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Smokers are Hot, Hot, Hot!

Choose the best one for you

Choose the best grill for youStep outside on a weekend in most neighborhoods and you're sure to be met with the tantalizing aroma of barbecues wafting from someone's backyard. Increasingly, that outdoor cooking is being done in a smoker.

Once thought of as a way to preserve meat rather than as a flavor enhancer, smoking has been common throughout the world for centuries. In Colonial America, every household had a smoke house, a practice which continued for most rural families until just a few generations ago. With the advent of readily available refrigeration to preserve foods, home smoking went by the wayside and people began to rely on commercial smoking facilities to turn out their smoked hams, bacon, sausage and other specialties such as smoked-cured salmon.

Now smoke cooking is back with a vengeance. Smokers are one of the hottest trends in barbecue equipment and outdoor chefs are eager to learn the techniques that will qualify them as blue ribbon smokers.

Of course, smoking never completely disappeared and there is a core of committed pitmasters who have steadily proclaimed that only smoke cooking qualifies as barbecuing. Needless to say, among smoking enthusiasts strong opinions prevail regarding the best equipment, best fuel and best technique. Some experts have smokers customized to meet their own expectations.

Most barbecuers start their trek into smoking by simply adding a handful of wood chips to their regular charcoal or gas grill. They find it produces a distinctly delicious flavor and they're hooked.

Introducing wood chips and smoker trays is a great way to introduce your customers to smokers. And once they find that it's some of the best fare ever cooked over the coals, they might decide its time to take the plunge and purchase the specialty equipment that will enable them to tackle smoking fulltime.

Fortunately, there's a wide range of equipment to suit every need and every budget, from the less expensive smoker grills readily available at mass merchandising outlets and discount outlets to the premier versions likely to be found in patio shops. From water smokers to kamado smokers and pit smokers, there is a wide variety to meet all of your customers' needs and introduce them to a new way to enjoy barbecue for their backyard.

Donna Myers, president/CEO of DHM Group in Colts Neck, N.J., is a well-known promoter of the grill industry.


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