sure you’ve planned how much food you see yourself needing to smoke at once.
Do You Need a Portable Smoker?
If you want to take the delicious BBQ with you on the go for camping or tailgating trips, that should be considered too. There are definitely smokers that are lightweight and portable enough to travel with – you just may need to do a little research and figure out which one will work best and fit in your vehicle.
Do You Need a Grill or a Smoker?
If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between a smoker and a grill is, it basically comes down to different techniques of cooking food.
Grills are meant for high temperature, direct heat cooking. Grills are ideal for burgers, searing steaks, and other foods that you want to cook relatively quickly while adding some delicious smoky flavor.
Smoking on the other hand is a much longer process where you slow cook foods at low temperatures for long periods of time. During this process, smoke from your wood logs or chips absorbs into your food, which adds a delicious and complex layer to your food.
Smoking is ideal for tougher cuts of meat. In fact, the most ideal meats for smoking are typically tough, not tender, and pretty cheap to buy. Brisket, for example, is one of the toughest cuts of beef you can buy. It’s essentially a muscle that a steer flexes constantly to hold up its gargantuan weight.
If you were to throw a brisket on the grill, it would be borderline not edible. By smoking it for hours and hours at a low temperature, you allow the brisket to break down and tenderize. At the end, you’re left with incredibly tender and juicy results!
What About Grill and Smoker Combos?
If you’re stuck between a smoker and a grill but you don’t want to buy two separate units, then look for a grill/smoker combo.
Honestly, combo smokers are some of the best smokers for beginners in general because you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself into smoking. You can take your time to figure out if smoking is for you! And in the meantime, you have access to a traditional grilling experience.
There are lots of charcoal grills that double as smokers – with the Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker being the most top of mind choice.
Alternatively, if you decide that a kamado grill or a pellet grill is right for you, both of those come with the added benefit of working as both a grill and a smoker by design.
Best Smokers for Beginners – Which Types of Smokers Should I Get?
At the end of the day, all smokers are designed with one goal in mind. Help you to smoke delicious food as easily as possible.
With that being said, there are a lot of design philosophies and different means to achieve this goal. In our reviews of the best smokers for beginners earlier in this article, we covered a few different types of smokers.
We wanted to take a moment here to highlight the different kinds and talk about a few of the pros and cons of each.
Charcoal smokers are probably the most popular, or at least most well known type of smoker on the market. As the name suggests, these vessels are fueled by charcoal; either lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes.
If you love “the process” and putting time, love, and care into your cooks, you just might fall in love with charcoal smokers. It’s a pretty involved process from start to finish. You control everything from starting your fire, to achieving your desired temperature by adjusting your oxygen dampers, to a more active process of monitoring and managing your food while it cooks.
Even though they take a little time to work with, they’re one of the best smokers for beginners because they’re straightforward to use and lead to delicious smoky flavor in your food.
Charcoal Smoker Pros:
- Typically very affordable smokers
- Charcoal briquettes are widely available and impart traditional smoky flavor on your food
- Lump charcoal is a more premium option that allows you to take the smoky flavor to the next level
- For the process oriented, you get to spend a lot of involved time managing your cook
Charcoal Smoker Cons:
- Compared to other types of smokers, charcoal ones require the most time and attention
- Ongoing cost of charcoal fuel can definitely add up if you smoke often
- Temperature management can take a few tries to get the hang of
Electric smokers are often marketed as set it and forget it solutions for smoking. While the purists might scoff at the idea of an electric smoker, they’re practical and undoubtedly one of the best smokers for beginners.
Electric Smoker Pros:
- The easiest type of smoker to use. All you have to do is plug it in and turn the temperature dial to get going
- Many can be easily used as a cold smoker to flavor foods like jerky, nuts, or cheese
- You can relax and not worry about actively managing your smoke for the longer sessions
Electric Smoker Cons:
- You don’t get the “full” BBQ experience with electric smokers. They’re not capable of producing the same complex and smoky flavor of a charcoal or wood fueled smoker
- These units rely on access to an electrical outlet and require a weatherproof extension cord
- Many electric smokers are pretty low in quality. Stick to Masterbuilt and Smoke Hollow
- Some people don’t like how little involvement there is in the process of using an electric smoker
Offset smokers are fantastic and bar none one of the best ways you could ever cook your food.
The problem is that they aren’t great for beginners.
Controlling and managing your fire and temperature in particular definitely take a while to get the hang of. Typically, we recommend starting out with a charcoal or drum smoker to get your feet wet and learn how to smoke in a more user friendly setting.
From there, you can explore the world of offset smokers and take your game to the next level!
Offset Smoker Pros:
- Maximum control over smoke levels
- Can be easy to use for long smoking sessions after you’ve mastered offset smokers
- Offset smokers are best at maximizing your cooking area – you can get a lot done at once with vertical offset smokers in particular
Offset Smoker Cons:
- Steep learning curve for fire and smoke management
- Typically they get pretty expensive
Propane fueled smokers also fall under this category. These units are fueled by a gas connection that gets ignited and cooks your food.
Similar to electric smokers, there’s not much ongoing attention to be paid to your food after you get things started. Because of that, they’re an easy to use option and definitely one of the best smokers for beginners.
Propane Smoker Pros:
- Set it and forget it alternative to electric smokers
- You don’t have to constantly monitor and manage a fire while smoking
- Generally pretty inexpensive
Propane Smoker Cons:
- Refilling a propane tank can be a hassle
- Less flavor in your results compared to wood or charcoal smokers
- Many units in this class are far too narrow to even handle one full rack of ribs
- Lots of these types of smokers are poorly built
Technically a kamado smoker is the same as a kamado grill, which are one of my personal favorite types of grills.
Kamado grills rely on millenium old techniques to precisely control temperature in an egg shaped vessel by manipulating air flow with built in dampers.
It might sound complicated, but it’s actually a really simple and straightforward process – and the simplicity combined with performance makes a kamado grill one of the best smokers for beginners.
Kamado Smoker Pros:
- Versatile, all in one grills. If you want a grill/smoker combo – a kamado is by definition just that. You can even bake pizzas on a kamado.
- Incredibly precise and intuitive temperature control
- Fueled by lump charcoal, briquettes, or wood, so you get that delicious smoky flavor on your food
Kamado Smoker Cons:
- The ceramic kamados are really expensive and might be out of a beginner’s budget
- You’ll probably get more cooking surface area per dollar spent on most other types of smokers
Similar to kamados, pellet grills are super versatile, all in one outdoor cooking machines that afford you the luxury of grilling, smoking, and baking all in one unit. As such, they’re without a doubt one of the best smokers for beginners.
Pellet grills are fueled by wood pellets, which are essentially capsules of repurposed wood and sawdust. Pellets are widely available and pretty cheap, so your ongoing costs will remain pretty low. They’re also found in a lot of different flavors – so you can experiment with different pellets for different types of foods.
Pellet Smoker Pros:
- Pretty hands off to use
- Wood pellets mean delicious smoky flavor on your food
- Pellet smokers remain incredibly consistent temperature wise – your heat level is set by a knob and the smoker maintains a steady pellet burn rate to remain at your desired temperature
Pellet Smoker Cons:
- Compared to other types of units, pellet smokers are typically on the more expensive end of the spectrum
- On cheaper units, you’ll have trouble achieving the sort of flavor you’d get from a kamado, offset, or charcoal smoker
Check out our article on Green Mountain vs Pit Boss or Traeger pellet grills for a breakdown of two great brands for those just starting out.
Which Accessories Do You Need?
You might think the work is done after acquiring one of the best smokers for beginners. While you could definitely get away with it, there are a few key accessories that you’d be doing yourself a favor if you acquired them.
One of the first things any aspiring pit master should acquire is a probe smoker thermometer. Many beginners wrongly assume that the pros have mastered the art of knowing when the perfect time is to pull of your food from the smoker.
Wrong – even the pros rely on probe thermometers. You should 100% be cooking your meats until they reach your desired internal temperature. There are lots of guides out there about how long you should cook a certain meat per each pound – but at the end of the day what really matters is reaching the right internal temperature.
Many probe thermometers come with multiple probes. That means you can monitor two or more separate meats at the exact same time.
Wood Chunks and Lump Charcoal
We don’t have anything against charcoal briquettes, don’t get us wrong. But when it comes to smoking, you just get the best performance and flavor out of wood chunks, logs, or lump charcoal.
The type of wood you use matters greatly. Different woods impart different flavors and affect beef, poultry, and fish all differently.
We’ve made a few resources about which are the best types of wood for different types of meat right here if you want to check them out:
Slicing and Trimming Knives
One of the most overlooked aspects of the smoking process is the knives you use to work with your meat cuts.
You’d be surprised how big of a difference a proper brisket slicing knife can make on the presentation and tenderness of your brisket.
The type of blade you use matters a lot, and it’s worth the extra 50 bucks to get something that’s going to last you a long time and enhance your food.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Easiest Thing to Smoke?
No one thing is ‘easiest’ to smoke per se. That being said, there are several different items of food and meals that can be seen as being relatively easy to smoke. This is especially true for beginners who are new to smoking and are looking for something simple to ease them in.
Sure, this doesn’t mean you will master it right away, but it is worth trying some of the simpler meals first. If you have just gotten your smoker and want to try your hand at something simple, why not try smoking one of the following food items:
- Smoked steak (ensure it is cut thickly)
- Chicken thighs or breast
- Pork chops
- Boston Butt (a cut of pork from the shoulder which is great for pulled pork)
- Sausage (like brats or any other sausage you like)
- Turkey thighs or breasts
- Fish fillets (salmon works well)
With all of the information and attention grabbing headlines out there, it’s easy to forget that at the end of the day, smoking delicious food is about making memories with family and friends.
If you’re new to smoking, acquiring one of the best smokers for beginners can go a long way to help you achieve the sort of results that will be come the stuff of legend at your backyard cookouts.
I hope by reading this article you know that you don’t need something super expensive to create delicious BBQ. All you need is a little know how and a smoker that helps to set you up for success.
Which one did you end up with? We want to hear about it in the comments section below! Did we miss an obvious candidate on our best smokers for beginners list? We want to hear about that too. Let us know in the comments and happy smoking!