A Smoker may be as simple as an oven bag referred to as an Oven Smoker Bag or a Stove Top Smoker Box, either of which are used for smoking small amounts of food heated by the oven or a stove top burner. In addition to smaller types of Smokers there are also larger, free-standing Smokers with baking ovens that may be square or oval-shaped, which are heated with electric, wood or charcoal heat sources.
The Oven Smoker Bag, which is the smallest Smoker has particles of wood and sweet seasonings (wood syrup and sugars) sealed into the walls of the oven bag. This Smoker is made from a flexible reflective, ovenproof material formed and sealed into the shape of a 3-sided bag. As the bag is heated, contents within the walls of the bag begin to be emitted as the wood starts to smoke while the seasonings penetrate the food. Excess smoke and heat exits through perforated holes constructed in the bag.
The Stovetop Smoker may be made similar to a Dutch oven or as a rectangular low-sided cake pan containing a lid. Stovetop Smokers contain a rack that fits inside the Smoker pan just above a wood chip holding pan. The food rack remains above the water-soaked wood chips placed beneath the food as it smokes. Wood chips are available in different aromas to satisfy the flavors desired from various foods. The food is then placed on the rack, the lid is closed, and heat is applied to cause wood to start smoking.
The larger, free-standing Smoker ovens enable a greater amount of food to be smoked at one time. Many of the larger, free-standing Smokers can be used for either hot or cold smoking. Although there are many different sizes of self-contained or free-standing Smoker units, the most common are the cabinet-like box ovens or oval ovens that may contain from 2 to 8 racks to hold the foods. Available with all types of heat sources, the easiest to use and control are the electric or infrared heat models. Many smoke the food with the use of a water pan placed on the bottom of the oven box. The most recent versions of technology being produced for Smokers is the Digital Smoker. This type of Smoking Oven is typically built as a stainless steel cabinet with instrumentation that precisely controls time, temperature and the amount of smoke used to flavor the food as it is cooked and smoked. Often used to either hot or cold smoke meats and fruits, the Digital Smoker contains an infrared heat source with various wattages that may range from just over 100 watts to over 500 watts that are activated for cooking and smoking processes. It is important to realize that with any smoker and especially a stovetop smoker, a significant amount of smoke may be released during the cooking process. Therefore, an exhaust fan must be strong enough to adequately remove the smoke from any interior section of the house where the foods are being smoked with smaller types of Smokers. When purchasing a Smoker, ask about the oven bag, enclosed pan Smoker, or self-contained oven being provided with the Smoker. Some Smokers may allow too much smoke to escape, so it is wise to consider this potential problem before purchasing a specific type of Smoker. It is always wise to use Smokers, especially larger types of Smokers in areas that are outside of the interior of a home or building that may be adversely affected by the smoke smell, the heat of the unit or any other effect that may not allow it to be safely used. Read all equipment manuals thoroughly before proceeding with the smoking of any foods.
There are a variety of foods that can be smoked such as beef, pork, lamb, veal, poultry, fish, shellfish, game, and ribs. Some of the various foods that are smoked are often provided as chops, ribs, bacon, ham, sausage, cheese patties, hard salami, liver, and jerky to name a few.