A buyer's guide to choosing a smoker
Prices are approximate.
Less than $400
Smokenator: Pimp your grill into a smoker with this half-moon-shaped stainless-steel accessory that releases smoke from the wood chunks you put in it; $70. smokenator.com.
Weber Smokey Mountain: This bullet-shaped vertical smoker holds heat well and, with its two racks, you can cook a brisket on one, ribs on the other. Comes in two sizes, 15.5 inches ($299) and 22.5 inches ($399). amazon.com or local hardware store.
Smoke Hollow Pro Smoker Deluxe Barrel Grill: Better built than other cheap offset smokers and has good airflow; $599. homedepot.com.
Big Green Egg, Large: As much as purists dog it, this ceramic kamado cooker holds heat extraordinarily well and even sears fairly decently. The large model is versatile enough to meet most needs; $799. Independent hardware stores.
Hasty-Bake Continental 83: As a smoker, it's good (keeping temps low can be tough), but as an overall unit, this well-built and impeccably designed grill from a Tulsa company founded in 1948 is a fave among serious cooks; $999. hastybake.com.
Backwoods Smoker Chubby: With their insulated double walls creating excellent heat control, Backwoods (though usually larger versions) are fixtures at contests; $970. backwoodsbbq.com.
Jambo Backyard Smoker: Jamie Geer of Fort Worth makes stylish and sturdy "it" rigs that can go for more than $12,000. So, at $1,895, the Backyard model is practically a bargain. jambopits.com.
Meadow Creek SQ36: With meticulous craftsmanship and top materials, the Amish-made Meadow Creek cookers are highly regarded; $1,050. meadowcreekbarbecue.com.
Klose 20x36 Square Smoker: Houston's David Klose makes some of the world's most dazzling custom pits. Think of this one as an entry-level Mercedes; $1,295. bbqpits.com.
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