Smoking meat is an ancient way of slow cooking food over an open fire that goes back 1000's of years. Today, smoked lean meats are loved by many people, but these days’ people don't have enough time to smoke the meat using the traditional methods. Thanks to modern technology, there are smokers today that will smoke food very quickly.

Charcoal and wood smokers are among the most popular and commonly used variety of bbq smoker. These varieties use burning wood and/or charcoal to produce the smoke. Different types of wood used include hickory, mesquite, maple, fruit and nut-tree wood, wine barrels.  You should never use pinewood, or similar kinds of wood, in the smoker because the burning resins in pine wood results in an acrid flavor in the meat.

Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal SmokerCredit: Amazon

Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker

Smokers work a lot better when you are cooking tougher pieces of meat with a higher fat content like pork shoulder, brisket, ribs, uncooked sausage and chicken. The secret to success with using wood smokers is to keep adjusting the flow of air using the air intake and air exhaust to maintain a consistent temperature. While cooking, you should try to hold an even temperature of 220 to 225 degrees throughout the smoking process. Once you get the ability to maintain a constant temperature mastered, the art of smoking becomes a piece of cake.  

A common mistake that people new to this fine art make is adding to much wood all at once which builds up a big fire causing too much heat. One of the best methods is to start out by adding several sticks of wood to get a fire going and adding more as needed. If you do add more wood than needed you can cool the fire by spraying some water on to the logs. Just be careful when doing this so that you don’t stir up the ashes. Nothing will ruin the food faster than having it coated with ashes.

The downside to using a wood smoker is that you have to attend to it constantly during the smoking process, and it takes some time to master the cooking process. Electric and gas smokers lets you smoke food faster and easier than the wood and charcoal burning varieties.

They provide you with the great smoky flavor that everybody loves in the meat without having to watch over and babysit the charcoal and wood smokers.  These types of smokers certainly are an excellent method for the busy person to smoke their food.  Many of them take as few as 2 hours to cook and smoke food.

Electric and gas smokers still let you smoke food the traditional way by letting you use wood chips to add some smoke flavor. To give the food a nice smoky flavor a smoker box is often used. Simply add 2 to 4 ounces of wood to the smoker box to give the food a great smoky flavor. Some models also provide a flavor box which lets you add even more flavor to the meat including herbs, spices, or your favorite booze.

Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Smokehouse SmokerCredit: Amazon

Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Smokehouse Smoker

There's one particular disadvantage of using gas and electric smokers, and that is that they don't generate as much smoke as wood or charcoal smokers do.  This disadvantage is however offset by their ability to generate a controlled and sustained heat that enables you to maintain the same temperature for several hours at a time.

Smoking meats are one of the best ways to cook meats of all kinds. Smokers will add the most delicious flavor to the stuff that you are smoking, and in addition it will help to make some of the toughest cuts nice and tinder.