Are you looking for a smoker that won’t make you invest much of your time and efforts and still provide great results? A drum smoker is an ideal solution for your needs. Compared to other types of smokers, the best drum smokers are known for producing outstanding results with the least effort. The appealing simplicity and basic functionality are what make it stand out for all your barbecue requirements.
The drum smokers come with a faster-than-average cooking time and make your barbecue experience extremely simple no matter what you decide to cook. Ribs, chicken, or brisket, you name the meat you want to smoke, and the drum smoker does it for you.
A few months back, we tried fifteen drum smokers and smoked 100 pounds of beef brisket, pork shoulder, and chicken. It’s clear to us that the Oklahoma Joe’s Pro Drum Smoker is well worth its high price, particularly because it is a well-made, highly precise, and durable drum smoker.
Our editors have thoroughly tested, evaluated, and used each smoker on this list.
Comparison of the Best Drum Smokers
Masterbuilt 20060416 Charcoal Bullet Smoker
Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker
Classic Pit Barrel Cooker
EasyGoProducts Big Bad Barrel Pit Drum Smoker
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker & Charcoal Smoker
Old Smokey Electric Smoker
Best Drum Smokers- Top 9 Drum Smokers for 2023
1. Oklahoma Joe’s 19202100 Bronco Pro Drum Smoker– Best BBQ Drum Smoker
Coming with a side table for easy meal preparation and a charcoal basket for longer cooking times, the Oklahoma Joe’s 19202100 Drum Smoker can prove to be an excellent addition to your barbecue setup equipment. What makes it stand out among competitors is the fact that it comes with wheels which makes it much more portable and easy to transfer from one place to another.
The package includes nine meat hooks and a cooking grate which gives you the option of either hanging your meat or cooking it on the grate, depending on your requirement. The model has adjustable intake and exhaust pipes, which makes the temperature management and control a breeze of air. Depending on your needs, you can either cook slow/low or hot/fast with such an easily adjustable temperature.
The charcoal basket can easily contain 17 pounds of fuel at once, making it great even if you need to smoke for the whole day. The inclusion of a cooking grate, nine meat hooks, three meat hangers, and the heat diffuser gives you the flexibility to use this smoker the way you want.
Except for the difficulty in adding fuel during operation (which happens quite rarely because of huge fuel capacity), the drum smoker only has benefits in store for you. Therefore it has made it to our top choices.
2- 55 Gallon Large Capacity Gateway Barbecue Drum Smoker– Best Gateway Drum Smoker
Coming with a unique design, the Gateway 55-gallon barbecue drum smoker comes with a seamless body along with welded feet, handles, and pipes. Although the shape of this smoker makes it look more like a water heater, the specifications and features make it a great smoker to get your hands on. It comes with pegs to provide you with three levels of cooking grates so that there is plenty of room to smoke tons of smaller or medium-sized items.
There is only one grate included in the package, but you can get the other two to maximize cooking space. The Gateway smoker has so much temperature control in-store that you can easily cook at any temperature you require.
Not only is this drum smoker good for smoking the meat, but you can also roast, bake or even grill it, depending on your requirements. The seamless body and welded accessories make sure there is no smoke leakage and minimal heat loss.
Not all of them, but some accessories are sold separately with this drum smoker. So, if you have no issues investing more money into this smoker to enjoy all the benefits it has to offer, this is definitely a great purchase.
3. Barrel House Cooker Smoker BHC 18C– Best Barrel Drum Smoker
This drum smoker is made using heavy-duty materials to provide its users with great reliability and durability. Coming with a 20 gauge steel barrel, the Barrel House Cooker Smoker BHC 18C also includes various stainless steel racks and porcelain nonstick coating of the body.
What makes it a great choice is even after using all the robust materials for construction, it only weighs 45 pounds. Therefore, it is quite light in weight which is definitely a plus point. You can easily carry it with you anywhere for your barbecue parties or picnics.
You will not need to invest more money into buying accessories for this smoker. You get a standard grill grate, eight meat hooks, and an H-shaped smoking hanger with a single purchase.
The lid of this versatile drum smoker has a built-in thermometer for you to keep on checking the cooking temperature. Along with smoking the meat to its best capacity, this smoker can also work as a direct fire grill. From only eight pounds of charcoal, you can easily get around 6 hours of smoke, as claimed by the company.
With 6 hours of smoke in just 8 pounds of fuel, you can prepare a staggering amount of food with the smoker’s volume. It comes with all the hangers and grids that are needed to make your barbecue experience go smoother.All these features make it a great choice and one of the best drum smokers you can buy.
4. Masterbuilt 20060416 Charcoal Bullet Smoker– Best Drum Smoker for Professionals
Looking for a drum smoker that provides excellent results and is also light on your pocket? This is for you. The Masterbuilt 20060416 bullet smoker is one of the most affordable products on our lists, with amazing features in store for you.
Even in such a range, the smoker has enormous cooking space to let you cook more food in one go. The grates are made with a porcelain coating to provide perfect heat dispersal and retention. The small size makes it super easy to transport to your backyard or even during travel.
The large cooking space is enough for you to cook tons of food in one go without having various shifts. The smoking racks of this drum smoker are porcelain coated, and it comes with a door on the front that makes adding or removing charcoal super easy. Also, you don’t need to invest in buying a thermometer for temperature reading since the built-in thermometer does the job quite well.
With tons of benefits to offer, this drum smoker can prove to be a great purchase if the complicated installation of any product doesn’t bother you much.
5. Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker– Best Drum Smoker for Beginners
An airflow control feature in a drum smoker is a dream come true, and this Char-broil charcoal smoker has this in store for you. This feature of the drum smoker helps you maintain the internal cooking temperature without any hassle. The body of this product is made of porcelain-coated steel, which makes it highly durable compared to competitors.
Two porcelain-coated grates provide a cooking space of around 388 square inches. The cooking space is great for accommodating a large amount of food without cooking in batches. Both the grates are extremely easy to clean and prevent the food from sticking.
Even after hours of cooking, the removable ash pan makes the ash removal process a breeze of air. Therefore, the cleaning up of this drum smoker is super easy and convenient. Additionally, a temperature gauge on the lid makes temperature reading and control quite simple.
This is one of the rare drum smokers that provide such great features, available at such a price. Even when you are tight on your budget, you can enjoy all the required drum smoker features with this Char-Broil Smoker.
6. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker– Best Value Drum Smoker
Looking for a smoker that truly works on the “set it and forget it” rule? This Classic Pit Barrel Cooker is the one. Using this smoker, you only need to hand the meat in the smoker and let it cook for nine to twelve hours. This means there is no such need to check the meat again and again. It is one of the rare drum smokers that provide a vertical cooking experience to its users.
Although it allows short sessions of cooking the meat, there is no requirement of setting smoke or temperature. It comes with a standard grill to allow you to grill and sear your meat. Additionally, there are eight stainless steel hooks for letting your meat hang in the smoker for a proper cook.
The coal basket is made of a perfect size, and the product’s unique design makes it very easy to operate. What makes it stand out among competitors is the fact that it requires minimal effort and hassles to get assembled. The package includes a standard grill grate, eight hooks, two hanging rods, a hook removal tool, and a charcoal basket.
While there are tons of benefits, this smoker has in store for you, checking the temperature inside the smoker can be a hassle because of the lack of a temperature gauge. Therefore, this is a great product if you can compromise on this feature.
Being multifunctional, this drum smoker provides you with five in one purpose. You can use this EasyGoProducts drum smoker as a table to set down any item or a barbecue pit with an adjustable rack. Additionally, it can also be used as a fire pit during winters. You can let it work as an adjustable height barrel for your child’s safety, and lastly, hang meat to use it as a vertical smoker.
It comes with all of the necessary tools that are required to get you started with barbecue. Even if you are a beginner, these tools will make your job a lot easier and more convenient. The tools include three utensils for hanging on the grill, six stainless steel hooks, a grilling rack, and a charcoal pit.
It is a two-piece barrel, making it highly portable since you can easily dismantle it. This makes it easy to transport since you can even fit it in a car. The assembly is also very simple, so you don’t need to worry about assembling it once dismantled.
The drum smoker is a bit small in size as compared to the competitors on the list. However, with the amazing features, it has to offer, especially getting dismantled in two halves, this smoker is a great choice if you have to travel and take it with you.
With a logical setup, simple cleanup, and easy temperature regulation, the Weber 18″ Smokey Mountain Cooker is definitely one of our favorites. It comes in a tall and slim design that ends up having a lesser footprint and provides an easy storage option. Bonus, the cooking capacity is not compromised at all, and you will have enough smoking space to feed the guests generously. It comes with vents that provide proper airflow to cook the food.
What makes it stand out is the water pan that it offers. The water pan sits right above the coals, and it works as a heat sink. This heat sink is responsible for absorbing heat for some time and releasing it slowly in order to keep the temperature stable. The water pan also creates a moist cooking environment and works as a catching tray for fats and juices so that the meat tastes its best.
The lid of this smoker has various accessories attached to it for different purposes. It has an adjustable vent for proper temperature control, a thermometer to check the internal temperature, and a handle that always stays cool even when the smoker is working. The smoker’s base also has three adjustable vents and three legs for better stability.
Weber is a known company for producing great smokers, and this one is no exception. With all the amazing features like temperature regulation, sleek and slim design, and lesser footprint, the smoker can be a great addition to your barbecue parties, either in your backyard or even during camping.
9. Old Smokey Electric Smoker– Best Electric Drum Smoker
If you are more into ease rather than having a traditional drum smoker, this electric smoker is your go-to option. While using charcoal or wood chips gives the meat a more smoked taste, the electric drum smokers are easier to use and manage since you only need to connect it to a plug to get it going.
The smoker comes with a built-in thermostat that lets you monitor and manage the temperature like the traditional smoker. The drum smoker is designed in a way that all the flavours and juices are directed back on the meat so that it remains moist and full of taste even when you smoke it for longer periods. All thanks to the flat top that it comes with.
Don’t worry about not having smoked flavour in your food anymore. There is a chip tray on the top of the product where you can keep wood chips for the desired purpose. The inner material of the body is made of stainless steel so that the heat is retained properly and provided to the food. The item only weighs 24 pounds, so it is very portable and can easily be carried from one place to another.
This smoker can prove to be a great choice if you need something quite easy to use and manage. The smoked flavor is not compromised since you can keep wooden chips on the top to get it. This is definitely a win-win situation.
What is a Drum Smoker?
Before moving to the best drum smokers, you can get your hands on, In the world of barbecue, there are many different types of smokers. From electric smokers to pellet smokers, each has its own unique features and benefits. But one smoker that is often overlooked is the drum smoker.
Drum smokers are a type of charcoal smoker that use a cylindrical barrel as the main cooking vessel. They are popular among backyard pitmasters because they are easy to use and produce great results. What are the benefits of using a drum smoker? Drum smokers are known for their portability, as they can be easily transported long distances to various locations.
Types of drum smokers
There are many different types of drum smokers on the market, but they all share one common goal: to produce great-tasting smoked food. Some smokers are electric, while others use charcoal or wood as their heat source. There are also vertical and horizontal drum smokers, which each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Benefits of Drum Smokers
When it comes to smoking meat, there are a few different ways to go about it. You can use a traditional smoker, a charcoal grill, or even an oven. However, if you’re looking for the best possible flavor and texture, then you should consider using a drum smoker. Drum smokers offer a few distinct advantages over other smoking methods.
First of all, drum smokers are incredibly easy to use. They’re very simple to set up and operate, and they require very little maintenance. Additionally, drum smokers produce much lower temperatures than traditional smokers, which means that your meat will cook more slowly and will stay moist and tender. This also allows the smoke to penetrate the meat more deeply, resulting in richer flavors.
Time efficiency is one of the major benefits that a drum smoker has in store for you. It doesn’t require you to set temperatures again and again like other smokers. You have to set up a drum smoker once and leave it alone until your food is well-prepared. This makes your barbecue parties more enjoyable since you’ll be catering to your guests rather than running to the smoker.
Due to the simple design, it comes with and the durable materials used in its construction, a drum smoker is one of the most reliable barbecue equipment you can own. Even when you decide to make a drum smoker yourself, you can easily use it for longer periods without any major issues. The simple design of the drum smoker has very few parts that can break down, thus contributing to its durability and reliability.
No Extra Accessories
The greater the number of accessories, the more difficult it is to set up a smoker. However, this is not the case with a drum smoker since it doesn’t require any extra accessories to function. It comes with all the necessary accessories to make it work properly.
How to find Best Drum Smokers -Buying Guide
There is no denying that you get what you pay for. All the smokers that we have mentioned in our list come with different features. Before making your final decision, make sure to check these essential features in the drum smoker to have a smooth experience.
Having a drum smoker that is only good for smoking the meat works; however, multiple uses hurt nobody. Look for a drum smoker that provides you with various uses, including working as a fire pit or a direct grill. This feature will make you invest only once and let you enjoy various purposes from one piece of equipment.
Check Also: Best Offset Smokers Under $1000
Although drum smokers are quite simple to use, you will still never want to invest in an overcomplicated design. No features are worth it if the design and usage of the smoker are complicated. Therefore, look for either instruction that comes with the smoker or reviews to ensure the product you buy is easy to use, even for beginners.
Controlling and managing heat is one of the most important factors when it comes to smokers. Having a smoker that comes with easy temperature management is the key. Your drum smoker should have a minimum of consistent airflow for proper temperature control. Adjustable air duct systems are an advanced feature and definitely ideal for a drum smoker.
The cooking spaces range from 400 to 1000+ square inches depending on the size of the smoker. What cooking space is suitable for you totally depend on the amount of food you will cook for several people? If you are cooking for one to four people, small units with 16 to 22 inches of diameter shall work. For more people, you should look for smokers with 20+ diameters.
Room for Fuel
Plenty of room for fuel is also important to look for in a drum smoker. This is because you will often need to smoke for at least 10 to 16 hours which you can only do if the smoker has a huge amount of fuel to produce smoke. The fuel baskets that can easily hold eight or more pounds of fuel are great to start with.
Having multi-level racks and moving air vents can make the drum smoker have adjustable heating. Make sure you look for such accessories when you buy your drum smoker.
Good smokers are the ones that do not leak, no matter how long you use them for smoking. The smokers should have properly seamed edges and welded corners to ensure there is minimum air release or leakage to provide the meat the smoke it needs.
The drum smokers that come with a front door make refueling the charcoal basket super easy. When you need to refill the basket, it is extremely important that the overall temperature inside is not disrupted. The presence of a door ensures there is no disturbance in the inside temperature.
Although different smokers use different materials, the best material is always stainless steel. This is because stainless steel is quite resistant to any kind of damage and wear and tear. Not only this, it is quite robust and durable, which makes it great for long-term use.
The drum smoker should come with a solid lid. This lid should not allow way too ventilation that your food cooks unevenly. Also, lesser ventilation will make your meat turn hard and disgusting. Therefore, the lid should be good enough to keep a balanced environment inside the smoker.
what’s the difference between a drum smoker and a regular smoker?
drum smoker is a smoker that uses charcoal to smoke food. Drum smokers are one of the most popular types of smokers on the market because they are designed to be more efficient and effective than regular smokers. Drum smokers typically have a cylindrical shape with a lid on top, and they use charcoal or wood to generate smoke. The food is placed on a rack inside the smoker, and the heat and smoke circulate around the food, cooking it evenly.
One of the main benefits of using a drum smoker is that it is much easier to control the temperature than with a regular smoker. You can also add water to the bottom of the smoker to create steam, which will help keep the food moist and prevent it from drying out. In addition, drum smokers allow you to smoke large quantities of food at once, making them ideal for entertaining or feeding a large group.
Drum smokers are one of the most favorite and most convenient equipments for smoking meat and enjoying great barbecue experiences. However, you have to make the right decision to find the best drum smoker for your barbecue needs. There is no rocket science behind it. Just note down your requirements, decide your budget and choose the perfect match for your smoking needs. Drums smokers are affordable, reliable, and long-lasting when maintained properly.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why are offset smokers the best?
The offset smokers make the barbecue cooking experience a breeze of fresh air since they come with large cooking chambers so that you don’t have to cook in batches. Along with that, the firebox is separate, so you will not have to open the main chamber, again and again, to refill some fuel in the smoker.
When should I add wood to my offset smoker?
You need to add wood to the smoker when you want to smoke the meat. The right time to add wood is when the meat is still cold because this is when the meat takes most of the smoke without you needing to intervene at times. However, make sure the coals have stopped smoking before adding wood to the chamber.
Can I put wood chips directly on charcoal?
Yes, you can put wood chips directly on the charcoal to achieve the desired flavor. However, if you prefer, you can use them separately in a smoker box.
What if the wooden chips burn too quickly?
If your wooden chips burn too quickly, you need to soak them in the water before putting them in the chamber. Also, avoid opening the damper and doors again and again since more airflow will result in burning the wood chips even quickly.
Which is better, offset or reverse flow smoker?
A reverse flow smoker is always a better choice since it guarantees a more consistent cooking temperature as compared to an offset smoker. However, the offset doesn’t lack behind in performance since it offers excellent airflow for providing a cleaner burn.
Can I grill steaks on an offset smoker?
Of course, you can quickly grill excellent steaks on an offset smoker. All you need to do is to provide the smoker with a high heat source for the final sear of the steak.
About Shawn Summer
Best when it comes to BBQ. From charcoal grills to pellet smokers, I’ve got you covered. My goal is to share my knowledge and passion for grilling with you, so you can create delicious meals for your family and friends. Let’s get grilling!