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Gravity Fed Smokers vs Kamado - How differently do they cook?


matto6
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I'm finding very few objective comparisons of Gravity fed smokers vs Kamados, and how differently they cook.

Does the gravity fed have any fundamental advantages, other than easy of adding fuel and smoking wood during the cook?

The cabinet smokers tend to be highly insulated, so I assume they are burning charcoal at roughly the same rate as a ceramic Kamado,  thus would be roughly in the same ballpark of the end result?  It's mostly about cooking style and convenience?  


I understand that stick burners are in their own category, but are also by far the most high maintenance.  What is next in line in terms of quality of smoke flavor delivered, yet lower maintenance than a stick burner?
 

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  • 5 months later...

Pellet grills aka "Pellet Poopers" - seem to have become quite popular recently. They are

a "set it and forget it" type of cooker and provide a good smoke flavor. Fill the hopper with

pellets and turn it on. John recently reviewed the Myron Mixon smoker, BARQ 2400, in another

thread in this subforum.

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I spent the holidays in California with wife' s son and he has a Taeger smoker. He really enjoys it, but it's not one I would use. Basically all he had to do was 1: set the temp 2: fill the hopper 3:  push a button 4: come back in 25 minutes and plop the ribs on 5: check in a few hours for doneness 6: pull off when done. NOTE I am not criticizing this in any way. This works for him and his life style ( he's always doing something ,) It's just something I wouldn't enjoy using. So a plus for the "pellet Pooper" ( thanks K_sqrd for that name) is ease of use. The down side was when it's humid and rainy , he has a covered patio ,the ashes is the burn hopper tend to turn solid and has to be dug out with his fingers, ( no problem when low humidity).  For me it didn't have as much smoke flavor as a Kamado, maybe needed a smoke can. He used hickory but it may be a case of what I'm used to from my Kamado. The bottom line is as long as your grilling or smoking there is no bad way to do it.

Did you buy anything matto 6?

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When you asked about gravity fed smokers, I thought you were talking about something like this one 

https://www.academy.com/p/masterbuilt-gravity-series-1050-digital-charcoal-grill-and-smoker

 

Char-Griller also makes one.  Those seem like a cross between the pellet grill (ease of use, fan and PID or similar temp control) and a classic charcoal grill.  

 

The primary differences I'd expect would be higher use of charcoal in that gravity fed, and higher air flow, so would expect results to be more like a barrel grill and less like a Kamado.  But no experience with those.  I'll be interested to see if anyone else has actually cooked on both.

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5 minutes ago, Boater said:

When you asked about gravity fed smokers, I thought you were talking about something like this one 

https://www.academy.com/p/masterbuilt-gravity-series-1050-digital-charcoal-grill-and-smoker

 

Char-Griller also makes one.  Those seem like a cross between the pellet grill (ease of use, fan and PID or similar temp control) and a classic charcoal grill.  

 

The primary differences I'd expect would be higher use of charcoal in that gravity fed, and higher air flow, so would expect results to be more like a barrel grill and less like a Kamado.  But no experience with those.  I'll be interested to see if anyone else has actually cooked on both.

 

I have cooked on both, in terms of kamado vs masterbuilt gravity....  Here's what I know:

 

The flavor profile I got from the Masterbuilt was superior to the kamado in about every way.  I have come to the realization, after a lot of time and experience, that less efficient fires make better tasting barbecue.  So therein lies the trade off.  Higher fuel consumption, more frequent refueling... But it's worth it in terms of flavor.  What I have YET to see is a gravity feed system like the Masterbuilt or Chargriller that is a durable product.  Those two companies operate in the Walmart/Lowes/Home Depot space and not in the premium grill and smoker space.  IF someone builds a system like those that is durable and would be a long term investment, I'd be one of their first customers.

 

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While both pieces of equipment will produce tasty smoked meat, only the Kamado is a convection oven.  That's really what makes this type of cooker unique:  the food is cooked by recirculating hot air, not so much by radiant heat from the fire.  A smoker does not have this property.

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Jack of all Trades vs Master of One 

 

Dunno about the rest of you, but i cant sear a steak, roast a chicken or cook a pizza in a Masterbuilt to the same standard i get from a Kamado 

Likewise, some of the best home LnS i've had has come out of a Masterbuilt or a Pellet grill (or an offset)

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12 hours ago, Polar Bear said:

Masterbuilt

Just looking at videos, it would seem to be a good machine.  The part that seems the most susceptible to wear (to me, at least) would be the firebox.  Any thoughts on rust there or elsewhere that might indicate a potential lifespan range?

 

  I guess electronics on any outdoor equipment might also be a potential failure point, but those are not so simple to see change over time. They just quit one day.

Thanks

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15 hours ago, Polar Bear said:

Jack of all Trades vs Master of One 

 

Dunno about the rest of you, but i cant sear a steak, roast a chicken or cook a pizza in a Masterbuilt to the same standard i get from a Kamado 

Likewise, some of the best home LnS i've had has come out of a Masterbuilt or a Pellet grill (or an offset)

 

I don't know why you can't do those things on the Masterbuilt Gravity.  I did all of those things on mine with no issues at all.  It won't do neapolitan temperature pizzas but I wouldn't recommend that for a kamado  grill either.   The Masterbuilt will go north of 600°F with ease.  If you preheat a pizza stone adequately in there it makes great pizza.  I roasted chickens in mine regularly at 450°F and they, in my opinion, were as good or better than any I have done on my kamados.  Here's a video I made of a reverse sear tomahawk project on mine.....

 

 

 

I say all this as a huge fan of kamado grills.  My background is mostly rooted in my love of kamado cooking.  THIS smoker/grill, however, made me have to take a step back and allow myself to accept that *I* prefer the flavor results from this system in most instances.  I didn't wanna believe it.  I guess this is one of those examples of my goals of becoming more of an 'alt-middle' thinker.  I'm willing to put my beliefs on the table at any given time and re-evaluate them against unfamiliar ideas and see if MY beliefs stand up.  Most times they do.  In this case, they did not.... lol.  

 

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