Basic bbq smokers are a pretty simple idea. Burn wood in an enclosed space to create smoke and let the food cook slowly. This certainly produces great results and has done for years. But nowadays, there are a few more choices when it comes to the smoke source. So is wood still the best bet, or should you be looking around for something different?
Traditionally, smokers use chunks of wood. Actually, the wood should be a hard wood and most prefer a non-resinous variety. This is easy to find, although finding a decent quality product is getting more expensive. Wood does allow the expert to subtly alter the flavor of the food. Choosing a different sort of wood makes a difference over the longer cooking time of a smoker. Almost all charcoal smokers rely on wood chunks.
You could also go smaller and use wood chips in your barbecue. This will still work in a traditional model, but a lot of owners of gas or electric smokers prefer these too. They are easy to use and tend to burn at a more uniform speed than irregular blocks, making it easier to control temperature. You could also turn to sawdust which will let you smoke at a lower temperature too.
A couple of more modern solutions for producing the smoke in a BBQ smoker are wood pellets or wood biscuits. They are made from compressed wooden shreds or sawdust. There are a couple of advantages here. Firstly, their regular size makes it easy to keep the heat constant. The second big advantage is that they are designed to work with bbq smokers that have automatic feed systems. This saves checking to see if you have to replace the wood. The feeder simply adds another pellet at a pre-determined interval.
Whether it is wooden chunks, sawdust or pellets, you can be sure that you will be getting great flavor and tender meat from your bbq smokers. Simply pick the one you prefer and enjoy!