Smoking meat is an art form that infuses tantalizing flavors into every bite. The slow and steady cooking process allows for tender, juicy results that leave taste buds dancing with delight. But finding a high-quality smoker at an affordable price can be quite the challenge. Fear not—we’ve got you covered!
At a Glance:
- 6 Best Smoker Under 500
- 1. Masterbuilt 20070210
- 2. Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
- 3. PIT BOSS 71700FB Pellet Grill
- 4. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
- 5. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
- 6. Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2019 Upgrade Model Wood Pellet Grill
- Buying Guide: Best Smoker Under $500
- Frequently Asked Questions
6 Best Smoker Under 500
1. Masterbuilt 20070210Best Pick
|Type||Analog Electric Smoker|
|Dimensions||20.47 x 21.69 x 40.15 inches|
|Cooking Area||548 square inches|
|Number of Smoking Racks||3|
|Temperature Range||100°F to 400°F|
|Power||Standard 120V outlet|
|Warranty||90-day limited warranty|
Masterbuilt 20070210 Analog Electric SmokerAs an avid barbecue enthusiast, I recently had the pleasure of trying out the Masterbuilt 20070210 Analog Electric Smoker, and I must say, it exceeded my expectations. This smoker, although an older version, packs a punch with its outstanding performance and user-friendly design.
One of the standout features of the Masterbuilt 20070210 is its ample cooking space. With three smoking racks, totaling 548 square inches, I found plenty of room to smoke a variety of meats, from racks of ribs to whole chickens. The racks are sturdy and adjustable, allowing for customization based on the size and quantity of food being smoked.
The analog temperature control adds a touch of simplicity to the smoking process. With a temperature range of 100°F to 400°F, I was able to achieve the perfect balance of low and slow smoking or higher heat for faster cooking. The built-in temperature gauge on the door provided accurate readings, ensuring I could maintain consistent heat throughout the smoking session.
What impressed me most about the Masterbuilt 20070210 is its ability to retain heat and provide excellent insulation. The smoker is well-built, with a durable exterior that keeps the heat inside, resulting in consistent and even smoking. The door seal is tight, minimizing any heat loss and ensuring optimal smoke circulation. Cleanup was a breeze with this smoker. The drip tray located at the bottom collects any excess grease or drippings, making it easy to dispose of and keep the smoker clean. The cooking grates are also removable, allowing for convenient washing and maintenance.
- Ample cooking space with three adjustable smoking racks
- Easy-to-use analog temperature control
- Reliable heat retention and insulation
- Simple cleanup with removable drip tray and cooking grates
- Sturdy construction and durable build
- Affordable and budget-friendly option
- Lack of digital controls and advanced features found in newer models
- Limited warranty period of 90 days
2. Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
|Dimensions||19 x 19 x 41 inches|
|Cooking Area||481 square inches|
|Number of Cooking Grates||2|
|Warranty||10-year limited warranty|
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker Charcoal Smoker, and let me tell you, it’s a game-changer in the world of smoking! The first thing that caught my attention was the sturdy build and sleek design of this smoker. The Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker is built to last, with high-quality materials and excellent craftsmanship.
The black exterior gives it a classic and timeless look that fits perfectly in any backyard or patio setup. This smoker offers a generous cooking area of 481 square inches, spread across two cooking grates. This means you can smoke a substantial amount of food at once, accommodating large cuts of meat, multiple racks of ribs, or even a whole turkey.
The cooking grates are made of durable plated steel, providing even heat distribution and creating those coveted grill marks. One of the standout features of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is its exceptional temperature control. The adjustable dampers on the bowl and lid allow precise control of airflow, enabling you to maintain the ideal smoking temperature for hours on end.
Whether you’re aiming for low and slow or higher heat, this smoker delivers consistent results every time. The built-in thermometer on the lid provides accurate temperature readings, allowing you to monitor the cooking process without the need for additional gadgets. It’s a convenient feature that ensures you have full control over your smoking sessions.
Cleanup is a breeze with the Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker. The porcelain-enameled water pan and charcoal chamber are easy to access and clean. Additionally, the ash catcher at the bottom collects any ashes, making it simple to dispose of them once your smoking session is complete.
- Sturdy build and sleek design
- Ample cooking area with two cooking grates
- Excellent temperature control with adjustable dampers
- Built-in thermometer for easy monitoring
- Easy cleanup with a porcelain-enameled water pan and ash catcher
- 10-year limited warranty for added peace of mind
- Assembly may require some time and effort
- May need additional accessories for certain smoking techniques
3. PIT BOSS 71700FB Pellet GrillStaff Pick
|Dimensions||50 x 26 x 46 inches|
|Cooking Area||700 square inches|
|Hopper Capacity||21 pounds|
|Temperature Range||180°F to 500°F|
|Warranty||5-year limited warranty|
PIT BOSS 71700FB is built like a tank. Its sturdy construction and sleek black design make it a standout addition to any backyard or patio. The grill has a generous cooking area of 700 square inches, providing ample space to cook for a large group of family and friends.
Whether you’re grilling burgers, smoking ribs, or even baking a pizza, this grill has you covered. One of the standout features of this pellet grill is its versatility. The PID controller allows for precise temperature control, ranging from 180°F to 500°F. This wide temperature range enables you to tackle a variety of cooking techniques, from low and slow smoking to high-temperature searing.
The grill uses wood pellets as fuel, which adds a unique and delicious smoky flavor to your dishes. The hopper capacity of 21 pounds ensures that you can enjoy extended cooking sessions without the need for constant refills. The grill’s auger system automatically feeds the pellets into the fire pot, maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.
The PIT BOSS 71700FB also features a built-in temperature probe, allowing you to monitor the internal temperature of your food without having to open the grill. This feature is incredibly convenient and helps ensure that your meats are cooked to perfection every time. Cleanup is a breeze with this pellet grill. The porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates are easy to clean, and the grease management system effectively collects and drains any excess grease, making maintenance hassle-free.
- Sturdy construction and sleek design
- Generous cooking area of 700 square inches
- Precise temperature control with PID controller
- Versatile temperature range from 180°F to 500°F
- Large hopper capacity for extended cooking sessions
- Built-in temperature probe for easy monitoring
- Easy cleanup with porcelain-coated cast-iron grates and a grease management system
- 5-year limited warranty for added peace of mind
- Relatively heavy and bulky, may require additional space for storage
- Learning curve for beginners to master temperature control and pellet usage
4. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
|Model||Highland Reverse Flow Smoker|
|Dimensions||57 x 33.5 x 53 inches|
|Cooking Area||900 square inches|
|Warranty||2-year limited warranty|
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker. As a BBQ enthusiast, I’ve had the pleasure of using this smoker for quite some time, and it has become an integral part of my backyard cooking arsenal. First and foremost, the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker is built to last.
Made from heavy-gauge steel, it exudes durability and sturdiness. The black porcelain-coated wire finish adds a touch of elegance to its overall appearance. With dimensions of 57 x 33.5 x 53 inches and weighing 180 pounds, this smoker commands attention and provides a substantial cooking area. Speaking of the cooking area, the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker boasts an impressive 900 square inches of space.
This generous area allows you to smoke large cuts of meat, such as briskets and whole racks of ribs, with ease. You can even fit multiple items on the grates without feeling cramped. One of the standout features of this smoker is the reverse flow technology. The design of the smoker incorporates a series of baffles that guide the smoke and heat throughout the cooking chamber, ensuring even heat distribution and consistent results.
This technology eliminates hot spots and allows for a more balanced cooking experience. The smoker also features multiple dampers, allowing for precise control over the airflow and temperature. This level of control enables you to adjust the smoke intensity and maintain the desired temperature for extended periods.
Whether you’re aiming for a low and slow smoke or a higher heat sear, this smoker can accommodate your needs. Cleanup is relatively easy with the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker. The porcelain-coated wire grates are easy to clean, and the ash drawer facilitates the removal of ash and debris, keeping your smoker in top shape.
- Durable construction with heavy-gauge steel
- Generous cooking area of 900 square inches
- Reverse flow technology for even heat distribution
- Precise control over airflow and temperature with multiple dampers
- Elegant black porcelain-coated wire finish
- Easy cleanup with porcelain-coated wire grates and ash drawer
- 2-year limited warranty for added peace of mind
- Relatively large and heavy, may require ample space for storage
- Assembly can be time-consuming and requires attention to detail
5. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal SmokerBudget Pick
|Type||Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker|
|Dimensions||20.2 x 34.5 x 47 inches|
|Cooking Area||784 square inches|
|Warranty||1-year limited warranty|
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker As someone who enjoys the smoky flavors of slow-cooked meats, this smoker has been a game-changer for my outdoor cooking adventures. The Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D is a vertical offset charcoal smoker that combines functionality with a sleek design.
Made from durable steel and finished in a classic black color, this smoker not only performs well but also adds a touch of style to any backyard setup. With dimensions of 20.2 x 34.5 x 47 inches and weighing 57 pounds, it strikes a good balance between size and portability. One of the standout features of this smoker is its ample cooking area.
With 784 square inches of space, you can fit a significant amount of food on its six adjustable cooking grates. From racks of ribs to whole chickens, there’s plenty of room to smoke multiple items at once, making it ideal for larger gatherings or when you want to prepare a variety of dishes simultaneously. The vertical offset design of this smoker allows for efficient heat and smoke distribution.
The firebox is located on the side, ensuring that the heat and smoke travel vertically through the cooking chamber, infusing your food with that authentic smoky flavor. The offset design also helps to maintain a more consistent temperature throughout the cooking process. Temperature control is made easy with the adjustable smoke stack and side dampers. These features allow you to regulate the airflow and fine-tune the temperature to suit your cooking needs.
Whether you’re aiming for a low and slow smoke or a higher heat sear, this smoker gives you the flexibility to achieve your desired results. Cleanup is a breeze with the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D. The removable ash pan collects the ash and debris, making it easy to dispose of and keeping your smoker clean. Additionally, the smoker comes with a premium smoker cover to protect it from the elements when not in use.
- Ample cooking area with six adjustable grates
- Efficient heat and smoke distribution with vertical offset design
- Adjustable smoke stack and side dampers for precise temperature control
- Durable steel construction with a sleek black finish
- Removable ash pan for easy cleanup
- Includes a premium smoker cover for added protection
- 1-year limited warranty for peace of mind
- Assembly can be time-consuming and may require assistance
- Paint may chip over time with regular use and exposure to high-heat
6. Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2019 Upgrade Model Wood Pellet Grill
|Type||Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker|
|Dimensions||45 x 28 x 49 inches|
|Cooking Area||450 square inches|
|Hopper Capacity||15 pounds|
|Temperature Range||180°F to 450°F|
Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2019 Upgrade Model Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker is an avid grill enthusiast, This versatile and reliable grill has truly impressed me with its performance and features. The Z GRILLS ZPG-450A is a wood pellet grill and smoker that combines convenience and flavor in one compact unit. Its bronze color and stainless steel construction give it a sleek and modern look that complements any outdoor cooking space.
With dimensions of 45 x 28 x 49 inches and weighing 84 pounds, it strikes a good balance between size and portability. One of the standout features of this grill is its ample cooking area. With 450 square inches of space, you can easily grill and smoke a variety of meats and vegetables for small to medium-sized gatherings.
The grill grates are made from sturdy stainless steel, ensuring even heat distribution and excellent sear marks on your food. What sets this grill apart is its wood pellet system. The 15-pound hopper allows for extended cooking times without the need for constant refilling. The grill automatically feeds the pellets into the fire pot, maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.
This feature is especially useful for long, slow-smoking sessions or when you want to infuse your food with the distinct flavors of different wood pellets. Temperature control is a breeze with the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A. The digital control board allows you to set the desired temperature anywhere between 180°F and 450°F, giving you the flexibility to grill, smoke, or bake with precision.
The grill also features an automated electric feed system, which ensures that the pellets are fed into the fire pot at the right rate, maintaining the set temperature. Cleanup is hassle-free with the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A. The grill grates are easy to remove and clean, and the waste oil collector helps to keep your cooking area tidy. Additionally, this grill comes with a 3-year warranty, providing peace of mind and assurance of its quality and durability.
- Ample cooking area for small to medium-sized gatherings
- Wood pellet system for enhanced flavor and extended cooking times
- Digital control board for precise temperature control
- Automated electric feed system for consistent heat distribution
- Easy-to-clean stainless steel grill grates
- Waste oil collector for hassle-free cleanup
- 3-year warranty for added peace of mind
- May require additional accessories for certain cooking methods
- Some users may find the initial setup and learning curve for temperature control slightly challenging
Buying Guide: Best Smoker Under $500
Introduction: Welcome to our expert buying guide for choosing the best smoker under 500, You have a range of options that offer excellent performance and features. Let’s dive into our detailed guide to help you make an informed decision and find the perfect smoker for your needs.
Consider the Type of Smoker:
There are various types of smokers available, including charcoal, electric, gas, and pellet smokers.
- Charcoal smokers offer traditional flavors but require more attention and maintenance.
- Electric smokers are convenient and easy to use but may lack the authentic smoky flavor.
- Gas smokers provide quick heat and temperature control, but some argue they produce less smoky flavor.
- Pellet smokers offer the convenience of set-and-forget operation and great flavor, making them a popular choice.
- Size and Cooking Area:
- Determine the amount of food you plan to smoke at once and consider the available cooking area.
- Smokers with larger cooking areas are ideal for hosting gatherings or cooking for larger families.
- However, if you have limited space or only smoke for a few people, a smaller-sized smoker may be more suitable.
- Temperature Control and Stability:
- Look for a smoker that offers precise temperature control and stability.
- Features like digital control panels and thermostats allow you to set and maintain your desired temperature effortlessly.
- Ensure that the smoker has good insulation and sturdy construction to retain heat and minimize temperature fluctuations.
- Quality and Durability:
- Investing in a smoker that is built to last is crucial.
- Check for high-quality materials such as stainless steel or heavy-gauge steel construction.
- Read customer reviews and consider brands known for their durability and longevity.
- Versatility and Additional Features:
- Some smokers offer versatile cooking options, such as grilling, roasting, or even baking.
- Look for features like adjustable racks, multiple cooking chambers, or built-in thermometers for added convenience.
- Consider if the smoker has any additional features that align with your specific cooking preferences.
Based on the above criteria, we recommend considering the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2019 Upgrade Model Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker from the list provided. It offers the following benefits:
- Versatile wood pellet system for enhanced flavor and extended cooking times.
- Ample cooking area of 450 square inches, suitable for small to medium-sized gatherings.
- Precise temperature control with a digital control board ranging from 180°F to 450°F.
- Automated electric feed system for consistent heat distribution.
- Easy cleanup with removable stainless steel grill grates and a waste oil collector.
- Comes with a 3-year warranty for added peace of mind.
In conclusion, finding the best smoker under $500 is an exciting journey that can elevate your outdoor cooking experience. With various types of smokers available, each offering its own unique benefits, it’s important to consider factors such as size, temperature control, versatility, and durability. By understanding your specific needs and preferences, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your culinary aspirations. Whether you choose a charcoal, electric, gas, or wood pellet smoker, the joy of mastering the art of smoking and savoring deliciously smoked meals awaits you. So, get ready to embark on this flavorful adventure and enjoy the smoky delights that await!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a wood pellet smoker for grilling as well?
Yes, many wood pellet smokers offer grilling capabilities, allowing you to achieve the perfect sear on your meats.
How do I maintain the temperature in a charcoal smoker?
Maintaining temperature in a charcoal smoker requires close monitoring and adjustment of the airflow using the vents to control the oxygen supply.
Can I use my electric smoker in rainy weather?
It is generally not recommended to use electric smokers in rainy weather to avoid potential electrical hazards. Ensure you use it in a dry, protected area.
Do gas smokers produce the same smoky flavor as charcoal or wood pellet smokers?
While gas smokers provide convenience and consistent heat, the smoky flavor may not be as pronounced as in charcoal or wood pellet smokers. However, you can add wood chips or chunks to enhance the smoky flavor.
Is it necessary to pre-season a new smoker before using it?
Pre-seasoning a new smoker is highly recommended. It involves coating the interior surfaces with cooking oil and running the smoker at a high temperature for a few hours to remove any manufacturing residues and prepare it for optimal performance.