How To Figure Out The Best Type Of Smoker In Terms Of Fuel Type

With the rise in the popularity of smokers all over the world, the debate of ‘which is the best type of smoker’ has gotten more intensified.

While it is easy to find information on different types of smokers in terms of constructions, but there hasn’t been much provided on the types of smokers in terms of fuel type.

I believe, the fuel is an integral part in any smoker and without it; you won’t be able to get the food you were looking for in the first place.

Today, smokers run on basically four types of fuel, which are electric, propane, pellet and charcoal.

All four types are extremely popular with the BBQ enthusiasts, so I will not go into the debate as to which fuel is better than other because everybody has his/her own personal preference, so I don’t want to superimpose mine and lead to any confusion.

I will present a general overview of four types of smokers and give you a clarity as to what you can expect from each type of smoker.

Pellet Smoker

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Pellet smokers are also doing extremely well in terms of sales. Smokers that run on wood pellets have always intrigued people because these smokers give them a feel of cooking in an ancient way. Pellet smokers just like all other smokers have their vicissitudes.

Easily maintain cooking temperature: If you were thinking that maintaining a consistent temperature is going to be difficult in a pellet smoker, then you’re wrong.

An auger system that is present in pellet smokers is used to feed compressed wood pellet into a small stove kind of thing.

To control this mechanism, a thermostat is used, which notifies the auger system when to add more pellets into the unit. This system makes using a pellet smoker as easy as an electric or propane smoker.

The best thing about a pellet smoker is that the food is cooked in the heat generated from wood, which adds to the flavor of the food.

A pellet smoker also has a number of parts that can break, and at times, I have seen auger mechanisms getting jammed as well.

The auger system requires electric power to operate, so when there is no electricity around, then the auger system won’t work.

Another downside of the pellet smoker is its high cost. A small sized pellet smoker will also cost you around $600, so this smoker is ideal for those who are extremely passionate about cooking food in the heat of wood.

Propane Smoker

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Weber 61010001 Genesis II E-310 Liquid Propane Grill

Using a propane smoker allows you to set the temperature and walk away. You don’t have to control the temperature as there won’t be any fluctuation in the heating process.

One of the major drawbacks of propane smokers is that you can run out of fuel in the middle of the cooking process.

However, this problem can be eradicated by checking the gas, if it is in optimum quantity or not.

If it is, then you can begin with the cooking process, but it is not, then you can first fill up the gas in the gas tank and then, start the cooking process.

You can get a propane meter in order to check the volume of gas left in the gas tank, so this isn’t a big problem as many would think.

After a certain period of time, you will have to replace the hose or burner because these can break quite easily.

However, these parts are not that costly, so you can easily change the broken hose or burner with a new one.

When it comes to portability, then propane smoker is the best there is on the market. You can use a propane-fuelled smoker anywhere, thus making it the most suitable choice for campers and tailgaters, etc.

Moreover, propane smokers have the ability to reach high temperatures and I mean temperatures that other smokers would face all sorts of difficulties reaching. Therefore, you can use a propane smoker as an oven as well.

Electric Smoker

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Electric smoker when it comes to efficiency is quite similar to propane smoker. You won’t have to manage and control the temperature all the time, plus it has the ability to reach higher temperatures.

You can easily maintain a constant temperature with an electric smoker. However, an electric smoker is not going to come cheap, so if you opt to buy an electric smoker, then be ready to shell out a significant amount of money.

Along with that, an electric smoker needs to be well insulated in order to be able to work seamlessly in all types of weather (especially in extreme weathers).

A big disadvantage of using an electric smoker is its 100% dependability on electric power. By chance, if there is a power shutdown, then the unit is not going to work, and that’ll be the end of your cooking session.

There are certain parts in an electric smoker that break after excessive use over a period of time. If the company is offering a decent warranty on the unit, then the electric smoker could be a great choice.

Charcoal Smoker

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Last but not the least, there are charcoal smokers, which are used by the people. Charcoal is considered as a purist’s fuel, and there shouldn’t be any debate over the fact that charcoal packs the food with the best flavors.

Don’t believe me? Well, you should try to cook BBQ food on a charcoal smoker and you’ll have no choice but to agree with me.

The flavor you get in a charcoal smoker can’t be matched with the flavor you get after cooking the food on a propane or electric smoker.

Just like other smokers, charcoal smokers have their few drawbacks as well.

Starting a fire on a charcoal smoker can be arduous. It may take 30-45 minutes to light up the fire, and if that was not tiring enough, then you will have to babysit the smoker in order to ensure that the fire remains lit.

When working with a charcoal smoker, the cooking time becomes significantly shorter when compared with the cooking time of other smokers.

You will have to maintain a slow, low and consistent heat for the overall duration of the cooking process.

For newbies, working on a charcoal smoker could be a forgettable experience as they won’t be able to maintain a consistent temperature. Chances of food being undercooked or overcooked are higher in a charcoal smoker.

Those who know how to cook on a charcoal smoker, they can get scrumptious delights at will. For an unbeatable flavor, a charcoal smoker is definitely an ideal choice provided that a person knows how to use this smoker.

Conclusion

As I’ve mentioned before, there isn’t any best type of smoker. It all depends upon which type of fuel you are most comfortable with.

If you are looking to buy a smoker in the near future, then I would recommend you to try your hands in each of the smokers and then, take a decision as to which smoker you want to buy.

Each type of smoker has its plus points and shortcomings, so you will have to figure out as to which smoker blends in with your scheme of things. Once you are able to figure that out, you won’t have any issue zeroing in on the right smoker.

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