Smoking is a cooking technique that cooks, browns and flavors food through exposing it to smoke generated from a variety of means and gives the food a delicious, smoky flavor. If you are in the market looking for a smoker, read on for some revelations on the types of smokers and the comparison between them and the all time favorite charcoal smoker – such as electric vs charcoal smoker, pellet vs charcoal smoker, propane vs charcoal smoker.
Types of Smokers
To smoke food, smoke can be generated from a variety of means, the item most usually used is wood. However, today there are so many types of smokers in the market, one of them is bound to fit your requirement and experience level.
Insulated electric smokers use a heating filament that can maintain a range of temperatures and are some of the most widely used smokers and with good reason. These smokers are convenient to use, come in different shapes and sizes so you can be sure you will end up with one if an electric smoker is what you want. One of the reasons people prefer these is that there is need to adjust temperatures and fuel amount frequently.
A pet peeve you might find regarding electric smokers is that they do not seem to provide as authentic a flavor. The validity of that statement is subjective, and you will find people swearing by either smokers. Charcoal smokers use charcoal as fuel, and the temperature and amount of fuel need to be monitored and adjusted frequently.
A pellet smoker uses pellets made out of dried sawdust as fuel. One of the reasons for an upsurge in its popularity is that it combines the flavorful smoking of wood fire with the convenience of push-button start and excellent computerized temperature control.
Propane smokers are excellent smokers that can be used by novices and pros alike, depending on requirements. By nature, these are portable units so one can take them along on a trip, depending on the size of their propane smoker. The footprint is small, there is no need of electricity, so there are reasons people can consider a propane smoker without compromising the taste of smoked food.
Electric vs Charcoal Smoker: Pros and Cons
- Electric smokers are easy to use, fill it, shut it and forget it types. They may be used indoors as well as outdoors. Charcoal smokers are almost always an outside affair, in comparison.
- There is no need to adjust fuel and temperature frequently in an electric smoker, making it a perfect choice for a novice or infrequent hobbyist. Charcoal smokers will need frequent attention to fuel and temperature, creating a more authentic smoking experience that might or might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
- Low and slow is easier said and done in an electric smoker than a charcoal smoker. A charcoal smoker is for the dedicated hobbyist who craves an authentic smoking experience including some hassles.
- Flavor is often the case against electric smokers that are said to be simply incapable of infusing and locking in the flavor as against a charcoal smoker that runs rings around the electric smoker in this regard.
- Smoke ring lovers will swear by the charcoal smoker as against an electric smoker to produce that coveted smoke ring around their meat.
- Electric smokers reach the desired temperature, shut off, restart when
the temperature drops. This problem can be mitigated by buying a
model with digital temperature control. However, charcoal smokers provide constant heat that gives a juicier result owing to proper breakdown of protein fibers in the meat.
Pellet vs Charcoal Smoker: Pros and Cons
- Charcoal smoker takes time to start a fire. It is one of those authentic experiences and takes more input from the user than many new users
might know to, or want to offer. Pellet smokers on the other hand are far more convenient as they operate on electricity and take minimal user intervention to get started with cooking.
- Charcoal smokers are outside-only devices owing to the fire hazard and size. Pellet smokers can be operated indoors as well as outdoors, depending on the size you buy.
- Control of temperature and fuel is another consideration with charcoal smokers as they need frequent monitoring and adjustment to maintain heat and temperature. Pellet smokers will do all this via an on-board computer, once you dial in your requirements and fill up the hopper with enough wood pellets.
- Wood pellet smokers are mechanically complex units and as such can
require a decent amount of maintenance and service. There are more
things that can go wrong in a wood pellet smoker than a charcoal smoker.
- Pellet smokers use electricity and that can be both a boon and a bane
depending on where you live.
Propane vs Charcoal Smoker: Pros and Cons
- Propane smokers are easier to start, operate and maintain. This is a great thing for novices or people who have that infrequent desire to smoke their food. Charcoal smokers need regular attention and starting the fire and maintaining heat and temperature is a task.
- Propane smokers are transportable, if that is what you are looking for.
Charcoal smokers cannot be transported that easily.
- Propane smokers are easier to service and maintain, and fuel cost is not as high as many might think it to be. Charcoal smokers get dirtier and need more maintenance.
- For people who are not into the authentic spirit of smoking replete wit
the constant attention to heat and temperature, the difficulty in starting a fire, time it takes for temperature to stabilise, the charcoal smoker is excellent for what it offers in terms of taste and the things you can do in it. For those who want to get started with smoking, do not have the appetite to constantly monitor the smoker, may be better off with a propane smoker as all you need to do is take care of the gas when cooking.
- Charcoal smokers produce more smoke than propane smokers. Also,
anything that hits the charcoal below gets vaporized into smoke, and
blends in with the food adding to the flavor. This is not possible in
The most common comparison is electric smoker vs charcoal smoker, however, selecting a smoker is essentially just about the trade-offs you are willing to make. Charcoal smokers provide a very authentic smoky flavor and take the most time setting up and getting to smoke. They need regular eye with regards to temperature and heat. Electric smokers do away with a lot of the disadvantages with regards to effort put in, but this comes at the cost of smoke and quality of smoke itself. Pellet smokers offer a happy medium between the two. Propane smokers are portable and may be the only choice for camping enthusiasts.