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.
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.
The Good One smoker is one of the top competition smokers on the circuit. This one, the Open Range, is the smallest of these smokers. 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. With a removable drip pan, cooking grates and ash pan this is an easy unit to clean. In addition to this, The Good One is amazingly versatile since it can smoke and grill at the same time, but can also be used as an oven.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.