The following tips are from Enn Tobreluts, who has written many books on grilling, BBQ, and meats, and who is a world category BBQ judge (active member of Kansas City Barbecue Society), a member of Estonian National Barbecue Association, member of board of Estonian Grilling Union and European Champion in BBQ-ing/grilling!
Good Smoker has the following features:
• The Smoker should have two chimneys. Smoker with one chimney doesn’t direct heat and smoke evenly. It is also important that the cooking chamber is above the heating chamber.
• The thickness of Smoker walls could be at least 3 mm. Smokers with thinner walls are more sensitive and easily
influenced by outer temperature/wind when cooking in strong winds or colder weather.
• Working surface or grill makes it easier to place the meat into the Smoker and mop it.
• It’s better to have two drip pans instead of one large – that way it is easier to take the pan with greasy water
out of the Smoker (the pan is not too big and fits better through the oven door).
• A separate water pan or water tray beneath the drip pan is necessary for creating moisture.
• All pans could be high enough (about 4-5 cm). Then it is easier to take the pan out of the Smoker (the pan is not
filled to the brim but the liquid is on the bottom of the pan).
• Grill(s) could be easily cleanable (stainless steel grills are especially good).
• Grills in the cooking chamber could be in several levels, i.e. two grills in the Smoker – if necessary, more meat can be placed in the Smoker!
• Cooking chamber could be surrounded with double walls with ventilation between them. That way the Smoker looks nicer and the paint won’t flake off that easily. Of course, the Smoker should be covered with paint that has high heat resistance.
• Ash tray beneath the heating chamber provides better draft.
• The bottom of heating chamber could be a cast iron gridiron that helps to even the Smoker temperature and has a long lifespan.
• The Smoker should have wheels as they make transporting the Smoker easier.
• The cooker above the heating chamber could be adjustable – that way we can adjust the heat in the mop sauce pot.
• Thermometer on the side of the Smoker for measuring the Smoker inner temperature makes beginner’s life easier! On case of very big Smokers (length of the cooking chamber over a meter) there should a thermometer on each end of the Smoker.
• It’s better if the valves are without breaking parts because otherwise they can break during transportation.
• When choosing the Smoker it’s better to buy a larger one. That way there’s never a problem that the meat won’t fit into the Smoker. Bigger Smokers are also more stable. But at the same time heating a larger over requires more time and wood.