A BBQ smoker lets you create some truly delicious food when cooking outdoors. Using smoke to slowly cook meats and fish for several hours, a smoker will produce some of the tenderest meats you’ve ever tasted.
Achieving a smoky flavour on a grilling barbeque is possible but it doesn’t compare to a smoker grill. This uses indirect heat to slowly cook meats while the smoke penetrates deep into the meat or fish, producing that unforgettable smoky flavour that you can’t achieve in the kitchen.
Anyone that loves spending time outdoors grilling food will certainly appreciate what this cooking device has to offer. You can use a variety of coals and wood chips to produce various smoky flavours, while it’s a very simple way to cook food, as it can just be left inside the cooking chamber to cook away for hours.
Think of it as a slow cooker for the garden - and one that adds an unrivalled taste that you won’t be able to get enough of! But what exactly should you be looking for in smoker? There are a few things to think about and it’s always important to choose a suitable product for your needs, so check out this handy buying guide along with some reviews to help you choose the right one!
What is the Best Barbecue Smoker?
Read our reviews below to find out what we selected as our top 5 smokers.
CosmoGrill Outdoor XXL Smoker Barbecue
- Smoker and Grill
- Built-in Thermometer
- 72cm x 42cm Cooking Area + Warming Rack
- Two Foldable Side Shelves with Hanging Hooks
This smoker grill combo from CosmoGrill is a great choice for anyone that wants to try their hand at smoking food but are mostly going to be grilling outdoors. It’s essentially a large barbeque grill that has an additional chamber for adding wood chips when smoking.
You will only be able to do one thing at a time though, so remember to smoke the food first before you move onto grilling! A built-in thermometer is included, so you can always regulate the temperature for whatever you are cooking, whether smoking or grilling.
This is suitable for families or anyone looking to host parties, as it offers a massive cooking area of 72cm x 42cm, which offers enough room to smoke a whole chicken, rack of ribs, fish etc. There is also warming rack just above the main grill where you can leave food that is already cooked.
There are two foldable side tables that come with hanging hooks for all your cooking utensils. These are perfect for prepping food and leaving plates and other supplies as you’re cooking, so there is plenty of space throughout this massive barbeque.
It’s quite portable too, with two wheels making it easy to move around outdoors without needing to drag or lift anything. A stainless-steel handle on top of the lid means you won’t get hurt opening the lid.
Azuma Smoker Barbecue
- Grill and Smoker Combo
- Dedicated BBQ Barrel Smoker with Chimney
- Built-in thermometer
- Adjustable Side Vent for Temperature Control
- Smoker cooking surface - 39cm
- Grill cooking surface - 68cm
The Azuma Smoker Barbeque is another combo model that brings you the best of both worlds. You get a huge grilling area for class barbequing along with a dedicated barrel smoker for those slow cooked smoked foods.
The smoking chamber has cooking surface of 39cm, which is enough for roughly six chicken legs, although you can easily fit a whole chicken, rack of ribs, several fish etc. You can easily adjust the temperature inside by moving the side air vent, with more oxygen meaning higher cooking temperatures.
You won’t need to guess how warm the temperature is though as there is a built-in temperature gauge that removes all the guesswork from your smoking. A large chimney vents out the smoke away from the cooking area.
The grilling area offers plenty of space for cooking too - roughly enough space for 18 burgers! It is 69cm long so has more than enough space to cook for several people at a time, while you can also use the raised heating rack for other food.
There is also a third rack just in front of the grill and a lower rack for placing plates, grilling utensils, cooked food etc., so you don’t need to worry about running out space when cooking.
It’s also highly durable design that can withstand the rougher elements here in the UK. The main cooking chambers are made from 1mm thick steel that has a black powder coating to prevent rusting and water damage.
Deuba BBQ Smoker
- Made from steel
- 3-in-1 - smokes, grills, and roasts
- Integrated side vents
- Built in thermometer
- Two cooking surfaces
The Deuba BBQ smoker is a versatile outdoor cooking grill suitable for all kinds of cooking. You can use it to grill, smoke, or roast like a conventional oven, so if you want a multifunctional product for your outdoor cooking then this is worth checking out.
Made from robust steel for added durability, the barrel design is like a dedicated smoker but this is a multifunctional unit, so it can be used for grilling and cooking along with smoking, with two different grilling sections offering a decent cooking area.
However, because it’s a single unit design, you will only be able to do one type of cooking at a time. Just make sure that the smoker is used first, after which you can increase the temperature for grilling.
To grill, simply leave the lid off when cooking, putting it back on whenever smoking or roasting food.
Regulating temperature is relatively easy with this smoker, as there is a large airflow vent on the chimney that can be opened or closed to contorl the oxygen inside.
You can open a side door to check on the food as it cooks too, while there is a built-in thermometer on the lid so that you know exact cooking temperatures.
Some other features include two large wooden carry handles (there are no wheels unfortunately), a bottom door for firing, and a water pan for indirect cooking and maintaining moisture.
Tepro 1038 "Wichita" Smoker
- Smoker and grill
- Steel Lid with built-in thermometer
- Grilling surface: 54cm x 30cm
- Smoking surface: 22cm x 30cm
- Heat resistant finish
The Wichita is a barrel style smoker and grill combo from Tepro, offering a two-in-one outdoor cooking device for a great price. Both the smoker and grill have a large cooking area so you can easily cook for multiple people at a time, whether smoking, grilling, or a bit of both.
It has a durable design with a stainless-steel body and lid with a heat resistant finish that can withstand temperatures up to 350°c. Chrome plated steel handles are fitted to each lid for safety and these also provide a cool finish to the Western-style grill and smoker combo.
The main grilling area provides plenty of space for cooking up your favourite barbequed foods. Measuring 54cm x 30cm, this section is ideal for direct cooking using coals, while you can even use the smoker chamber as a secondary grill if you don’t need it for smoking, increasing the cooking area for those big parties.
At 22cm x 30cm, the smoking side chamber offers a good amount of space for food too, with enough room for a whole chicken, rack of ribs, ham joint etc. There is an adjustable air vent on the chimney that allows you to get the right temperature by controlling oxygen supply to the smoking chamber, while the built-in the thermometer tells you the exact temperature.
This is a well-priced smoker grill combo that has everything a beginner needs to get started.
ProQ Frontier Elite BBQ Smoker
- Grills, smokes (hot & cold), and roasts
- Cooks for 12 people
- Steel construction with porcelain coating
- Three air vents
- Built-in thermometer
I you love to cook up a feast on the barbeque and want the complete outdoor cooking machine, then look no further than the ProQ Frontier Elite BBQ Smoker. This is more than just a smoker and grill combo - it also lets you roast and can cold smoke!
The modular design offers so much versatility. The lid and base of the unit combine for a compact kettle grill that is ideal for barbequing at a beach or when camping, although you can simply remove the lid when the whole unit is together for a taller barbeque in the garden.
There are two large central cooking chambers along with a smaller third chamber at the top of the barbeque, meaning enough space to smoke, grill, or roast all kinds of meat and fish.
For instance, you can easily fit two whole chickens in each of the two main cooking chambers, while you can even remove one of these sections if you don’t need to smoke or roast as much food.
Simply put, there is enough room here to cook for a dozen people - perfect for those big family celebrations and those summer days in the garden.
Three adjustable air vents and a built-in thermometer mean you have complete contorl over internal temperatures, allowing you to get the perfect finish whether smoking, roasting, or grilling.
It’s a durable piece of kit too. Made from stainless steel, the main body has a porcelain finish that looks great but also helps prevent rusting, while each grilling section is also made from steel for added durability.
While it is certainly durable, it is a good idea to store under cover, as there is no drainage hole should it fill with rainwater. Plus, it’s a beautiful looking barbeque, so you’ll want to keep in top condition!
BBQ Smoker Buying Guide
Looking for a BBQ smoker but aren’t sure what you need? It’s not the most common type of outdoor cooking equipment, with a traditional gas bbq grill or charcoal bbq being what most people use in the UK. However, it’s not too difficult to find a great smoker if you know what to look for!
Always look for models that are made from strong, durable materials such as stainless steel. It will be cooking using very high temperatures and will be left outdoors for most of the year, so it’s a good idea to choose something that is built to last and won’t start rusting after a year or two.
Anything made from steel should be a fine, as this can withstand all kinds of wear and tear while being a low conductor of heat, which is useful due to the high cooking temperatures, helping to maintain an ambient temperature inside.
Also, if there is paintwork on the main body check to see whether it’s rust and water resistant.
How many people do you plan on cooking for? You may find some smaller products don’t have a large enough cooking surface for your family. If you plan on hosting garden parties and having frequent guests, always choose something with a large cooking surface.
Furthermore, consider the size of the smoker in relation to the food you’re cooking. For example, smoking a whole chicken, turkey, or large piece of ham requires a lot more space than filleted meats, wings, ribs etc.
When smoking food temperature control is vital. You need to maintain the correct temperature for the food to slowly cook, otherwise it can end up too burnt or even undercooked, which nobody wants after several hours of cooking!
Therefore, always choose a smoking grill with a built-in thermometer gauge so you can always monitor and maintain the right temperatures. You’ll always know the exact temperature so can ensure food is thoroughly cooked and you never need to open the lid and let all that good smoke escape.
Anyone that has owned a barbeque knows how messy they get after grilling up some food. A smoker is no different, with all those succulent meats producing fats and juices that are going to stick to the unit and make big mess for you to clean.
Some are easier to clean than others, so be on the lookout for features that provides easier maintenance. A drip tray is probably the big one to look for, as this lets you gather all the fat and grease in a removable tray, keeping mess to a minimum.
Another thing to consider is how accessible the cooking chamber is. You want something that is easy to access so you can get inside to give it a good scrubbing when you are finished cooking. Steel is the easy material to clean too, giving you another reason to invest in one made from this durable material!
It’s a good idea to look for a model with wheels for easier portability, as these are quite large cooking devices made from heavy materials so can end up weighing quite a bit. Never take the risk of carrying something to heavy and injuring yourself - look for a wheeled model and you don’t need to worry about dragging it around.
Grill and Smoker Combos
While dedicated BBQ smokers are available, a grill and smoker combo let you enjoy the best of both worlds, meaning you can grill and smoke all your favourite foods. Grilling is a great way to prepare food for smoking and you can cook all kinds of other food at the same time, making it a great choice for those summer days spent outside in the sunshine with friends and family.
Combo grills are bigger and will cost more than a dedicated smoker, but if you love a good barbeque then one of these models are highly recommended. In fact, most of the best smokers come with BBQ grills anyway so it’s well worth buying one!
Hot Smoking and Cold Smoking
There are two smoking methods available - hot smoking and cold smoking. Most products use hot smoking, which involves using coals to reach high temperatures of around 150°C to indirectly cook the food over a long period while smoking it.
Cold smoking is a different cooking process, which involves smoking all the food but avoiding it reaching above 32°C. This partial cooking makes the food almost raw and is a popular smoking technique for foods like salmon.
It’s vital to cure any meats or fish before cold smoking, while foods like cheese and butter can also be cold smoked. Not everyone wants this feature on their smoker but many do include it along with standard hot smoking.
Smokers need a good chimney for proper ventilation. You can use these to check the condition of the smoke too - white smoke is a good indication while black smoke means something is probably dirty inside the cooking chamber.
Some models only come with a ventilation slot on the lid, which is okay but isn’t as good as a chimney. With a chimney, you can better regulate the smoke inside the chamber by limiting the oxygen.
Look for a chimney with a damper attachment if possible. This is fitted to the end of the chimney and lets you adjust the amount of smoke released in various increments, allowing you to get the desired finish
Last update on 2020-08-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API