The Ultimate Guide to Smokers: Find the Perfect Smoker and Fulfill Your Outdoor Cooking Dreams
Missy McCabe·May 28, 2023
Smokin’ season is upon us! Something special happens when you take cuts of meat that need a little extra time, love, and care, and combine them with low heat & smoke over an extended period. You probably know how delicious a beautifully braised piece of meat is when it’s been cooked in a dish with liquid to make it super tender and juicy - many of the same principles apply when using a smoker. But, instead of relying on extra liquid to help get the desired result, the low temps of most smoking environments are what break down collagen throughout a long cook to achieve an incredible texture, with the added benefit of wood smoke flavour or charcoal goodness. Today, we’re going to dive into the many types of smokers we stock at Atlantic Outdoor - so you know what’s best for your outdoor grilling setup.
Offset smokers, like those offered by Yoder, feature a side firebox and a large main cooking chamber. The heat and smoke from the wood burning in the firebox travel into the main chamber, cooking your food with indirect heat and infusing it with a rich, smoky flavour.
Benefits of Offset Smokers
Authentic smoky flavour: Offset smokers are known for delivering a distinct, delicious taste that's hard to replicate with other types of smokers.
Large cooking capacity: The spacious main chamber allows for cooking large quantities of food at once, making it ideal for big gatherings and events.
Versatile cooking options: You can grill, smoke, or even bake using an offset smoker.
How Pellet Grills/Smokers Work
Pellet grills/smokers, such as those from Green Mountain Grills and Broil King, use wood pellets as fuel. These pellets are fed into a burn pot/firebox by an auger, where they are ignited and produce heat and smoke. You can control the temperature by adjusting the rate at which the pellets are fed into the grill.
Benefits of Pellet Grills/Smokers
Precise temperature control: Easily adjust and maintain the cooking temperature, making it perfect for slow cooking and smoking.
Wide range of flavours: Choose from a variety of wood pellet flavours to suit your taste preferences.
Easy to use: Most pellet grills/smokers feature digital controls and Bluetooth/WiFi functionality, making them user-friendly and convenient with the added benefit of being able to control your cook even when you aren’t home!
How Kamado-Style Grills Work
Kamado-style grills, like those from Kamado Joe, are charcoal-fueled, egg-shaped ceramic cookers that can be used for grilling, smoking, and baking. The heat inside the grill is controlled by adjusting the airflow through the vents.
Benefits of Kamado-Style Grills
Excellent heat retention: The ceramic walls retain heat like no other, allowing for efficient cooking and maintaining consistent temperatures over a long period.
Unmatched temperature ranges: Kamado grills can be used for rippin’ hot searing, smoking, and baking, providing a range of culinary possibilities.
Durable construction: The high-quality ceramic material is built to last and withstand extreme temperatures.
How Charcoal Smokers Work
Charcoal smokers, like Yoder's Flat-Top charcoal grill, use charcoal as their primary heat source. The charcoal is placed in a separate chamber below the cooking area, providing indirect heat to cook the food while infusing it with a smoky flavour.
Benefits of Charcoal Smokers
Authentic smoky taste: Charcoal smokers provide a classic, genuine smoky flavour to your food.
Reliable, low-tech: No electronics, simple operation and easy maintenance for years of smoking and delicious low & slow BBQ.
Portable: Many charcoal smoker models (excluding the beastly Yoder!) are designed for easy transport, making them great for camping trips and tailgating.
Comparing Smoker Brands: Green Mountain Grills, Broil King, Kamado Joe, and Yoder
Now that we've explored the different types of smokers, let's look at a few specific models and their most notable features.
Features: Adjustable charcoal grate for heat control, removable ash pan for easy cleanup, and heavy-duty construction.
Highlights: Customizable cooking temperatures, hassle-free maintenance, and delicious charcoal-only flavours.
What Are the Key Differences Between Offset Smokers, Pellet Grills/Smokers, Kamado-Style Grills, and Charcoal Smokers?
Offset smokers use wood as their fuel source in a side-mounted firebox - they offer a large cooking capacity, indirect heating, and an authentic smoky flavour.
Pellet grills/smokers use wood pellets as fuel, providing precise temperature control, a wide range of flavours, and user-friendly digital controls. Requires electricity to operate.
Kamado-style grills use charcoal with added wood and feature excellent heat retention, wide temperature ranges, and next-level durable ceramic construction.
Charcoal smokers use charcoal as a heat source, delivering an authentic smoky taste, and the huge cooking surface of the Yoder Flat-Top gives you a ton of space for different cuts.
Each type of smoker has its unique benefits, so the best choice ultimately depends on your individual preferences and how you like to cook. Whether you value precise temperature control, versatility, traditional methods, or anything in between - there IS a smoker out there for you!
Shop our entire grill collection and grill accessories online, or stop by our showroom and check out the full range of gorgeous BBQs so you know exactly how it’ll feel to be at the helm of your brand-new beast!