BBQ Smokers...

Dear BBQ Friend:

I get asked all the time... what's the best BBQ smoker to buy? My answer usually leads them in the right direction and gives them a few places to start looking.

I usually tell people about one of the following bbq smokers - most of which can be purchased in our BBQ Store...

Big Green Egg - big green egg bbq smokerthis is an insulated vertical smoker. They start around $849 to $1100 for the large model.

Traeger Pellet Smokers traeger bbq smoker- This is a nice bbq smoker that burns wood pellets. The Lil' tex starts around $795. The digital controls and oversize hopper are a little extra though.

Electric Smokers electric smoker- These are a nice, budget friendly, option. What's so nice about them is their ease of use. And they do provide real smoke via a smoke tray. There's also less airflow because there is no fire that requires a lot of oxygen. Prices start around $200 too.

Gas Smokers gas bbq smoker- These are similar to electric smokers, but they run on LP gas. They are easy to use and provide real wood smoke flavor. Prices start around $128.

Stumps Smoker stumps smoker- this is also an insulated vertical BBQ smoker with a gravity fed charcoal system. They start around $2000.

Lang Smoker - This is a traditional offset type BBQ smoker. lang 60  smokerIt is made of good thick metal but it is not insulated. This offset BBQ smoker is unique in that it has a metal plate that runs the full length of the smoker just below the meat grate. The smoke travels all the way to the other end of the smoker, over the meat, and out the smoke stack on the same side as the firebox. The Lang Model 60 starts at $3795.

Fast Eddy's by Cookshack - fec 100 smokerThis is a very nice pellet BBQ smoker with a vertical style. Used by many of the top BBQ competition teams. It is around $5995.

Southern Yankee - southern yankee smokerThese are rotisserie BBQ smokers and they have many models to choose from. They range from small pull behind rotisseries to large concession trailers. They start at $3750 and go up from there.

Southern Pride - southern yankee smokerThese are rotisserie BBQ smokers similar to Southern Yankee. They come in all shapes and sizes, gas, or electric. Commercial or catering or personal use. The gas can be turned off after starting so it runs totally off wood if necessary. Electricity is needed to run the rotisserie though.

And... their final decision usually has to do with the following factors...

  • Price - the amount of money you have to spend on a BBQ smoker has a lot to do with your decision. I think the most bang for your buck is the Traeger Lil' Tex BBQ smoker - especially for the back yard BBQer. Although, many BBQ teams use these too. Whatever you do, don't go down to WalMart or Home Depot and buy one of those small offset smokers for $300 or less. They are made out of very thin metal and the fireboxes do not ventilate well. You'll have trouble producing good BBQ on those things.
  • Work needed - A traditional offset BBQ smoker requires a lot of work tending the fire. Some people prefer a traditional offset smoker over something that burns charcoal, pellets, or propane. But let me warn you... you'll be chopping a lot of wood to feed that hungry beast. You'll need to check your fire in most offset smokers every 15-30 minutes. The Southern Yankee are wood or charcoal burning too. That can get very tiresome on a long overnight smoke. The Big Green Egg and Stumps Smokers will run a very long time on just one bag of charcoal. Of course, the Traeger and Fast Eddy's burn pellets that are fed automatically.
  • Insulated - The insulated BBQ smoker allows for long burns so you can get a little shut eye on those long overnight brisket smokes. The Big Green Egg and Stumps are insulated and burn charcoal.
  • Size - Look at how many square inches of cooking space you get for your money. Traeger Lil' Tex's are nice BBQ smokers, but you'll need two or three of them if you intend to compete with them. Of course Traeger has many larger models to choose from including some commercial BBQ smokers.
  • Wood, pellets, or charcoal - What kind of smoke flavor do you like? Do you like charcoal or real wood? Or maybe a combination of both... usually, if you use charcoal for heat and throw some wood chunks on top for flavor, you'll get a good result. Lump charcoal and Duraflame's hardwood briquettes are other options that produce a cleaner and hotter burn. Of course, wood pellets are real wood and the results are similar to using real wood logs.
  • Type - You got your vertical smokers, vertical insulated smokers, traditional offset smokers (with the smoke stack opposite from the firebox), Lang offset smokers, pellet smokers, rotisserie smokers, gas smokers, and all kinds of combinations of all of these. What BBQ smoker is best suited to your needs or wants?

BBQ Smoker Resources...

Our BBQ Store -
Big Green Egg -
Lang -
Traeger -
Southern Pride -
Stumps Smokers -
Fast Eddy -
Southern Yankee BBQ -


Bill Anderson