In summer, it’s great to make barbecues in your patio, with your family and close friends or on the beach, where they are allowed. Going to cook meat, fish, or just vegetables and cheese outdoors, select the suitable equipment, characterizing vertical vs. horizontal smoker.
Knowing what to smoke in a smoker, according to its application, purpose, your group of friends’ or family size, material and durability. It is to be easy to clean, corrosion-resistant and handy.
However, first of all, consider the different types of smokers, the cooking equipment temperature range, and fuel sources.
What is a BBQ Smoker?
A smoker is a device for cooking and smoking food, making it delicious, flavored and browned. The apparatus looks like a long metal box or barrel with the cooking department. It commonly consists of the firebox, a storage bin for wood or pellets, a food chamber and a grill.
Types of Fuel for Smoker
The smoker may be powered by various types of fuel, including electricity, gas, propane, charcoal, wood, and pellets. Additionally, the devices come with different heat control, cooking area, temperature, and duration.
Thus, an offset smoker is an elongated metal box with 2 long chambers and a charcoal grill. Vertical smokers with side fireboxes are less common than classic design, horizontal ones, as vertical smoking area provides less space for cooking food. On the contrary, horizontal appliances are simple and not expensive. They let the heat distribute over the fish or meat evenly.
Hot and Cold Smoker
Additionally, hot and cold smoking is possible, providing different food processing time and temperature. The cold method implies long-time smoking at the temperature below 110 °F. Hot cooking is fast and safe, as the temperature of about 220 °F kills all pathogens that can be available in the uncooked meat.
What is the Best Type of Smoker?
Quite naturally, it depends on your tastes and preferences. Meanwhile, horizontal vs vertical offset smoker is a cleaner burning device.
It allows adding wood chips or pellets during the cooking process, without opening the food chamber. Adjusting the temperature or rotating the meat is also possible. This way, you can change the food taste or flavor, creating your fine cuisine masterpiece.
On the contrary, an offset vertical wood smoker is compact, taking less space than the horizontal one. A cabinet style smoker is designed for cooking small amounts of food every day. It’s easy to clean and efficient, consuming less fuel. The devices that come with water pans moisturize the air that helps to avoid the meat over-roasting. Thus, a vertical offset vs horizontal offset smoker is better in terms of the temperature control, allowing smoking meat, for example, chickens on hooks. This way, the food looks better, as it’s evenly roasted through.
In terms of the cooking temperature, cold smoker vs hot smoker is recommended for professional use, as it requires patience and some time. Additionally, it may be used for cooking cheese, vegetables, and spices, cured meat, to add a pleasant flavor. Hot smoking is suitable for BBQ cooking, as it’s fast and the meat is completely safe to eat.
How to Use an Offset Smoker?
Hot smoking may be attributed to fire risks; improper cold food processing may cause contamination due to bacteria growth or botulism. Therefore, it’s essential to know, how does a smoker work, maintaining the due temperature and the fire.
Thus, it’s firebox is offset to one side, that’s why the device is called a vertical smoker with an offset firebox. The cooking chamber is on the top. Meanwhile, the fire is not directly underneath. The heat circulates around the food, entering the department from the right-hand side. Additionally, a chimney is available to allow the hot gases exhaust.
Step by step
Now, if you still wonder, how to use a vertical charcoal smoker:
- start the device by setting the available temperature probes;
- open the vents (both air intake and the chimney ones);
- light the chimney;
- adjust the heat and add the food;
- add the wood chunks, briquettes or pellets when necessary;
- rotate the meat on the grill;
- spray some water to keep the food moist.
Some water can be added to the firebox, as well, in a pan or so, to avoid the meat drying out.
Now, when you know the basic vertical and horizontal smokers’ peculiarities, benefits, and drawbacks, you can select the suitable, proper-size device for the application.