If you are on the hunt for the best commercial smokers for restaurants, a few of the most important things you must consider is its size, fuel type, and where you intend to install it. To help you shop, I’ve rounded up the best commercial smokers, as rated by restaurant owners and home chefs.
I also curated a handy buying guide to further help you pick the right commercial smoker for you. And with a brief review of each product, you should be able to find your ideal smoker. The one that best meets your needs and your budget.
Whether for commercial purposes or home use, smokers are an important tool in any kitchen setting. And if you’re a real barbecue fan, you know that nothing compares to the taste and flavor of food cooked in a smoker.
It’s the only kitchen device that can recreate the authentic barbecue taste. Smoking veggies, fish, poultry, and luscious slices of savory meat lends a complex flavor to your recipes. Exactly as your customers would like it. Serving freshly smoked dishes to your hungry customers might entice them to revisit your restaurant.
Picking the ideal commercial smoker for your restaurant is critical. This is because the appliance you buy has a significant effect on everyday food prep. As well as the taste and texture of your smoked dishes.
Having said that, I dug into the delectable world of commercial smokers and found the best equipment to deliver restaurant-style meals!
My Top Picks
|Best Overall||Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D Gas Smoker||– 20.35 x 31.28 x 56.55 inches|
– Propane fueled
– 20,000 total BTUs
– Dual cast iron burners
– 6 Adjustable cooking grates
|Best Features||Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 Grill and Smoker||– 48.7 x 26.7 x 54.4 inches|
– Electric and wood heat source
– Can reach up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
– WiFIRE technology
– Porcelain grill grates
|Camp Chef WIFI Woodwind Pellet Grill & Smoker||– 30 x 43 x 49 inches|
– LPG fuel- PID controller for consistent temperatures
– Full-color screen digital control
– Smart smoke technology (1-10 settings)
– 4 Stainless steel meat probes
– Ash cleanout system
– Can reach up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit
|Also Good Option||Smokin-It Model Electric Smoker||– 12.5 x 17.25 x 13.5 inches|
– 400-watt heating element
– 3 Removable shelves
– NSF-certified for restaurant use
|Best for Restaurant-Style BBQ||KBQ C-60 BBQ Smoker Pit||– 25.59 x 19.29 x 41.73 inches|
– Inverted flame firebox with smoke selector
– AutoDraft control box
– 12-Position racks
– 4 Interchangeable wire shelves- Fire tending hook
The Best Commercial Smoker for Restaurants
As you can see above, the commercial smokers on my list come in a variety of configurations (more on this later). Curious to know what these smokers have to offer? Keep reading for a brief overview of each model.
Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D Gas Smoker – Best Overall
The Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D Gas Smoker is one of the popular choices among smoked meat enthusiasts. If you enjoy serving smoked foods outside, this 43-inch wide freestanding smoker could be an excellent option. Despite its extra-large size, it still wouldn’t occupy a lot of space, even if your backyard isn’t that big.
This unit is fueled by liquefied petroleum gas. So, you should expect it to burn wood quickly. It comes with dual cast iron burners with a total of 20,000 BTUs.
The Dyna-Glo gas smoker features 6 adjustable cooking grates which give you more cooking space. This commercial smoker is also equipped with chrome-plated sausage hooks and a rib rack for convenient smoking sessions.
To ensure juicy, succulent meats with the best smokey flavor, it comes with a heavy gauge porcelain enameled steel water bowl. Its wood chip box has a large capacity, which I appreciate. And it’s crafted from strong gauge porcelain enameled steel for hours of fuss-free cooking.
• Durable construction
• Easy to use and set up
• Allows more cooking space
• Struggles with maintaining low temperature
Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 Grill and Smoker – Best Features
If you’re into appliances with smart features, the Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 Grill and Smoker may be a wonderful addition to your cooking arsenal. This unit is a dual-fueled grill and smoker that uses both electricity and wood as heat sources.
It uses WiFIRE technology, which connects your unit to your home WiFi. With the Traeger App and the WiFIRE equipped controller, you can adjust temperatures, set timers, and track your meals from anywhere at any time. And you can accomplish it all with your voice — thanks to Alexa!
What I like about this model is that it can not only be used to smoke. But you can also use it to grill, bake, roast, and braise. Another thing that makes it possible to perform all of those is the temperature settings that can reach up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It also includes a built-in meat probe to help you smoke to perfection.
The Traeger grill and smoker features a D2 drivetrain or the new brushless 20-volt, Direct-Drive motor, which operates on direct current, and is stronger and can last while consuming less amperage. It allows your unit to ignite quicker, heat up faster, and produce higher-quality smoke.
• Smart features make cooking convenient
• Versatile unit
• Easy to use
• Can cook a wide range of dishes
• Some users encounter connectivity issues
Camp Chef WIFI Woodwind Pellet Grill & Smoker – Also Best Features
The Camp Chef WIFI Woodwind Pellet Grill & Smoker is one of the best commercial pellet smokers, and could be another smart option if you’re looking for a unit that can lend a geeky touch to your restaurant.
Equipped with the new PID and WIFI integrated controller, you can adjust the heat and set timers. As well as receive alerts once your meat hits your desired temperature using the Camp Chef Connect App.
Another thing I appreciate about this smoker is its attachment capability. It features a Sidekick that’s built to provide VersaGrillity as one of Camp Chef’s single burner, 14-inch cooking systems, allowing you to equip a griddle, grill, oven, and stockpot.
The cast iron grill grates that come with the unit create gorgeous sear patterns. With a Sear Box that can reach up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. And with the turn of a knob, you can choose between Direct and Indirect Flame mode.
There’s also a louvered drip tray that permits flames to hit the lowest grill racks, allowing you to cook at temperatures ranging from 160 to 650 degrees Fahrenheit.
It also has a knob that you can turn to direct the ashes from the burn cup into a detachable cup on the bottom. It’s a wonderful way to flush the burner and get rid of the ashes.
• Convenient smart features
• Can accommodate different cooking attachments
• High-temperature reach
• Easy to use
• Offers easily rid of ashes
• The controller app could be improved
Smokin-It Model Electric Smoker – Also Good Option
Another great option if you want to get into smoking meat could be the Smokin-It Model Electric Smoker. From the many consumer reports I’ve read online, I think how well the unit performs is one of its outstanding features. It can perfectly cook practically everything you put into it.
The design of this smoker is simple yet functional. It’s essentially a small silver box on wheels, sporting a heating component and a few racks on the base.
It’s also excellent at minimizing heat loss due to its fiberglass insulated walls. What I find interesting about this smoker is that it doesn’t use a gasket to seal the door. Instead, the handle and door form a compressive seal, which aids in ensuring relatively consistent temperatures.
It has a 400-watt heating element with LED indicators and a temperature range of 100 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not particularly high, but it should suffice if you’re merely serving smoked meats as a side dish. Plus, it’s certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) for safety.
It lets you cook belly bacon as well as other meat that demands lower temperatures while still having access to greater temps for general smoking. This smoker is super easy to use. And because there is no open flame, you won’t need to constantly monitor and regulate the smoker.
• Compact size
• Simple yet functional design
• Great heating element
• Handy wheels for mobility
• Low-temperature range
• Has no electric temperature control
• Some users find the configuration too low
KBQ C-60 BBQ Smoker Pit – Best for Restaurant-Style BBQ
Are you in the business of serving delicious BBQ with the most mouth-watering smokey flavor? You may consider getting the KBQ C-60 BBQ Smoker Pit. With its innovative technology, this smoker may just amp up your BBQ smoking. This commercial smoker is one of the best c0mmercial BBQ smokers in the market right now.
It features an inverted flame firebox that automatically creates beautiful thin-blue smoke. As well as a control box that precisely maintains the cooking temperature. It only uses real wood fire, making it easy and simple to operate.
However, because it is not a set-it-and-forget smoker, you should expect to constantly monitor the process. But it should be easy with the help of the fire tending hook.
The KBQ smoker is also equipped with four cooking grates for more cooking capacity. I also appreciate that it has two 3-inch wheels on the back legs, which makes transporting the smoker a breeze. And its four interchangeable wire shelves provide you with more flexibility.
Its sensor is also another feature I like about this unit. The sensor indicates the current temperature of the interior of the smoker and lets you change it. This smoker demands effort, but it is great equipment that integrates old-school wood smoking with modern innovation to create the most delectable BBQ in town.
• Precisely maintains and controls temperature
• Sensor for the temperature gauge
• Two large wheels for portability
• Needs constant monitoring
Why Go for a Commercial Grade Smoker?
Regardless of your kitchen setting, investing in a commercial smoker may offer several advantages. Here are a few examples:
Gives You Larger Cooking Area
Commercial smokers, in general, feature a bigger cooking surface than regular smokers. And this is not unusual given that commercial versions are mainly designed for restaurants. As well as other food businesses.
They often have 500 square inches of overall cooking space. And that’s more than what you’ll get from ordinary smokers.
Commercial smokers provide you with a more powerful tool than standard smokers. This is acceptable given that they are mainly used to prepare food for a large group of people.
Certain models still lack the necessary power, though. But most commercial smokers are more than capable of cooking for a large number of people in one go.
Aside from being a powerful tool, you can also use such smokers in a variety of culinary applications. Commercial smokers work well for use in catering, cafeterias, sandwich shops, and barbecue places. As well as both small and big restaurants.
You can smoke pork, chicken, beef, and other meats in a commercial smoker. Whether indoors or outdoors. Smoking fish, vegetables, pastries, and cheese is also becoming popular among chefs.
Easy To Clean
One of the issues that many users encounter with regular smokers is the rigorous process of cleaning and upkeep. In a busy commercial kitchen, your equipment should be easy to clean and operate.
Luckily, many commercial smokers come with drip pans to catch meat juices and greases. They also have an internal grill and grates that you can disassemble and run in your dishwasher.
Things To Consider in Choosing the Best Commercial Smokers for Restaurants
Getting a good commercial meat smoker means knowing that there are several factors to consider. Sometimes, home cooks require only a simple smoker for household uses. While seasoned cooks prefer a well-equipped unit. A smoker with the ability to operate in a professional setting.
Whatever your goal, you must do careful research before coming to a decision. Have a look at the following factors:
When buying a commercial smoker, consider the advantages and disadvantages of various types of fuels. It’s not like all smokers prepare meals in the same way. So, the fuel you wish to use will depend on the type of commercial smoker you choose.
Wood is common in fueling smokers as they infuse a rich, smoke flavor that most people identify with smoked dishes. But since wood is costly and difficult to maintain, some people prefer to use them as a supplementary fuel.
I particularly like for mostly adding flavor, rather than using it as a fuel for my smoker. Woods like apples, cherry, and maple are great for poultry. While strong woods like hickory and oak work well with meat.
When you burn wood, it produces intense smoke. Which can easily overpower the inherent flavor of your food. And unless you’re skilled at smoking with woods, keeping a consistent and low cooking temperature may get tricky.
Fueling your smoker with pellets is another way to achieve smokey wood-flavored meat. You can fill the hopper with small pellets and leave it to burn for several hours. These pellets produce heat as they burn.
They are similar to a cross between an oven and a smoker. Pellets blend the smoky flavors of natural burning aroma with the practicality of use of a commercial electric smoker. It functions as both an oven and a grill, providing you with a two-in-one cooking station.
Smoking with pellets also does not entail a lot of instability and offers far less close monitoring. Available in a variety of flavors, wood pellets are one of the most user-friendly smokers. They also burn fast. Another thing I like about pellets is that you can’t over-smoke your dish. Plus, they seldom leave hot or cold spots.
There are countless indoor smokers that rely on electricity as their major source of fuel. I believe they are the most convenient since you can just set it and leave it until your food is cooked.
They are also a low-cost option and are easy to maintain, which is why many commercial kitchens prefer electric smokers. Many high-quality electric smokers even let you put a few wood chips or pellets to add flavorings.
But, many believe that electric smokers aren’t real smokers. This is because they cook mainly with heat and steam generated by electricity. So, I think the main drawback of electric smokers is the absence of true smokey flavor. They also don’t create the signature grill grates on meat.
Since propane is widely available, many commercial kitchens use gas smokers. They are also as easy to use as electric smokers. Also, you can easily control a gas smoker’s temperature and adjust it to your liking, which is something that charcoal or a wood smoker lacks.
Similar to an electric smoker, a gas smoker works with a heated coil or propane to keep the cooking chamber at a steady temperature. It also has a tray for woods if you want to add a smokey flavor. As well as a receptacle to hold water for an acceptable amount of moisture.
Many restaurants add wood chips to gas smokers, then use the liquid smoke to enhance the flavor. Also, certain large smokers are designed as hybrid units, with various sources of fuel used in different parts.
In the world of smokers, nothing tops a charcoal smoker for authentic smokey wood-flavored barbecue. Charcoal smokers are an excellent choice if you run a restaurant with an outdoor patio. The tradeoff is obvious here, though – you can’t use it indoors.
Charcoal comes in lumps and briquettes. Starch, sawdust, sodium nitrate, and coal are common additives in inexpensive charcoal briquettes, which are common as they burn at a steady rate.
Lump charcoal often comes from wood pieces and creates less ash than briquettes. It also ignites and burns quicker. However, because lump charcoal lacks additives, it is more volatile, thus keeping a steady heat level entails a hands-on strategy.
Since you’ll be purchasing your smoker for commercial reasons, it’s important to look for a model that suits your requirements in a short amount of time.
I suggest that you look at the size of its cooking surface and the number of racks that come with it. The power of the smoker’s British Thermal Units (BTUs) also has a profound impact on how strong the machine is. As well as the temperature it can hit.
It’s worth noting that a high temperature isn’t required for smoking. However, it should still be powerful and effective, and even more so if it’s a large machine.
When looking for a commercial smoker, one of the first things to think about is the place in which you wish to install it. The regulations governing smokers in restaurants and public places differ. Certain smokers are designed to only be fixed, while others may be towed on a vehicle and relocated as needed.
Restaurants are not permitted to install outside smokers in several heavily populated parts of the country. Particularly in areas that are prone to fire. The only solution if you wish to make authentic barbecue is an indoor smoker intended for commercial applications.
The main drawback of having an indoor smoker is the installation. If you opt for a commercial indoor smoker, it’s best to have it installed by a professional. This is to make sure you’re in accordance with local safety rules. As there is a slew of standards and laws you will need to learn and follow.
But here are some advantages of using a commercial indoor smoker:
Operating an indoor smoker might be more convenient than going outdoors. Which requires you to keep an eye on your smoked food.
If you operate in a limited space, it would be critical to pick a commercial smoker that your kitchen can accommodate. Because certain indoor smokers are vertical, you may put them between larger kitchen equipment. Certain models are squat. And they can be installed beneath tabletop or countertops.
Several traditional smokers are designed for the outdoors with vents or chimneys for ventilation. Commercial outdoor smokers come in various sizes, setups, and portability. But this kind of smoker also has a major drawback — the outdoor regulations.
You need to consult with your city to learn how to install your smoker properly. Your local government set regulations regarding how distant a smoker must be from an establishment. As well as how the smoker’s fuel is kept.
But here are some of the advantages of using a commercial outdoor smoker:
Leaves You With More Room
Arranging a smoker outdoors is often less difficult than doing it in your kitchen. It’s simple to set it up and you can leave it in your yard or a parking lot outside your restaurant.
Setting up a smoker indoors, especially large smokers, can eat up your kitchen space. Having one inside while still accommodating other equipment and prep spaces may be difficult.
Brings In New Customers
Setting up a smoker in a parking lot might be a lure to your restaurant. The smell of mouth-watering barbecue smoke can attract new consumers. You can even bring your smoker to food festivals and events held outdoors.
Having your commercial set outside means not having to worry about ventilation. As well as having to follow strict indoor guidelines. And outdoor smokers are generally easier to set up than indoor units.
You may want to look for one that will survive for many years without needing to be repaired or replaced often. Having a durable commercial smoker should withstand the demands of your business. It should also save you from having to repair it if it breaks down in the middle of the operation.
The best commercial meat smokers have stainless steel construction. If you want a pellet smoker that meets the needs of your upscale restaurant, then look for one that ensures durability.
Aside from the standard features, you might also consider useful accessories like wheels and temperature gauges. As well as the convenience of setup. While some minor features don’t have a direct impact on your unit’s performance, they will still come in handy when you need them.
Speaking of durability, a warranty is also important, especially if you’re going to use your commercial smoker to make a living. You may get a unit with a three to five year of warranty. This is normally the standard duration of warranties given by manufacturers. Keep in mind that the longer the warranty, the more likely it is to be durable.
Different Commercial Smoker Configurations
Commercial smokers come in various configurations that can match your kitchen’s space and layout. Having said that, you can get them at varying prices and different sizes.
Vertical smokers, often referred to as upright smokers, are a common option for indoor commercial kitchens. They are available in single and double-door units. And they have varying configurations in the number of racks, setting choices, and overall capacity.
These smokers are preferred by most restaurant kitchens since they maximize vertical space. And if you have a small commercial kitchen, there are also shot, upright smokers.
The best thing about upright smokers is that they are easy to use and are low-maintenance. And many of them include digital features. Which lets you preset times and temperatures.
A rotisserie smoker is designed to smoke meat while they spin. Commercial rotisserie smokers often employ pellets to enhance the meat flavor. They also come in portable units for easy transport.
When it comes to price, a small rotisserie smoker may cost around $700, while a larger unit can go up as high as $2,000. I do think that the price of a large rotisserie smoker is acceptable though, given that it can accommodate up to 500 pounds of pork or 80 whole chickens in one go.
Aside from freestanding models, certain base-style smokers are designed to fit beneath commercial char broilers. These compact smokers are inexpensive and easy to set up and operate.
Compact smokers offer a compartment for wood chips for flavoring. And because they’re generally electric, they’re permitted for operation in many restaurants. Such smokers may also be custom-made to fit certain areas, which is often pricier. But they will provide an option for people who demand specific dimensions.
What I don’t like about these smokers is the size. They are only ideal for restaurants that don’t specialize in barbecue but wish to inject a smokey wood flavor to their dishes.
Offset smokers are popular in restaurants with ample cooking space. Large cooking chambers in a typical barrel shape are their defining features.
They also come with offset fireboxes. It’s where you place the fuel and where it burns. Traditional offset smokers come in a horizontal configuration, but you’ll also find vertical offset smokers. Many restaurant owners also have custom-offset smokers tailor to their specific needs.
With an offset smoker, you need to keep the fuel in the box and then adjust the airflow from the fuel box to its cooking chamber. The goal is to keep the temperature stable. Offset smokers are recognized for injecting meals with a strong smokey wood flavor.
Best Commercial Smokers for Restaurants FAQs
What do restaurants use to smoke food? Why?
Restaurants use commercial smoker-ovens. These appliances use electricity and include a small, built-in compartment. It is where wood chips are torched to give food a smoky flavor. The main sources of cooking and heat are from the oven, which is regulated to a preset temperature with a gauge similar to your household oven.
Is it necessary for me to make adjustments to my kitchen?
When installing a smoker in your kitchen, proper ventilation is a crucial factor. You can have a ductless range hood installed in your kitchen to cope with any smoke that may escape from your smoker.
This helps you effortlessly manage smoke while maintaining better air quality. It essentially eliminates grease, heat, steam, and odors from the air. This is due to their charcoal filter that cleanses the air.
My favorite is the Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D Gas Smoker because it boasts durability, and is easy to use and set up. If you’re looking for a reliable outdoor smoker, you may consider this unit.
But if you’re into the more advanced models, the Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 Grill and Smoker and the Camp Chef WIFI Woodwind Pellet Grill & Smoker could be a smart choice. Both are controlled by their respective apps that basically do the work. Both are versatile with intelligent features for a convenient smoking process.
The Smokin-It Model Electric Smoker is also another good solution if you need a smoker for general cooking. This compact unit features a simple yet functional design with a great heating element. It comes with wheels for easy transport.
Lastly, the Smokin-It Model Electric Smoker could be worth considering mainly because of its performance in the race of smoking. This unit precisely maintains and controls temperature, with a sensor for the temperature gauge. And who wouldn’t love the two large wheels of this outdoor smoker?
I hope you’ve found the ideal commercial smoker for your restaurant, BBQ business, or food truck. Get the most latest prices and discounts on these fantastic smokers so you can start serving delicious smoked dishes to your valued customers! Good luck!