Article written by contributing writer Stephanie H.
I’ll admit it; I’m pretty new to the BBQ scene. I never even attempted to try cooking BBQ until my daughter couldn’t bring her famous ribs to our family cookout one year. I tried to prepare them the way she did. Unfortunately, the results were not the same. And I attempted to cook chicken on the grill one time and baste it over and over again with BBQ sauce as it cooked only to have the sauce drip off and cause flames to shoot up and burn the skin of the chicken while the inside was raw. Definitely not a success story. In my efforts to master this elusive talent, I’ve decided to look into a smoker. Smoking meat is a process that cooks the meat at a low temperature for a longer time. I hear this is the way to go when BBQing.
The first type of smoker I came across was a water smoker. This style of smoker uses wood or charcoal as fuel. Water in a bowl is placed between the heat and the meat. As the water heats up it releases steam, cooking the meat while keeping it moist. Another type is a box smoker. It is exactly what it sounds like, a box. These smokers can use wood, gas or electric as a heat source. This smoker has the heat on the bottom and cooking racks on the top and operates the same as a water smoker without the water. One drawback seems to be the lack of insulation, which causes heat to escape.
An inexpensive smoker is a drum smoker. It also has the heat source on the bottom with cooking racks on top. This smoker has vents on the side that help control temperatures. It is excellent for smoking chicken and ribs but can dry out cuts like briskets due to having to cook longer. Smoker ovens are yet another kind of smoker. They look like an oven and use electric has a heat source. This smoker is high tech and has a holding mode to keep the meat warm once it’s done cooking. It is better insulated and is more expensive.
I’m looking into all the important things like size, heat source and efficiency. There are pros and cons of each type of smoker. This is a tough decision. Maybe I’ll just visit some friends who use them and get them to let me sample some of the results. It may take a while to make up my mind.