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Your grill or smoker and the BBQ tools to go with it are an investment. Especially if you are a frequent outdoor cooker and want quality things that will last. So, it only makes sense to do what you can to protect them and extend their life as much as possible. After all, you don’t want to have to be replacing things every year. 

If you’re wondering how to make your grill last longer, along with all of the BBQ accessories you use, we’ve got everything you need to know. By following the suggestions below, you can keep cooking with much less worry about what you’re going to have to replace next.


Keep Everything Clean

A build-up of food residue, grease, and carbon is your grill and tools’ worst enemy. So, being proactive and keeping everything clean is critical to extending the life of your equipment. Make sure you are taking the time to properly clean your grill.

Before and after you use your grill or smoker, crank up the heat and use a metal-bristle grill brush or ball of aluminum foil to clean off any leftover food particulars and build-up. Then, if you are frequently using your grill, do a deep cleaning every 4 to 5 months.

Avoid harsh chemicals and save money on expensive cleaners by making your own homemade natural grill cleaner.


how to make your grill last longer | extend the life of your grill | cleaning grill


Keeping the food grates of your grill or smoker clean will not only help them last longer but will also help ensure your food tastes good. A leftover build-up of grease and carbon can cause your cooker to smoke more (not the good smoke), tainting the taste of your food. It can even cause a flare-up in your grill, which will totally ruin anything you’ve got in there.

Make sure to also thoroughly clean and dry your tools after each use to reduce the chance of them wearing down too soon as well. The last thing you want to do is go to cook and discover that your tongs or spatula have rusted.

Important note: If you are going to use a metal bristle brush, use a high-quality stainless steel or copper bristle brush. The bristles in cheaper brushes can become loose, stick to the grates, and end up in your food. Always make sure to use a damp paper towel to wipe down the grates after brushing to ensure any loose bristles are picked up.


Make Sure Your Cooker is Seasoned

An important part of helping extend the life of your grill or smoker is to ensure it is properly seasoned before use. Moisture and premature wear will quickly break down your grill grates and the interior of the cooker. Keeping it seasoned will protect your grill, prevent food from sticking, and make cleaning easier in between cooks. 

You always want to season a brand new grill before using it and also after you deep-clean your grill. It’s also a good idea to re-season it occasionally if you’ve been cooking frequently. Especially if you notice food starting to stick more than usual. 

When it’s time to season your cooker, coat the grates and interior of your grill with a high-heat-resistant oil like canola oil. Then, turn up the heat on your cooker to high-heat and let it sit for about 30 to 40 minutes. 

One easy method to quickly re-season your grill is to turn up the cooker’s heat, cut an onion in half, dip it in the oil, and rub it over the grates before adding your food.


seasoning grill | how to make your grill last longer | extend the life of your grill


Store Everything Properly

Properly storing your BBQ tools and your cooker itself will help keep everything protected from the elements that can quickly break down metal items and components. Many tools and parts of your grill are usually made of stainless steel. While stainless steel is more resistant to rust than other metals, it is not completely immune to it. 

So, storing everything properly will involve several things:

  • Cover your cooker: The natural elements can quickly wear down the exterior of your grill. So, invest in a good quality grill cover to keep your cooker protected between uses. Keeping your grill covered can add years to its life.
  • Store your grill properly: If you are going to be storing your cooker away for the winter or for a while without use, keeping it covered with a grill cover outside may not be enough to properly protect it. Prep it for storage and, if possible, store your grill in a garage or shed.  
  • Keep accessories put away when not in use: The same things go with your BBQ tools and accessories. Many of these things are metal also. So, it’s just as important to keep these protected from the elements when not in use. 


Only Use Tools For What They Were Intended For

One of the fastest ways of damaging or breaking BBQ tools is to try and use them for things that they were not intended for. For example, using your metal spatula to try and lift up the grill grates. So, to get the full life expectancy of your tools, only use them for their intended purpose. 


Check Parts & Tools Frequently

It’s important to perform regular checks on all of the components of your grill or smoker. are important. Yes, a cooker will probably still work even if one or two parts are damaged but that can further degrade the unit and even lead to dangerous usage. So, inspect your cooker often and if something needs to be repaired or replaced, don’t wait. Fixing small issues now will prevent larger, more costly issues later.

You also want to be checking your cooker and tools for any early signs of rust and eliminating it as soon as you notice it. Rust can be removed fairly easily if caught early and will prevent it from spreading. 


cleaning grill | how to make your grill last longer | extend the life of your grill


Also, if you are using a metal grill brush, check that the bristles are not starting to come loose and fall out. If they are, throw it out and buy a new one.


Have a Dedicated Space for Outdoor Cooking

If you are grilling or smoking often, it will be advantageous to the life of your cooker if you set up a dedicated outdoor cooking area. The space needs to be somewhere where you don’t have to worry about chemicals from the lawn, a pool, or even natural elements from trees. All of these things can damage your grill. So, make your own grilling space to give you a place to enjoy cooking while also keeping your grill protected.


Use Your Cooker

Like any appliance or machine, your cooker will operate best when it’s actually being used regularly. So, enjoy some time outside and fire up your grill often. This will not only keep everything running smoothly but also allow you to check for any issues with components that may need to be addressed. 


You Can Extend the Life Of Your Cooking Investments

By following the simple things above, you can extend the life of your BBQ tools and cooker. The biggest take-aways to remember are to keep things clean and protected. In doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor cooking much longer!

Do you have a trick you use to help protect your grill? Have you come up with a creative way to store your BBQ tools? Let us know below in the comments. We want to hear from you!


Want to learn how to really put your grill to good use and up your backyard cooking game? Check out our Championship Backyard Cooking Classes here at BBQ Champs Academy. You can learn directly from Champion Grillmaster and Pitmasters how to cook a variety of different BBQ favorites.

If you want to take it up a level with the pros and get all the best smoking and grilling techniques, competition-BBQ tips, and more, get your All-Access pass now for our one-of-kind online BBQ cooking classes. Start cooking like the pros today! 

Also, Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see recaps of all the latest competition BBQ news and get insider info straight from the Champions Pitmasters and Grillmasters.

Are you wanting to expand your barbecue skills and tackle cooking a large piece of meat? Try your hand at cooking on a rotisserie grill or smoker attachment. This tool opens up the possibilities of what you can cook and makes cooking even entire animals easy.

Sometimes referred to as spit roasting, rotisserie cooking on a grill can be done on gas grills, charcoal kettle grills, or smokers. Many of the grill manufacturers now make rotisserie attachment kits that can be easily mounted to the cooker. So, this type of cooking can be done using propane gas, charcoal, wood, or even infrared as your fuel source. 

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into using a rotisserie grill or smoker and give you some must-know tips on how to use a rotisserie grill, ensuring your rotisserie cooking is successful.


How Does A Rotisserie Grill Work?

The main component of a rotisserie is a long metal rod that sits horizontally across the grill. Your meat goes on this rod and is suspended over the heat source. The rod itself is referred to as either a spit or skewer (or you may even hear “turn spit”). Then, large metal forks or prongs at either end of the food item secures it to the spit so it stays in place. 

Within the closed chamber of the grill or smoker, the spit is turned at a constant speed over the heat, either by an attached motor or by hand, roasting the attached meat. This allows your food to cook evenly at the same degree of heat the entire time it is cooking, which will often be quicker than slow cooking the traditional way directly on the grates.

Because the meat is being turned constantly, it bastes itself through the whole cooking process while it is being slowly roasted. This creates some of the most succulent pieces of meat you’ll cook. The exterior of your food on the spit will sear quickly and lock in all of the natural juices while it cooks to temperature on the interior.

As we mentioned above, rotisseries are generally used for cooking large cuts of meat, entire animals, or even whole fruits. (See more on what you can cook below!) 


parts of a rotisserie attachment | rotisserie grill | rotisserie smoker
Source: Weber Grills


Using the Right Rotisserie

There are a variety of different options when it comes to how to cook on a rotisserie. Most of the time you’ll see the horizontal rotisserie attachments that are made by several different companies to fit into your existing grill or smoker. For example, Char‑Broil offers a universal electric rotisserie attachment that can fit a variety of grill models, from two to six-burner sizes.

But, there are also portable, stand-alone rotisseries that have a battery-powered spit motor. These make for great outdoor cooking while camping or at tailgate get-togethers and similar events.

No matter what type of rotisserie you are using, it is important to make sure the one you get will turn at a constant speed without interruption. This is critical to ensuring that your meat sears properly and is cooked evenly and quickly.


Tips for Rotisserie Cooking on a Grill or Smoker Successfully

Though cooking on a rotisserie grill is fairly easy overall, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help ensure you do it successfully. These include:

  • Keep things equal:

    You want to make sure your food is sized as equal as possible from end to end on the spit rod. This will keep things consistent and even while cooking.

  • Make sure it’s centered and balanced:

    The food should always be centered and balanced on the spit. If it is not, your food won’t cook evenly and it can put excess strain on the spit motor since it won’t turn smoothly. After putting your meat on the spit, roll the spit in your hands before putting it on the grill to check the balance.

  • Tie up the meat:

    Use butcher’s twine to truss (tie up) the meat to prevent any of the meat from falling apart or burnt chicken wings or legs etc. Make sure to trim any excess twine with scissors and do not use cotton twine. The cotton will burn very quickly.

  • Indirect heat is the key:

    Make sure that the food is not directly over the heat source. You want the coals on the other side of the grill or the burners to the side of the meat on.

  • Keep the lid closed:

    The lid of your grill or smoker needs to be kept closed as much as possible during your cook. This allows the convection currents to cook your food evenly.

  • Use a drip pan:

    Make sure to place an aluminum drip pan below the meat with a little bit of water in it to collect drippings and reduce flare-ups. Beer, fruit juice, and even wine can also be added to the pan for extra flavor infusion with the meat. You can even put vegetables (onions, etc.) in the pan and use what’s left in the pan after cooking to make a gravy.

  • Check the speed:

    Some rotisseries allow you to adjust the rotating speed of the spit. A speed setting of 4 to 6 rpm (revolutions per minute) is good for cooking smaller meats like chicken, ribs, etc. A lower speed, from 1 to 3 rpm, is best for larger items like a whole pig.

  • Be careful with sugar:

    Even though the meat is self-basting on a rotisserie, barbecue sauce or rubs can still add any additional flavors you may want. If you go with a sugar-based sauce, wait until the last ten minutes to brush it on. Sugar will char quickly and can cause the exterior of your meat to burn if done too early.

  • Cook to temperature:

    Like when grilling directly on grill grates, the air temperatures, wind, and humidity can affect how long it takes to cook. So, you’ll still want to have a good instant-read meat thermometer on hand. It can be harder to test the temperature of the meat when cooking with a rotisserie. To avoid overcooking, about 15 to 20 minutes before your estimated cook time is up stop the rotisserie motor and test the meat’s internal temperature.

  • Keep the fuel going:

    There is not much checking or flipping needed when rotisserie cooking, so just make sure the fire stays consistent through the whole cook.

  • Let it rest:

    Don’t immediately start carving the meat after you take it off the rotisserie. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the interior juices to settle, keeping the meat tender and making the carving easier.


What Can You Cook on a Rotisserie Grill?


cooking on a rotisserie grill | rotisserie grill | rotisserie smoker

Source: Dad Cooks Dinner


Rotisserie grills make it possible to cook a wide variety of things, even large meats and multiple things at the same time, to a delicious and tender finish. And you can do it without it taking hours and hours. Here are some of the things you can cook on a rotisserie grill or smoker:

  • Whole chicken
  • Whole turkey
  • Ribs
  • Prime rib
  • Pork roast
  • Brisket
  • Whole pineapple
  • Legs of lamb
  • Whole pig


Add a Rotisserie to Your Grilling Toolbox

Using a rotisserie attachment on your grill or smoker (or even getting a dedicated rotisserie cooker) is a great way to expand your outdoor cooking repertoire. As you can see, a rotisserie grill makes cooking large pieces of meat and even whole fruit easy. Follow our tips above to turn out some deliciously tender meat!

Do you cook on a rotisserie? Have a favorite when it comes to cooking on a rotisserie grill? Let us know in the comments below. We want to hear from you!


If you are interested in learning even more outdoor cooking techniques and BBQ secrets straight from the pros, join us here at BBQ Champs Academy. Our one-of-kind online BBQ cooking classes with Champion Grillmasters and Pitmasters will show you exactly how to cook everything from a deliciously cooked brisket to a perfectly grilled steak and more.

Make sure and also check out and subscribe to the BBQ Champs Academy YouTube channel. You can catch all the latest competition BBQ news and insider info straight from the pros!

* Feature image from SeriousEats.com

If you’ve ever been to a teppanyaki restaurant or a diner where they were cooking on a flat-top then you’ve seen a griddle. But, cooking on a flat-top griddle is not just reserved for restaurants anymore. Over the last several years, outdoor griddle grills have been growing in popularity in backyards throughout the country.

Many people will agree, metal flat top griddles make for excellent outdoor cooking stations, providing the opportunity to easily cook a variety of different foods. 

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about cooking on a griddle grill and why you might want to give this method of cooking a try.


What is a Griddle Grill Exactly?

When used indoors, commercial-grade flat top griddles require extensive ventilation systems that can pull the heat and smoke out as well as a natural gas supply. But, as manufacturing in outdoor cooking grills has evolved, we’ve seen a rise in what is now commonly known as a griddle grill, further expanding the possibilities of outdoor cooking in your own backyard.

The main component of these grills is one flat, uncoated steel cooking surface. This surface will usually also include a raised lip that helps contain oil and juices. When it comes to things to cook on a griddle grill, the possibilities are endless. You can cook all types of meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, pizza, and even desserts.

Griddle grills can come in a variety of sizes. From 17” long table-top models with a single burner to a 36” long backyard griddle grill from Blackstone with four individually controlled heat zones, putting out a combined 60,000 BTUs. 

If you don’t want to purchase a whole dedicated griddle grill, there are also grill-top griddle plates available. These plates can sit right on top of part of the grates of your traditional charcoal or propane grill. With this setup, you can combine the advantages of cooking on a griddle with the delicious taste imparted from wood smoke.

Griddle plates can come in a variety of different types of metal including cast aluminum, cast iron, modern alloy. There are even some made out of salt blocks or stones like soapstone.


Advantages of Using a Griddle


cooking on a griddle grill | how to use a griddle grill
Source: Blackstone Products


Of course, any grill has its advantages and disadvantages. But, using a griddle grill offers some unique advantages. These include:

  • Excellent temperature control:
    You don’t have to worry about unexpected hot spots. If it’s a griddle grill with multiple burners you can have a hot side of the grill and a cooler side of the grill, creating a two-zone cooking setup.

  • Food won’t fall through:
    There are no gaps for the food to fall through like can happen with grill grates. This makes cooking smaller things like scallops or small vegetables much easier.

  • Superior non-stick surface:
    Griddle grills provide a better non-stick surface compared to traditional grill grates. Fish, chicken and other delicate meats have almost no chance of sticking.

  • Better exterior Maillard reaction:
    A griddle grill will brown the exterior (known as the Maillard reaction) faster and more evenly than traditional grills.

  • Easy cleanup:
    Most griddle grills include an attached grease trap that all of the rendered fat and leftover food particles can be scraped into, making for easy cleanup.

  • More affordable:
    These grills have a lower price tag compared to many traditional propane grills and smokers. (A 4-burner, 36” griddle grill can be purchased for roughly $275)


Tips for Cooking on a Griddle Grill

Here are some tips to follow to help ensure your cooking on a griddle grill is successful:

  • Make sure your grill top is well seasoned if it did not come pre-seasoned. Seasoning your griddle grill allows the oil to get into and bond with the microscopic pores in the metal, forming a non-stick surface. This is the same process that is done to cast-iron pans. Follow your grill’s manufacturer recommendations to ensure you season it properly.

  • Griddle grills perform best at a temperature that is below the smoke point of the cooking oil or butter that you are using. For example, most often, restaurants keep their griddles at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Use good quality stainless steel spatulas while you are cooking on a griddle grill to easily flip, maneuver, and mix when you need to.

  • Because food often cooks faster on a flat-top griddle, make sure to prep everything you need beforehand. This will prevent the chance of something overcooking or burning while you’re trying to get other ingredients together.

  • Always make sure to cover the griddle top with the manufacturer-provided lid or another lid you might have. For extra coverage, invest in a grill cover if you are going to be storing your griddle grill outside. This will help keep the exterior surfaces protected and prevent premature wear caused by the outdoor elements.


How to Clean a Griddle Grill Properly


cooking on a griddle grill | how to clean a griddle grill
Source: The Hungry Hussey


It is important to clean your griddle grill after each use to help extend its life and ensure it is ready to go for your next cook. There are some specific steps to follow to ensure you are cleaning a griddle properly:

  • Use a high-quality metal spatula to scrape any leftover grease or loose bits of food into the griddle's grease trap or the trash.

  • Pour a cup of room temperature water onto the grill while it is hot. Don’t use ice water because this can create a thermal shock on the metal, causing it to warp.

  • When the water starts to boil on the griddle surface, use a metal griddle scraper or hard metal spatula to remove any cooked-on bits of food or caramelized sugars from the cooking surface. Usually, boiling water and a good scrape is enough to do the job. But, a little bit of vinegar mixed in the water, along with a copper brush, can help break up hard-to-remove grease residue. (Pro tip: Don’t use soap to clean the grill because it can quickly wash away your stick-resistant coating/seasoning.)

  • After cleaning off the cooking surface, wipe it down with a clean, damp cloth that won’t leave fibers on the griddle’s surface. Make sure to use tongs to hold the cloth and wipe the surface because the cooking surface will still be hot.

  • Turn off the griddle after wiping it down, and while it is still warm use a paper towel to spread about a teaspoon of cooking oil all over the surface. This will help you maintain the stick-resistant seasoning. You want to season your grill this way each time after cleaning it and before storing it away.

It is also a good idea to do a little deeper cleaning every couple of weeks to help extend the life of your griddle grill. During this time you should:

  • Remove the top griddle pan and clean any excess fat or gunk off the bottom of the griddle pan.

  • Check and clean off the burner protectors occasionally as well. These protectors are in place to ensure the grill does not develop an excess build-up of grease, which can quickly start a grease flare-up.

  • Pull the burners out and gently clean any grease or buildup off of them, allowing them to continue to work optimally.

  • Remove the trays at the bottom of the griddle (usually two) and thoroughly clean them out. These will probably need a brush and stronger scrubbing to remove buildup.


Expand Your Outdoor Cooking Skills With A Griddle

As you can see, a griddle grill can make for a highly efficient and easy way to cook a wide variety of different meats, sides, and more. But, it is important to properly maintain your grill to ensure it lasts long enough to get good use out of it. 

Go ahead and expand your outdoor cooking prowess with a flat-top griddle grill. By following the tips above and cleaning it properly between uses, you can cook a great feast and extend the life of your grill. 

Did you recently get a griddle grill? Have a favorite recipe for cooking on a griddle grill? Tell us all about it below in the comment box. We want to hear from you!


To learn even more grilling and smoking techniques and insider info straight from the pros join us in our one-of-kind virtual BBQ classes with the Champion Grillmasters and Pitmasters here at BBQ Champs Academy. Master how to cook everything from a perfectly grilled steak to deliciously tender brisket and more.

Make sure to also subscribe to our YouTube channel and stay on top of all the latest insider info and BBQ news straight from the pros!

In many parts of the country, winter is in full swing and there are already several feet of snow on the ground. But, you may not be one to brave the elements and cook in the cold weather. Or, after this past year, you may be looking to do some traveling soon. 

Either way, this means that you need to store your smoker or grill and keep it protected. After all, chances are you’ve spent some good money on your cooker and you don’t want it to get ruined by the elements.

So, if you are wondering how you store a grill for the winter (or even for long periods between cooks), we’ve put together the top things you need to know. Let’s take a look:


Moisture Is The Biggest Enemy

Moisture is a smoker or grill’s number one enemy when being stored for any length of time. Rust and corrosion can quickly build up and ruin your cooker if you don’t take measures to keep it protected.

So, your number one goal when it comes to storing your smoker or grill is to keep it dry both inside and out. (We’ll get into some specific ways to do that below.)

Keep in mind, stainless steel will resist rust better than other metals/compounds but isn’t 100% resistant


Cleaning The Cooker Is Imperative

Cleaning the smoker or grill is the most important first step for any type of cooker that will be stored away. It’s actually a good habit to get into between cooks even if you aren’t going to be storing your cooker away for a while.

When it comes to cleaning it before storing, there are some critical things to do:

  • Remove Ash - You want to remove any old ash from the smoker or grill to help eliminate corrosion from the carbon. This is where a shop-vac can come in handy to get it all out.

  • Clean Grease Off - Make sure to scrub and clean any residual grease or leftover food remnants off of every part of the cooker. This includes the grates, grease pan/box, burners, and upper enclosure. Grease can attract unwanted insects and rodents while your cooker is stored away.

  • Deep clean - If this is the only time you do a thorough deep cleaning of your cooker this year, this is the time to do it.

Check out our blog post on how to properly clean your grill or smoker for more detailed information.


Oil Offers Great Protection


how to winterize a grill with oil | how to protect your grill | how to store a grillSource: Saber Grills

Cooking oil, like canola oil, is great at helping to repel any moisture that could build up in your smoker or grill. Use the oil to coat the grill grates, burners, and other metal parts to help prevent any rust or corrosion issues from moisture while your cooker is being stored. 


Keep Your Cooker Protected From The Elements

This might be obvious, but ideally, the best place to store your smoker or grill is under a covered patio or in a garage. As mentioned above, the moisture from rain or snow can wreak havoc on your cooker’s sensitive metal parts, quickly causing rust and corrosion.

Direct sunlight can also have adverse effects on your cooker if it is not protected. The UV rays can quickly deteriorate the exterior finish or paint, leaving your smoker or grill’s metal more susceptible to moisture.

Storing your smoker or grill inside a garage is fine but keep in mind that when you are cooking, it should always be done outside in a well-ventilated area. 


Invest In A Good Cover

If you have invested in a smoker or grill, one of the best ways to protect it when it’s not being used is with a good quality cover. This is especially true if it is not possible to store your cooker under a covered area. 

The hardy material of a quality cover will hold up for a long time and keep moisture out, protect from direct sunlight exposure, and help keep unwanted pests out. Avoid skimping out on protection by buying a cheap cover that will just end up tearing quickly.

Many of the top brands of cookers also make covers that are available for your specific model. Or, if you’ve spent the money on a custom smoker or grill, it’s a very smart investment to have a custom cover made as well. 

If you don’t have an area to keep your smoker or grill sheltered and are expecting a good amount of snow, securing an additional tarp on it over the fitted cover is very helpful as well. This provides another layer of protection from moisture.


Tips Specifically For Pellet Grills/Smokers


how to store a pellet grill | how to store pellets for a grill | how to winterize a smokerSource: Green Mountain Grills


As with any type of grill or smoker, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect your pellet grill. Because of the way these grills operate, especially with the electronically operated components, it is even more important to keep them protected from the elements and the fuel source (pellets) properly stored. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind, specifically for a pellet grill, when it comes to storage:

  • Unplug the grill - It’s easy to forget, especially if you are storing it near the outlet you usually use, but you always want to unplug the pellet gill when you are not using it. Leaving it plugged in can fry the onboard electronics and cause some expensive problems.

  • Remove unused pellets from the grill - Make sure to remove any unused pellets out of the hopper and auger. If left in when storing, the pellets can attract moisture or even cause mold growth, ruining the hopper. Damp pellets can also clog the auger.

  • Store pellets properly - Knowing how to store pellets is also very important. You should not store your pellet supply in the original bag. A sealed, airtight container, like a bucket with a lid, is the best place to store them to keep them dry, protected, and ready to go for your next cook. (This applies to any type of weather environments)


Tips Specifically For Propane Smokers/Grills


how to store a propane grill | how to store a grill | how to winterize a grill


Just like with pellet grills, there are some specific things to keep in mind when you want to store a propane smoker or grill properly. These include:

  • Turn off or disconnect propane - If you are storing your cooker outside under a cover, you can leave the propane tank connected and under the cover. Just make sure it is fully turned off and the valve is closed. If you are storing it inside, disconnect the propane tank, make sure the valve is closed, and store the propane tank outside. 

         *You always want to store propane tanks outside to avoid any chance of a dangerous gas leak in an enclosed space. 

  • Cover the hose - If you are going to disconnect the propane tank, make sure to cover your grill’s regulator hose/gas line opening with plastic. You also want to cover the propane tank’s nozzle. This will prevent any small insects or critters from getting inside these openings and nesting while it’s being stored away.
  • Protect the burners - You also want to wrap the burner units with plastic for the same reason and keep them protected from unwanted guests.

  • Prevent battery corrosion - If your propane grill has one, it’s also a good idea to disconnect the ignition battery from your electric starter to prevent battery corrosion while it isn’t being used.


Make Your Cooker Last By Knowing How To Store A Grill The Right Way

Of course, every grill is different, but prepping your smoker or grill for storage is not an overly difficult task. As you can see, the more TLC you give your cooker when you go to store it away the longer it will last. By following the tips above and knowing how to winterize a smoker or grill, you can help keep your cooker protected and ensure it keeps performing optimally for you.

Your cooker will be all ready to go when you are ready to start cooking some delicious barbecue.

Have you recently prepped your cooker to be stored for the winter? Are you getting ready to winterize your grill? Let us know below. We want to hear from you!

Also, make sure to check out our YouTube channel for the latest tips, insider info, and BBQ news. “Subscribe” to our channel to see all the latest from BBQ Champs Academy!

Buying a new smoker can elevate your outdoor cooking game like never before. Smokers allow you to cook low and slow at controlled temperatures, imparting a delicious smoky flavor into your food. But, with so many types of smokers available today—from large offset smokers to portable smokers you can take to your next tailgateit can be hard to decide which one you should get.  

Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Some types of smokers use more direct heat while others use more indirect heat. It just depends on how they are set up. Neither is necessarily better than the other. It is just a matter of being able to keep a consistent temperature and ensuring there is enough space between your meat and the heat source. 

In this article, we’ll break down the different types of smokers to help you decide which one is right for you. Let’s take a look:


Vertical Charcoal Smoker

For those who want to try a more hands-on smoker that can still be portable without a huge investment.


charcoal bullet smoker | types of smokers | different types of smokersSource: Weber


Charcoal smokers are the most commonly used types of smokers by backyard BBQ enthusiasts and even some competition cookers. Vertical charcoal smokers, sometimes referred to as vertical water smokers or “bullet smokers”, are one of several types of charcoal smokers.

These smokers have a bottom compartment (firebox) that holds the charcoal/fire, then above that a water pan that deflects the direct heat and provides a moist cooking environment, then the smoking chamber with the grates your meat will go on. The amount of heat in the smoker is controlled by air intake vents at the bottom near the coals. Many models of vertical smokers then have exhaust dampers/vents at the top that help control the flow of smoke, though some do not.

You can also add wood chunks or chips to your charcoal for extra flavor in your meat.

The key to being successful with these smokers, and any charcoal smoker, is being able to effectively control the flow of air and smoke. (Keep in mind: cheaper models without adjustable vents will make this more difficult)     

Vertical charcoal smokers have quickly become some of the most popular available on the market. This is mainly because they are often the least expensive choice when it comes to smokers, some models only costing a couple hundred dollars. They are also smaller in size and weight compared to other types of smokers, which makes them a good choice for someone looking for something that can still be portable.

A popular higher-end and higher quality choice in vertical charcoal smokers is the Weber Smokey Mountain.


Kamado Grill

For those who want a versatile charcoal smoker that makes it easier to maintain consistent temperatures and aren’t afraid to spend some money.


kamado grill smoker | types of smokers | different types of smokersSource: CNet


Another type of charcoal-fired grill is the Kamado grill. You may not have ever heard the term “Kamado” but you’ve probably heard of one of the brands of Kamado grills, Big Green Egg

These oval-shaped smokers, made of ceramic, are based on Japanese rice-cookers used over 3,000 years ago. Acting somewhat as an oven, the shape and thickness of the clay walls aid in heat and moisture retention. 

Similar to the way the vertical smokers work, you’ll have the fire at the bottom and the food and water pan are placed on the grates above the heat. The vents at the top and bottom are then used to control the amount of heat, though you will have less airflow compared to other types of smokers. The shape of these smokers directs the smoke and heat over the food, allowing you to get a great smoky flavor and keep the meat moist.

One of the great things about Kamado smokers is their versatility. Because of the thick ceramic walls, it can also be used to grill, bake, and even cook a pizza like in an old-school pizza oven. The thickness of the walls and level of heat insulation also make these a great option for smokers that will do well when smoking in cold climates.

Though they often make it easier to maintain consistent temperatures, Kamado grills will be more expensive compared to other charcoal smokers. Some top of the line models, like those from Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe, will be over $1500.


Drum Smokers

For those looking for a simple to use basic smoker that could also be an inexpensive DIY project.


ugly drum smoker | types of smokers | different types of smokers


Drum smokers have become a fairly popular option when it comes to types of smokers. This is largely due to the inexpensive, build-your-own kits for what are called “ugly drum smokers” or UDS. These kits, often less than $200, come with everything you need to turn a 55-gallon drum into a large basic smoker. You’ll end up with a smoker similar in size to a 22.5-inch vertical bullet smoker.

These smokers normally consist of simply a firebox in the bottom and a cooking rack at the top, with a lid that helps seal in the smoke. You’ll then use the vents to control the temperature. Drum smokers are still fairly lightweight, making them an option if you are looking for something portable.

Most of the time, with a UDS, you will be cooking over charcoal without a water pan, relying on direct smoking and radiant heat. (Unless of course, a modification has been included to add one.) This can make it tough to ensure you don’t dry out your meat so it can take some mastering.  

To up the ante on drum smokers, there are higher-quality ones like those from Short Rib Drum Smokers that are pre-made, fully assembled, and ready to go. They also look much better than a traditional 55-gallon drum.


Offset Smoker

For those looking to master smoking meat on a large smoker and aren’t afraid of the hands-on effort or spending some money.


offset smoker | types of smokers | different types of smokers


If you are looking for a large smoker with enough room to smoke multiple pieces of meat together, an offset smoker is a great option. These are definitely for serious pitmasters. Offset smokers take practice to master and are far from a “set it and forget it” cooker.

Offset smokers were originally created from unused oil drums that were turned on their side. Many offset smokers today still resemble this barrel shape. They are called “offset” because of the fact that the firebox is offset to the side and below the main cooking chamber. The chimney is then usually situated on the opposite side of the firebox. This draws the smoke and heat across the food and out of the chimney.

In many offset smokers, you can use either wood or charcoal as your fuel source, depending on the flavors you want to achieve.

Make sure to avoid cheap offset smokers. The poor construction in these will result in bad heat retention, leaking smoke, and dry food. If you are going to cook on an offset smoker, spending the money on a good quality one will always pay off. Quality offset smokers start around $800.


Pellet Smoker

For those who want a wood-burning smoker that is more hands-free and high-tech and have some money to spend.


pellet grill smoker | types of smokers | different types of smokersSource: Green Mountain Grills


A pellet smoker (also called pellet grill) is a high-tech cross between a smoker and an oven. These cookers combine the delicious smoky flavor you get from burning wood with the convenience of an electric smoker. 

Pellet smokers get their name from the food-grade compressed wood sawdust pellets that they use for their fuel. When cooking, these pellets are in a hopper on the side of the smoker and an auger drill feeds the pellets into the firebox. A heated metal rod inside the firebox causes the pellets to combust, creating both heat and smoke in the cooking chamber.

The “set it and forget” feature is the fact that pellet smokers use built-in thermometers to keep the temperature stable and heat consistent. Based on what the temperature is reading, the smoker will automatically change the airflow and amount of pellets that are being fed into the firebox.

Also, like Kamado grills, pellet smokers are versatile and can actually be used as a smoker, grill, and oven. 

All of the main components of these smokers are run by electricity so you will need an outlet nearby. Keep in mind that if a mechanical problem happens, this can also mean expensive repairs if not covered under warranty.

When looking at buying a pellet smoker, make sure to do your research and select a good quality smoker from a brand that stands behind their products with a warranty. One source for high-quality pellet smokers/grills is Green Mountain Grills, whose smokers start at $499.


Propane Vertical Smoker

For those who want an easy-to-use smoker that has less cleanup at a lower price point than pellet smokers.


propane vertical box smoker | types of smokers | different types of smokersSource: Cuisinart 


Sometimes called box smokers, these vertical cabinet-style smokers run on either propane or natural gas. Most of the time this gas will come from refillable gas tanks unless you have a gas hookup on your home.

These smokers basically have a burner and vents at the bottom, the cooking chamber above that, and the chimney and exhaust dampers at the top. The gas flows from the bottle (or home hookup) through a manifold and down to the burner section. Here, as it flows out of the burner valves, it is ignited to produce the heat to cook. Because these smokers don’t naturally produce smoke on their own you can use wood chips near the burner to produce the smoky flavor.

It is much easier to control the temperature in these smokers compared to charcoal or pellet smokers. They are also usually pretty light, so these are another option if you are looking for a portable smoker.

The thing that will differentiate good gas box smokers from bad ones is the amount of insulation (or lack thereof). If you get a good box smoker that has good insulation and a door that seals well, you can produce great barbecue in an easy-to-use controlled environment. The price ranges greatly between cheap thin box smokers and high-quality ones. 


Electric Smoker

For those who want the ultimate “set it and forget it” option with high-technology.


electric smoker | types of smokers | different types of smokersSource: Masterbuilt


Sometimes referred to as smoker ovens, electric smokers are very similar to propane vertical/box smokers. The main difference is that they are controlled by electric power versus gas. In electric smokers, an electric heating element is what is used to control the heat and temperature. They are technically a large appliance used to cook and smoke meat. 

Most electric smokers have the heating element at the bottom, then the wood and water pans where wood chips smolder to create the smoke and the water creates the internal moisture. Above these pans, a funneled piece of metal blocks direct radiant heat and collects drippings to prevent flare-up fires and keep the heating element clean. Then above that, you’ll find the food grates where you put the meat and hook up the meat temperature probes.

These smokers are the ultimate set it and forget it option. Using an electric smoker means setting the temperature, potentially from a Bluetooth app with some higher-end models, setting a time, and sitting back and waiting. The smoker’s computer will then automatically control the temperature and cook your meat to the desired temperature. It can then drop it to a holding temperature mode to keep it perfect until you are ready to eat.

Like many other types of smokers, you get what you pay for. So if you’re going to go for an electric smoker, make sure to get a good quality one that will last. There are some great quality digital electric options from Masterbuilt that run between $230 and $400.

Keep in mind, to make your electric smoker last, you have to remember it is an electrical appliance. It has to be used outdoors because of the smoke but it cannot stay outside in the elements all the time. Between cooks, it should be stored in a garage or other protected area.


Kettle Grills

For those who want to smoke small amounts of meat now until you buy your actual smoker.


kettle grill smoker | turn your grill into a smoker | different types of smokersSource: Weber Grills


Though not technically a type of smoker, chances are you probably have a traditional, cheap kettle grill around. If you are not quite ready to pull the trigger on buying your new smoker or you won’t be smoking meat often, you can turn your round kettle grill into a smoker with some modifications. 

The easiest way to do this is to arrange the coals in the bottom so that they are all in one half of the grill, creating a two-zone grill. Then you place some wood chunks or chips on top of the coals so that they will smolder and create the smoky flavor you are looking for. You then set a water pan on the grill grate above the coals. Your meat then goes on the opposite side of the grill grate over the indirect heat side. Then place the lid on so that the air vent is above the meat.

The vent in the base of the grill then draws air in, over the coals, wood chips, and water, causing the smoke and moisture to flow over the food on the way out of the lid vent. 

Because it can be hard to control the airflow and temperature and get consistent results, this is best used as a temporary option when it comes to types of smokers. Or for someone who only wants to smoke meat occasionally. 


Wrapping It All Up

As you can see, there are quite a few different types of smokers. All of them, when used properly, have the capability of smoking some great-tasting meat. Hopefully, after reading this article, it’s now a little easier to narrow down which type would be the best smoker for you. 

The things you need to consider revolve around what kind of meat you’ll be smoking and how much you want to put into it, both money and effort.  

Once you’ve decided on the type of smoker you want and you are ready to truly take your meat-smoking game to the next level, get started on our online BBQ cooking classes here at BBQ Champs Academy. Champion Pitmasters and Grillmasters will take you step-by-step through competition BBQ cooking techniques and secrets and help you master your smoker. Elevate your outdoor cooking game like never before. 

Check out the All-Access pass now for the full inside look!

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