If you are in a hurry and want to find out what the Best Smoker For Beginners is then we would recommend the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.
At some point, many of us backyard barbecue masters decide to make the leap from grill to smoker.
If you’re new to smokers, don’t let the wide range of choices out there intimidate you. Here, we’re going to go over our top picks for the best smoker for beginners.
Here are the smokers that we will be reviewing:
- Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
- Camp Chef SmokePro Smoker
- Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
- Dyna-Glo Vertical Gas Smoker
- Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill
Our Favorite Smokers for Beginners
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
This charcoal smoker comes in three different sizes, including 14-inch, 18-inch, and 22-inch options.
Two nickel-plated cooking grates give you plenty of space to cook as much or as little food as you need. You can even cook multiple cuts of meat at once if you want.
The durable steel exterior is coated in porcelain enamel, while rust-resistant metal legs offer a tip-resistant base.
Individual vents on the bowl and lid of the smoker promote airflow, while a heat-resistant handle allows you to safely move the unit around your yard.
On top of the smoker, a built-in thermometer allows you to monitor the internal temperature as you cook.
The Smokey Mountain Cooker comes with a water bowl that sits between the coals and the lower cooking grate. It allows even beginners to maintain an even temperature without losing humidity.
- Comes in three different sizes
- Plenty of internal space thanks to two cooking grates
- Two internal vents promote airflow
- Heat-resistant handle for portability
- Includes a thermometer and water bowl
- The door can be prone to leaking
Camp Chef SmokePro Smoker
This pellet smoker is a breeze to use, making it an excellent choice for beginners. Its versatile design allows it to function as both a grill and a smoker as well as a warming rack.
This smoker works to maintain temperature for you as you cook. An automatic pellet auger monitors the internal environment, dispensing pellets as needed without wasting any fuel.
The pellet hopper has an 18-pounds capacity, meaning that you don’t have to worry about fuel running low as you cook.
The SmokePro offers plenty of cooking space, allowing you to smoke even large dishes such as ham or turkey.
When you finish cooking, you can use the included stainless steel meat probe to check that everything has reached a safe internal temperature before you sit down and dig in.
A one-pull ash cleanout system allows you to clean out the pellet remains with just the pull of a lever. Unlike with many other pellet smokers, you don’t need to vacuum the SmokePro out when done.
- The versatile design can function as a grill or a smoker
- Extra-large automatic pellet auger
- Oversized interior cooking space
- One-pull ash cleanout system
- Includes a stainless steel meat probe
- Pricier than other options
- Temperature can fluctuate slightly
Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
As an electric smoker, this model from Masterbuilt is easy to operate. It even has a remote so that you can adjust settings without having to leave the house.
This smoker is all digital, giving you precise control over factors such as temperature and cooking time.
An easy-to-use control panel on top of the smoker lets you control the on/off function, the timer function, and the cooking temperature.
Four smoking racks offer plenty of room to cook as much food as you want. The smoker has the capacity to hold up to two turkeys, four bork butt roasts, four racks of ribs, and six chickens.
A patented loading system makes it easy to add more wood chips as you cook without opening the door. This design keeps the temperature even and prevents you from wasting energy.
- User-friendly digital controls
- Includes a remote
- Four smoking racks for plenty of interior space
- Patented wood chip loading system
- Doesn’t produce as much smoke as other models
Dyna-Glo Vertical Gas Smoker
The Dyna-Glo smoker is a good choice for beginners thanks to its user-friendly, propane-based design.
Four adjustable cooking grates allow you to customize the interior space, comfortably fitting multiple items at a time if needed.
A durable cast iron burner heats the unit and maintains an even temperature. You can fire the smoker up at just the push of an electronic ignition button.
A large control dial makes it easy to adjust the smoker’s settings to your exact specifications. The temperature gauge even features an easy-to-read “smoke zone” that lets you know the best temperature for slow cooking different foods.
A porcelain enameled steel water bowl allows you to easily control temperature and humidity, while a large capacity wood chip box lets you cook for as long as you need without interruption.
- Easy-to-use propane design
- Four adjustable grates allow for plenty of cooking space
- Simple electric ignition
- Large control dial
- Includes a porcelain enameled steel water bowl and wood chip box
- Door seal prone to leaking
Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill
As a kamado grill, the Char-Griller Akorn is a versatile choice by design. It can function as a grill or a smoker, and it’s relatively easy to figure out for beginners.
A cast-iron cooking surface distributes heat evenly as you cook, while a 22-gauge steel body offers double insulation so that you use less charcoal.
The body of the Akorn also helps lock in moisture thanks to its design and sealed construction, ensuring that your meals stay tender and juicy.
Two folding metal shelves offer plenty of room for you to either grill or smoke, while a heat gauge lets you keep track of the temperature.
When it comes time to clean the smoker, an easy dump ash pan allows you to do it in seconds without brushes or vacuums.
- Can be used as a grill or a smoker
- Double insulated to lock in heat and moisture
- Two folding metal shelves for extra room
- Easy to clean thanks to a built-in ash pan
- Prone to rusting
- Grates are delicate
Why Use a Smoker?
While most people think of grilling when it comes to summer barbecues, smoking can also produce delicious, tender meat.
Grilling uses high heats for short periods to seal in moisture. Smoking, on the other hand, involves cooking meat at low temperatures for hours or even days.
Smokers often use fragrant wood chips or pellets to give meat a strong, unique flavor. You can use a smoker to amp up dishes from pancake platters to turkey dinners.
What Are the Different Kinds of Smokers?
There are several different types of smokers to choose from based on fuel source and design. Not all are created equal, so it’s a good idea to know which style best suits your needs.
Propane smokers are a popular choice for beginners because they’re virtually foolproof. All you need is a full propane tank to get started cooking delicious meats.
Propane smokers are generally compact, allowing them to fit even in yards or patios with limited space.
Remember, though, that propane is more dangerous than other options and requires careful monitoring. Some people also claim they impart less flavor, though that’s up to personal preference.
An electric model is another choice of the best smoker for beginners, though they’re a relatively new fad compared to more traditional styles.
Instead of using gas canisters or charcoal, electric smokers have an internal heating element that can maintain constant temperature automatically. A water pan adds moisture to the air, while wood chips can impart some flavor.
While electric smokers are perhaps the most straightforward design available, they don’t give off quite the same smoky taste as other styles. They also aren’t ideal for crisping up meats like propane or charcoal smokers.
Charcoal smokers are known for producing a distinct smoky flavor prized among beginners and experts alike.
This style of smoker is more versatile than many other options, as it can function as either a grill or a smoker as needed.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that charcoal smokers can be a challenge for beginners. You need to be able to maintain just the right internal balance, which takes practice.
Offset smokers have a striking appearance based on a design that initially recycled unused oil drums. Unlike vertical smokers, the cooking chamber sits on its side.
The name of this style of smoker comes from the firebox, however. It’s placed just below the bulk of the smoker, making it easier to maintain an even temperature.
Offset smokers can make huge amounts of barbecue at once, thanks to more internal space. However, they also require careful babysitting and aren’t always the easiest to operate for beginners.
As the name suggests, instead of traditional wood chips, this style of smoker uses specially made pellets for fuel.
This design is one of the most technologically advanced options for those new to smoking. The smoker does a lot of work for you, automatically maintaining a stable temperature and airflow.
The main downside of pellet smokers is that they’re significantly more expensive than other options. They can also cost more to operate, as high-quality pellets aren’t cheap.
A kamado grill is your classic egg-shaped cooker, offering a simple design that comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It works as both a grill and a smoker.
In general, you heat the unit from the bottom with fire. If you’re using your kamado as a smoker, you’ll also use a water bowl and wood chips for moisture and flavor.
Kamado grills are another style that requires a close eye to keep the temperature even as you use it. High-end models can also be relatively pricey, depending on make and material.
The Bottom Line on the Best Smoker for Beginners
If you want to take your barbecue skills to the next level, the right smoker can help you to make unforgettably tender and flavorful dishes.
In our opinion, the best smoker for beginners is the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. It’s easier for beginners to operate than other charcoal options such as the Char-griller and is more affordable than choices such as the Camp Chef SmokePro. It’s also got plenty of interior space without taking up too much room in your backyard.