If you have never used a Wood BBQ Smoker but have always used a barbeque grill, be prepared for some fabulous tasting food. You may never go back to regular grilling. In addition to enhancing the taste of meats and vegetables, a smoker helps fight bacteria during the slow cooking process.
With this type of smoking, the choice of wood is important. Just any old pieces of wood will not do because many kinds of wood are pre-treated with chemicals, and you don’t want that flavor. You may want to purchase prepackaged wood chunks that can be placed directly on the wood or in a smoke box to find out which flavors you prefer. You may find that you prefer a certain wood flavor with a specific type of meat.
Hardwood which is void of resin is the preferred wood. Oak and hickory produce a heavy smoke flavor while fruits, such as apple and peach, have a milder, sweet flavor. Probably the most popular strong flavor is Mesquite. Once you find your preference, keep an eye open around your neighborhood for anyone cutting down a tree. It may just be hickory or an apple! Don’t forget to water soak those chips before you use them.
Barbecue restaurants require very large smokers. The fuel used by such smokers maybe wood, gas, or water. Like any other commercial barbeque smoker, the commercial wood smokers have cooking and grilling chambers. Accessories include a grilling rack and a warming tray. Apart from these, a box for storing wood or charcoal, a lighter such as propane, a damper system, and a thermometer are important parts of these wood-based commercial barbeque smokers. Ideally, such a commercial barbecue smoker is able to consistently keep the temperature around 225 degrees centigrade, and its design ensures that excessive smoke is not generated. For this control, the airflow in these smokers is planned meticulously. The air has to get in for wood/coal to light and keep on burning, and thereafter, the soot and smoke have to leave. These smokers can be used to smoke vegetables, fish, chicken, ham, turkey, as well as beef, and pork. Such commercial barbeque smokers that run on the wood are ideally NSF/USDA compliant.
Wood smokers are used to cooking different types of meats such as pork, beef, lamb, chicken, etc. The fuel used in these smokers is wood or charcoal. Wood may be used as pellets, chips, or chunks. In a typical wood smoker, there is a cooking chamber, a wood loading part, and a grilling provision. Apart from this, there is a chimney and damper. Other accessories such as warming tray, rib racks, clean out tool, etc., come with such equipment. Since wood smokers run on wood, there is enough provision for air to move in and out in such smokers. Though there are other ways of smoking the meats nowadays, there is a distinct flavor that only comes with wood.
Wood smokers use wood, and the fire is generated in them. Not every type of wood is good for smoking food as it could create some poisonous gas. So knowing which wood would generate less of soot, ash, and creosote apart from the right amount of heat, and no harmful smoke will help. Secondly, the thickness of the drum forming the smoking equipment also matters. Since wood is heavy, a thicker drum should be used. Then the temperature inside the firebox needs to be controlled. If excess heat is generated, there should be an emergency exists for the hot air without increasing the temperature at the firebox part as otherwise, it could lead to an explosion or the food getting burnt. Meats and even vegetables are first placed closer to the hottest part of the cooking section, and moved away from it periodically to get the ideal temperature for cooking. Therefore there has to be a handle that can be opened without a burning hand and this handle should not accessible to children. These are the features of any safe wood smoker.
Since the method of using burning wood to cook is a very traditional one, there are a number of wood smokers which date back quite some years. Nowadays the concept has been used to create a wide range of wood smokers including mobile wood smokers and commercial BBQ smokers. Some of the most renowned brands of wood smokers are the FireMagic Wood smokers, Brinkmann Wood smokers, Cookshack Wood Smokers, Horizon Wood Smokers, Primo Wood Smokers, and the Viking Wood Smokers.
Most wood smokers have the area where the fire is burning situated on the side, not underneath the meat or the food that is being cooked. This area is called the firebox. It is more advantageous to have the firebox on the sides rather than beneath the food since there is less probability that overcooking takes place. Besides, there is less need to turn over the food repeatedly. In such a process the food is cooked in an indirect cooking method, and usually, it achieves the unmistakable smoky flavor to the barbecued meat.
The size of the cooking chamber varies depending on the type of wood smoker and the number of people one needs to cook for. So if one needs to buy a wood smoker it is important to take into account this aspect. Another important part of any wood smoker is the chimney. The chimney is very important since it helps to circulate the heat and smoke better, preventing the meat from retaining too much smoke particles and ending up with a bitter flavor. The flow of air is crucial during the cooking process, and it is best to select a wood smoker which has the chimney located either away from the firebox or else level to the cooking grate.
Prices of wood smokers may differ considerably because both high end and ordinary wood smokers are available. The simplest wood/charcoal smoker for use at home may cost approximately 50 US dollars. The prices move upwards and touch over 5000 dollars. In the case of commercial wood smokers, the prices are even higher, i.e., near about 10,000 US dollars.
Generally, wood smokers are not mobile, as they have to have a wood loading section, which makes them heavier to move around. But there are ample new and smaller models with wheels generally at the end that has the chimney. With these wheels, such wood smokers can be moved around in the yard. Even commercial scale wood smokers are made mobile by including a trailer within the design.
Brinkmann Wood Smokers are one popular brand of the wood smoker. These are smoking equipment from The Brinkmann Corporation, a Dallas, Texas-based corporation. This corporation is one of the best-known manufacturers of wood, electric, gas, and water smokers. It offers both stationary and mobile wood smokers to choose from. The stationary version looks more like a robot, with cylindrical body, and tiny arms and legs, as well as a tiny head. It costs around 60 US dollars as of date. But the mobile Brinkmann Wood Smoker is the one that is worth mentioning. Its design is very simple. It starts with a horizontal wood-feeding part that ends in a small cylindrical box with a slit for letting in some air and meat. This is the firebox with a dumper. The hot air generated here is allowed to escape into another long cylindrical chamber for smoking, which finally lets the smoke escape through a chimney. The model is called the Pitmaster Deluxe, and it costs approximately 380 US dollars.
Both wood chips and wood chunks are used in wood smokers. Wood chips, however, burn away faster, while wood chunks last considerably longer. Which of the two is ideal depends upon the meat or vegetable that needs to be cooked, and the length of time that it needs to be grilled or smoked and the heat that is required.
These are wood smokers from FireMagic. The company offers a wide range of smokers, including gas, and electrical smokers. These smokers have stainless steel bodies making them high end products. The designs are also rather sleek. The company also offers a wood smoker box. This box can be used along with FireMagic`s gas smokers for getting that wooden flavor depending upon the wood in there. The box costs nearly 80 US dollars.
Cookshack Wood Smokers are another popular brand. Oklahoma based Cookshack, Inc. offers a range of sleekly designed wood smokers. The most sophisticated one of these is for indoors. It is called The Cookshack AmeriQue. This product incorporates digital technology for completing the cooking, which means it is possible to monitor the exact temperature required for smoking the meat, fish, or vegetable, as well as control the number of minutes of cooking with this equipment. AmeriQue has stainless steel body, and it would cost about $1750 including shipping charges. The equipment looks more like a small cabinet with controls over it. Elite series from the same company are less expensive. They cost around $750 as they do not have the same feature. The cheapest of the wood smokers from Cookshack is Smokette and it costs approximately $600. Specifications of this model are also much lower.
Oklahoma based Horizon Manufacturing offers a wide range of wood smokers, suiting different budgets. Some of these are mobile while some are stationary. Not many qualify as high end products, as stainless steel is not used to make these wood smokers. The company also offers wood smokers for commercial purposes.
You can also buy your wood smoker from Primo Wood. The unique feature of Primo wood smokers is that they have ceramic grills made in America. This is the only smoker that offers this unique feature. These wood smokers are much smaller in size than most other wood smokers. A few of these from Oval series can be mounted on any table. There are other models of wood smokerss from Primo that are fixed within a frame that has wheels, making the unit mobile.
Mississippi based Viking Range Corporation offers a charcoal smoker. As the name implies, this wood smoker actually requires charcoal. The product is high end, with ceramic interiors and stainless steel exteriors. There are not many smokers offered by this kitchen equipment company. The equipment comes with thermometer, temperature control features, and option to make it mobile.
Even though more attention is being placed by manufacturers of wood smokers to provide safer and more affordable ones, it must be noted that anyone using a wood smoker needs to make sure to get well acquainted with how to operate the product and pay good attention to use it safely. BBQ can be a great way to pass the time, but not if they start a fire. You should be fine as long as your smoker is far enough away from your house or other flammables and you don’t leave it unattended.