The best way to appreciate an outstanding piece of beef is by smoking it. The heat and smoke flavor the meat, giving it a richer and deeper flavor. To get that perfect smoky taste, you will need the best upright pellet smoker. An upright barbecue smoker is a highly efficient cooking device. With one of these smokers, you can create some of the most delectable and memorable dishes you and your loved ones will ever taste.
Finding the best upright smoker is not difficult; however, choosing one that is right for you might be pretty challenging considering that there are many different brands in the market today. For that reason, we have compiled a list of the six best upright pellet smokers so that we can make your decision easier. There is also a buying guide and some of the most frequently asked questions to help you out.
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Let us now guide you in finding the best upright pellet smokers. There are many factors that you should consider before purchasing an upright smoker. For example, if you plan to move your smoker from your garage to your back porch often, portability might be something you want to consider with your purchase. Other factors like cooking space and additional features should also be considered before purchasing your smoker.
√ Cooking Space
The best upright pellet smoker provides you with ample cooking space, complete with multiple racks that you can use to smoke all kinds of meat and other food items. The best upright pellet smokers typically include enough cooking space so that you can smoke multiple racks of ribs at once without having to worry about the ribs touching or stacking on top of each other. If you need to smoke large quantities of food, you want to make sure that you purchase a smoker that has enough cooking space.
√ Temperature Control
The best upright pellet smoker will allow you to control the temperature you are smoking your food quickly. This is because many of the best upright pellet smokers have easy-to-use temperature controls that enable you to set a precise temperature at which you want your food to be smoked. You can then leave the smoker alone to do its work without having to worry about constantly checking on it or making adjustments to the temperature.
√ Build Quality
The best upright pellet smokers are made with durable materials to last for years before needing replacement or repair. Many of these smokers are covered by extended warranties so that if any problems occur, you can send it back and get it repaired or replaced free of charge and hassle (make sure to check the terms and conditions of any extended warranty before purchasing).
The materials the smoker is made out of are also necessary. For example, if you plan to use your smoker in extreme weather conditions (such as the cold or heat), then an all-metal smoker might be best because it can better withstand those types of weather. Also, look for smokers that are easy to clean after use because nothing is more annoying than having to spend hours scrubbing away at soot and grease deposits so that you can store your smoker or cook with it again next time.
If you plan to move your smoker from place to place frequently, then portability is another factor you’ll want to consider. Some smokers can be broken down in a manner of minutes so that they can be easily stored in a garage or shed when not in use. If this is the case with your smoker, then you won’t have to worry about taking up too much space to store it after each use.
√ Temperature Range
The best upright pellet smokers will typically allow temperatures to range from 100 degrees Fahrenheit all the way up to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit (+/-). If you plan on cooking a variety of things with your smoker, then you’ll want one that can go to this temperature range. For example, if you plan to smoke both meats and vegetables or cook pizza in the smoker, a wide temperature range is crucial.
√ Water Capacity
Suppose you plan on smoking significant cuts of meat. In that case, water capacity is essential to consider because it will determine how long your food stays submerged in the water pan during the smoking process. Some smokers can hold as little as 3 quarts of water, while others can hold upwards of 40 quarts or more (the higher-end smokers are typically used in commercial settings like restaurants). When shopping for an upright smoker, the best thing to do is to conduct research beforehand to determine what size cutting board will fit inside, how much food it can hold, and what type of cuts you typically smoke at once before making a purchase.
Last but certainly not least, the price needs to be considered when searching for an upright smoker. The cost will depend heavily on the quality, capacity, materials used, additional features available, brand name, and Warranty provided. Like anything else, you get what you pay for with smokers, so it’s essential to consider your needs before shopping around because if you don’t buy the right smoker the first time (and cheap out), then you’ll end up buying another one in a few months or years that doesn’t meet your standards.
In this first segment, we review six of the best upright pellet smoker on the market as of now:
Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker is a mid-priced pellet smoker with great features. It maintains the flavorful wood smoke taste but using less charcoal and without flare-ups. The grill temperature can be adjusted from 180°F to 500°F with an easy setting of the thermostat control. Even though it is on the lighter side, the overall construction is solid and heat resistant.
√ Consistent Results Every Time
√ No labor-intensive start-up
√ Pellet Grill Technology
√ Perfectly sized
√ Built to Last
× Hard to figure out at first
The PIT BOSS PRBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker, Copper is a barbecue machine that gives you the chance to cook your food in style. It features an all-steel construction which makes it resistant to fire and other elements that can damage it. The unit also comes with two cooking grids that are great for preparing meats of different sizes simultaneously. Additionally, this model comes with an automated ash cleaning system that makes sure that your smoker stays clean during use.
√ LED readout to monitor meat temperature
√ Four cooking grids coated with porcelain
√ Auto-start and shut-off
√ Fully programmable
√ Easy to use
× A hard time maintaining temperature
The Dyna-Glo Signature series DGSS1382VCS-D is designed to meet your high expectations regarding cooking and smoking meats, fish and vegetables, or even bread. It has a unique design that allows you complete control over the heat used for cooking with its adjustable dampers and dual access door. There is also an ash-removal system that will help you clean up any leftovers after a cookout so your grill can look as good as new.
√ Steel chrome-plated cooking grates
√ Durable construction
√ 3-Year Warranty
√ Easy to use
× Smoke leaking problems
The Pit Boss 77435LP Vertical LP Gas Smoker is the newest offering from Char-Broil, a division of W.C. Bradley Co., better known for its high-quality gas grills. While Char-Broil makes this smoker, it was designed in conjunction with Edgewise to be an affordable smoker that still offers real wood-smoked food at an acceptable temperature range.
√ External access to grease tray and wood chip drawer
√ High-temperature door seal
√ Adjustable Temperatures
√ Stainless Steel burners
√ Three coated cooking grids
√ Large viewing window
√ Large Cooking area
× Hard to figure out at first
The Pit Boss 5-Series Vertical Pellet Smoker is big and tall. It comes with an adjustable rack to help you smoke different types of food such as ribs, fish, prime rib, brisket, turkey, and much more. The unit comes with a digital probe thermometer that measures the internal temperature of your smoked food and ensures that it’s perfectly cooked.
√ No assembly required for the smokebox
√ Clean lines with the large surface area
√ 300F – 500F temperature range
√ Easy assembly
× Heating issues
The Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker is an entry-level smoker who can handle significant meat cuts. It has a cooking area of 784 square inches and comes with three adjustable grates for high-capacity cooking, depending on what you are smoking. This model is heavy-duty; the doors close tightly to seal in heat and smoke, it’s easy to clean and maintain.
√ Clean lines with the large surface area
√ Adjustable Temperatures
√ Easy to use
× Design problems
We finish off by answering some of the hard questions about the best upright pellet smokers:
Q1. What is an upright smoker?
A. An upright smoker, also known as a vertical water smoker or water-pit barbeque, has a cylindrical body and the smoke chamber sits horizontally over the firebox. Most have three cooking grates, with some having four. The water pan rests between two lower cooking grates on the cooking grate above. When a water smoker is upright, the lid lays flat on top of the body. An upright smoker is typically smaller than a bullet smoker; it can be harder to maintain low and slow temperatures typically needed for cooking barbecue. There have been some ingenious ways of using lava rocks or other insulation materials to help regulate heat.
Q2. What are the pros of an upright smoker?
A. One advantage to a smaller-sized water smoker is that it tends to be a lot easier to transport. The propane-powered models can also be vented outside, so you don’t need to worry about toxic chemicals in your yard when you are finished cooking.
Q3. What are the cons of an upright smoker?
A. Upright smokers can be more challenging to maintain a steady temperature. Due to their size, they may only cook enough meat for a family meal instead of feeding a party of people. Since it is easy to transport, you need to remember that it needs fuel and water like any other smoker.
Q4. How much does a good quality upright smoker cost?
A. Upright smokers range from about $60-400 depending on features, material quality, and size.
Q5. Are there any other options besides an upright smoker?
A. Vertical water smokers aren’t the only option for smoking meat. Bullet-type smokers can be easier to manage at low temperatures but lack a vertical shape. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you could always build your smoker.
Q6. Do I need water in my smoker?
A. Yes, an upright smoker needs at least some water to produce steam and help regulate the temperature. Without water, you will experience hot spots, which leads to dry meat. Many people like to use juice, wine, or beer instead of plain old tap water.
Q7. How do I start my smoker?
A. Start by opening the dampers on your smoker. The next step is to fill up your water pan with some water and place it in the center of the cooking grate. Once you have done that, put your wood chips or chunks into a foil packet and poke holes onto both sides. Cover the packet in aluminum foil and poke more holes into the top. Turn on your smoker and place the wood packet onto the side of the water pan. If you are using a gas-powered smoker, leave this step out; turn it on and wait 10 minutes before adding meat to prevent creosote from building up in your chamber.
Q8. What types and cuts of meat should I smoke?
A. The short answer, all of them. Some popular cuts of meat to smoke include pork shoulder or pork butt, brisket, and ribs, but there are no rules here. You can even smoke a whole chicken or a turkey if you want to.
Q9. What is the best kind of wood to use when smoking?
A. There have been multiple debates on this topic. Some people believe that the best wood to use while smoking is fruitwood or nutwood, mainly due to their sweet flavor. Others prefer wood chunks over chips because it adds more smoke and provides a long burn time. If you are using propane for your Upright Smoker, try using pecan wood.
Q10. What temperature should I keep my smoker at?
A. The temperature should be kept between 200 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for smoking meat is 225 degrees, but this can vary depending on what you are cooking and how much time you have to cook it. If your smoker isn’t heating up properly, check out our post to troubleshooting common problems.
If you have read the above post, you have all the information you need to choose the best upright pellet smoker. Make sure you consider all the factors above in the buying guide section to get the best upright electric pellet smoker. According to us, the best upright smoker is the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker. However, the choice is entirely up to you. All the best!
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