Barbecue smoker vs. grill - which is best?

Grill on fire!

I am about to buy a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. I haven’t ordered it yet because I have a hunch Amazon is not going to deliver it here. I’ll see if there are any good local alternatives. Another reason for giving it a second thought is that I discovered an electric smoker which looks good as well: the Bradley BTIS1 Automatic BBQ Smoker. Before deciding which one to choose, I still want to go to a home and garden shop and ask the assistants for some guidance. I’ll let you know all the secrets of choosing barbecue smokers when I’ll discover them, don’t worry.

Anyway, a friend asked me what’s the reason I’m not happy with a grill. I am happy with my grill, but…

  1. Specialized barbecue smokers allow temperature control, which means that you avoid over-cooking or under-cooking your food. Digital smokers set the temperature with high precision. However, even analogue ones do a great job with this, plus they save you a couple hundred dollars at least.
  2. Bullet bbq smokers take up less space than a regular grill. That’s because such smokers usually have two cooking sections stacked on top of each other, so you can cook the same amount of food in half the space.
  3. Smokers allow whole turkey cooking, which is not possible or very hard with regular grills. If the bird is too big, it’s frequent to overcook it on the exterior while still raw deep inside. This is not healthy and it’s not too appealing, either.
  4. If properly insulated, smokers can be used to cook outside even in rain and wind or in winter time. Why give up your barbecue habits only because of weather caprices? Well, if a tornado is announced, you better go for indoors cooking, but a little bit of wind or a few drops of rain shouldn’t make you change plans.
  5. Bullet smokers feature a water pan which helps keeping the meat moist and juicy.
  6. The water pan can be filled with beer or with herbs, in order to add various flavors to the smoked meat.
  7. Barbecue smokers allow you enjoy slow cooking, because you can set them up on low heat, then do your stuff or take a nap and come back when the food is done. It is hard to have constant low heat on a barbecue grill.
  8. With a bbq smoker, you can make the meat just fall apart. You can’t get that on a regular grill. Or at least I’m not able to get it.
  9. By using various types of wood pellets, you can give the food various flavors. Prime ribs, brisket, Boston butt, pork shoulder, fish or even cheese, all your favorite foods can be cooked “with a twist” which will make them original each and every time. A little flavored smoke does the trick.
  10. Most smokers are set and forget. You can set them up, then go to sleep and wake up to the wonderfully cooked food. Even electric ones which use briquettes to generate smoke can go on for about 8 hours automatically before needing refueling.

What do you prefer: smoker or grill? Or maybe none?

About the author

Violeta Matei is a freelance writer with a technical background. In the beginning of her working career, she had the opportunity to learn Microsoft Excel, Word and Powerpoint and to apply these learnings in her daily work. She even wrote two e-books on the most useful keyboard shortcuts in Excel and in Word. Since embracing an online career path, Violeta has been writing detailed guides on using and troubleshooting Windows, MS Office and WordPress and she started to learn photography. Since she works from home, she shares various tips and tricks that can help people improve their life and make their homes better.