When it comes to BBQ, everyone has their favorite appliance for grilling. Some BBQ-lovers prefer charcoal, some go with gas, and others prefer using wood smoker pellets to infuse a smoky flavor into their dishes. If you're a fan of low and slow barbecue dishes, you likely gravitate toward a grill that keeps temperatures constant and is energy efficient. For those who love a perfectly seared steak, a grill like a pit barrel that reaches high temperatures quickly and leaves perfect grill marks is likely more your style.
Still others prefer a smoker, which is ideal for a deliciously smoky flavor that grills can't always achieve. For those who would rather have an appliance that functions as a grill and a smoker, there are a few different brands and types that'll make you a pit boss in no time.
"Grill Girl" Robyn Lindars shares the benefits of each type of smoker so that pit masters can choose the best option based on preferences and favorite dishes. Each smoker imparts a smoky flavor that you can't resist!
"Set It and Forget It" Pellet Smokers
When it comes to pellet smokers, the world is your oyster! These versatile smokers are beloved for their ability to cook meat very evenly, which they achieve because they are electric rather than flame-based. Pellet smokers are perfect for dishes like ribs and roast, or you can think outside the box and make dishes you'd typically reserve for the oven like sheet pan dinners.
Because these smokers are so consistent in their cooking, "Grill Girl" describes them as "set it and forget it," referring to the fact that you can leave your meat on the grill for an extended period and go about your day. These pellet grills differ from traditional smokers because they are electronic and need to be plugged into the wall. If this peaks your interest, some popular brands are Traeger and Camp Chef, with smokers running from $800 and up. Instead of charcoal or a propane tank, the smoker relies on BBQ wood pellets that are available in different types of woods such as, Texas mesquite, hickory, and hard maple.
Another perk of using a pellet smoker is that it allows you to experiment with different wood pellets to find your favorite smoky flavor. Hardwood pellets are at the heart of every pellet grill, and are used for smoking and grilling. According to Pit Boss Grills, it is important to note that there are food grade pellets meant for cooking, and non-grade heating pellets made for wood-burning stoves, so make sure to buy the right kind for what you're cooking. To keep it natural, look for cooking pellets that do not contain fillers, additives, or artificial flavors.
"Low and Slow or Crank It Up" Kamado Grills
Kamado grills are not just a grilling accessory perfect for a cookout, they're also a piece of history. This type of grill comes from an old style of cooking that originated in Asia, using ceramic to retain heat. These ceramic grills are beloved for their ability to maintain high temperature consistently and for long periods of time, allowing you to cook a wide variety of dishes. Grill low and slow all day or crank up the heat for a crispy grilled pizza.
One Kamado Grill in particular, the Big Green Egg, has gained a cult following for how efficiently it retains heat and how amazingly delicious its results are. Those who swear by this grill proudly call themselves Egg Heads and use this grill-smoker to bake bread, grill fish, smoke brisket, and everything in between.
"Fast and Hot" Pit Barrel Smokers
For those looking for something versatile and easy to use, a Pit Barrel Smoker is the way to go. This type of grill-smoker has barrel smoker and contains rods, which you can use to hang things off of. This way, you can grill burgers or steaks while hanging larger cuts of meat or veggies for your sides. Pit Barrel Smokers use a convection style for cooking, so as the meat cooks, the fat drips down into the coals and brings out even more flavor.
Another perk of this charcoal smoker is that it cooks everything very fast, so if you don't have the time or desire to wait for a long, slow cooked BBQ meal, you easily grill some wings or hot dogs without setting aside much time. Pit Barrel Smokers are also cheaper than most other grills and can be found for about $300.
So what'll it be? Pellet grilling, wood grilling, or charcoal grilling?
This post was originally published on December 11, 2020.