Garden & Lawn

Top 8 Best BBQ Smokers For Great Tasting Smoked Food

Last updated on February 19th, 2022

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Our review of the Best BBQ smokers presents the highlights of each model and discusses how their features work to their best advantage, or not. Our Buyer’s Guide leads you through what to look for in the best BBQ smokers and what your options are. The review ends with a FAQ section that answers a few of the questions that people regularly ask.

Our Best Pick is the Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ. This is a well-made unit that cooks enough food for around eight people and is well designed for safe and convenient use.


Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill
This is a solid and durable BBQ smoker that suits any family, especially if they love to entertain. This well designed model comes with two grills for cooking food as well as six hooks for smoking fish, ribs and anything else that needs to hang down. We especially like the ease of use of this model with its easy access to the charcoal and water pans, its selection of vents and upgraded thermometer for accurate heat control, and the ability to check on the food without lifting the lid. The Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ makes smoking food a straightforward process, whether you’re an expert or just starting out.

The Landman Tennessee 100 Charcoal Barbecue with Smoker is our Runner-up. This traditional-looking smoker grill uses either wood chips or charcoal and has separate boxes for smoking and grilling.


Landman Tennessee Grillchef 100 Charcoal Barbecue with Smoker
The look of this smoker BBQ announces what it is – a serious unit for those who are intense about smoking their food. With separate boxes for smoking and grilling, you can use both cooking methods at once. In total, the two boxes hold up to 18 burgers. And if the smoking box is too small, you can use the grilling box for smoking as well. As you probably need a lot of utensils and condiments with this much food, you’ll welcome the front shelf and the lower shelf to keep your stuff on. If the amount of food you smoke at any one time varies, this BBQ smoker works with you.

Our Premium Pick is the bright red, egg-shaped Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Kamado Charcoal Grill. Take this grill with you to roast, grill, sear or smoke your feast in the park.


Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Kamado Charcoal Grill
Don’t be fooled by the fun appearance of this shiny red ceramic egg. This is a serious charcoal smoker grill that does much more than many of the other models we review. First up, it’s truly portable. Weighing just 31kgs, its well-designed carrying handles make it easy to take into the wilds, or at least the park, with you. Secondly, this model not only grills and smokes, but it lets you sear and roast as well. Eating in the outdoors no longer means burgers and hotdogs for you and your three guests. This premium model is for those who won’t compromise on food quality or variety wherever they cook.

Here are the best smoker BBQs that you can buy:

  1. Callow Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill – BEST PICK
  2. Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Kamado Charcoal Grill – BEST PREMIUM PICK
  3. Landman Tennessee 100 Charcoal Barbecue with Smoker – RUNNER UP
  4. Pit Barrel Cooker Barbecue and Smoker grill
  5. Deuba BBQ Charcoal Smoker Barbecue
  6. Char-Broil the Big Easy Smoker BBQ – BEST GAS SMOKER BBQ
  7. Azuma Bandit Barrel BBQ Charcoal Grill – BEST FOR SMOKING AND GRILLING
  8. CosmoGril Outdoor Smoker Barbecue

Check out our review where we have compared the best BBQ covers

Our Top 8 Best BBQ Smoker Reviews

1. Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ


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Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill with Hanging Rack, Hooks, Grill and Weather Proof Cover

The Callow Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill is a 14-inch model that’s made from high density 0.9mm carbon steel and finished with a premium powder coating in shiny black.  It’s made up of the smoker hood, the smoker barrel body, the smoker bottom bowl and supporting feet, which use stainless steel locks to securely connect them to the smoker.

This BBQ grill is fitted with a thermometer and this was recently replaced by a better quality gauge so that you can accurately see the cooking temperatures. The unit includes four adjustable air vents at the base and two ventilation holes in the lid for cooling things down when they get too hot.

In addition, there are two conveniently placed access points to allow you to check on the food without removing the lid. The hinged door on the front of the body also allows easy access to the charcoal and water pans. This is particularly convenient when smoking for hours because you’ll need to top up the charcoal or water at some point. The charcoal pan is well-ventilated to evenly distribute the heat and smoke.

This charcoal smoker BBQ grill comes complete with two cooking grates and a smoking rack plus six hooks for smoking sausages, fish or ribs. In short, there is no limit to what you can smoke and how you can smoke it. This BBQs simple design makes it easy to use, for beginners and experts alike. To wrap the perfect package, there is a weatherproof cover to protect your smoker against the elements. Overall, superb quality at a great price.


  • High density 0.9mm carbon steel with classy powder coating for strength and durability. 
  • Easy to monitor and top up its large 3.8L water pan with two to three hour duration. 
  • Includes a large, ventilated charcoal pan that provides up to six hours of smoking time. 
  • Supplied with smoking rack, two cooking grates and six hooks, so you can smoke/cook a variety of foods.
  • Built-in thermometer combined with adjustable air vents to allow you to control the temperature.  
  • Comes with a weatherproof cover to give protection against elements.

Our recommendation

The Callow Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill is a high-quality BBQ smoker with all of the features you would expect from a top of the range model. It combines style, functionality and convenience with its high gloss black finish, its smoking rack, two grates and six hanging hooks, and its ability to let you peer at your food and easily top up the charcoal and water, all without opening the lid.

We’ve made the Callow Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill our Best Pick for Smoker BBQ for its versatility and ease of use, plus the fact that it comes with a weatherproof cover to keep it looking good.

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Read next: The best BBQ gazebo

2. Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Kamado Charcoal Grill


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Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Kamado Charcoal Grill, Blaze Red

The Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Kamado Charcoal Grill is a premium ceramic grill that can’t help but make you smile with its bright red colour and its egg-shaped body. And not just you, but anyone who passes by when you set it up in the park or at the lake.

This is a portable smoker BBQ that weighs only 31kgs. Two people can easily carry this unit using its carrying handles and still manage the cast iron stand, though a third person nearby will come in useful. The thick insulated walls of the shell enable this BBQ to use less fuel than other models, so that’s even less to carry along with you. And the 36cm diameter stainless steel grill is large enough to hold enough food to feed everyone who helped.

Your BBQ menu will have a waiting list of people to come on trips with you. This Kamado Joe model grills, roasts, sears and smokes. Imagine presenting a whole roasted and smoked chicken to your guests in the middle of a park, or perhaps smoked BBQ ribs. And while the red egg may look heavy, you can open the lid with just one finger thanks to the unique Air-Lift hinge.

The cast iron vent lets you closely control the temperature from 107°C to 400°C. Whether you’re smoking your fish or grilling your homemade burgers, the Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Kamado Charcoal Grill lets you effortlessly produce startling food in outdoor situations while looking good doing so.


  • Bright red ceramic, egg-shaped BBQ is an eye-catching feature on your patio as well as on your outdoor trips.
  • Weighs only 68 pounds and has handles you so you can carry it comfortably.
  • Grills, smokes, roasts and sears so your family and friends never become bored with your outdoor menu.
  • Stainless steel grill is 34cm in diameter to cook enough food for four people.
  • Thick walls have a great insulation capability that require less fuel to cook and smoke your food.
  • Temperature range of 107°C for long and slow smoking to 400°C for fast grilling.
  • Heavy-looking dome opens easily with just one finger due to the unique Air-Lift hinge.
  • Cast iron stand for raised height and stability.
  • Ceramic parts have a (limited) lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

Our recommendation

The Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Kamado Charcoal Grill lets you produce a wide range of outdoor meals while providing a talking point. With its well-placed carrying handles, this grill is light enough to carry into the park or out to the beach, where you can roast, smoke, sear or grill your food and amaze your guests. Its price does reflect that this is a premium model, however, it is worth it for all that it does, anywhere.

The Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Kamado Charcoal Grill is our choice for the Best Premium Pick of smoker BBQs. From its style to its functionality to its portability, this grill is not to be ignored.

3. Landman Tennessee Grillchef 100 Charcoal Barbecue with Smoker


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Landmann Smoker Tennessee 100, black

The Landmann 53cm Tennessee 100 Charcoal Barbecue smoker can produce meals for up to six people. If you have a large family or you want to have a few friends over, this grill/smoker suits your needs. This model is made of stainless steel and features two cast-iron cooking grates. Cast iron imparts a great flavour to the food and it retains heat, cooking the food evenly.

Temperature control is important if you don’t want to overcook or undercook your food. With the thermometer on this model, you can easily keep tabs on the temperature without having to lift the lid. The front table serves as a stable surface for your plates, utensils and other cooking paraphernalia.

This 19.7kg model has a cooking area of 23cm x 30cm so you can easily smoke a few pounds of meat at a time. The two-part charcoal grid gives you control over the production of smoke. All in all, this is a well-designed barbecue smoker that allows you to attend to both grilling and smoking functions.

You do need to put this unit together before you can use it. The instructions are a bit lacking in detail but with some ingenuity (and help from a friend), you can easily assemble the model. Other than that, there are no real flaws in this barbecue smoker.


  • Features cast-iron cooking grates that impart flavour on the food.
  • Made of stainless steel and thus it is rust-free and durable.
  • Comes with a thermometer for temperature regulation.
  • Has a front table that can be used to hold different items while cooking.
  • Comes with wheels for easy maneuverability.
  • Large cooking surface so you can produce food for many people.
  • Comes with a cover for protection when not in use.

Our recommendation

The Landman Tennessee Grillchef 100 Charcoal Barbecue with Smoker is just how you imagine a traditional smoker BBQ to look. It comes from a company with 40+ years in the business and who are known for their quality products. The dual cast iron cooking grates let you smoke your meat in different ways while imparting a depth of flavour that comes only from cast iron. Those who need a combined grill and smoker to make meals for up to six people will be happy to invest in this model.

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4. Pit Barrel Cooker Barbecue and Smoker Grill

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Pit Barrel Cooker Barbecue and Smoker grill

Featuring a unique barrel design, the Pit Barrel Cooker Barbecue and Smoker Grill is one of the best charcoal smokers that lets you cook a lot of food without fuss. This smoker grill is simple to operate and produces exceptional results in terms of cook and smoky flavour. Both assembly and cleaning are virtually hassle free. Most of the components are removable so you don’t need to clean the entire unit as a whole but rather as individual parts. 

The package includes a number of handy attachments to aid you in cooking. There are two hanging rods that will let you place your food at a desired height in the barrel smoker. Moreover, this promotes the even cooking of food. 

With a row of stainless steel hooks, you can easily hang ribs, fish and sausages as well as any large foods that won’t fit in your regular charcoal smoker. A charcoal basket holds your fuel and its open bottom allows ash to simply fall into the ash pan below it. Better still, the ash pan can be removed for emptying and cleaning. All you need to do is pull it out on its hook. A standard grill is also included for grilling and searing. 

What we also like about the Pit Barrel is that it doesn’t require any assembly. It arrives ready to use. This brilliant product is for anyone who wants to slow cook meals the traditional way, be it ribs, fish, chicken or lamb shoulder. 


  • Barrel BBQ smoker that’s perfect for anyone serious about smoking food.
  • Suitable for cooking large and long pieces of meat.
  • Ready to use out of the box – no assembly required.
  • Equipped with a range of attachments for grilling, smoking and searing. 
  • Easy to clean by disassembling its components. 
  • Simple to operate thanks to a barrel design. 

Our recommendation

The Pit Barrel Cooker Barbecue and Smoker Grill is for you if you think “long and slow” when you think of smoking your food. The traditional focus of this model is highlighted by the horseshoe-shaped handle. This barrel smoker lets you hang long cuts of meat, large birds or huge fish over the coals for hours on end. This smoker comes with a grill plate so you can smoke or grill small pieces of protein at the same time as the larger ones. This Pit Barrel Cooker is easy to use (no assembly required) and will be a big hit at your next family gathering or wedding reception.

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5. Char-Broil The Big Easy Smoker BBQ


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Char-Broil The Big Easy® - Smoker, Roaster and Grill with TRU-Infrared™ technology, Black Finish.

The Char-Broil The Big Easy Smoker BBQ is a famous choice when it comes to high performance and great tasting results. This model smokes, roasts or grills your food.

The standout feature of this Smoker BBQ is the TRU-Infrared technology that prevents flare ups that often burn food. It additionally ensures an even heat distribution for perfect results and up to 50% juicier food compared with traditional cooking, whilst using 30% less gas to cook.

With its large cooking basket, the Big Easy can roast up to 11kg of protein for the whole family to feast on. And it does that with no oil when used with the cooking basket and adjustable racks. Four hooks are available for roasting ribs and a smoker box where you place the wood chips to infuse the flavour and get that genuine smokey taste. You can’t do long-and-slow smoking with this model because you smoke it for only the length of time it takes to roast or grill the food.

Of course, you’ll need to keep your smoker looking tidy. Thankfully the porcelain-coated grate is removable for easy cleaning.

We really like the ultra-quick assembly of this model. No head-scratching manuals and complicated parts; putting it together is a snap and you will be cooking in no time at all. Generally, if you are looking for something that can cook food really well, add a subtle smokey flavour and double up as a grill without fiddling around lighting charcoal and trying to control temperatures, this is it. The only downside is that it does not come with a regulator so make sure you purchase one separately to avoid disappointment.


  • Gas powered smoker BBQ so no messing around with coal or wood.
  • Uses Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared technology that cooks food evenly without flare-ups. 
  • Removable clean top allows for easy cleaning. 
  • Large cooking basket fits up to 11kg of food. 
  • Easy to put together following straightforward instructions. 
  • Lights up quickly thanks to rotary ignition. 
  • Comes with four rib hooks to roast ribs as a change to a roast. 

Our recommendation

The Char-Broil The Big Easy Smoker BBQ lets you mix up your outdoor grilled food with a roast from the same unit. The smoking here is optional and is done while the food grills or roasts. So don’t look for 12-hour slow-smoked brisket from this unit. But it’s great if you just want a smokey flavour from your BBQ. And, of course, this is a gas BBQ so there’s no hassle from lighting the charcoal and waiting for it to heat up; just turn on the rotary ignition and you’re ready to go.

The Char-Broil The Big Easy Smoker BBQ is the gas smoker BBQ for you if you like your BBQing to be almost effortless and your grilled food to be juicy and have a smokey flavour.

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6. Azuma Bandit Barrel BBQ Charcoal Grill


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Azuma Bandit Barrel BBQ Charcoal Grill

The Azuma Bandit Barrel BBQ Charcoal Grill offers the option to smoke or grill food using either charcoal or wood chips for fuel. Its large 68cm barrel grilling area and offset smaller smoker box provides more than enough room for grilling or smoking up to 18 standard-sized beef burgers. The grilling chamber can also be used for smoking. Both the large chamber and firebox are supplied with charcoal grates. 

The adjustable charcoal grids, along with the side vents, allow you to control the temperature, whilst a built-in thermometer lets you keep an eye on the heat levels for perfect results. An adjustable chimney damper also helps control the level of smoke and temperature inside the main chambers. 

There is plenty of storage space below the cooking area for accessories such as dishes, food trays, plates and BBQ sauces. In addition, this unit has a handy front tray for holding utensils. The tray does not fold in, however, so it may take up more space than you would like. The chambers are made from 1mm thick steel with a black powder coating that withstands rust and wear. 

Thanks to its wheels and handles, this BBQ smoker is easy to move out of the way after a party. If you are using it on the patio, however, be careful not to scratch your floor because the feet have no stoppers. You will also appreciate the wooden handles on the lids and sides when you want to open or move the hot BBQ. Assembly time is fair, though the instructions could be clearer. An optional heavy-duty cover is a must if you intend to store the barbecue smoker outdoors. 


  • Separate smoker barrel and large grilling section for multi-tasking your BBQ.
  • Multi-functional BBQ barrel for wood and charcoal. 
  • Adjustable charcoal grid height and side vents allow heat control.
  • Built-in thermometer makes it easy to monitor heat levels. 
  • Comes with wheels and handles for easy movement.

Our recommendation

The Azuma Bandit Barrel BBQ Charcoal Grill is versatile in its fuel needs because you can use either charcoal or wood, whatever you have around or what’s cheaper at the time. We really like that you have the option to smoke food and grill at the same time or use it as one big BBQ smoker. The large storage spaces mean that you can be organised and bring out everything you need for BBQing at once and not have to keep running back inside to fetch stuff.

All in all, this Azuma smoker BBQ is a good choice for entertaining guests or for anyone with a big family.

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7. CosmoGrill Outdoor Smoker Barbecue

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CosmoGrill Outdoor Smoker Barbecue

The CosmoGrill Outdoor Smoker Barbecue has a large cooking area measuring 57cm x 42cm. In addition, the internal height is big enough to fit a large chicken inside comfortably for the perfect smoking experience. This model comes complete with a warming rack that is also useful for cooking more delicate foods. On each side of the BBQ is a folding side table to keep your essentials within reach. Each table has four hooks, creating places and slots for hanging utensils and tea towels. 

This CosmoGrill charcoal barbecue can smoke mouth-watering meats, poultry and fish. The inclusion of a lid thermometer means you can monitor the conditions inside the hood without opening it up. Even so, the CosmoGrill is best for those planning to spend more time barbecuing and only occasional smoking. 

Thanks to its two wheels on one side, this portable barbecue is easy to move inside for winter storage. And should you find any issues with this product, CosmoGrill are only a phone call away and ready to resolve the problem.  


  • Can be used as a standard BBQ grill or smoker BBQ.
  • Large cooking capacity means it can serve a whole family. 
  • Two folding side tables with hooks provide extra storage and preparation areas. 
  • Includes two wheels which enable easy movement. 
  • Has a food warming rack inside the hood so there’s no excuse for serving cold food. 
  • Built-in thermometer lets you check the conditions inside the lid.

Our recommendation

The CosmoGrill Outdoor Smoker Barbecue is more of a barbeque than a smoker. Its large cooking area can hold enough food for a family that enjoys smokey flavoured grilled food. We like that you can cook a whole chicken for Sunday dinner inside this model. This is a good basic BBQ smoker for those who like smoky BBQ’d food rather than smoked food.

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8. Deuba BBQ Charcoal Smoker Barbecue

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Deuba BBQ Charcoal Smoker Barbecue

The Deuba BBQ Charcoal Smoker Barbecue is a 3-in-1 unit that barbecues, cooks and smokes. All you need to do is unlock its charm – the lid. When the smoker is without the lid, you can use it to barbecue meat, fish and vegetables on the griddle, although the space is a little limited. When the lid is on, the barbecue food is simply cooked or braised, which best works for roasting steak and poultry. If you want to smoke with the lid, say something like fish, simply add a smoking floor to the charcoal. Switching between these cooking methods couldn’t be easier.

Lighting the fire is also straightforward: simply open the lower door to access the charcoal, bunch in a couple of newspapers and light them up. There’s also a central access door that lets you control the food inside. A ventilated flap at the exhaust pipe helps regulate temperatures, whilst a built-in thermometer displays the exact cooking temperatures. This really is a BBQ Smoker for those who are hesitant about whether they can handle all the ins and outs of smoking.

This Deuba smoker also comes with a variety of accessories including a chrome-plated barbecue griddle, ash grill and a drip pan for indirect barbecuing. There are two large side handles for when you need to relocate the smoker or store it away after use. A cool-to-touch lid handle also opens for you to check on the food or remove it when it’s ready to serve. Perfect for charcoal and briquettes, the BBQ smoker also includes an exhaust pipe to get rid of excess fumes.


  • 3-in-1 functionality – barbecue, cook and smoke with only one unit. 
  • Features a lid thermometer for monitoring how the food is cooking. 
  • Comes with an exhaust pipe with ventilation holes to ensure regulated air supply. 
  • Large side handles for easy carrying of the unit to and from the smoking base. 
  • Stable three pod leg design.
  • Supplied with a drip pan, which is handy for indirect barbecuing. 
  • Easy and straightforward to use so excellent for those new to smoking.

Our recommendation

The Deuba BBQ Charcoal Smoker Barbecue is an excellent and affordable smoker barbeque, plus it also lets you cook or braise your food. It’s worth it for its 3-in-1 functionality and given its ease of use, it also makes an excellent choice for anyone who’s new to smoking food. It is well designed for your safety and convenience. It offers excellent value for money and would make a great starter smoker BBQ.

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Buyer’s Guide

BBQ smokers provide the best of two worlds – charcoal-grilled or smoked proteins. Each taste has its followers, but with one of the models in our review, you can alternate meals from one flavour to the other on a whim. Charcoal and wood smokers are the best in producing the signature smoky flavour and are the smoker of choice when it comes to cooking outdoors.

Here are the main factors to consider when choosing which BBQ smoker is best for you.

Smoker BBQ buyers guide

Factors to consider when buying smoker grills


Pay attention to the size of the cooking surface. A small smoker may be enough for two people, but anyone with a large family or who entertains frequently should look at one with a large grill area. If you want to smoke large fish, a turkey, a side of beef or slabs of ribs make sure that the smoker has enough hooks and interior space (width and depth) for these large pieces of meat.


Ideally your smoker should be able to withstand the test of time but that comes down to whether it’s made of strong materials. A steel body with powder coating and cast iron grates is very durable. The paintwork should be rust- and waterproof. Cost often does equate to quality, so really look around for the best-made model your budget can afford. How often you plan on using the smoker and how long you want to keep it come into play here too.

BBQ Smoker being used and tested

Built-in thermometer

A thermometer is an essential feature in a barbecue smoker. It tells you to know your food is cooking at the optimum temperature and eliminates the need to open the lid just to check the temperature. If a smoker does not have a thermometer, you can always purchase one separately.  


Along with the thermometer, the damper is crucial in regulating the heat inside the smoker BBQ. If you buy a charcoal or wood smoker, bear in mind that the temperature in these smokers is regulated by cutting or increasing the oxygen supply. As such, a damper on the chimney and another in the firebox is absolutely necessary. Find out if the damper is easy to reach and use. 


BBQ smokers should be kept indoors during wet weather, especially in the UK where we get more rain than the sun. Therefore, consider a model with a set of sturdy wheels that will allow you to easily move it from one place to another. If it doesn’t have wheels, then it needs to be easy and quick to dismantle. 

Features of a smoker BBQ

One model in our review, the Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Charcoal Grill, is a true portable unit. It’s lightweight and easy to carry and has been designed to be taken on outings with you.

Easy access

Whether you need to top up the charcoal or water pans or turn your grilling food, there should be easy access points. Smokers that come with front doors are easier to use than those that load from the top. 

Ease of cleaning

Maintaining the exterior part is usually straightforward but cleaning the interior is a little trickier. Fat, juices, seasonings, ash and the smoke itself will cause a mess inside the smoker. Juices will tend to stick on the grates and grease will make your food unpalatable. Removable grates, a drip pan and a removable ashtray are easier to deal with than permanently fixed components. Create a habit of cleaning your smoker after every use to ensure safe and flavourful food the next time.

Tips on using a BBQ smoker

Patience is key to that smoky flavour. You need to go low and slow; smoke in low temperatures and for a prolonged period. 

Remember that you don’t need to use much wood to get that awesome smoky taste and you don’t need to have the smoker wood in for the duration of the smoking time.

Don’t forget to keep the pan filled with water. Smoking for extended periods of time can cause the food to become dry. Water adds moisture inside the smoker to prevent dryness. 

Hot BBQ smoker with white smoke

It’s all in the colour of the smoke coming out of the smoker. A cloud of white smoke is an indication that everything is good. Black is bad and probably indicates that the smoker barbeque is dirty or lacks proper ventilation. This can negatively affect the taste of the meat. 

Avoid opening the lid too frequently because this allows some of the smoke to escape and results in a weaker flavour. That’s why a built-in thermometer comes in handy for monitoring the temperature. 

Restrain from adding too many sauces and marinades to the food. The smoked flavour should stand out and not be overpowered by other additions. (See the FAQ for advice about which wood to use.) 

Learning all the subtleties of smoking food takes much experimentation. Follow some guidelines initially but don’t be afraid to branch out with your own ideas.


How does a smoker work?

As implied by the name, BBQ smokers use actual smoke to cook food, be it meat, fish or poultry.

A typical smoker has a water pan and a wood chips pan at the bottom of the smoker chamber. Both of these pans are heated by either charcoal, wood, gas or electricity, depending on the fuel source of the smoker model you chose. The water helps maintain the internal temperature at optimum levels, whilst the wood provides the authentic smoky taste.

BBQ Smoker cooking ribs

You don’t have to turn the food because a smoker cooks using indirect heat. It creates conditions similar to an oven, allowing food to cook slowly whilst the smoke flavour penetrates the food.

What are the best woods to use for smoking?

We consulted several knowledgeable sources and developed the following brief summary.

Any hardwood that’s low in resin will impart flavour. But some are definitely better than others. And remember that you don’t need to have the wood in the smoker all the time you’re smoking the food.

The flavour of woods is on a spectrum from mild to strong.

BBQ Brisket being Hickory Smoked on a chamber smoker

At the mild end are the fruit woods, including cherry, peach, apple and pear. These are subtle and sweet and go well with poultry and fish. But try them also with pork. Birch is on the border here and works well with fattier fish, such as salmon.

In the middle of the spectrum are maple, pecan, oak and hickory.  These stronger flavoured smokes are wonderful with pork and are robust enough for game meats and beef.

At the strong end of the spectrum is just one wood – mesquite. This has a powerful taste that some people love and others can’t stand. Be careful when you use this one as Bon Appetit calls it the Chilli Pepper of woods. Use it in moderation until you figure out how much of its flavour you can handle.

If you don’t know which wood to start with, the sources we consulted recommend using hickory or oak. If you get bored of the usual woods, remember you can always create your own custom blends for your unique smoked flavour.

Final Conclusion

If you waffle between whether you like chargrilled burgers or smoked ribs the best, a BBQ smoker lets you cook both on your patio. Some of the models we review focus on smoking and grilling equally, while others take smoking food really seriously. Some of the smoker BBQs in this review can handle a whole turkey or racks of lamb and strings of sausages. Investing in one of these grills could change your outdoor barbequing life completely.

The Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ is our best pick out of all the models we have reviewed. It’s great for a family or a group of friends and is nicely balanced between grilling and smoking.

Our Runner-up is the Landman Tennessee 100 Charcoal Barbecue with Smoker. This is a much larger unit with a large grilling box and a separate smoking box. However, it’s serious about smoking food and you can use the grilling section for smoking too.

Our Premium Pick, the Kamado Joe KJ13RH Portable Versatile Kamado Charcoal Grill, is for those who want to take their BBQ smoker on the road with them. This ceramic unit is lightweight and grills, roasts, smokes and sears anywhere you put it.

If not all your family or friends like smoked food, check out our review on the Best Outdoors Pizza Ovens.

Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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