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Top 10 Smokers over $400 for 2014

The best smoker for the person serious about barbecue


The 10 best smokers over $400 for making true, low and slow barbecue. These smokers offer a wide variety of options from electric to charcoal with many great features. If you are serious about smoking, these are the units you should be looking at. This list includes smokers that run off of a variety of fuels and offer everything from true pit master smoking to the best "lazy-Q" smokers around.

1. Cookshack Amerique

Cookshack AmeriQue Electric Smoker
Cookshack Inc.

Cookshack has over 40 years experience making smokers for restaurants, barbecue competitions and backyard cooks, but they let their users design this unit. What you get is the ultimate in computer controlled backyard smoking. This unit will let you load up a brisket in the morning set a desired temperature or time and head off to work for the day. When you get home, you'll be eating barbecue brisket. It really is that easy. With temperature probes, hold cycles and automatic smoke generation this is the perfect smoker for the barbecue lover who doesn't have a lot of time, but has the money to pay for the best.

2. The Good One Open Range Smoker Generation 3

Good-One Manufacturing, LLC.
The Good One Smoker is one of the top competition smokers on the circuit. This one, the Open Range, is a smaller patio version. Heavy and solid, this charcoal smoker has incredibly precise temperature control via the three "spinner" vents that not only let you set the temperature exactly where you want but let you find out how many turns it takes to get there so you can set it every time. The Good One is amazingly versatile since it can smoke and grill at the same time, but can also be used as an oven for baking bread is so desired.

3. Big Green Egg (Large)

Big Green Egg - Large
Big Green Egg

This is marketed as a charcoal grill, but its ability to hold low temperatures for an incredible amount of time has made it and other Kamado cookers very popular amongst smokers. This "smoker" is based on an ancient Japanese design, made of ceramic and looks a little like a vertical water smoker. The ceramic shell absorbs heat and holds it. The top and bottom vents allow you to control the temperature and easily hold it at the ideal smoking temperature for many hours without attention. For smoking you definitely need the Big Green Egg Plate Setter option.

For something larger (and more expensive), but similar in appearance and function, look down one.

4. Primo Oval XL Charcoal Grill

Primo Oval XL Charcoal Grill
Primo Grills and Smokers
In recent years there has been a flood of Kamado style grills on the market. Primo Grill is not one of these companies. Years of experience and hard work have taught them how to make a superior ceramic grill and to offer versatility that no one else has. The Oval XL, the largest of their charcoal grills, is oval in shape and comes with a dividable firebox making indirect grilling quick and easy. There is no other Kamado style grill on the market that offers this. Add to this a thick ceramic shell, quality construction, and you have one of the best ceramic grills on the market.

5. Pitmaker BBQ Safe Smoker

Pitmaker BBQ Safe Smoker

The guys from Pitmaker have followed the Houston tradition of pitmaking, using quality metals and superior welding for years. The BBQ Safe Smoker is their mini-vault smoker. This charcoal powered "little" smoker weighs in at over 400 pounds and has over 1,200 square inches of smoking space. The high grade insulation and seams keep the smoke and heat inside, making this a highly efficient smoker, perfect for the backyard cook who wants to be able to feed a large party or maybe even do some catering. The carbon steel version comes in around $2,000 (without the cart) and for an extra $200 you can get it custom painted (they do excellent work here too). Additionally, there are several customizations you can make with this smoker.

6. Klose 20 inch by 30 inch

Klose 20 inch by 30 inch Smoker
David Klose, BBQPits by Klose

In the world of serious barbecue there is one name that means smoker and that's David Klose. This Texan has made some of the best smokers on the market. He also makes many of the custom units you'll see at the really big cook offs. Klose smokers are top quality, handmade, serious smokers and the 20 inch unit is perfect for your backyard. If you want a Klose smoker your best bet is to contact him directly and set up delivery, you can get it anywhere.

7. Lang Model 48 Patio

Lang 48-Inch Patio Smoker
Lang Cookers

The Lang smokers are built like tanks from 1/4 inch rolled plate steel. These are some of the heaviest and most solid smokers you can buy without custom ordering it. While more expensive than many offset smokers, the Lang is so solid it will probably out last your grandkids. Great heating and airflow so you can smoke enough for about 100 people on this unit.

8. Horizon BBQ Smoker 16-Inch Backyard Classic

Horizon BBQ Smoker 16-Inch Backyard Classic
Horizon BBQ Smokers

There was a time when any smoker worth cooking barbecue on was a horizontal offset smoker just like this one. Since then a lot of things have changed. It seems like a month doesn't go by that I don't hear about some new type of BBQ smoker. If you are looking for a classic, this smoker (or the larger 20-inch) is a great choice. Built on years of experience and out of heavy steel, this smoker is idea for the backyard BBQ cook who wants to go old school. This is a charcoal (or hardwood) burning BBQ pit. Solid construction and good engineering make it about as efficient as you can make an offset.

9. Backwoods Smokers The Competitor

Backwoods Smokers The Competitor
Backwoods Smokers
For over 20 years Backwoods Smokers has been making some of the most popular competition smokers around. Several of the most successful teams on the BBQ circuit use one of these and for a few simple reasons. Basically this is a vertical water smoker, making it easy to operate and its efficient use of charcoal makes it inexpensive to run. The 2-inch thick insulation holds in heat giving you easy temperature control. The large capacity of this unit (you can smoke 8 full briskets) gives you the space you need while still being a relatively portable unit. Mounted on whatever rig you have, this smoker travels perfectly.

10. Fire Magic Charcoal Smoker Model 24S-SMB

Fire Magic Charcoal Smoker Model 24S-SMB
R H Peterson
Fire Magic has been producing great grills for years and now have a charcoal smoker. This all stainless steel unit isn't cheap, but then it isn't cheap either. Solid construction with an efficient and simple to work gravity feed system and multiple vents give this smoker a wide range of temperatures in an efficient design. What really makes this charcoal smoker a great choice isn't that it has all the features you want, which it does, but that it is a simple smoker that has loads of capacity and looks great.
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