Top 6 Best BBQ Smokers For Great Tasting Smoked Food

Top 6 Best BBQ Smokers For Great Tasting Smoked Food

Top 6 Best BBQ Smokers For Great Tasting Smoked Food

With compare some of the best smoker BBQs in the UK to see how they compare, with models ranging from £50, ideal for beginners, too well over £200. We set out to see if more money really does equal better food.

Unlike barbecue grillers that cook at extremely high temperatures, up to 200 degrees Celsius or more, smokers are literally slow cookers with internal temperatures ranging from 50 to 100 degrees Celsius. Ideally, the heat source needs to stay away from the food and so you can expect smokers to be designed slightly different from BBQ grillers. 

When it comes to buying a BBQ smoker, there are several brands out there to choose from and that complicates matters. To save you the time of scouring through web pages in search of the best smoker BBQ, we've listed six models that stand out of the crowd. Our research brought together 20 bbq smokers, which we narrowed down to the best BBQ smokers UK after comparing temperature monitoring, portability, ease of cleaning and durability. 

We think the Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ is one of the best for home use and a good mid priced product for those looking for a mix of quality and value for money. This pocket-friendly smoker comes with two cooking grates and six hooks, allowing you to prepare food for your entire family and friends. A built-in thermometer plus adjustable air vents allow for temperature control, whilst both its charcoal and water pans are a doodle to top up. Its carbon steel construction guarantees durability and even comes with a weatherproof cover. 

Sounds good? Be sure to compare with the other models in our reviews section to know which one is best for you. And if you are looking to buy a BBQ smoker for the first time, our buyers guide will go a long way.  

Best Pick

A very good choice of kit for what you pay. Very well made and some excellent features

A very good choice of kit for what you pay.

  • Large water pan that gives around 2-4 hours duration and 5-6 hours of smoking time.
  • Comes with 2 racks that can cook enough food for up to 8 people as well as 2 racks for chicken and ribs.
  • Very well made, pretty robust thanks to the 0.9mm carbon steel construction with powder coating.
  • Good temperature regulation due to air vents and an accurate thermometer. 
  • Connects together securely with just four stainless steel locks.
  • Heat resistant handles at crucial points makes it easy to open the lid and carry the unit. 

Our top 6 best smoker BBQ's that we reviewed including our top picks


BBQ Smokers Buyers Guide

How a smoker really works

As implied by the name, BBQ smokers use actual smoke to cook food, be it meat, fish or poultry. Smokers can be charcoal, wood, gas or electric. Whilst gas and electric smokers are a lot easier to use and less demanding, 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. 

A typical smoker has a water pan and wood chips pan at the bottom of the smoker chamber. The water helps maintain the internal temperature at optimum levels, whilst the wood provides the authentic smoky taste. 

Smoking is also a method that can help preserve foods such as meat. Our ancestors used to hang meat from spiked sticks over a smoky fire pit but technology gave us our modern BBQ smokers and it goes without saying, the food taste amazing. Smoke contains chemical compounds that prevents the growth of bacteria and when smoking for hours, the goal is to cook food for a prolonged period of time and at low temperatures. 

Grill vs Smoker or a combo?

Whether you choose a bbq grill or a smoker for your outdoor kitchen depends on the type of food that you want to cook and how you prefer to prepare the food. A grilling equipment will work quickly and feed large groups in a relatively short time. In grilling, you will also need to turn the food more frequently to avoid burning and flare-ups. 

If you like to enjoy the process and enjoy the flavour of a well-barbecued meal, then a smoker is an indispensable asset. You'll not have to turn the food as 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. 

Most BBQ aficionados have both a smoker and grill as part of their outdoor kitchen. If you also want to get the best of both worlds, there are many unique BBQ smoker grills out there nowadays that give you the best of both worlds of which we recommend 3 fantastic models further down.. 

Runner-up

UK's top-rated smoker grill, the Azuma comes with a large barrel and offset smokebox for multitasking between barbecuing and smoking. With a built-in thermometer and air vents, temperature control is absolutely a breeze, whilst its wheeled design means you can move it to the shed without breaking a sweat. Quite expensive but really worth it.

Best for simulataneous smoking and BBQing

One of our top-rated smoker grill, the Azuma comes with a large barrel and offset smokebox for multitasking between barbecuing and smoking. With a built-in thermometer and air vents, temperature control is absolutely a breeze, whilst its wheeled design means you can move it to the shed without breaking a sweat. Quite expensive but really worth it. 

Factors to consider when buying smoker grills

Size

Pay attention to the size of the cooking surface. A small smoker may be enough for 2 people, but anyone with a large family or with the liking of throwing parties will do with a large model. If you want to smoke fish, turkey, or multiple chicken, then it should have adequate space for such. Some rib slabs can be quite as wide too and you'll need sufficient length. 

Construction

Ideally your smoker should withstand the test of time but that comes down to whether it's made of strong materials or not. A steel body with powder coating and cast iron grates work wonders. The paintwork should be rust and waterproof, when it comes down to construction, you usually get what you pay for, we seen some cheap smoker BBQ's but the steel used on some is simply not designed to last many years, specially some of the Chinese imports now available.

Built-in thermometer

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

Portability

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

Damper

If you buy a charcoal or wood smoker, keep in mind that the temperature in these smokers is regulated by cutting 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. 

Easy access

Whether you need to top up the charcoal or water pans or even your cooked 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 almost optional but cleaning the interior is mandatory. 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 ash tray are easier to deal with than permanently fixed components. 

Tips to using a BBQ smoker

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

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

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

Avoid opening the lid too frequently. This could allow some of the smoke to escape and result is 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. 


Our Top 6 BBQ Smoker Reviews


Callow Premium Charcoal Smoker BBQ - BEST PICK

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 and how you to smoke it. The BBQ’s simple design makes it easy to use for beginners and experts alike. To wrap the perfect package, there is weather proof cover to protect your smoker against elements. Overall, superb quality at a great price.

Pros

  • High density 0.9mm carbon steel with classy powder coating. 
  • Easy to monitor and top up its large 3.8L water pan with 2-3 hour duration. 
  • Includes a large, ventilated charcoal pan which provides up to 6 hours of smoking time. 
  • Supplied with smoking rack, two cooking grates, and 6 hooks, so you can smoke/cook a variety of foods.
  • Built-in thermometer combined with adjustable air vents allow you to control BBQ temperature.  
  • Comes with a weatherproof cover to offer protection against elements. 

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.  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 together.

It is fitted with a thermometer which was recently replaced by a better quality gauge so that one 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.

The Callow Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill is a 14-inch unit that’s made from high density 0.9mm carbon steel and finished with a premium powder coating.  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 together.

In addition, there are two conveniently placed access points to allow you check the food without necessarily removing the lid. A hinged door in front of the body also allows easy access to the charcoal and water pans. This is particularly convenient for when smoking for hours because you’ll need to top up charcoal or water at some point. The charcoal pan is well-ventilated to evenly distribute the heat or 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 and how you to smoke it. The BBQ’s simple design makes it easy to use for beginners and experts alike. To wrap the perfect package, there is weather proof cover to protect your smoker against elements. Overall, superb quality at a great price.

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Deuba BBQ Charcoal Smoker Barbecue

The Deuba BBQ Charcoal Smoker Barbecue is a 3-in-1 that you can use to barbecue, cook or smoke. All you have to do is unlock its charm – the lid. When the smoker is without lid, you can use it to barbecue meat, fish and vegetables on the griddle. When the lid is on, the barbecue food is simply cooked or braised which best works for roasting of steak and poultry. If you want to smoke with the lid, say something like fish, simply add smoking floor to the charcoal.

Pros

  • 3-in-1 functionality - barbecue, cook and smoke with only one unit. 
  • Features a lid thermometer for monitoring how the food's cooking. 
  • Comes with an exhaust pipe with ventilation holes to ensure regulated air supply. 
  • With 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. 

The Deuba BBQ Charcoal Smoker Barbecue is a 3-in-1 that you can use to barbecue, cook or smoke. All you have 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 space is a little limited. When the lid is on, the barbecue food is simply cooked or braised which best works for roasting of steak and poultry. If you want to smoke with the lid, say something like fish, simply add a smoking floor to the charcoal.

Lighting the fire couldn’t be easier; 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.

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

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

Considering the price of this smoker barbecue, it makes an excellent choice for anyone who’s new to smoking food, its not quite in the same league as our 'Best Pick but at half the price, it offers excellent value for money and would make a great starter smoker BBQ.

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Char-Broil The Big Easy Smoker BBQ

The Char-Broil the Big Easy Smoker BBQ is a famous choice when it comes to high performance and great tasting results. The standout feature of this Smoker BBQ is the TRU-Infrared technology, which prevents flare ups that often burn food. It additionally ensures even heat distribution for perfect results and up to 50% juicier food compared with traditional cooking, whilst using 30% less gas to cook.

Pros

  • Gas powered smoker BBQ means no messing around with coal or wood.
  • Uses Char-Broil's TRU-Infrared technology, which cooks food evenly without flare-ups. 
  • Removable clean top allows for easy cleaning. 
  • Large cooking basket fits up to 11kg. 
  • Easy to put together following straightforward instructions. 
  • Lights up quickly thanks to rotary ignition. 
  • Comes with 4 rib hooks to roast ribs. 

The Char-Broil the Big Easy Smoker BBQ is a famous choice when it comes to high performance and great tasting results. The standout feature of this Smoker BBQ is the TRU-Infrared technology, which prevents flare ups that often burn food. It additionally ensures 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 poultry for the whole family to feast. And it does that with no oil particularly when used together with the cooking basket and adjustable racks. There are four hooks for roasting ribs and a smoker box where you can place wood chips to infuse the flavour and get that genuine smokey taste. 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 unit. No head scratching manuals and complicated parts; putting it together is a snap and you will be cooking in no time. 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.

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. 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, at the price we think it should be included but there readily available so not a major problem.

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Azuma Smoker Barbecue

The Azuma Smoker Barbecue offers the option to smoke or grill food using either charcoal or wood chips for fuel. Its large 68cm barrel grilling area and offset smoker box provides more than enough room for grilling or smoking up to 18 standard sized beef burgers. Both the large chamber and firebox are supplied with charcoal grates.

Pros

  • Best of both worlds, larger grilling area which most models lack and separate smoker barrel for great tasting smoked food, the large barrel can also be used as a smoker too.
  • Multi-functional BBQ barrel for wood and charcoal. 
  • Adjustable charcoal grid height and side vents allows for heat control.
  • Built-in thermometer makes it easy to monitor heat levels. 
  • Comes with wheels and handles for easy movement.

The Azuma Smoker Barbecue offers the option to smoke or grill food using either charcoal or wood chips for fuel. Its large 68cm barrel grilling area and offset smoker box provides more than enough room for grilling or smoking up to 18 standard sized beef burgers. Both the large chamber and firebox are supplied with charcoal grates. 

The adjustable charcoal grids together with side vents allow you to control the temperature, whilst a built-in thermometer lets you keep an eye on 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, it 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 black powder coating, so it is sure to withstand rust and wear. 

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

Thanks to its wheels and handles, the meat smoker is easy to move out of the way after a party. If you are suing it on the patio, however, be careful not to scratch your floor as the legs 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 is you intend to store the barbecue smoker outdoors. 

All in all, this Azuma Smoker is a good choice for entertaining guests or for anyone with a big family. 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. We noticed that this model have proved very popular on Amazon with well over 200 reviews.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


CosmoGril Outdoor Smoker Barbecue

The CosmoGrill™ Outdoor Smoker Barbecue has a large cooking area measuring 57 x 42cm and the internal height is especially large enough to fit a full grown chicken for the perfect smoking experience. It comes complete with a warming rack along with two foldable side tables to keep your essentials within reach. Each table has four hooks, creating even more slots for hanging knives, forks and such.

Pros

  • 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 area. 
  • Includes two wheels which enable easy movement. 
  • Has a food warming rack inside the hood. 
  • Built-in thermometer lets you check the conditions inside the lid.

The CosmoGril Outdoor Smoker Barbecue has a large cooking area measuring 57 x 42cm and the internal height is especially large enough to fit a large chicken for the perfect smoking experience. It comes complete with a warming rack along with two foldable side tables to keep your essentials within reach. Each table has four hooks, creating even more slots for hanging knives, forks and such. 

The charcoal barbecue can smoke mouth-watering meats and the inclusion of a lid thermometer means you can monitor the conditions inside the hood. As steel handle on hood also allows you to lift the hood up for optimum heat regulation. Even so, the CosmoGrill is perfect for those planning to spend more time barbecuing and only occasional smoking. 

The charcoal barbecue can smoke mouth-watering meats and the inclusion of a lid thermometer means you can monitor the conditions inside the hood. As steel handle on hood also allows you to lift the hood up for optimum heat regulation.

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.  This is a good alternative to the Azuma smoker bbq we have just reviewed but is almost half the price offering excellent value for money, it does however, lack the separate smoker box the Azuma model features.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


Pit Barrel Cooker Barbecue and Smoker grill

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 god sent to anyone who wants to slow cook meals the traditional way, be it ribs, fish, chicken or lamb shoulder.

Pros

  • Perfect for anyone serous 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. 

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 bunch of food without fuss. The 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, it promotes 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 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 dust and cleaning. All you have 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 god sent to anyone who wants to slow cook meals the traditional way, be it ribs, fish, chicken or lamb shoulder. 

If your serous about smoking food, this is well worth considering and you won't be disappointed.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below


Our Final Conclusion

If you relish smoked food, the best BBQ smokers are the best investment you can make. From cheap £40 models to the high-end £240 Pit Barrel Cooker Barbecue and Smoker, you can get a decent smoker at almost any budget.

Good thing is you don't need to be a trained chef for you to prepare smoked foods. You can actually find multiple videos on YouTube on how to smoke mouth-watering meals. That said, we hope this guide has helped you find the best smoker BBQ for beginners and for those looking to take smoking food to the next level, the right model for you.

Best Pick

A very good choice of kit for what you pay. Very well made and some excellent features

A very good choice of kit for what you pay.

  • Large water pan that gives around 2-4 hours duration and 5-6 hours of smoking time.
  • Comes with 2 racks that can cook enough food for up to 8 people as well as 2 racks for chicken and ribs.
  • Very well made, pretty robust thanks to the 0.9mm carbon steel construction with powder coating.
  • Good temperature regulation due to air vents and an accurate thermometer. 
  • Connects together securely with just four stainless steel locks.
  • Heat resistant handles at crucial points makes it easy to open the lid and carry the unit. 

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