In choosing the right equipment, you need to make a few decisions:
- How much smokey flavor do I want?
- Will I be grilling, smoking, or both?
- Do I need a portable option?
- What’s my budget?
- How big of a cooker do I need?
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For Smoking with Options - The Pit Barrel Cooker
The Pit Barrel Cooker is a great choice for all of your grilling and smoking needs. The PBC is a drum style charcoal cooker that allows you to vertically hang your masterpiece from 2 bars (3 bars on the larger PBX model)–just imagine the fat dripping down the length of a full-packer brisket as it renders, gradually coating the beef with more and more flavor for hours and hours! For grilling you can insert the grate and cook anything you would do on any other grill with the benefit of the food being higher above the coals to give you more forgiveness if things flare up. Add the optional hinged grate and you get the flexibility of simultaneously using both vertical and horizontal methods to cook an entire meal at once! 3 budget friendly size options include:
- Pit Barrel Junior 14” Starting at $299
- Classic Pit Barrel 18.5” Starting at $399
- PBX 22.5” Starting at $599
This is a Veteran owned American company and these are very well made, mine has lasted for years and is still in great shape!
For Grilling with Added Smoke - The Camp Chef Pellet Grill Series
Camp Chef Pellet Grill offers many of the benefits of a gas grill, but with a much better smoke-flavor. And Camp Chef has a number of options, including gas, that give you some of the best of both worlds! For the pellet grill/smoker, you load your choice of hard wood pellets by simply pouring them into the hopper, turn the knob to set the temp, and push a button to ignite…and a few minutes later you’re ready to throw some food on! It’s really that easy to make some high-quality, tasty dishes with a great smoke flavor! Most models offer wifi connectivity for controlling and monitoring temperatures and other options via the Camp Chef app available in both Apple and Google stores.
There are a few issues with the pellet grill design that you’ll need to consider before you make your decision. The biggest drawback is that pellet grills are electric and you will need a power outlet to plug it in. If that is not a problem, a high-quality pellet grill such as the Camp Chef may be ideal for you! Many pellet grill designs use a pan over the fire source to spread the heat to minimize hot-spots and cook food more evenly, but this can make it more difficult to get that nice seared crust on a burger or steak. New Camp Chef models solve this problem with a sliding grate that allows for direct heat from the open flame. Another inconvenience with some pellet grills is that you need to vacuum out the burner pot (where the pellets burn) after every few cooks; again, Camp Chef has solved this by offering a convenient detachable cup so that you can empty the burner pot by simply removing the cup, dump it out, and slide it back on. Another common complaint about pellet grills is that they burn too efficiently, which means less smoke and less smoke flavor. Camp Chef has built in the Smoke Number feature that allows the burner to throttle, creating more smoke when you want it. Camp Chef also offers the Sidekick Compatible, which allows you to accessories your grill with upgrades such as a gas powered griddle, pizza oven, or any number of a growing list of customizations and options. Check out our video where we smoked some ribeye steaks, sliced them up and grilled them with peppers and onions, then put them back on the grill to melt the cheese for one of the best Philly style steak sandwiches ever!