The Best Drum Smokers

The Best Drum Smokers

Unleash your inner BBQ Hero with one of the best drum smokers on the market! These versatile and durable smokers are perfect for creating mouth-watering smoky flavor. Whether you’re a grilling pro or a beginner, drum smokers are the best tool for creating delicious slow-cooked meals.

The Best Drum Smokers

Are you ready to take your backyard BBQ game to the next level? Look no further than a drum smoker! These compact and efficient units offer a simple and reliable way to make your meals extra special. Whether you’re smoking a brisket or grilling poultry, a drum smoker will help you nail that perfect meal.

But what sets drum smokers apart from the rest?

Unlike a heavy-duty industrial-sized smoker, a drum smoker offers a unique low-tech option. Also known as an “ugly drum smoker” they do have a less-than-sleek appearance. Yet, their compact size and efficiency make them a favorite among backyard BBQ enthusiasts.

Don’t let their appearance fool you, once you taste the hot and appetizing meat from a drum smoker, you won’t think twice about how it looks. With a drum smoker, you simply ignite a fire at the bottom and place the meat on the top grill, cooking it to perfection. It’s that simple!

More and more homeowners are seeking convenience in their BBQ experiences. That’s why drum smokers have become more and more popular! If you’re considering buying one, we’ve curated a list of the best drum smokers to help you through the process.

Get ready to impress your loved ones with delicious, smokey meals! Read on to find the perfect drum smoker for you!


Our Picks: The Best Drum Smokers

  1. Best Overall: Classic Pit Barrel Cooker – 18.5 Inch Drum Smoker
  2. Best Runner-Up: Big Bad Barrel Pit Drum Smoker
  3. Editor’s Pick: RealCook Vertical 17 Inch Steel Drum Smoker
  4. Best Luxury: Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Pro Drum Smoker
  5. Best Luxury Runner-Up: Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
  6. Best For Beginners: Char-Broil Bullet Pit Barrel Cooker
  7. Best Budget Friendly: Barton Barrel Drum Smoker BBQ Grill

/Best Overall/

Classic Pit Barrel Cooker – 18.5 Inch Drum Smoker

The Classic Pit Barrel Cooker is a must-have for any BBQ enthusiast! Made by a well-known brand and veteran-owned US business. These guys understand the importance of “set it and forget it” cooking! This 18.5″ drum smoker makes smoking meat a breeze.

It features a durable stainless steel exterior and a porcelain-coated interior. Built to last and super easy to clean. The assembly process is also super straightforward. You can start smoking your favorite meats and veggies in no time.

With simple controls and functions, even a beginner can use this smoker with ease. The 360-degree heat dynamics guarantee that you will cook your food to perfection every time. And with a perfect smoky flavor throughout no doubt!

This unit is also great for large households and entertainers. It has the ability to smoke up to 8 rib racks or 2-3 briskets at the same time!

The Pit Barrel Cooker Classic Package comes with a variety of accessories. These include 2 hanging rods, 8 stainless steel hooks, and a hook remover tool. All this flexibility allows you to make your experience your own. Plus, a standard grill grate and a charcoal basket are also included. This package is an all-in-one solution for all your smoking needs.

What we liked
  • Durable construction
  • Large cooking area
  • Easy to maintain
What we didn’t like
  • No door to access the charcoal basket
  • Lid heats up fast

/Best Runner-Up/

Big Bad Barrel Pit Drum Smoker

The Big Bad Barrel Pit Drum Smoker is a multifunction smoker. It’s perfect for all your smoking and grilling needs! You can use it as both a drum smoker and a BBQ fire pit grill. And, it comes with an adjustable cooking rack that lets you hang meat or even cook pizza!

It’s perfect for parties, tailgating, beaches, and parks. Plus, unlike solid barrels, this 2-piece barrel can be easily taken apart. This makes it super portable and easy to set up wherever you go.

The Big Bad Barrel comes with various accessories to make your grilling experience even better. It comes with 6 stainless steel hooks, 3 utensils, an independent charcoal pit, and a standard stainless steel grilling rack. This should be all you need to get started.

We love that it heats consistently to perfect smoking temperatures. And, you can adjust the temperature with the top vent on the lid to get it right. The consistent temperature throughout the barrel creates evenly cooked meats every time. This means that you don’t need to worry about under or over-cooked food.

What we liked
  • Versatile
  • Comes with accessories
  • Easy to transport
What we didn’t like
  • Exterior paint is prone to discoloration

/Editor’s Pick/

RealCook Vertical 17 Inch Steel Drum Smoker

The RealCook Vertical 17 Inch Steel Drum Smoker gives you great control over the cooking process. It’s packed with features that make it a must-have for any outdoor cooking enthusiast.

This unit has a built-in thermometer and an adjustable air vent on the lid. These two features give you greater temperature control than similar models. The water pan and charcoal basket also add to the ease of use and convenience of this smoker. It’s great for smoking, grilling, steaming, baking, braising, or roasting. Plus, you can use this charcoal grill for both charcoal hot smoking and wood pellet cold smoking using a pellet smoker tube.

The RealCook smoker also comes with heat-resistant handles! This means you can move it around and use it without burning yourself. It has two access doors. One is on the upper and one is on the lower section. One door allows you to check on the food you’re smoking, while the other lets you add charcoal to the basket.

It has a total of 453 square inches of cooking space across two chrome-plated steel cooking grates. This smoker has ample space for all your smoking and grilling needs.

What we liked
  • Two easy-access doors
  • Great temperature control
  • Large cooking space
What we didn’t like
  • Not as sturdy as other drum smokers

/Best Luxury/

Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Pro Drum Smoker

The Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Pro Drum Smoker is a heavy-duty smoker packed with features. making it a top choice for any outdoor cooking enthusiast. As one of the best luxury not-so-ugly-drum-smokers, the Oklahoma Joe Bronco Pro is a great choice.

It boasts a large 21.5-inch cooking surface and a 17-pound fuel capacity. This large fuel capacity space allows for up to 16 hours of burning charcoal. Meaning you can smoke large amounts of meat at one time.

It has a unique airflow control system with adjustable intake and exhaust pipes. This provides consistent and precise control over smoking temperatures. Your food will come out perfect every time!

This smoker also comes with a cooking grate, 3 meat hangers, 9 meat hooks, and a heat diffuser. The heat diffuser allows for great flexibility so you can smoke the way you want to. Plus, the large ash pan, porcelain-coated components, and drain cap make cleaning a breeze. With heavy-gauge steel construction, you’ll be investing in durability that’s built to last.

The Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Pro Drum Smoker is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a high-quality, heavy-duty smoker. Especially for professional smoking. With its large cooking surface, unique airflow control system, and easy clean-up features, this smoker is sure to be a hit at your next BBQ or outdoor gathering. Plus, its portability makes it convenient to take on road trips, camping, or even to your next BBQ competition!

What we liked
  • Oversized charcoal basket
  • Portable smoker
  • Easy cooking temperature control
What we didn’t like
  • Higher price point
  • Cannot easily add charcoal mid-cook

/Best Luxury Runner-Up/

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is a convenient smoker. You get the convenience of a vertical smoker with the performance of a drum smoker. Though not technically a drum smoker, it works almost the same way. It has a large cooking space, easy charcoal access, and precision temperature control.

This smoker is sure to be a hit at your next BBQ or outdoor gathering. Plus, its porcelain-enameled water pan helps add steam to the smoking process. Your meat will stay moist and tender throughout the whole process.

The four aluminum-lined dampers give you more control over airflow and heat through the unit. This makes it an elite-level drum smoker without the steep learning curve. Plus, the built-in lid thermometer allows you to track internal temperatures. You’ll know your food will be cooked to perfection every time.

We love the plated steel grill grates that give you a generous 481 square inches of cooking space. And the side door with easy charcoal access makes it easy to control the cooking temperature. All in all, the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is a great choice for anyone looking for a high-quality, vertical smoker that will last for years to come.

What we liked
  • Easy to use
  • Durable construction
  • Charcoal access door
  • Adjustable air intake
What we didn’t like
  • Does not include hooks for hanging meat like most vertical smokers

/Best For Beginners/

Char-Broil Bullet Pit Barrel Cooker

The Char-Broil Bullet Pit Barrel Cooker is the perfect smoker for beginners. It’s packed with features that make it a must-have for any outdoor cooking enthusiast.

The Char-Broil Cooker has 370 square inches of cooking surface across 2 porcelain-coated cooking grates. This gives you lots of
space to smoke your favorite meats and veggies. The unique airflow control system makes controlling temperature easy. It has numbered damper settings for easily controlling heat and smoke.

The porcelain-coated body of the smoker is durable and the removable ash pan makes for quick and easy cleanup. If you are new to drum smokers and want to learn how they work, this is the perfect smoker to start with. Get your hands on the Char-Broil Bullet Cooker today. Start enjoying mouth-watering, smoked meats and veggies!

What we liked
  • Easy to use
  • Budget-friendly
What we didn’t like
  • Not a true drum smoker

/Best Budget Friendly/

Barton Barrel Drum Smoker BBQ Grill

The Barton Barrel Drum Smoker BBQ Grill is a great smoker for beginners. Especially those on a budget who don’t want to give up quality. It’s big enough to handle large cuts of meat and tall enough to hang a turkey. Space won’t be a concern with this unit.

Plus, this lightweight model makes it easy to move around and set up wherever you go. It’s a great companion on camping trips or tailgating parties. It even comes equipped with 6 stainless steel hooks and 3 utensils! You’ll have everything you need to start smoking your favorite meats and veggies.

The Barton Barrel Drum Smoker BBQ Grill is the perfect choice for anyone looking for an affordable portable smoker. Especially one that’s built to last. With its large cooking space, adjustable cooking rack, and easy-to-clean features, this smoker is sure to be a hit at your next outdoor gathering.

What we liked
  • Budget-friendly
  • Comes with accessories
  • Portable
What we didn’t like
  • Difficult to control temperature

Our Results For The Best Drum Smokers

There’s a lot to love about drum smokers. Especially the mouth-watering smokey flavor they create. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, a drum smoker is an excellent addition to your backyard lineup. Here’s a recap of the best drum smokers on the market today!

  1. Best Overall: Classic Pit Barrel Cooker – 18.5 Inch Drum Smoker
    “durable stainless steel exterior and porcelain-coated interior. this drum smoker is built to last and is super easy to clean”
  2. Best Runner-Up: Big Bad Barrel Pit Drum Smoker
    “adjustable cooking rack that lets you hang meat or even cook pizza!”
  3. Editor’s Pick: RealCook Vertical 17 Inch Steel Drum Smoker
    “two access doors, one on the upper and one on the lower”
  4. Best Luxury: Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco Pro Drum Smoker
    “large fuel capacity space allows for up to 16 hours of burning charcoal”
  5. Best Luxury Runner-Up: Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
    “convenience of a vertical smoker with the performance of a drum smoker”
  6. Best For Beginners: Char-Broil Bullet Pit Barrel Cooker
    “370 sq in cooking surface across 2 porcelain-coated cooking grates”
  7. Best Budget Friendly: Barton Barrel Drum Smoker BBQ Grill
    “the perfect smoker for those who are looking for a budget-friendly option without compromising on quality”

Things To Consider When Buying A Drum Smoker

When it comes to buying a good drum smoker, there are a few key factors to consider to make sure that you get the best smoker for your needs. This includes the size and cooking space, portability, temperature monitoring and regulation, and the presence of extra features like wheels, handles, and ash pans.

Size and Cooking Space

The size of the drum smoker is proportional to the cooking capacity. If you want to buy one for your backyard, consider the amount of food you usually prepare. Choose a size that’s right for you.

When looking at the cooking space you can also consider the number of grates and their size. Some drum smokers come with one cooking grate and room to hang meat. Others come with two or more grates that you can stack vertically.

You should also consider the diameter of these cooking grates. Larger grates will give you more room to work with. A cooking grate diameter of 14-18 inches is generally suitable for moderate-sized families.

Portability

Another important factor to consider is the portability of the smoker. If you plan to take your smoker to parties, tailgates, or camping trips, then portability is a must.

Look for a smoker that is lightweight and easy to move around. Portability factors you can consider are the presence of wheels and handles. Or, the ability to take the smoker apart into 2-3 barrel sections.

If you plan on only using your drum smoker at home, then a portable barrel smoker shouldn’t be a make-or-break decision-maker for you.

Temperature Monitoring and Regulation

Temperature monitoring and regulation are important factors. Especially for ensuring that your food comes out perfectly cooked.

Look for a smoker with a built-in thermometer and an airflow control system. This will allow you to check and adjust the internal temperature with ease.

A good airflow control system will have numbered damper settings. This makes it easy to control the heat and smoke. Plus, a built-in thermometer will allow you to watch the cooking temperatures of the smoker as you adjust the dampers.

Price

When it comes to buying a drum smoker, price is an important consideration. Drum smokers can range in price from around $100 to several thousand dollars.

It’s important to set a budget and stick to it. But also keep in mind that the cheapest option may not be the best drum smoker option or have the features you need.

It’s also worth noting that a more expensive smoker may be worth the investment. Especially if it has features that will make your smoking experience better.

Warranty

Another important thing to consider is the warranty that comes with the smoker. A good warranty can give you peace of mind and protect your investment in case something goes wrong with the smoker. It also signifies the manufacturer’s confidence in the drum smoker they are selling.

Look for a smoker that comes with a warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship. Some manufacturers also offer extended warranty options that you can buy.

Additional Features

Everyone loves convenience! Having a drum smoker with extra features is convenient and will give you a better experience. Consider the presence of the following features before making your final decision.

Wheels

If portability is important, consider a drum smoker with wheels! Not all drum smokers will have built-in wheels. In fact, most don’t. This is because drum smokers aren’t usually advertised as portable charcoal smokers. If you want to bring your new drum smoker along on your adventures, wheels are a good idea.

Safety Handles

Many drum smokers have handles, but they will often get too hot to touch without fire-safe gloves. However, a few models feature cool-to-touch handles with nylon that keep you from burns. Opt for those if you don’t like wearing oven mitts or BBQ gloves during cooking.

Ash Collection

An ash pan is a convenient addition because it makes cleaning up much easier. Instead of having to sweep out the ash and debris, you can remove the pan and dispose of the ash and charcoal residue.


How To Use A Drum Smoker

Drum and barrel smokers add to your BBQ experience, but only if you know how to use them properly! Here are a few handy tips for seamless cooking with most drum smokers!

Start with a clean smoker

Before smoking, make sure to clean the smoker. Remove any ash or debris from the previous use. This will ensure that the smoker is ready for use and will not affect the taste of your food.

Use the right fuel

Charcoal is a popular choice for smoking, but you can also add flavored wood chunks or pellets in a smoker tube. Experiment with different types of fuel to find the one that gives you the best results.

Control the temperature

Temperature control is key to smoking. Use the vents on the smoker to control the temperature and keep it within an optimal range (225-250F) for smoking.

Moisten the meat

To keep the meat moist and tender, you can add a water pan to the smoker to increase humidity. Professional grill masters will often also spray the meat with a spray bottle filled with water or apple juice.

Use a thermometer

A meat thermometer is essential for monitoring the internal temperature of the meat. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your meat is cooked to the desired temperature and is safe to eat.

Be patient

Smoking can take a very long time, so be patient and don’t rush the process. Smoking is a slow process that requires time and patience to achieve the best results.

Keep the lid closed

To maintain the temperature and smoke inside the smoker, keep the lid closed as much as possible. Opening the lid too often will let heat and smoke escape, which will affect the cooking time and flavor of the meat.

Use a drip pan

To catch the juices that fall from the meat and keep the smoker clean, use a drip pan. It will also help to add moisture to the meat.

Experiment with different foods

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of food. Drum smokers can smoke a wide variety of foods. Different types of meats, fish, poultry, vegetables, and even cheeses and fruits are possible.


Best Drum Smokers FAQs

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