Smoker vs. Grill: What You Need to Know

If you are in the market of looking for a new backyard barbeque but just don’t know where to turn to for advice, then you have come to the right place. There has always been controversy over which type of barbeque is better: the grill or the smoker. Well, they both have their ups and downs and are vastly different in style. There are plenty of types of smokers and grills available to you on the market today so it can seem kind of baffling when you are looking for something new to purchase.

In this article we will go over some of the benefits to owning a grill or a smoker. We will also cover some of the different types of smokers and grills available to you on the market today and which style may be the best fit for your backyard barbeques this summer.

Settling the Argument

When trying to decide which type of barbeque model to go with you find yourself asking several questions. When really there is only one question you should be asking yourself. What are you going to be using the barbeque equipment for or what are you planning to cook? This will definitely solve your problem because each of these contraptions are used for different cooking methods and are not always created equal in the cooking world.

A grill is good for actual grilling meats and veggies. They can come in many different styles and use several different heat sources to power them. Some are able to be taken with you like the best portable grill and some are meant to stay at home. They will be able to handle most of your grilling needs but they will not be able to smoke foods properly.

That is where the smoker comes in handy. It is meant to be used for smoking foods specifically. They are constructed to allow smoke to pass through the food chamber while placing the hot box farther away from the food. This allows the cooking method “low and slow” to occur. They also are able to use a wide variety of different fuels to power the smoker.

They are not really meant to grill food but just smoke food. But they do make some machines that are able to be a smoker and a grill at the same time. This is the new craze in the barbeque world because it is the best of both worlds. they are more expensive and will need a little more care, but most people say the juice is worth the squeeze in this situation.

Types of Smokers

While just about any type of smoker can be turned into a grill one way or another, that doesn’t mean that you should. Even if it has some grilling capabilities, they won’t match up to a real grill. These are meant be used as a smoker, first.

Bullet Smoker

A type of smoker that mainly uses charcoal to smoke foods. It uses indirect heat with a vertical smoke. There are several levels in the smoker that are essential for the indirect heat method. An ash tray at the bottom for catching ash and burnt wood, a water reservoir for keeping moisture in the smoker and a tray to keep the fuel source being charcoal or wood. There are also one or two racks for placing the food on and a hood with vents.

Offset Smoker

This type of smoker uses an indirect heat method with two different chambers. One chamber the food is placed in like a grill and then there is a heat box attached to the food chamber. The hot box heats up the fuel and allows smoke to pass through the food chamber and out the smokestack.

Electric Smokers

This type of smoker can be any type of style or construction but uses electricity to power the smoker. A hopper will feed the fuel source into the smoker set by a timer and will put the correct amount of fuel in the smoker needed to maintain temperature and smoke levels.

Vertical Smoker

This type of smoker uses direct heat to smoke foods inside of it. It is a very basic model of smoking food and one of the original types but needs to have a close eye on the smoker at all times. It can cause flare ups and raise the temperature of the smoker quite often if not monitored constantly. The smoker can be very useful but also can be quite the hassle to get it to perform correctly at times.

Types of Grills

There are some ways to turn your grill into a smoker, but these ways are just not as effective as using a real smoker. These are meant to be used as a grill and will work much better than any smoker for this cooking method.

Charcoal Grill

This type of grill is one of the most basic and most common types of grills. It is also one of the most affordable grills because of its simple construction. It mainly uses charcoal to fuel the grill and almost always sits on a stand. They sometimes have lids with vents to monitor the smoke and heat levels as well.

Natural Gas/Propane Grill

These types of grills are more often than not, need to be stationary, especially if they are hooked up to a natural gas line in your home, which makes them impossible to move. They are one of the cleanest types of fuel to use for grilling because it limits the number of carcinogens and char inside the grill. It is one of the most coveted grills to use because they are so easy to use and very user friendly.

Electric Grill

This type of grill is one of the easiest grills to use because of how user friendly it is with the timers and ease of use. The grill can be set up on a timer and the grill will do all the work for you by letting you know when the food is done via timer or alarm. Owning one of the best electric grills can set you apart in the barbeque world by doing everything for you in the long run of things.

Kamado Grill

This type of grill uses natural coal or wood to power the grill. It has been designed to use the perfect air circulation inside the grill to make it easy to cook foods fast and efficiently. The grill also has the capability to act as a convection oven and be used to bake breads and pizzas.

Best of Both Worlds

But then again, there are some machines that can do both smoking and grilling applications. They are the king when it comes to the barbeque world, but you will have to pay the price to get one.

Pellet Grill/Smoker

This machine is one of the most highly recommended barbeque grills available out there now. It is incredibly user friendly and is able to do it all whether it is grilling chicken, smoking ribs or baking a pizza. It uses wood pellets that are fed from a hopper in to the grill as needed by a computer. All you need to do is keep the hopper full of pellets, place the food in the smoking chamber and set a few settings on the grill. The grill will do all the rest for you while you sit back and relax. They are great machines but they do cost quite a bit of money.

Grill/Smoker Combo

This machine is exactly what is in the title. It is basically two barbeques attached to each other, one smoker and the other side is a grill. Kind of like a DVD/VCR combo player. They work individually and not together and can use a wide array of fuels to power the machine.


So, if you are in the market for a new barbeque, make sure to ask yourself what you will be using it for. There are plenty of types of barbeques out there, and not all are the same. So, make sure to do your research first before leaping at a new purchase.

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