When people have a taste of real barbecue, they become hooked on the juiciness and explosiveness of the flavor. This always makes people wonder if they can recreate the flavor at home. Unfortunately, you can't just toss your food on a grill hoping that it will be as tasty as professionally prepared barbecue food.
Charcoal smokers set the high standard for experienced BBQ chefs all over the world. Being a home chef, it is possible to prepare some delicious meat using a grill. However, if you seriously want to cook perfect turkey, bacon, ribs or fish, then you'd better get yourself a smoker.
Charcoal smokers are available in various designs. What's crucial is that proper manage the level of heat and smoke. If you can comfortably do this, then you're in a position to slowly smoke your meat while giving it an authentic flavor. The finest charcoal smoker provides you with precise control of temperature and smoke.
The best thing about sophisticated models is that the user doesn't have to spend hours tending to their food while cooking. They effectively establish a steady cooking environment so you can't get jammed shoveling coal or observing the temperature.
It's not necessary to keep watching your food. The steady environment offers so much leeway. When you purchase a valuable charcoal smoker, you won't have to mess around with creosote, ash or soot. The only thing that should bother you is the cooking process.
These smokers are very popular with backyard cooks. They give a classy taste to smoked food. They amazingly simplify all things to do with fire handling. Who could need more than these?
- 5 Best Charcoal Smoker Reviews
- Factors to Help You in Purchasing the Charcoal Smoker
- Pros and Cons of Charcoal Smoker
5 Best Charcoal Smoker Reviews
Charcoal smokers really give you the chance to brag. They are furnished with small wheels or footprints. For people without much patio space, these are an added advantage. The thermodynamic features assure you of a steady temperature of about 225oC.
If you want to undertake lengthy indirect cooks without really having to undergo the boredom of dust cleanup, you may need a unit with an enlarged dust catcher. A pivoted grate makes the adding of the charcoal simpler. Having the ability to perform essential grate adjustments can simplify heat control depending on the type of food.
The hydro-pan is another key attribute that keeps your food moist during the entire cooking process. It establishes a hot and moist serenity, which is vital for smoking.
Essentially, the hydro-pan preserves heat and aids temperature stabilization to overcome any dramatic fluctuations that might occur on the smoking unit. Again, the tri-part design allows you to easily add coals or wooden flakes to the heating element.
Once the right temperature is set and enough smoke generated, you can place your food on the smoker and close the lid. You can then have fun with your family as cooking takes place. It's that simple!
If you choose briquettes, avoid using instant-light products – they're normally soaked in oil products. Some manufacturers create briquettes using coconut shells while others use harvested wood. So, be sure to choose the finest form. When buying charcoal, ensure that you get quality brands from reputable vendors.
The burn-down approach is the most convenient way to cook low. Be certain to fill up the charcoal cradle with unlit pieces of coal and put in some lit flakes on the top.
Charcoal ignition can be challenging sometimes, especially when you aren't sure how to go about it. However, with the chimney starter, you have the opportunity to achieve fast ignition without necessarily having to use toxic light-up fluids.
Get some waste papers and stuff them underneath your chimney, fill up the upper rack with coal flakes, and then light the papers. These simple steps are all you need to achieve evenly cooked food. Dont ignore them!
Factors to Help You in Purchasing the Charcoal Smoker
If you are looking to make some purchase a charcoal smoker, then consider the following:
Price is a vital factor when choosing a smoking unit. Getting a nice smoker can cost you more than $1,000. But if you don't want to shell that kind of money, do your shopping wisely so that you get one that fits your budget.
If your budget is tight, you might be forced to go for low-priced units on the market, maybe as low as $100. However, if you require a smoker to serve you for years to come, do not just rely on the price.
Quality trumps price, and that's a fact! If you purchase a quality unit, you don't have to linger around the smoker to ensure that acceptable temperature is maintained. Lowly-priced units usually have unreliable heat regulation mechanisms, which can result in poor flavor and texture of your meat. So, to overcome this danger, shop around for the finest quality on the market.
Modern smoker units are designed in such a way that they can be used as grills. This is definitely an advantage to those who don't have that extra space for an additional grill unit. This is not only economical in terms of space but also makes cooking easy.
If you intend to buy a bigger smoker unit, check that you have enough space. Remember, charcoal models are heavy, and they're cumbersome to move around. This can be a challenge, especially if you don't have a permanent spot. Therefore, purchasing a portable smoker is advantageous in the long-run.
Usage is another important factor you should consider before acquiring a new smoker unit. Ensure you have a clear picture of how frequently you'll be using your smoker. For instance, if you're planning to use it once or twice a year, investing in a smaller smoker unit would be best.
Also, always check the capacity of the smoker in question so that you purchase a smoker that can serve your entire family. Smoking takes time. So it's sensible to purchase a large-sized smoker that can handle any amount of food you intend to cook.
Pros and Cons of Charcoal Smoker
Buying the right charcoal smoker can be very tricky, and more so if you have little knowledge of smokers in general.
Therefore, it can be hard to determine the right smoker to buy. Fortunately, with the following advantages and disadvantages, you can now make an informed decision.
Smoking is a unique cooking technique that can impart an aromatic flavor to beef, chicken and turkey, when done properly. And when charcoal is used, a sweeter flavor is achieved. With charcoal, your meat will taste just like the smoked meat from your favorite barbecue joint in town.
With charcoal smokers, you can comfortably control the temperature. All you need is to determine the amount of heat required to cook your meat. Then you can either remove or add some charcoal to increase and decrease the amount of heat respectively.
You can also learn about the recommended temperature required to cook beef, chicken and turkey so you don't overcook or undercook your meat. The recommended temperature range required to cook common meat is between 500 to 700 degrees Farads.
Charcoal smoker units are straightforward as far as their design is concerned. You don't have to worry about unnecessary replacements. And if they're well taken care of, replacing a chipped off gate is about as much as you need to do. These units are designed using strong materials, hence the minimal maintenance.
Buying a charcoal unit that is accessorized with an ash catcher will make the cleaning process easy. The ash catcher is used to collect the charcoal remnants, and it can be disposed of afterwards. In addition, these units will require you to brush and scrape the gate before cooking any meat on it.
Charcoal smokers are normally associated with high temperatures. Therefore, you need to be extra careful when using these kinds of smokers so as not to overcook your meat. It's important to regulate the level of oxygen to the smoker: excess oxygen can result in a sudden burst, which will quickly burn.
Ensure that you fiddle with your draft vents until you establish the right spot for airflow. However, this will require you to follow some simple step-by-step instruction coming along with your unit.
Using these types of smokers during the winter can be a challenge as maintaining your smoker's temperature is never easy. Cheaper units are usually built using very thin metals. This means heat is lost in colder surroundings.
If you are planning to throw a party around this time, then you're likely to experience difficulty in maintaining the right smoking temperature.
Charcoal smokers must be periodically checked to ensure a steady flame is kept. This can be time-consuming.
Working with charcoal smokers can be risky at times. As a result, several residential buildings encourage not using them. Coals and charcoal sparks may escape through smoker openings or the chimney, and you might be forced to put them out using either water or fire extinguishers.
Generally charcoal is dirty, and you always have to clean up after. Lighting it can be very difficult, and it usually takes more time to achieve higher cooking temperatures.
It's usually associated with flare-ups that can pose health risks to human beings. You may also find it difficult to establish the right cooking temperature, rapidly turning down the temp might be difficult and if enough oxygen isn't supplied, your food will be ruined.
All these issues can be surmounted easily if you carefully handle your smoker. Always ensure that you eliminate fire risk, carefully use cooking gloves, shovels, and cooking tongs, and avoid handling burning coals.
You can also make sure that the fatty foods don't drip onto your coal by setting up a two-zone smoking environ by pushing your coals to one corner of the smoking area. Also, ash clean-up is usually easy, especially if your smoker has a removable ash tray.