Have you outgrown your barbecue grill and given some thought to purchasing a competition smoker or even a custom smoker to take your outdoor cooking to the next level?
Today we will look at some things to think about and questions people should ask before purchasing a bbq smoker built on a trailer.
We've looked at some of the best barbecue pits in the United States and answered some of the questions you should be asking yourself if you're considering purchasing a trailer smoker.
When it comes to high quality, single axle trailer pits there are many top-notch bbq smokers to choose from and some are even available at affordable prices.
It seems that now, more so than ever, the bbq pit industry is exploding due to many first-time users getting hooked on making great bbq.
Why has the popularity of outdoor cooking grown significantly?
Clever marketing efforts from brands like Traeger, Weber, Char-Broil, and Masterbuilt have exposed different people to the patio smoker and they have become readily available for purchase at places like your local hardware store.
The popularity of the pellet grill has a lot to do with it.
As recent as a decade ago, the gas grill was the king of the backyard.
Owning a smoker, let alone a pellet grill was something that was unique to the individual.
A personal choice for how an avid hunter or fisherman prepared their catch or harvest for the dinner table. Most of them learned by getting a taste of someone else's Alaskan salmon or venison jerky. But now they are ready to make their own food taste delicious.
What type of people are getting into smoking?
Rob was one of the first people I'd ever spoken with who owned a Traeger Grill.
He lived in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, not far from where the original Traeger pellet grills were manufactured and actually won the smoker in a sales contest at work. Rob was a career-focused executive and not what I would call a foodie. But he thought a pellet smoker was the right choice to compliment his gas grill for slow cooking the thanksgiving turkey or a prime rib for New Year.
A quiet man, he exclaimed that his smoker made some of the most flavorful food he'd ever tasted, and as a relatively inexperienced cook he's had some of the best results using that cooker.
Bringing new users like Rob into the category means more people are getting a taste for smoked food.
To some, it's a flavorful change of pace, and smoking food slowly becomes a bit of a lifestyle.
Although people still have backyard parties and cookouts, having friends over to gather around your gas grills, somehow is less appealing than having them over for good food cooked with a pellet grill or stick burner.
But to others, they get hooked for life from the very first cook.
And getting hooked isn't really all that bad of a thing to do.
Barbecue and smoked food can become a bit of a commodity.
Smoked foods like brisket, ribs, pork butts, and salmon are often cooked whole as large cuts. Most people can't take down and consume an entire brisket over the course of a weekend so they might share some with a neighbor who's returned a lost cat or as a thank you to someone who covered your shift at work.
This neighborly generosity may seem harmless, but it often results in the recipient wanting more. It won't be long before they ask you if you could make some great barbecue specifically for them the next time the smoke stack starts billowing.
When does your BBQ smoking become more than a hobby?
It doesn't take long before you go from good neighbor to neighborhood hero.
Seemingly everyone starts asking about your cooking and offering you money for your services.
Although you're not really in it for the extra money, the meat isn't cheap and you decide to take a few bucks here and there to cover expenses.
As the compliments continue to roll in on your quality of work, you start to think that maybe a few catering gigs here and there, or entering an occasional barbecue competition could be a great option to take this hobby to a higher level.
But the grills and smokers you find at big box stores don't really come in large sizes.
Instead of smoking a brisket or two, You've got your eye on smoking a case of briskets. Instead of doing a few racks of ribs, you are thinking about smoking a whole pig. Not to mention the three graduation parties in May and June that would be honored to serve your food
Simply put, you're just not equipped to cook lots of meat and it's time to get a smoker trailer you can take places.
What to look for when shopping for commercial smokers
- The best smoker you can get is the one that has enough good things going for it at a price you can afford.
- Look for a company which has great customer service. One where there's a good chance the owner may answer the phone at 5 minutes after 5 pm if you call, and one which takes pride in the manufacturing process.
- Take a good look at the main cooking chamber of your smoker. Is the configuration easily adjustable for cooking various foods simultaneously?
- How is the pit insulated? Does the main chamber have plenty of insulation so that it stays at your desired temperature for a long time? If they are using ceramic insulation, how will that affect the commercial bbq pits integrity when being towed and hitting a few New Jersey potholes on the way to an event?
- What level of smoke are you trying to achieve? Pellet grills are wonderful for convenience but maybe reverse flow smokers provide more of the flavor your customers or the competition judges are looking for.
- Are custom smokers the way to go or would something in inventory that takes less time to own get you to the finish line quicker? a Custom builds great if you want to add on something like fish fryers with an integrated propane tank, but not everyone needs that kind of personal touch.
- What happens if something goes wrong? Does the pit come with at least a limited lifetime warranty and do you know exactly what's covered and what isn't?