While becoming the master of your grill can be either a hassle-free task or a strenuous activity, as it requires skill to get a perfectly cooked slice of meat – giving a delicious taste to it, is a completely different problem. Using a smoker is a perfect way to provide incredible taste to the food you’re preparing, as well as an excellent way to cook it slowly, at a low temperature.
There are several types already present on the market, in different forms – wood, charcoal, gas, electric or pellet ones – therefore, ensuring you’ll be able to pick the one best suited for your needs. However, while the task of picking one might seem overwhelming at first, two of them – electric and wood – are rising in popularity more and more nowadays. But, it’s best to keep in mind the following tips when deciding which type to acquire for your home.
Regardless if you’re a professional in the barbeque-field, or if you’re just starting, you should consider the ease of use of your smoker. Consider how much time you want to spend looking after the meat, as well as cleaning it up afterward. While you might be tempted to say it won’t matter, if the process takes longer than what you anticipated, the smoker might end up simply taking yard space, without being used.
Flavor, Taste, And Smoke
There is no debate when the quantity of smoke is concerned. While the electric one will do its job right, providing you with smoked meat, the wood type can do it better. By burning wood, there are more than one gases involved in the process, resulting in a more flavored aroma, with a more intensified taste. So, if your main concern is the taste of the meat, rather than the budget or the ease of use, then a wood type is better suited for the job.
Mobility and Placement
While an electric type might start faster than a wood one, there’s the problem of placing it in your yard. The electric style will require a constant connection to an electricity source – thus if you don’t have an extension power cord, you might have some difficulties in setting it up and turning it on. The wood style, on the other hand, requires no electric connection, ensuring that you’ll be able to use it as long as you have wood to supply the fire with.
Another feature you should consider before investing in a unit is temperature, especially if you plan on preparing meaty treats that require precision like jerky. How fast can it reach the desired temperature? Can you control it? For example, the best electric smoker for jerky comes with a digital panel, which allows you to easily set the temperature as needed to prepare the treat perfectly without it turning out too dry. Not only will it reach the desired degrees, but you won’t have to keep an eye on it all the time, as the set temperature will be maintained. However, it can go only as high as its fabrication allows, thus it won’t be able to reach the temperatures its counterpart will. A wooden smoker, on the other hand, while it does need some time to heat up, and the wood to burn, once turned on, you can increase the heat to your liking. But it will require supervision, as well as cleaning and clearing up the air vents.
Budget and costs
While you might be tempted to choose a cheap version, as electric starters can be found under $200, and cheap wood types start around $300, it is recommended to do a little research before you decide to invest in them. Sure, they might seem appealing considering their price, however, they might come with many ‘impracticalities’ that might thwart you from enjoying using them again. They might leak smoke, spill heat all over the place, or worse, burning your food. Thus, it is recommended to consider making a long-time investment. Decent electric smokers can go up to $500, while their wooden versions even up to $700.
Electric Type – Advantages and Disadvantages
- Faster to set up
- Comes with a digital interface which allows quick temperature control
- Plenty of cooking space
- Requires no supervision
- Needs a constant source of electricity
- Can’t be used during bad weather
- Doesn’t produce as much flavored smoke as a wood type
Wood Type – Advantages and Disadvantages
- Best flavor, intense aroma
- High mobility
- Requires no electricity to work
- High temperature for crispy meat
- Single cooking grate
- Require some time to heat up
- Need constant supervision