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Category Archives for "Smoking Gadgets"

The Best Charcoal Grill Under 200: Top 5 List

Who doesn't love outdoor grilling? There are a lot of recipes that you can do with this type of food preparation. From grilled burgers and steaks for your family picnic to grilled fruits and vegetables to add to show-stopping dishes, all manner of tasty delights are possible, as long as you have a good charcoal grill.

Fortunately, there is no need for you to break the bank just to get your hands on a decent unit of this device. In fact, there are quite a number of options for the best charcoal grill under 200 that can give you satisfying results. These cost-saving charcoal grills can certainly go head-to-head against higher-end models in terms of usability, and are great buys, quite suitable for simple homeowners and folks that just want a budget friendly charcoal grill for everyday use.

Do not worry. Despite their affordable and cheap prices, these inexpensive charcoal grills have decent build, features, and performance. I have even tested them to make sure that they are not just rip-off products. Just take a look at each of them and see which one you think can satisfy your needs and requirements.

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The Best Lump Charcoal For Your Barbecuing and Grilling Needs!

Although barbecuing is a simple cooking method, it does have its intricacies.  Barbecue gourmands all over the world have a lot to say about this method, especially for the fuel that are used to grill your food. 

Well, there are two types of fuel that you can use on your charcoal grill. One is the lump charcoal, and the other one is the charcoal briquettes. In this blog post, I will be talking about the former, specifically, the best lump charcoals can give you speedy and quality cooking results.

Lump charcoals are created from burning wood in a very slow process. Take note that the burning happens in the absence of oxygen until all natural chemicals, sap and moisture are eliminated from the wood. This process results into a fuel that lights quickly, doesn't generate too much ash and creates a high level of heat.

If you are looking for the best options for this type of charcoal, then you should check out the following list below. By the way, I listed these brands of charcoal lumps. I rated them based on their popularity to the community and their overall performance, of course.

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Best Smoker for Beginners: Top 5 Options To Look Out For

Why is smoking meat so popular? My guess is that this has something to do with how smoked meat appeals to many of our senses: the contrast of the light pink meat against its dark crusty exterior, the woodsy and smoky aroma emanating from the meat, to the burst of flavor and the tender and juicy texture of the meat as we chew on it.

We can definitely say that smoking meat is here to stay.  If you haven’t attempted cooking meats using this cooking method yet, I would recommend you give it a try.

Don’t fret if you’re a smoking newbie.  With the right equipment, you can produce your own tasty smoked meats for you and your family to enjoy.  With the vast array of  electric smokers and gas smokers available in the market, you can choose one that’s right for you without burning a hole through your wallet.

A newbie like yourself would have not much need for too many bells and whistles in your smoker; you will find that a functional and well-made entry-level smoker will serve you quite well. With a budget ranging from $200 to $500, you would be able to find a unit that will help develo and showcase your smoking skills.

Best Smoker for Beginners

Product Image
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill,...
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker, 16"
Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe,...
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Title
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill,...
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker, 16"
Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe,...
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Prime Status
Product Image
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill,...
Title
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill,...
Prime Status
Product Image
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
Title
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
Prime Status
Product Image
Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker, 16"
Title
Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker, 16"
Prime Status
Product Image
Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe,...
Title
Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe,...
Prime Status
Product Image
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Title
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Prime Status

#1.  Best in Efficiency and Versatility: Char-Griller AKORN Kamado Kooker

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite

Char-Griller’s AKORN Kamado Kooker™ offers versatility, durability, and the efficiency of Kamado-style grilling all in one product. If you’re not familiar, “kamado” is a Japanese term translating to “cooking range.” The main features of Kamado cookers are (1) multiple layers of insulated construction and (2) charcoal or wood fuel. That being said, this grill-smoker has triple wall insulation to easily retain heat and maintain temperatures ranging from 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit within the smoking chamber to give you an efficient smoking experience. Not all food smokers can do that, leaving purchasers frustrated and unsatisfied.

 

You won’t have to worry for consistency, too, as this smoker carries adjustable dampers at the top and bottom of the chamber to even out airflow and control the heat and temperature. Along with a built-in gauge, you can easily monitor or adjust the cooking temperature, too.

 

The cooking chamber has 447 square inches of total cooking space, 314 square inches of which is a grill surface made of cast iron, and the rest for a removable warming rack. Built using 22 gauge steel, plus a porcelain-coated steel interior and powder-coated steel exterior, Char-Griller’s AKORN Kamado Kooker™ is truly durable.

 

No need to worry about movability, too! This smoker has two rubber wheels and one locking caster for easy moving. Additional perks are two shelves with utensil hooks that you can fold up for convenient cooking or down to save space and an ash pan at the bottom for easy ash disposal.

PROS

  • Versatile griller and smoker functionalities
  • Good insulation for efficient smoking
  • Components for easy heat and temperature control and monitoring
  • Durable construction
  • Movable
  • Convenient folding shelves
  • Quick and easy ash disposal

CONS

  • Heavyweight (97.0 lbs)
  • Slightly pricey

#2. Best for Outdoors and Large Groups: Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset Vertical Smoker (Standard)

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

Dyna-Glo’s Charcoal Offset Vertical Smoker, from its name, has a vertical box design that allows heat to naturally rise to achieve efficient smoking and effective flavor infusion. However, what makes it unique is its smoker box attached to the main chamber in an offset design to supply an indirect but even flow of heat to the latter. This innovative design allows you to easily achieve slow-cooking and infuse that classic smoke flavor to your food.

 

The main chamber houses a total of 1,176 square inches of cooking space spread across six adjustable cooking grates that can handle 25 pounds of weight each. With a cooking space this large, you can cook various foods all at once to save time!

 

Dampers located at the side and a smokestack sitting atop the main chamber help improve air and heat flow within the main chamber. The built-in temperature gauge is easy to read and features a “Smoke Zone” indicator which tells the ideal temperature range for smoking. Together with adjustable flue on the smokestack, you can precisely control the cooking temperature within the main chamber, too.

 

Matching the large-capacity cooking chamber is a large-capacity charcoal and ash management system housed in the offset smoker box consisting of a charcoal chamber, a charcoal grate, and a removable ashtray. The charcoal chamber keeps your briquettes in a tight and neat stockpile to optimize burn efficiency, saving you charcoal cost. At the same time, the high capacity ashtray catches the ashes for easy removal and disposal.

PROS

  • Simple, compact design
  • Efficient vertical smoking
  • Large capacity
  • User-friendly gauge for temperature monitoring and components for temperature control
  • Optimum burn efficiency
  • Removable ashtray and grease cup for easy cleanup
  • High-performance
  • High-performance

CONS

  • Not movable, suited for backyard smoking only
  • Large amount of charcoal/wood necessary

#3.  Best in Simplicity and Lightweight:Char-Broil 16" Bullet Smoker

Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker, 16"

Char-Broil’s 16” Bullet Smoker, as the name implies, is a simple bullet- or capsule-shaped smoker whose body and cooking components are made from porcelain-coated steel to give you durability, easy cleanup, and rust resistance. This smoker has a total cooking space of 388 square inches across two cooking grates. Since the cooking components are coated with porcelain, you can rest assured that your smoked foods won’t stick to the grates.

 

You will not have to worry about temperature control, too! Setting, maintaining, and monitoring internal cooking temperature is made easy with numbered damper settings and a temperature gauge fixed on the lid as part of an innovative airflow control system. The fire access door can also be sealed to manage the flow of smoke within the chamber.

 

Lastly, a large ash pan underneath the smoker catches ashes for easy collection and disposal.

 

PROS

  • Durable construction
  • Rust resistance
  • Easy temperature control and monitoring components
  • Easy cleanup
  • Lightweight (16.5 lbs.)

CONS

  • Limited cooking space divided across two grates
  • Some condensation issues reported
  • Poor insulation

#4.Best in Convenience and Innovation: Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Vertical Smoker (Silver)

Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe, Silver

Char-Broil’s Deluxe Digital Electric Vertical Smoker is a stylish, electric smoker in a vertical box design made from stainless steel and glass that can be used for smoking and grilling. Its advanced digital control panel is simply impressive! You can easily monitor cooking heat through the removable temperature gauge and set necessary adjustments using the control panel with an LED display. It even comes with a handy remote control for easier access, and can turn off on its own once done cooking! But if you want to, this cooker can also warm your food for you until you are ready to eat.

It also comes with a removable and washable meat probe that will alert you when the meat has reached a preset temperature. This way, you will not have to guess if your meat has cooked already or not, avoiding the risk of undercooking, overcooking, or burning your food.

 

This digital smoker offers a total cooking space of 725 square inches across four adjustable and removable smoking racks. To match its generous cooking capacity, one fill of this smoker’s wood chip box with a full capacity of 4 cups can last up to seven hours of smoking.

 

Additional perks are a water pan sitting below the bottom rack to keep your food moist, and a grease tray waiting underneath the smoker for easy grease disposal. Built with an insulated, double-wall structure, coupled with side-locking latch, this smoker seals in heat and smoke to improve smoking efficiency.

 

This smoker also has two rear wheels and a handle for easy mobility.

PROS

  • Convenient, digital functions
  • Easy temperature control and cooking time determination
  • Medium- to large- capacity
  • Grease tray available for easy cleanup
  • Movable and compact

CONS

  • Increased cost for electrical power consumption
  • Digital, electric design comes with a certain degree of fragility

#5.  Best High End Smoker: Camp Chef PG24 Deluxe Pellet Grill and Smoker

Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker

While you may find this unit quite price, I can guarantee that it is an excellent investment. The Camp Chef PG24 is a 2-in-1 device. It can work as a grill or a smoker, allowing you to cook with more flexibility and freedom.  Its highly advanced features such as a digital temperature control eliminates much of the tedium involved in smoking. 

This versatile tool enables you to cook various recipes - whether grilled, roasted or braised - in one device. With a single touch, you can bring this device to heat up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Having 570 square inches of cooking space, it’s more than enough to handle large servings.

PROS

  • Smart control and features
  • Versatile smoker (can be used as a grill
  • Can prepare other recipes aside from smoked food
  • Easy to clean
  • Top-tier portability

CONS

  • A little pricey

How to Choose the Best Smoker for Beginners

For home and amateur applications, getting the appropriate smoker is necessary, but is most of the time, a hit-or-miss. The multiple features and intricate mechanisms of high-end smokers may be overwhelming, so you might want to go for basic smokers first. Instead of going through complicated manuals, why not just choose the most efficient, beginner-friendly smoker, sit back, and let the smoker do its work during the long cook time? But then again, how do you choose a smoker that best fits your needs? Here are some factors that you might need to consider:

Size

As a beginner, you may want to start with small and compact smokers. I don't usually recommend large smokers because they might be too bulky for your space, and you might not want to waste making unnecessarily large servings for your first few times. However, if you have many stomachs to feed, you may need to invest in huge smokers from the get-go.

Versatility

Typically, we call a smoker "versatile" if it can do other food preparation methods aside from smoking like grilling, braising, roasting, et cetera. From a beginner’s perspective, versatility may not necessarily be a priority. However, if you are already familiar with the basic operations of a smoker, you might want to get a versatile smoker to get better value for your money.

Price

Price vs Value

For a simple unit, the price should not be able to break the bank. As long as the necessary features are there and the build is decent, an entry-level smoker costing around $500 or below should be fine. Personally, I already consider smokers that reach  $500 in cost as better suited for commercial applications

Final Verdict

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker


All the smokers I’ve listed can deliver a satisfying smoking experience and are ideal for first-timers. Each one has its own features which may make it perfect for you, but not for another person. For me, though, the simplicity, efficiency, and high performance of Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset Vertical Smoker make it a first-rate candidate. Its simple operation and convenient design make it ideal for any beginner to understand a typical smoker's basic mechanisms, with the additional benefits of large capacity, accessible temperature control, and monitoring, and improved burn and smoking efficiency.

But of course, you may have different opinions from mine or would like to recommend smokers not listed here; I’d be glad to hear your opinion. Just leave a comment below!

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The Best Meat Injector For Marination: A Complete Guide

When there is a need for you to improve or change the flavor spectrum of your favorite meat, you will need to rely on the help of the best meat injector. 

Of course, the traditional way of marination or applying rubs still count as feasible options. Soaking and coating your meat in your preferred flavored solution, or rubbing flavorings on the meat surface will always have a place in a home cook’s arsenal of techniques. But if you really want an efficient way of adding flavor throughout your meat roasts and not just on the surface, an injector is the ideal choice.

A meat injector is basically a syringe that enables you to inject marinades, oils and sauces straight into the meat, producing a juicy and flavorful meat dish for you to enjoy.

Just like a meat tenderizer, meat injectors allow you to process your meat during preparation or cooking in a very simple yet effective manner. If you are in quite a rush, these marinade meat injectors will definitely come to your rescue. 

During my research on the best meat injectors in the market today, I stumbled on some units with the right kind of features that can help you infuse your meats with awesome flavors!

The Best Meat Injector: Full Roundup

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#1. Best High-end: EnweGey BBQ Seasoning Injector for Meat, Electric Marinade Injector Kit

EnweGey BBQ Seasoning Injector for Meat, Electric Marinade Injector Kit with LED LCD Display and 10 Injector Needles, for Grilling, Baking and Cooking,Rechargeable

If you feel that flavoring your meats for roasting or smoking is too much of a chore, then this electric meat injector is sure to lighten your load.  This easy-to-assemble tool is made of food grade silicone tube with a double-needle hole and powered by electricity; it gives you enough power to push the flavorings deep into your steak, chicken, lamb or any meats with little to no effort.  Cleanup is easy as well: just rinse the tube for two minutes to flush out any remaining marinade.

PROS

  • less effort
  • easy to clean
  • good grip

CONS

  • requires access to electricity

  • costy

#2.  Best Budget-Friendly: HongYitime Plastic Marinade Injector Syringe

Plastic Marinade Injector Syringe with Screw-on Meat Needle,Turkey Injector for Beef Chicken Grill Cooking

Producing well-flavored meats shouldn’t break the bank, and this handy little device helps you do just that. It’s made with 100% food-grade materials; from its stainless steel marinade needle and plunger rod, eco-friendly plastic syringe barrel, handles and pump plate, to its BPA-free and FDA-compliant silicone seals.  Use this bbq meat injector to infuse butter, wine and sauces into your beef brisket, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, goose and duck for your barbecue, whether in your backyard or during your beach vacation.

PROS

  • affordable,
  • easily transportable
  • easy to use

CONS

  • plastic may crack in time

#3. Best Value: SHEbaking Meat Tenderizer Tool with Ultra Sharp Stainless Steel Needle Blades

Shebaking Meat Tenderizer Tool with Ultra Sharp Stainless Steel Needle Blades Flavor Marinade Meat Injector Syringe for Steak Beef Turkey Pork Chicken

Tenderize your meat and inject flavors both at the same time, while significantly reducing cooking time with this nifty two-in-one gadget. The ergonomically-designed meat tenderizer with its comfortable, non-slip handle and twenty-seven sharp stainless steel prongs is easy to use and control while its three-ounce meat injector with three needle-like applicators efficiently administer sauces and marinades into the meat.

PROS

  • affordable
  • two-in-one

CONS

  • has issues on leaking

#4.  Best Control: The SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun

The SpitJack Magnum Meat Injector Gun - Complete Kit with Case

If you want the ultimate in bbq meat injector control, then this meat injector kit may be right up your alley. This gun-style marinade meat injector with a squeeze-handle design enables you to easily reach up to 5.5 inches into the meat, while a patented dial regulates the flow of the marinade you are injecting.  The kit comes with four needles: the one with the closed end and perforated sides is good for injecting pure liquids, the one with the slanted tip is good for injective marinades with small spice or herb particles, the one with the over-sized opening facilitates injection of marinades with larger particles, and the one with a smaller, thinner gauge needle is great for smaller cuts of meat. 

PROS

  •  lessens hand fatigue
  •  versatile
  • greater control than syringe-style injectors

CONS

  • may be hard to clean

#5. Best as Gift: Ofargo Stainless Steel Meat Injector Syringe

Ofargo Stainless Steel Meat Injector Syringe with 3 Marinade Injector Needles for BBQ Grill Smoker, 2-oz Large Capacity, Including Paper User Manual, Recipe E-Book (Download PDF)

If you have an avid cook in your life, this heavy duty meat injector kit made with medical-grade stainless steel and safe silicone is simply the best present for any occasion!  It comes with three kinds of needles: a six-inch angled cut for injecting chunkier marinades into large cuts of meat, a six-inch needle with twelve holes for administering  finer brine or puree into thick meat, and a three-inch needle with a small hole for injecting liquid sauce into thinner cuts of meat.  The kit also comes in an elegant box that’s great for gifting and stores easily inside kitchen cabinets or cupboards.

PROS

  • affordable
  • heavy duty
  • easy to clean

CONS

  • may be difficult to assemble

#6.  Best Overall: Grill BEAST - 304 Stainless Steel Meat Injector Kit

Grill BEAST - 304 Stainless Steel Meat Injector Kit with 2-oz Large Capacity Barrel and 3 Professional Marinade Needles

Crafted with 304-grade stainless steel which makes it a highly durable gadget. Its sharp and sturdy needles are designed to easily puncture tough or thick cuts of any meat or poultry, while its heavy-duty marinade injector plunger provides improved pressure control, and a three-ring handle gives the user a better grip. Its spacious two-ounce barrel is also one of its selling points. Because of its considerable capacity, constant refills are no longer necessary. 

PROS

  • heavy-duty
  • easy to use
  • easy to clean

CONS

  • none detected

Why Do You Need a Meat Injector

As I mentioned earlier, flavoring meat can be done by rubbing flavorings on its surface and leaving it for two hours, or by soaking it in marinade overnight in the refrigerator to let flavors seep into the meat.

Now, don't get me wrong. While these traditional merit and are still widely practiced there are downsides to these approaches.

Unless you tenderize the meat properly, it would remain impermeable and most liquid marinades will not be able to penetrate its inner flesh. As a result, the meat’s insides remain dry and bland. That's the reason why it is recommended to let the meat stay with the marinade for several hours. 

A meat injector eliminates most of those hassles.  It basically allows you to force your way inside the meat. You don't have to wait for many hours before the marinade occupies the entire meat. Just inject the meat with the needle, and you can guarantee that you can flavor the meat properly. 

Depending on the needles used, meat injectors can also allow tiny spices to be packed and delivered in the interiors of your meat which can spell the difference in the flavor of the meat. We all know that this is difficult or impossible with ordinary marination.

What to Look for the Best Meat Injector

Capacity

One of the basic things that you need to consider when you are choosing a meat injector is its capacity. Of course, this is a preferential aspect. For home applications, injectors with small barrels are already acceptable. It wouldn't hurt you if you invest in such units. 

But for commercial purposes, you really need injectors with large tanks. They will allow you to work continuously without the need of refilling from time to time. Moreover, they can speed up your pace, which is already a plus factor.

Needle Size

You should also pay attention the size of the needle. As you have seen on the meat injectors that I have featured, most of them come with different needles. Each of the needles has different design and sizes to cater various tasks.

Specifically, needles that have slim or thin dimensions are great for liquid-type marinades (e.g. liquid butter and olive oil). On the other hand, thick needles are great for injecting marinades that contain spices and herbs. Therefore, it would be great if the meat injector you choose has all of these amenities. 

Final Verdict

Among all the meat injectors I featured, the Grill Beast 304 Stainless Steel Meat Injector Kit is indeed the highlight reel as it is a complete package. All the necessary needles are already available in this kit which make it a cost-efficient option.

Grill BEAST - 304 Stainless Steel Meat Injector Kit with 2-oz Large Capacity Barrel and 3 Professional Marinade Needles


This unit is also very well constructed. The food-grade 304 stainless steel ensures that your meat will remain safe for consumption. Meanwhile, the liquid capacity of this device very well-suited for home and small-scale applications. 

With all these features considered, I can say that this is the best meat injector right now.

But for you, which of these meat injectors do you think have the upper hand? Tell me all your answers in the comment section below!

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Tough Meat Problems? Get The Best Meat Tenderizer Tool Now!

Some meats are just plain tough, but they can still be extremely delicious with the help of a meat tenderizer. It is one of the best-kept secrets in the restaurant business to buy cheap steaks and turn them into delicacies. Use a meat tenderizer tool, and let the marinade permeate.

Tough meat deserves special treatment. It needs to get tenderized to bring out the flavors. In short, this is the process of elevating the steak to another level. It will not turn flank steak into filet mignon, but the difference will be impressive. Don’t go overboard though or, you might end up with mushy meat.

It is not wise to cook meat if it is not tender. Even recipes like jerkies will require you to choose a lean and moderately soft cut of meat. It is not fun to chew on tough meat regardless of how delicious it is.

Boiling is one method of softening the meat. It is effective, but the time you need to devote to this process is pretty long. You can also use salt or some sort of acidic ingredient like lemon or vinegar, but those also take time. If you want something that is quick and efficient, you should get the best meat tenderizer tool. With this amenity, you can pound any type of meat until its fibers soften. Once it does, cooking the meat would become a lot easier.

I have listed some of the finest options for a meat tenderizer below. It would be great if you can check each of these units and see which one of them do you think can make any arrogant meat yield down! Let's get started.

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