The Vertical Smokers As Used For Real Barbecue

The type of vertical smokers described here is the type that's known as a barbecue smoker. Sometimes known as a vertical water smoker, as manufactured by the likes of Weber and Brinkmann. BBQ smoking is a hot smoking process, it is not cold smoking.

Weber Smokey Mountain 2

The most common type of vertical smoker is bullet shaped and either has short legs or stands directly on the ground.

Inside the water smoker, starting from the bottom, there is a pan for the heat source. This is usually charcoal, propane or electricity. If it's a charcoal smoker this is where the charcoal goes. If it's an electric or propane smoker, there will be an electric element, or gas ring.

On top of the this sit the hardwood chips/chunks or wood pellets that are used used to create the smoke.


Slightly above that sits the water pan. This holds the liquid that creates the steam. it's called a water pan but it can hold flavored liquids such as beer, wine, fruit juice, or a mixture.

Above the water pan comes two racks, one above the other, on which the food sits.

Finally comes the dome shaped lid.


In operation, the heat source creates the heat to cook the food and create the smoke, as well as creating the steam to keep the food being smoked nice and moist.

The bbq smoking process is low and slow so you need to be able to control the heat.

With a charcoal smoker this is controlled using vents, the amount of charcoal, and the amount of water.

With propane and electric this is less of a problem.

The main concern when barbeque smoking food is keeping the temperature correct for a long period of time. With a charcoal vertical smoker it definetely makes it easier if it has vents at both the top and bottom. I also suggest that you buy one that has a grid in the bottom of the charcoal pan so that the charcoal sits on this and doesn't block the air flow from the bottom vents. If yours doesn't you can always buy one seperately.


As with most things that you buy, you usually get what you pay for. One of the most popular vertical smokers, and one that I can highly recommend, is the Weber Smokey Mountain.

Related articles:

Horizontal Smokers

Wood Pellets

Pellet Grills

Traeger Grills

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