In this guide we’ll look at the best BBQ Smokers for the UK market .
I’ve compared design, build quality, features and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What is the Best BBQ Smoker?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
Good quality, great value, 3-in-1 BBQ, roaster, smoker!
This KCT 3 in 1 BBQ Upright Outdoor Smoker Barbecue is a great-value unit that will allow you to BBQ, roast and smoke your food. With two cooking compartments so you won’t run out of space, as well as hooks for hanging bacon or fish ready for smoking. Exterior temperature gauge let’s you check the heat without opening the unit.
Things to Know Before Buying a BBQ Smoker
The joy of owning a BBQ smoker is that you have the ability to be so much more creative with your summer food choices.
Not only that, but most BBQ smokers have an impressive capacity and make it so much easier to juggle cooking several meals and portions at the same time. Plus, built-in thermometers in BBQ smokers take the guesswork (and stress!) out of BBQ cooking.
So, summer’s on its way! What are you waiting for! Let’s make sure you definitely get the best BBQ smoker for your money and don’t end up with something sub-par. The following advice should help you make an informed decision:
The design and aesthetics are important factors in choosing a barbecue. The design affects how your smoker cooks, not just its physical appearance, so look for a well-thought-through design with excellent design elements that make it easy and effective to use, such as air vents and handles.
Most smokers come with several ‘levels’ often used for different functions like BBQing, roasting, and then smoking. These are really worth looking out for as they mean you’ll get a lot more versatility and use out of your smoker.
Plus, if a smoker has several levels, there will be more cooking compartments for food which is great news when it comes to juggling a lot of people’s food on BBQ days.
The appearance of your barbecues is also important, particularly if you are aiming to create a nice outside environment to cook and spend time in. Having a nice-looking BBQ smoker can really improve the feel of an outside eating area. Plus, if you like how it looks you’ll be more likely to leave it out over summer, improving the possibility of spontaneous good-weather BBQs. If you don’t like its appearance, you might be tempted to hide it away in the shed, making it less practical to use whenever you want.
Additional features aren’t always necessary, but they can greatly improve your cooking experience so some you might want to look out for are the following:
Built-in Temperature Gauge
A built-in temperature gauge ensures you to know that the correct temperature is set and helps you maintain the fire correctly for whatever you are cooking. This is essential for smoking food. Having a temperature gauge also gets rid of the necessity to keep opening the BBQ/smoker to check on how the food is doing, ultimately detrimental in the long run as this lets heat escape!
Access Points for Meat Probes
Meat probes tend to be long metal probes with a thermometer on the end which can be inserted into food to check it’s cooked/is cooking in the middle. They’re an easy tool to determine when things are cooked and to what level. If your smoker has an access point for a meat probe you can check the meat without opening the smoker and losing the heat and smoke.
Having ventilation on your smoker is important. If you are slow-cooking something for 8 hours you will want ventilation so that the older smoke doesn’t linger as this will affect the taste of the food negatively. On the other hand, if you are cooking something fast you won’t want the smoke escaping so it’s nice to be able to toggle the ventilation.
Good ventilation also helps you control the temperature allowing you to smoke things faster or slower.
Some smokers can also be used as traditional BBQs and for roasting meat.
Having a smoker that is versatile is extremely useful, you’re much more likely to get a lot of use out of it if it can be used to BBQ and roast food as well as smoke it.
Alternatively, if you’re only interested in a BBQ and smoke option, but do a lot of entertaining outside in the summer, you might want to consider a model like the barbecook® Oskar M which can divide up and become a fire pit!
Smokers come in a range of sizes with some being large enough to cook eight chickens, while others are portable and easy to take to the beach or camping.
Take some time to think about what you’ll most want to use your smoker for – no point buying a huge one and then wishing you had something you could take camping with you!
Number of Compartments
The number of compartments will also effect the size of the unit. Most BBQ smokers have three main compartments. The first section is at the bottom and this is the heat source. The second section is in the middle and is filled with water to provide smoke. The third section is the cooking section.
Sometimes smokers will have extra compartments in the cooking section to allow for different styles of cooking. Any additions like this may make the smoker bigger – specifically taller. So if storage is an issue, or again you want the unit to be portable, you might want to skip these kinds of extras.
Ensuring safe use is extremely important when it comes to smokers – we are talking about extremely hot cooking units at the end of the day.
If you have a gas option, ensure everything is kept clean and the gas is running freely.
For all BBQ smokers, you must ensure that they don’t get too as this can be dangerous. A built-in thermometer is a great feature that helps you ensure your smoker stays within a safe temperature range.
Everything I recommend
More Detailed BBQ Smoker Reviews
KCT 3 in 1 BBQ Upright Outdoor Smoker Barbecue Review
The KCT 3 in 1 BBQ Upright Outdoor Smoker Barbecue is the best BBQ smoker on the market.
Why, you ask? Well, it won’t break the bank, offers 3 functions in 1 (BBQ, roaster and smoker), and has two cooking platforms for near-infinite possibilities!
There are a lot of features and it’s of good quality for this price range. The 3-in-1 design means you can use it either as a normal BBQ, or for roasting chicken and other foods, or to smoke anything you wish! It has two cooking platforms allowing you cook multiple components of a meal in one.
Nothing worse than having to serve a BBQ meal in random bits because you didn’t have space to cook it altogether – not with this unit though!
What’s more, it has an exterior thermometer gauge so you can measure the temperature without opening the smoker and losing heat.
For those of you excited about the prospect of smoking your own food, it also couldn’t be easier – there are hooks included in the smoking section for hanging bacon and fish, so it’s unlikely to be an item you buy and don’t use.
It’s really the best BBQ smoker around. A great option if you want an inexpensive, adaptable BBQ smoker that will let you stay on top of the cooking for several people.
ProQ Excel 20 Elite BBQ Smoker Review
The ProQ Excel 20 Elite BBQ Smoker is easily one of the best BBQ smokers on the market. It has excellent control of temperature, is versatile enough to allow grilling, roasting and smoking and has a large capacity.
It controls temperature well thanks to its wide range of ventilation options. Opening and closing the vents will affect heat and smoke levels giving you ultimate control. You can also easily keep an eye on the temperature using the in-built thermometer.
Seeing as the unit is very adaptable, with its BBQ-ing, roasting and smoking capacities, you won’t only use it when you want to smoke food. It can be out all summer long for a variety of entertainment purposes!
What’s more, it has a fantastic capacity. If you want to smoke food for a family gathering or party then this is a good option for you. It can hold eight chickens at the same time. You didn’t read that wrong, I really did say eight!
If you’re big into entertaining this is a really good choice. Its large capacity and multifunctionality makes cooking several meals at the same time no problem at all.
barbecook® Oskar M, Black Review
The barbecook® Oskar M is another great BBQ smoker. Unlike the other models in this review, it’s built for both cold and hot smoking. Plus it has a nice enamel finish and good temperature regulation.
This smoker is designed with cold smoking in mind. Ideal if you want to smoke or cure meats like fish and pork. It’s designed to create a good amount of smoke and flavour whilst not creating too much heat.
However, it still works as a conventional smoker when you want it.
The temperature control on this unit is great with 3 well-sized vents giving you control of the heat and smoke. This, combined with the accurate thermometer, gives you great precision and control of your cooking and smoking.
It can not only be used as a smoker, but as a BBQ and even a firepit as well!
The enamel finish makes it look stylish as well as ensuring it stands up to adverse weather conditions.
This is a great option for you if you are interested in cold and hot smoking and need a smoker that can easily do both. Plus the fact it can be used as a firepit means it will even come in handy for summer-evening gatherings when you’re not cooking.
COSTWAY Charcoal Grill 3 in 1 Design Review
The COSTWAY Charcoal Grill 3 in 1 Design is another good option because it’s lightweight, has good carry handles, features 3 functions in 1 and a has a quality built-in thermometer.
This BBQ smoker is great if you have an active lifestyle and want a BBQ smoker to be a part of that. It’s lightweight, has good carry handles, and can be packed up quite small. This is great if you want to take it with you on camping trips or other adventures.
This is a 3-in-1 unit allowing you to use it as a conventional BBQ, for roasting, and finally to smoke food. The thermometer is large, easy to read and gives good accurate reading.
This is a great choice if you want to be able to smoke, grill or roast food and be able to take your BBQ on your adventures with you.
BBQ Smoker FAQs
- The first thing to do is to light your heat source. This could be starting a wood or charcoal fire at the bottom, or lighting the gas or simply turning on the smoker if it uses electric.
- The heat source you use will affect the taste of your food. Using a nice smelling wood like cherry can really add to the taste. Experiment with different heat sources from charcoal to different woods to find out what you like.
- For added smoke, you can use woodchips wrapped in pierced aluminium foil. This can add good flavour to your food and save you money. A good method is to use charcoal to start a nice long fire and add wood chips inside the foil pouch to add a nice smoky flavour of your choice.
- The next step is to fill your water compartment. Water is often used on its own, however, you can use this water compartment to add flavour to your food. Adding a mixture of water and wine can add nice flavour to your meal. You can also use stock and add herbs and spices to really impress your guests.
- Place the top compartment over the water and secure it tightly. You can then place what you are cooking inside this top compartment and cover it with the lid.
- From here it’s a matter of patience and maintaining the fire. You might need to top the fire and water up depending on what you are cooking and for how long for.
Smokers are design to smoke food to add flavour and to maintain a low heat for a long period of time to slow cook things. The most common type is the vertical smoker.
Vertical smokers have three compartments. At the lowest compartment, you put whatever you are using to generate heat and smoke. This can be wood or charcoal depending on personal preference and what your smoker is designed for.
The middle compartment is for water. This is a key component to your smoker as it regulates the heat of the smoker keeping it from running too hot and allowing you to cook things low and slow. It also adds moisture to whatever you are smoking keeping it tender and juicy.
Finally, you have what’s called the smoking chamber. This is positioned above the water and is where you place the food.