by Joe Henry | June 27, 2017
The first step on the path to cooking meat the way it was meant to be cooked is firing up an old-fashioned charcoal barbecue. But when your award winners are ready to take the next step on the path to backyard greatness -- when they want something that can tenderize even the toughest cuts -- they'll want a smoker. As the name implies, smokers cook meat low and slow with smoke, which keeps it moist and delectable, and infuses it with a distinct flavor, depending on the type of wood you select. 

For an entry-level option, there's the GrillPro Traditional Style smoker. It has two grids, each 16 inches in diameter, a lid with a heat indicator, and a charcoal bowl. As smokers go, it's a great option for someone who's just learning how to use a smoker -- though it's probably best suited for hamburgers or briskets. Still, it's a great option for outdoor cooks still working out the complex art of smoking meats. It's available through Incentive Concepts.

Another great smoker for beginners, available through Rymax Marketing Services, is Weber-Stephen's Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker. This one is about 14 inches in diameter, with 296 square inches of total cooking surface. It also is solidly built that can maintain temperatures consistently for a length of time. Given its size, the Smokey Mountain Cooker is definitely the perfect cooking tool for small or medium-sized gatherings, or on-the-go events like tailgaiting. It is also available in 18-inch and 22-inch sizes through Weber's special markets program.

Finally, Masterbuilt, which is one of Maritz Motivation Solutions' best-selling brands in the category, has numerous grilling and smoker options. Award winners who want a lot of cooking space, they can't do much better than the Masterbuilt 30 inch digital electric smoker, which can handle up to 80 pounds of meat. Plug it in, set the controls, put wood chips in the side-loading slot, and let the smoke roll on. As Ron Swanson would say, "You had me at "80 pounds of meat."