Get Your Grill On: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right BBQ Smoker

Smoking your food is a fantastic method to elevate your grilling game, add flavour and preserve food. While there are several ways to smoke food, a dedicated smoker can fit larger meat chunks and deliver the smokey flavour. It undoubtedly introduces you to an entirely new world of culinary exploration and innovation, with incredibly delicious outcomes. However, buying a smoker, especially for the first time, can be challenging.

How Do I Choose a Good Smoker?

outdoor smoker and food for cooking

You’ll notice several types when searching for the adequate BBQ smoker Australia round. These include offset, drum, cabinet, and egg styles fuelled by gas, electric, pellet and solid fuel. Picking the right type for your needs should be based on factors like your budget, the source of energy you prefer, and how many people you’re usually cooking for. We’re listing the five most common types of BBQ smokers so you can have an insight into each of them and choose the one that aligns with your needs.

1. Gas/Propane Smokers

Gas smokers—surprise, surprise—heat up using propane or natural gas. Unless your house has a direct gas hookup, that gas will likely come from a refillable gas bottle. Gas smokers rely on wood chips to provide the smokey flavour because they don’t naturally emit smoke like gas grills.

Pitmasters who prefer a little more flavour-enhancing combustion chemicals in their smoker than what electric smokers provide but without the mess or expense of pellet smokers will love gas smokers. A gas design would also be ideal for someone looking for something they could take camping or to cookouts because of its lightweight design and the portability of its gas bottle fuel source.


  • Propane is a fuel that is commonly accessible, and gas smokers are just as easy to operate as electric smokers.
  • The temperature of a gas smoker is much easier to regulate and adjust than charcoal or pellet smokers.
  • A gas smoker is much easier to start than a charcoal one. In around fifteen minutes, you can go from cold to cooking, which is excellent if you are short on time.


  • Although gas food smokers produce more flavourful combustion chemicals than electric grills, some people find that everything tastes like bacon.
  • You should usually have two gas bottles to ensure you don’t run out of gas from one that is only halfway full.

2. Charcoal Smokers

man getting charcoal BBQ ready for cooking

There are different sizes and types of charcoal BBQ smokers Australia wide, ranging from rugged smaller models to striking ceramic kamado ovens. Charcoal is generally the fuel that enhances flavour the most. In exchange for this additional flavour, charcoal smokers are typically more labour-intensive to put up, monitor, and clean than electric or gas ones.

The charcoal smoker is ideal if you take your food smoking seriously. Although it could take some time and work to acquire consistent results, their designs can be as simple or complex as you desire. Regardless, the results are well worth the effort.


  • The best smokers for achieving that rich, smokey flavour are those that work with charcoal.
  • There is a more extensive selection of sizes and types, so choosing one that fits your available space can be simple.


  • Charcoal grills require more supervision, experience and knowledge than gas smokers. Also, they require a more in-depth cleanup because charcoal produces ash and particles. An electric smoker is a better option if you want to “fire and forget” about your smoking business.
  • It may take some time for the charcoal to begin smoking since you must light it and allow it to ash before putting it in the smoker.

3. Offset Smokers

Because of their barrel-like shape, offset smokers are a clear homage to their original creation—unused oil drums. They’re large, bulky, and have enough room to feed a city block with deliciously smoked food, and almost every pitmaster’s dream is to acquire one of these beasts.

An offset smoker is an excellent purchase for those who wish to invest the time and energy necessary to obtain the finest results from an exceptional yet difficult-to-use smoker. Although offset smoking is as much an art as a science, it may produce enormous amounts of delicious food if you have the patience. However, before you get one, be sure your yard is large enough, as offsets smoker grills are certainly not tiny!


  • An offset smoker’s large barrel cooking chamber facilitates cooking large quantities of food.
  • Some models of offset BBQ smoker in Australia come with a grill plate that you can place over the firebox to use as a smoker and grill simultaneously.
  • You can add more fuel to the fire without releasing the heat or smoke because the firebox and cooking chamber are separate.


  • It takes time to get an offset smoker going. Allow an hour to come to room temperature, then begin cooking.
  • It will take a lot of practice to get the most out of an offset smoker, but once you do, you should be able to cook some delicious cuisine.
  • High-quality offset smokers are more expensive (but it’s always worth the slight extra expense in the long run.)

4. Pellet Smokers

man making grill on a pellet smoker

Pellet smokers are an advanced hybrid of a smoker and an oven. They combine the incredibly convenient features of an electric smoker with the added smokey flavour of genuine combustion. The ability to utilise a pellet smoker as an oven, grill, and smoker in one convenient cooking option is one of its many advantages. The pellet grill is an excellent choice if you take smoking seriously enough but want a high-tech way to burn wood. It’s also pleasant and adaptable.


  • Pellet smokers combine a cooking system that you can leave on and the flavour-enhancing benefits of real wood smoke.
  • They serve as a smoker, grill, and oven all in one, making them multifunctional.
  • Because the wood pellets burn almost entirely, the only cleanup required is usually emptying the firebox, which is usually detachable.


  • Electricity powers the fans, the drill, and the heating rod that ignites the pellets, so a nearby plug is required.
  • Since wood pellets are harder to come by than gas or charcoal, you should have a supply at reach.
  • They’re slightly more expensive than gas or charcoal models.

5. Electric Smokers

Electric smokers are the ideal smoking option to “fire and forget.” They’re perfect for those who want to put food in a smoker and then walk away. When using an electric smoker, you set the temperature, which some higher-end versions may allow you to accomplish via a Bluetooth app. Those who can’t use charcoal, wood, or gas burners close to their home are the ideal candidates for electric smokers.


  • Besides the facts mentioned above, not needing a separate fuel source such as gas, pellets, or charcoal reduces expenses and the number of items you need to store when your smoker isn’t in use.


  • Due to the absence of combustion and the low smoulder temperature of the wood chips used to make the smoke, an electric smoker produces a different flavour from traditional smokers.
  • While electric smokers are great for smoking delicate foods like fish, cheese, veggies, and sausages, their moist interior makes it very difficult to produce a crisp crust on things like chicken skin or ribs.