Smoked meats have been around for centuries and it has become a mainstay for many across the globe. It is also one area where people across this country compete to create the best smoked meats possible.
Of course, in order to produce competition level food, it takes a competition smoker as these are designed for the level of precision and accuracy required to maintain the correct balance of heat production, retention, and distribution. These smokers also tend to be large so they can handle large cuts of meats in significant amounts and thus they also work great for those with large families.
Click to jump straight to each topic
Smoke: The Biological Preservative
As previously mentioned, smoking meats have been used for centuries as a means of preserving meat before refrigeration. This is because the smoke permeates the meat and prevents the bacterial growth that causes the meat to go rancid. In fact, some scientists have suggested that the practice was so widespread that it now is woven into our genes so that we enjoy the flavor of smoked meats almost automatically. Even so, getting smoked meat right is part science and part culinary art but it requires the right balance between heat production, distribution, retention and the added aspect of smoke production. In other words, just not any smoke will do.
[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B06W5R4XTQ” listprice=”1″]
As the smoke carries particulate matter from the combustion, it is important to use the right wood to produce the smoke or the flavor could be ruined. Also, some woods can have naturally occurring chemicals that can be harmful and this can be hazardous when smoking. Thus, you have to make sure to use the right wood and that it is free of harmful chemicals. This is another reason why it takes a quality smoker and one that can easily be cleaned to prevent any buildup inside the smoker from also contributing to the flavor. All of which is important if the smoker is used for competition.
Five Great Competition Level Smokers
Top Front Load Smoker to Buy
Capable of handling up to fifty pounds of meat, this smoker – SmokeHouse Red Big Chief Series Smoker could be considered the entry-level model into competition smoking. It is all electric, so it is easy to operate but the model is designed for premium smoking and smoke production. Thus it is a great way to serve your whole family or try your hand at smoking for competition.
[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B003NVQI5Y” listprice=”1″]
It is made of high quality materials and when used with an appropriate cover, it should last for years and years. Those that use this model like how well constructed this smoker is and how reliable the heating element is, as well.
Best Pellet Tailgator Grill
Pellet grills can be used for grilling or smoking and are often found on the competition circuit. This is because the use of pellets coupled with an automatic auger help keep the heat and smoke production consistent. Traeger was the first one to bring the pellet style grills to market and they have a lot of experience in making quality smokers and grills and this model –Traeger Pellet Grills TFB30LUB Series Smoker is no exception.
[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B01B9JS5X4″ listprice=”1″]
Best of all, you can also use this model as a grill so you get a two in one aspect with this model. Those that have this model are impressed with the quality and how well it produces both smoke and heat for their needs.
Heavy Duty Barrel Smoker
Technically, the Outdoor Leisure SH36208 Series Smoker is an offset grill but offsets are often used for competition as they are better for heat production. By having an offset firebox, you can open and close the lid without affecting the heat or smoke in the main cooking chamber. Thus many use offsets for this reason.
[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B0037NZ9HQ” listprice=”1″]
This model is a well made and constructed grill and the porcelain coated grids make this model excellent at heat distribution and producing the right sear marks for judging contests. This model is well liked by those who use it and they love both the quality heat production and smoke production.
Top Commercial Grade Smoker
For those looking for something more expansive that they can use regularly on the competition circuit, this model – Smokin Tex 1500-c Series Commercial Smoker is a dream. This is a commercial grade smoker that uses electricity and as such, it is easy to manage. It is also stainless steel and thus easy to clean which makes this model very useful for consistent use.
[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B002GY4GMG” listprice=”1″]
It also has a heavy-duty construction so it will last for years of service and it offers plenty of room for cooking almost any cut of meat. While this model isn’t for everyone, if you are serious about smoked meats, this model is right for you. Those that have this model are impressed with how well this model works and how tasty the results are.
Top Rated Competition BBQ Smoker
Designed specifically for the competition circuit, this model – Louisiana Grills Country Super Hog Series Smoker is brand new for this model year. This is a dual pellet style grill/smoker that can smoke on one side and grill on the other or it can be smoked on both size thus capable of smoking a whole hog, hence the name.
[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00L8GIHZ0″ listprice=”1″]
The use of pellets make this smoker easy to light and keep going and it has an excellent balance of heat production, retention, and distribution while also able to produce the right amount of smoke to have your food tasting superb.
As with any grill or smoker, be sure to use a quality grill cover and read and follow all care and operating instructions for the best results.