How To Buy The Perfect Smoker For Your Backyard

Smoking is a great way to prepare meats, fish and vegetables. There are different types of smokers out there and each has its own cooking method. Whether you’re new to smoking or a seasoned pro, buying a smoker is an investment in your health and happiness. If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to pick up a smoker, then now is the time! Here’s how to choose the perfect smoker for your backyard. 

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Find The Right Size For Your Needs 

Before heading to the store, you must determine how much food you’ll be smoking. If you live alone or very rarely cook large amounts of food, then a small table top smoker will do the trick. These types can be moved easily and conveniently stored in small spaces when not in use. If your family is small and rarely entertains, then a smaller smoker might suit your needs best. It’s easy to find a smoker that will cook enough for two or three people, but may not hold up under heavy use. 

If you’re hosting parties often with large crowds and need to smoke more than 25 pounds of food at once, plan on investing in something bigger. Some larger free-standing smokers can smoke enough food at once for 20 people.

Research The Different Types Of Smokers

There are lots of types of smokers to choose from: gas smokers, electric smokers, offset smokers, and charcoal smokers. Learning about these different types of smokers can help determine which one is best for your backyard. 

Gas Smokers

Propane, butane, or natural gas can be used to power these types of smokers. These large rigs offer an easy and convenient way to smoke food. Some models let you control the heat easily while others require more attention during use. 

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Electric Smokers

These smokers are great for newbies who don’t want to fuss with using a fire or propane. Simply plug in an electric smoker, add some wood chips, then load it up with food and wait for the magic to happen! The downside is that it requires electricity, so you won’t be able to use this type of smoker on camping trips or at your cabin without access to an electrical outlet. There are cordless models available; they still have limited use depending on the size of the smoker. 

Offset Smokers 

Offsets are basically a horizontal barrel that sits on three legs and is held up by another set of legs. There’s an opening in the front of an offset smoker to load wood chips, as well as a firebox on one side of the barrel. These types of smokers have been around for decades and are beloved by backyard chefs everywhere. 

Charcoal Smokers

Charcoal smokers are similar to offsets but require less attention during use since there is no firebox involved: instead, coals sit on top of two small racks inside the smoker. It’s important to check how much charcoal you’ll need ahead of time so it’s not running out mid-smoke.

Choose A Portable Or Stationary Smoker

One consideration you must take into account before buying a smoker is where you’ll be mostly using it. If your backyard has a covered house, patio, or pergola that will protect it from the elements then you can get away with something more portable like an electric smoker. You may even want to consider buying two different types of smokers: one for outside and another for inside. 

If your smoker is going to be exposed to rain, snow, sleet, and other nasty weather conditions, then buy something more sturdy and durable like an offset or gas smoker. A less expensive model might do just fine if it’s used rarely or on special occasions only. 

Give Some Thought To Maintenance And Clean Up

Just like any appliance, there’s going to be a certain amount of maintenance required to keep it running smoothly. If left uncleaned, even the best smoker will produce subpar results. Also, consider whether you’ll need to do a lot of scrubbing and cleaning after each use before choosing a certain model. 

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Charcoal smokers require more upkeep than other types since ash needs to be removed from the grills or vaporizers every time you finish cooking. Electric smokers are very low maintenance because all you have to do is wipe them down after use. Offsets and gas smokers can sometimes fall into the charcoal smoker category depending on how often you cook with them.

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Knowing what type of smoker you need, where you’re going to place it, and how much work it will take to keep it running are all important factors that contribute to the decision process when choosing a smoker. Remember not to forget about aesthetics: buy something you’ll be proud to use in your backyard!

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