Holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics, loves traveling and learning new languages. Fluent in Spanish, is learning French and Czech at the moment. Enjoys exploring national cuisines every time he visits new countries.
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous online and offline grilling masterclasses runs his own BBQ accessories shop.
Last updated: March 22, 2021
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It doesn’t even matter if you are a BBQ enthusiast or not, you’ve just got to admit that nothing can be compared to food cooked by a smoker, which is probably why smokers are one of the most popular kitchen appliances nowadays. In truth, no other kitchen appliance is capable of replicating the original BBQ flavor that smokers effortlessly add to nearly any piece of chicken, meat, or fish. From magnificently tacky ribs to juicy, thick cuts of mouthwatering tender meat, you can’t deny that smokers add a rich aroma to any food. For that reason, if you’re opening a restaurant or a starting a catering business, you can’t do without the best commercial smoker.
Commercial smokers are naturally designed for catering businesses and restaurants, which explains why they’re typically larger and more powerful than the regular models. Of course, buying the right commercial smoker for your business might be a quite difficult task due to the many factors involved. During your shopping for the best commercial BBQ smoker, you must consider each model’s power source, cooking area, dimensions, and the number of grates, just like we considered them while assembling the five commercial smokers listed in this article. Simply put, you must ensure the product you’re choosing fits your business plan in accordance with the aforementioned factors.
In our natural manner, we have invested a lot of hours into the compilation of this guide. Not only have we listed all our picks in a very detailed comparison table, but we have also reviewed each of them, making it easy for any prospective buyer to know more about each product. To simplify the entire shopping process for you, we have also added a buying guide together with different handy tips you could find useful. By and large, we guarantee you that everything has been tailored to help you make the best decision.
The Masterbuilt 20077515 is one of the most popular commercial smokers on the market, for good reasons. At the front of the unit, there is a digital display which allows you to watch your meat and adjust the settings accordingly. Apart from showing you the current internal temperature, the digital display also allows you to turn the light inside on, turn the timer on, and modify the heat according to your current needs. This model is also popular among many home cooks, thanks to the full-length viewing window it sports on the front. With the viewing window, you can watch the inside of the unit to check if it’s time to rotate or turn the meats without opening the door. Fortunately, the product is well insulated so that all the heat will be locked in.
What’s more, the unit comes with four cooking grates that give you a total space of about 730 square inches, and each of them is sufficiently large to cook a whole rack of ribs on. The grates are also removable, which means you don’t need to be scared about difficult cleaning. At the bottom of the unit is an inbuilt drip pan that captures all the liquid falling off your foods and prevents them from getting to the wood chip tray. The tray can even be removed in order to avoid the liquid from plopping. Also, the smoker features an air damper that can be rotated externally to allow in more air.
To ease the entire cooking process, the smoker also comes with an easy-to-use loading system that makes it very easy to add more wood chips whenever you want to. Also, the unit comes with handles and caster wheels for optimum portability. The wheels allow you to transport the smoker from one place to another easily. The power cord is, however, not long enough, which could cause you some inconvenience when cooking.
Looking like a small fridge or vault from the 1900s, it’s easy to be fooled by the rather ordinary appearance of the Dyna-Glo DGU732BDE-D Smoker. You would be wise not to underrate this smoker though, as it packs a lot of features to rival the best smokers currently available. It features a control panel where you will find push-button controls and an LED display that enables you to effortlessly set and keep an eye on both temperature and cooking time. There is also an integrated thermometer that allows you to monitor how your meat is cooking.
For optimum convenience, the Dyna-Glo DGU732BDE-D also features a wood chip loader at the side, which makes it needless to open the door before loading the wood, thereby preventing any loss of heat. Even the firebox is insulated and double-walled, featuring a door seal to lock the smoke and heat inside. And like most of the models we have reviewed here, this one also comes with four chrome-plated grates which offer a total cooking space of 732 square inches.
Furthermore, this model from Dyna-Glo is an electric unit, which makes it extremely easy to use. In fact, you are bound to enjoy hassle-free smoking with this model since it has an incredibly convenient plug-and-go operation. One shortcoming you will encounter is the small wood chip tray, which requires you to be reloading it more often than you would like to. Of course, those are the only drawbacks with this unit, and it’s an easy-to-use and convenient model otherwise.
Durable, powerful, easy to use, and highly durable, the Landmann USA 3495GLA rightfully takes a spot on our list. For assured stability while cooking, this unit has durable steel built with a wide-angled bottom. Apart from that, the smoker also has a power output of 13,500 BTUs, which is sufficient to cook a lot of food at once. Not only that, but the decent power is also supplemented by a heat control which enables you to keep an eye on the temperature level at which the smoker is smoking your food, thereby giving you total control over what you’re cooking.
Specifically, this commercial smoker is equipped with four cooking racks that offer a cooking space of 698 square inches, which is large enough to make food for a lot of people. The shelves can also be adjusted if you want to cook large pieces of meat, which makes the machine a very easy-to-use model. Indeed, you will also love the fact that this product comes with a meat hanger, which is usually handy if you’re looking to prepare dried meat. Meanwhile, it also has a water pan and chip box which are removable for easy cleaning and maintenance.
Additionally, weighing only about 53 pounds, this unit is one of the lighter models on the market, which is quite impressive considering the power it packs. The only shortcoming we found is its quite tricky assembly, which might be very difficult for newbies, in particular. To make this model more attractive to potential buyers, its manufacturers decided to make it very affordable, thereby delivering more than what you even pay for.
The only word suitable to describe the KBQ C-60 is “brilliant”. Featuring a top of the line and advanced technology, this smoker is sure to take your BBQ to the next level. Apart from being one of the most innovative commercial smokers ever produced, this one also produces high-quality food with delicious flavors. It uses real wood fire and nothing else, making it very easy and convenient to use. This appliance, with its inverted flame, automatically generates perfect blue smoke and features a control box that automatically maintains temperature.
Furthermore, this appliance from KBQ is equipped with four cooking grates, which fit four briskets, eight pork butts, two turkeys, and twelve chickens, which should be enough for a large number of people. Not only that, but the unit also comes with two three-inch wheels on the rear legs, which means moving this unit around and transporting it won’t be such a hassle. Moreover, there are sensors in the smoker that allow you to know the present temperature on the inside of the unit, and let you adjust it accordingly. Indeed, if you are looking for a great smoker that is a stick burner and works effortlessly without giving any reason for concern, then this unit might be the ideal option for you.
Like every other human invention though, this one is not without its flaw. Primarily, it isn’t a “set-and-forget” smoker, which means the firebox requires tending – you need to be settling the coals and putting one or two small logs. Otherwise, this is a great unit that utilizes a combination of old school wood burning with modern technology for the ultimate result. It is definitely one of the game changers amongst the products we have listed here.
Bradley Technologies is also one of the leading companies when it comes to the production of smokers, and their famous Digital 4-Rack Electric smoker is a great unit that is capable of providing you with eight hours of meticulous smoke and up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit cooking temperatures. Simply put, if you are in search of a commercial smoker that’s convenient to use, then this model from Bradley Technologies must be one of your top considerations.
This powerful machine is perfect for experts and beginners alike. It is powered by a 125-watt smoking element and a 500-watt cooking element, making this a mighty unit. It also weighs about 57 pounds, meaning it’s a very lightweight model. The unit is produced using stainless steel which offers optimum insulation that delivers that needed heat retention, so it’s a very durable model that is suitable for outdoor smoking on cold and hot days. With four racks that provide a cooking space of 572 square inches, rest assured that there is no problem using this smoker to cook for a large group of people.
For maximum control, it has a digital display which allows you to keep an eye on the cooking time, temperature, and the appropriate degree of smoke for flawlessly smoked and cooked food. And cleaning is effortless – you only need to take out the racks and the drip pan and clean from the inside. On the drawbacks, this appliance doesn’t have a viewing window, which means you can’t know what’s happening inside until you open the door. Also, it doesn’t have wheels or handles, which will definitely hamper transportability and portability.
What we liked:
High-quality stainless steel
Easy to use and clean
Full set of digital controls
Adjustable racks and a large cooking space
What could be better:
Doesn’t have a viewing window
Doesn’t have handles or wheels
Things to Consider
When you are looking for the best commercial smoker on the market, you must keep in mind that plenty of elements are involved. Some individuals need just a basic smoker for their personal use, and there are master chefs who need a fully equipped model that’s capable of handling a restaurant business. In general, regardless of your objective, it is vital to give it a lot of thought before making your final decision.
Why buy a commercial grade smoker?
Larger cooking area
Naturally, commercial smokers typically have a larger cooking area than regular smokers, which is nothing surprising considering the fact that commercial models are usually engineered for restaurants and catering businesses. Averagely, commercial smokers come with about 500 square inches of total cooking space, which is more than what you will find on regular models. Some commercial models even have cooking spaces as large as 730 square inches, like the Masterbuilt 20077515.
Commercial models are also more powerful than regular ones, which is also very normal since they are typically used to cook for a lot of people. While there are some models that don’t pack as much power as required, most of them are very powerful to handle cooking for a large group of people at once.
High-quality commercial units can be utilized in different foodservice settings, which include catering, commissaries, delicatessens, barbecue establishments, and small and large restaurants. Pork, poultry, beef and more can be barbecued and smoked in an indoor or outdoor commercial smoker. Cooks are experimenting with smoking fish, fruit, desserts, cheese, and even vegetables.
Easy to clean
Another problem often faced by operators of traditional smokers is difficult cleaning and maintenance. Ideally, kitchen appliances should be easy to use and clean. Consider a commercial smoker that comes outfitted with drip pans such in which meat drippings are caught and have internal grill and grates that can be taken out and cleaned in a dishwasher. One example of a model with drip pans is the Bradley Technologies 4 Rack Original Smoker Stove.
Features to consider while choosing a commercial smoker
Commercial smokers aren’t really your daily appliances, so you need to treat them accordingly. When looking for the ideal model for your needs, make sure you take the key features below into consideration.
The typical energy sources when it comes to smokers are charcoal, electricity, and gas. While most gas-powered units utilize propane gas, there are some models that work on natural gas as well. Some companies have engineered their smokers to be able to use both natural and propane gas, which can be quite advantageous if you prefer utilizing natural gas.
Generally, most people believe charcoal smokers to have the most solid flavors. For us, the fuel type doesn’t actually determine the greatness of the taste. Keep in mind that the wood type you utilize assumes a larger role in discharging the type of smoky flavor perceptible in the food smoked.
Also, charcoal smokers are the slowest, while electric models are the cleanest and easiest to use. The simple plug-and-go operation of electric smokers makes them an attractive option for people in search of a simple way of cooking. Just consider the three types and their advantages and pick the one that fits your own needs.
Often expressed in cubic or square inches, the cooking area is one of the first considerations you must make. A commercial smoker with a cooking area of about 700 to 750 square inches should be large enough for most people. If you will be using your smoker for commercial purposes, select a model with a maximum capacity of around 500 square inches at least. With a cooking area of 732 square inches, the Dyna-Glo DGU732BDE-D has the largest cooking area on our list.
Number and size of grates
You need a decent measure of rack space when you smoke veggies and meat. Four racks can offer up to 500, or even up to 700 square inches sometimes. Also, you can find models with three racks, but they aren’t usually ideal for commercial purposes and people who generally cook for large groups. Sometimes, smokers’ rack space is also measured by the quantity of food they can cook. Larger models are capable of cooking 23 kilograms of fish or 11.5 kilograms of meat simultaneously, which is ideal for big gatherings such as family reunions, weddings, and so on.
Most commercial smokers are relatively large, but not necessarily very heavy. While heavier models can weigh something between 40 to 60 pounds, they often consume less space on the patio than a regular grill as smokers are engineered with their racks stacked over each other.
Keep in mind that heavyweight doesn’t necessarily guarantee durability, so don’t underestimate lightweight models when you are doing your shopping.
As with every other kitchen appliance, you will want a commercial smoker that is backed up by the brand. With a commercial smoker, you can buy one with a warranty of three to five years, which is usually the average. With this, you will have enough confidence and peace of mind in what you are purchasing, as commercial smokers can be quite pricey.
Apart from all the regular features, there are also some extras you might need to check such as wheels, temperature gauges, materials used, and ease of assembly. Of course, these additional characteristics won’t have a direct contribution to the smoking performance of the unit, but they will offer you a lot of conveniences. Models like the KBQ C-60 BBQ Smoker Pit come with wheels for optimum convenience.
The side wood chip loading system is a new technology, and it allows you to refuel the smoker without actually needing the open the door. With that, flavor and smoke won’t be able to escape, and your food will retain all the required flavors.
It’s generally believed that no BBQ tastes as good or better than charcoal-produced BBQ. Even in the modern world, charcoal is still being utilized as a way of injecting unique flavors to all types of fish, meat, nuts, and even cheese. The secret being the unique flavor given to the food by charcoal smokers is how the food is cooked slowly at a certain temperature for an extended period of time.
Featuring cooking grates that are easily removable and drips pans that prevent the liquids from reaching the wood tray, our Editor’s Choice – the Masterbuilt 20077515 – is the easiest to clean model on this list.
When commercial smokers are discussed, it doesn’t get bigger than Masterbuilt, and it doesn’t get better than the Masterbuilt 20077515. This unit is our pick for the best commercial smoker, thanks to a myriad of mouthwatering features it’s equipped with. It has a large cooking space, it is powerful and easy to clean, so we don’t know what else to demand from a commercial smoker.
Coming right behind that is the Dyna-Glo DGU732BDE-D, which is also a brainchild of the famous manufacturer. Featuring the most considerable cooking space on this list and having multiple fuel options, we don’t think anyone can confidently doubt this high-performing kitchen appliance.
Coincidentally, our Budget Pick is also our choice for the third-best product on the list, which is a really impressive feat. Despite being very cheap, the Landmann USA 3495GLA comes with four cooking grates that deliver a total power output of 13,500 BTUs. Besides, it has a relatively large cooking space of 698 square inches, which is even larger than what is found on some costlier models.