Our pick of the best smoker grills for your cookouts

Bring more fun and flavour into outdoor food this summer with this must-have.

best smoker grills

by Piper Huxley |
Updated on

Guaranteed to tantalise your taste buds, we're excited to share a favourite outdoor cooking trend - the best smoker grill. If your BBQ grill isn't quite as exciting anymore, then we suggest shaking things up a little with a smoker. This method uses smouldering wood chips to give your alfresco food tons of flavour that'll have your mouth watering. Luckily, we've got some advice from Modern Gardens contributor Jill Morgan on how to pick the best smoke grills for your summer cookout.

A smoker is your must-have garden accessory for giving your meat, fish and veg some pizzazz. Super alfresco, the smoke from burning wood is channelled into the container where your precious BBQ food is cooking. The smoke gives your meal even more flavour to contend with. Smoker grills come in many different shapes and sizes, says Jill, and "vary from components that can be added to existing charcoal or gas barbecue, to stand-alone smoking cabinets."

Jill adds that the longer your meal is "exposed to the smoke, the stronger the flavour," so there's plenty of wiggle-room to experiment with your outdoor dining, not to mention plenty of enjoyment. As a smoker grill can come in many forms, costs vary considerably, meaning there are smokers for all households at many price points. Luckily, you can try this fun way to cook relatively cheaply. If you thought the smokiness of a charcoal grill was amazing, just wait…

Best smoker grill at a glance:

• Best off-set BBQ smoker: Char-Griller Duo BBQ - Buy now on eBay
• Best Kamado grill for smoking: Mini Pig Bluey 13" Kamado Egg Grill BBQ - Buy now on Amazon UK
• Best pellet smoker grill: Weber SmokeFire EX4 Black Wood Fired Pellet Grill - Buy now on Weber-ex4-gbs-wood-fired-pellet-grill/22511074.html){href='https://www.weber.com/GB/en/barbecues/wood-pellet-barbecues/smokefire/smokefire-(2nd-generation)-ex4-gbs-wood-fired-pellet-grill/22511074.html' target='_blank' rel='noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow'}
• Best charcoal grill smoker: Pit Barrel Cooker 18.5" Classic - Buy now on Robert Dyas

If you're looking for the perfect smoker grill to suit your lifestyle, it's easy to choose something that won't fit your skill level or household needs. After all, you don't want to pick a tricky smoker if you're a novice. Luckily, we've made it easier – as we cover different types of smokers and explain their uses, advantages and disadvantages.

Best smoker grills


First, we have the offset variation. Trickier to use, this type of smoker grill is best for experienced barbeque enthusiasts. What sets them apart from the rest is the firebox set to the side of the smoking chamber, which moves the heat and smoke away from your meat. Supposedly, this makes it possible to manage cooking temperatures a little easier.

Advantages: Offset grills provide better smoke and heat distribution for your cookout, often capable of using multiple fuel types, also. They can come in vertical or horizontal varieties depending on preference and space on your patio. Plus, the cooking chamber is generally larger, so more food.

Disadvantages: They can be a bulky and pricey option.

Best off-set BBQ grill


As recommended by Jill, we have this Char-Griller Duo BBQ for our top off-set smoker pick. The


  • All-in-one BBQ grill
  • Good smoking space
  • Sturdy and durable


  • Difficult to construct

Kamado smokers

At Modern Gardens, we're a fan of Kamado grills, and they have become quite popular in recent years. Shaped like an egg and made from a thick ceramic, they're said to retain heat well. Their smoker counterparts are often smaller and far more portable. That being said, they're still heavier than other options out there. They're versatile smokers too, as you can use them as a BBQ and grill.

Advantages: Kamado smokes are versatile – giving you plenty of options to cook your grub – and better insulated than most. They use wood lump charcoal and offer portability.

Disadvantages: They can be often heavy and expensive, too.

Best Kamado grill for smoking


Bold, blue and stylish, we love this Kamado grill. Weighing in at just 43kg and sitting in a nifty


  • All-weather
  • Multi-purpose
  • Thermometer


  • A little heavy
  • Best for smaller families

Electric smokers

Electric smokers use electricity – as expected – to cook your food. They're far easier to manage than charcoal and gas smokers but may lack that desired smoky flavour. Wood chips can be added to enhance this. They're often phone-compatible, too.

Advantages: Not only are electric smokers notoriously easy to use, but they're easy to clean and, generally, cheaper to run. Here, with your digital options, you can get a wider (and more stable) range of temperatures for cooking.

Disadvantages: Requires electricity to operate, which can be a task in the garden. Plus, the smoky flavour isn't as powerful as its charcoal counterpart.

Best electric smoker


Sold complete with its accompanying smoke generator, this top electric pick is perfect for those


  • Innovative
  • Portable
  • Automatic


  • Pellets not included in this purchase
  • Cold smoking adaptor sold separately

Pellet smokers

Pellet smokers (also referred to as wood fire smokers) have finally hit the mainstream, using small wooden pellets instead of charcoal. For this, the pellets are loaded into a pellet hopper, which will likely be to the side. Then, the pellets transfer to the cooking chamber to be heated. This method is perfect for slow-cooking meats such as ribs and brisket.

Advantages: Capable of smoking for many hours, pellet smokers are primed for slow-cooking meat for tenderness. Not only that but it's said to be healthier than charcoal and easy for beginners.

Disadvantages: These smokers could take up a lot of space on your patio.

Best pellet smoker grill


What a fantastic addition to our list. Weber has outdone itself with this BBQ, capable of smoking


  • All-rounder BBQ grill
  • Smart and elegant
  • Portable and reliable


  • Pricey - but worth it

Charcoal smokers

Coming in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, charcoal smoking is old and reliable – as it provides that traditional smoky flavour that we're all craving. From offset smokers to Kamado grills to drum variations, charcoal comes with a wide price margin – so it can suit all budgets.

Advantages: Charcoal offers a range of grills at all prices. So, you can get that traditional, smoky taste that charcoal seems to be good at producing. It's easy to get your hands on the fuel, too.

Disadvantages: However, charcoal smokers can be trickier to clean and use.

Best charcoal grill smoker


For our top charcoal pick, we've picked this barrel cooker from Pit Barrel. Their 18.5" model is


  • Unmatched capacity
  • Portable and stylish
  • Offers versatility


  • Trickier to clean
  • Self-assembly required

Gas smokers

Next, we have gas smokers, which use propane gas as the primary fuel source. Propane is way easier to use than charcoal, so it's ideal for those barbecue enthusiasts who aren't experienced. Often, gas smokers are easier to clean and maintain temperature-wise. However, the smokiness may not be the same. You can supplement this with wood chips, though.

Advantages: Gas smokers are easier to keep clean and control the temperature, making them handy for beginners. Plus, they're often more portable and cheaper to operate than others.

Disadvantages: You will need a propane tank, and the flavour is not smoky in the traditional sense.

Best gas BBQ for smoking

Weber Q 2000 Gas Barbecue with Stand

Rrp: £465.00

Price: £338.95


Weber products are known for their excellent build quality, and this gas grill is no different.


  • Can be used as a smoker
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Stylish and rust-resistant


  • A little flimsy for some

Vertical smokers

Or why not consider something vertical? They're also known as box, cabinet or offset horizontal smokers. This variation is composed of stacked grilling grates, where the heat and smoke flow upwards, making the top of the grill the smokiest area. Regardless, it still provides even heat and smokiness throughout. You can even set up sausage hooks here.

Advantages: Vertical smokers offer a better distribution of heat and smoke. As well as this, you can use either wood or charcoal to fuel them. For this, the optimal smoke zone is at the top.

Disadvantages: Often, they're heavier than others - so they're usually bulky and less portable.

Best budget vertical grill and smoker


For a beginner's smoker, we'd recommend this smoke grill from Tower. It features both a charcoal


  • Easy to assemble
  • Temperature gauge
  • Large capacity grill


  • Sub-par build quality

Kettle smokers

Though they're smaller than most charcoal barbecues, kettle grills are affordable, useful and good for those who are lacking room in their outdoor space. However, they're not smokers in the traditional sense but can be used as such if done correctly. As a result, they're inconsistent. Simply grab a stovetop smoker and let the wood do its work.

Advantages: They're easier to use, cheaper to buy and cook all types of food. Plus, fuel is easy to come by.

Disadvantages: On the other hand, kettle grills may fluctuate more temperature-wise and are less easy to clean.

Best kettle smoker

Weber Compact Kettle Charcoal Grill Barbecue

Rrp: £165.30

Price: £139.90


With this kettle grill, you can use that reinforced, porcelain-coated lid to your advantage. Equip


  • Stylish, classic grill
  • Easy-to-clean BBQ
  • Portable and anti-rust


  • Fiddly assembly

Cold smokers

Cold smoking uses low heat and smoke to infuse the food with that good smoky taste we all know and love. It does not cook meat. Thanks to Jill, we discuss cold smoking a little more below our round-up.

Advantages: Perfect for smoked meats and fish, providing an extra smoky taste and preservation.

Disadvantages: This method does not cook meat and needs plenty of preparation.

Best cold smoker

ProQ Cold Smoker Cabinet
Price: £79.99


For cold smoking, we recommend this ProQ cabinet. It's sleek and made from weather-resistant


  • Spacious and sleek
  • Compatibility


  • Smoke generators sold separately

Stovetop smokers

For a low-cost option or for first-timers, we recommend something stovetop. These can come as a smoker box, which is plonked onto your gas or charcoal barbecues. But, this will only work if your grill has a tight-fitting lid to keep all the smoke in, says Jill. Add wood to this box and place it directly on the coals. This is an affordable option. Or it can come as a stovetop tray-style box complete with a sturdy fuel tray, drip tray and wire rack, which will seal in the flavours.

Advantages: These are compact, portable and affordable options, ideal for beginners. Not only that, but they also maintain a lower, even cooking temperature that'll smoke your food well.

Disadvantages: They are less impressive than our other picks – and smaller, too.


How does a smoker grill work?

Jill Morgan says that there are two ways to smoke food with a smoker: hot smoking and cold smoking.

Hot smoking: Considered the easier option, it's perfect for experimenting with flavours and different wood types at home. Although it's called 'hot' smoking, Jill points out that "cooking temperatures tend to be lower than those used for barbecuing." With this method, your grub is cooked slowly, as this allows those mouth-watering flavours to be absorbed.

Cold smoking: This involves "soaking and drying food before it's cured in the smoker," says Jill. Therefore, this method requires "careful preparation overnight or over the course of a few days". With this method, you can create culinary feats of cured and smoked favourites, such as smoked salmon and chorizo, which are eaten raw. Or, you can cook after smoking and have bacon, too.

How do I use a smoker grill?

Smokers bring a unique flavour, allowing you to slow-cook food over a longer period of time. Thanks to Homes Whiz, we have a small, step-by-step guide on how to use a charcoal smoker grill in the UK.

1. Position your BBQ smoker away from trees and other structures and on a level area.

2. Fill the barbecue smoker with charcoal – if your smoker is charcoal-based. The recommendation is to fill the chamber to about halfway, unlit. Then, light a few coals and allow them to redden.

3. Add wood chips to the lit charcoal, as this determines the smoky flavour.

4. Place the meat on the rack, avoiding stacking in the chamber. If the meat is larger, centre it.

5. Close the cooking chamber lid and set the temperature to 225°F (around 107°C).

6. Smoke the meat for around six hours. The longer you smoke it, the better it'll taste.

7. Check the temperature and remove the meat – which should be 145°F (around 62°C). Remove the meat and allow it to rest before slicing and serving.

How to maintain the temperature in your BBQ smoker?

Keeping the temperature consistent is going to make sure the meat is cooked well. Homes Whiz have three important tips on how to keep the temperature maintained when smoking your meat, no matter the barbecue fuel you're using.

Using a thermometer will keep track of your smoking meat.

Keeping the vents open will ensure air can flow in and out of the smoker.

Adding wood chips will maintain the temperature and add flavour.

Any recommendations on wood?

Did you know that the type of wood you use in your smoker has a huge effect on the taste of the food you cook? Well, in the smoker grill game, the flavour possibilities are endless. As mentioned earlier, smoker grilling offers an opportunity to experiment with our alfresco dining. Different wood types and wood chip blends create new experiences. Jill recommends:

Apple – has a strong but well-rounded flavour for pork and poultry.

Cherry – gives a rich, fruity flavour that's milder than apple wood, and it's great for lamb, fish and veggies.

Beech – has a subtle, nutty flavour perfectly suited to seafood, delicate fish and white meat.

Oak – gives an intense taste that works well with robust red meat such as beef.

Wood chunks or chips?

You can use sawdust, shavings, chips or chunks in your smoker, says Jill. Though wood chips burn hotter and faster than chunks, making them better for shorter times, chunks are the most cost-effective option. If you need the meat to cook and smoke for longer, chunks are your best bet.

On the other hand, sawdust is an option you can consider. It's a good option if you want a really long, low heat, says Jill. She suggests simply placing a few small twigs in the tray also and lighting. As we're all looking to make choices better suited to our precious planet, Jill recommends grabbing natural, untreated wood from responsible sources. After all, we need to be doing our bit.

Meat being smoked
©Getty Images

How do I clean a smoker grill?

How to clean a smoker grill will depend on the material, variation and fuel type used. Luckily, most manufacturers will help with a cleaning guide in the instructions manual and even include some brushes and products. Check out our guide to cleaning barbecues, which features the products you may need to do so.

Any must-have accessories for a smoker grill?

Accessories for your smoker grill will be pretty similar to that of a regular barbecue. However, if you need a list, you're going to need things like a decent thermometer, heat-resistant gloves, some tongs, a proper cleaning kit and some shape knives for slicing and dicing your way to a successful cookout.

Essential BBQ tools you need to become a grill master

Best fire pit tables for a cosy and contemporary garden

The ultimate guide to the best BBQ food


Discover everything you need to know to make your outside space look fantastic quickly and easily,

Piper Huxley is a Homes, Garden and Wellness Product Writer for Modern Gardens Magazine, an all-rounder. When she’s not writing about houseplants, she’s tending to her own growing collection…

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us