Best BBQ Smokers In 2023: Top 5 Most Recommended By Experts

Grills are great for cooking in your backyard. Who doesn’t love a good barbecue? All those savory meats, seasoned and spiced to perfection. If your grilling game’s on point, investing in one of the best BBQ smokers can help you to achieve neighborhood pit master status.

However, red meat does have its health downsides. In fact, studies have found red meat and processed foods like bacon, sausage, and burgers are contributing to diet-related deaths. Researchers from Michigan State University say the worldwide increase in processed meat consumption over the last three decades appears to have a connection to over 10,000 more deaths from preventable illnesses related to what people eat in recent years. These conditions include colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

On the flip side, having a barbecue can be good for your mental health. Inviting friends over for some good food and conversation can be therapeutic. A recent study shows 64 percent of respondents consider outdoor gatherings a form of therapy. Furthermore, 60 percent think grilling is the top activity that defines summer. About a quarter of Americans, (24%) believe the pinnacle of their cookouts is to experiment with new sauces, spices, and smoke flavors. 

So, ready to kick up your food game? StudyFinds compiled a list of the five best BBQ smokers, from ten expert websites, to find the perfect cookout wow factor. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!

The List: Best BBQ Smokers, According to Expert Reviews

1. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker

Starting at $419, This vertical BBQ smoker comes in both 18 and 22-inch sizes, depending on your outdoor space. “This Weber model is not the largest smoker on the market, but with its two levels, it’s capable of holding two full racks of ribs,” notes Bob Vila.

A removable fuel door makes it easy to add charcoal and wood while smoking. Plus, the body’s powder-coated steel construction is made to withstand all types of weather. “A thermometer on the top lets you monitor the interior temperature, while a silicone plug in the side allows standard remote meat thermometers to slide through into the meat for perfect cooking every time,” adds The Spruce Eats

Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker

“If you’re a beginner looking for a quality backyard smoker, the Weber Smokey Mountain is a cult favorite. Since its introduction, the WSM has been one of the most popular bullet style smokers, with many cookbooks, and a web forum, created especially for the WSM,” writes Food Fire Friends.

Some reviewers did note it’s hard to see how much water was left in the pan during cooking. However, a full bowl should last approximately 10 hours.

2. Kamado Joe Classic Joe Grill Series II 

This next one is ceramic and more expensive, starting at $1,299 for the 18-inch version, but it packs a flavorful punch.

“Kamado Joe’s Air Lift Hinge makes opening the big red dome on the Classic Joe II a breeze. Getting a super tight seal on the fiberglass gasket is nearly as easy with the built-in lid latch and adjusting the airflow is user friendly thanks to the markings on the top vent cover. An included ash tool makes cleaning the Joe fairly easy too,” points out Epicurious.

Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic Joe II 18-inch Charcoal Grill with Cart and Side Shelves
Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic Joe II 18-inch Charcoal Grill with Cart and Side Shelves

“They are great for both grilling and smoking (they hold their own as a pizza or bread ovens as well) although you may need to purchase a heat deflector accessory for smoking,” notes Smoked BBQ Source. In addition, the 18-inch version features 406 square inches of grill space.

“Powered by natural lump charcoal, smoke at 225 degrees or crank it all the way up to 750 degrees to sear. It’s mold- and water-resistant, so you can cook in the rain, too,” according to The Spruce Eats.

3. Masterbuilt 30-inch Digital Electric Smoker

Starting at $279.99, this plug-in smoker features digital controls that both beginners and pros will find easy to use. 

“It’s a vertical smoker, offering a large capacity of 730 square inches of cooking space in a small footprint, that won’t take up much space in your yard. The 800-watt heating element powers this smoker to between 100°F and 275 °F, a good range and perfect for both delicate cheese and fish at the low-end, to poultry, ribs and brisket at the high-end,” notes Food Fire Friends.

Masterbuilt MB20070421 30-inch Digital Electric Smoker
Masterbuilt MB20070421 30-inch Digital Electric Smoker

This Old House points out you can, “also check its progress with the digital panel that displays the cooking temperature and time.”

“Measuring 19.9 x 20.5 x 33.3 inches, this smoker has a large enough cooking space for two turkeys, four pork butts, four racks of ribs, or six chickens. Reliable digital controls handle the internal temperature and cooking time, and a side-door wood-chip loader means you don’t have to open the smoker door during cooking,” adds Simply Recipes.

4. Cuisinart COS-244 Propane Smoker

For $299.99, this vertical 36-inch propane smoker is worth checking out.

“Boasting an extremely well-built frame and body, it comes with a whopping 784 square inches of cooking space that gives you plenty of room to smoke a variety of meat along with multiple trays of vegetables. It can also accommodate whole birds as well as large cuts of meat. Despite all this, it has an overall compact footprint that makes it a wonderful choice for patios and barbecue kitchens,” notes Angry BBQ.

Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker
Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker

“The heavy wood chip pan being surrounded by the water tray and coated with heat resistant porcelain is a very nice touch. Attention was even paid in making sure that the twist lock handle seals the door tightly. There aren’t any hooks for hanging sausages, which would have really put the design on top,” points out Best Grill Reviews.

It has four shelves that you can move around to decide how to position your meat as well as two front doors and a rear vent that you can open or close to control how much smoke you let in,” adds This Old House.

5. Traeger Pro 575 Wood Pellet Grill

For $799.99, this smoker has Wi-Fi, and a 572 square inch cooking area.

“Whether you’re just getting into barbecuing or you’ve spent more days than you can count hunched over a stick burner, a pellet grill like Traeger’s Pro 575 is hassle-free and offers steady temperature and smoke. It’s also the heaviest-duty grill we’ve found for less than a thousand dollars,” according to Insider.

Traeger Grills Pro Series 575 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker with Wifi
Traeger Grills Pro Series 575 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker with Wifi

“The large hopper holds up to 18 pounds, so you don’t have to worry about refilling pellets constantly. There’s also temperature control for consistent cooking, which you can also control via the Traeger app on your smartphone,” adds Simply Recipes.

The Spruce Eats also likes their portable model, the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill: “This pellet smoker has easy-to-use digital control, an electric auto-start ignition, and an auger system that feeds pellets into the fire, so all you have to do is make sure the hopper is full and the grill will do the rest.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.

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