The Best Competition Smokers for 2022 and How to Build Your Own

Looking to enter a BBQ competition for the first time?

Check out our favorite competition smokers and also a guide on how to build your own!

competition smoker

Scroll through your cable guide any time of day and, more than likely, you will come across yet another BBQ competition show.

Competitive BBQ is bigger than ever, and if you want to take take your outdoor cooking game to the next level and compete, you are going to need a competition smoker.

With so many different types of competition smokers out there – varying in price, size, portability, and functionality – picking the right competition smoker for you will all depend on what you want your smoker to do.

Today we’ve decided to narrow down on some entry-level, yet competition-ready, smokers that you can take your first local BBQ competition without needing to buy a trailer or take out a mortgage to pay for.

Here are a few top-rated competition smokers to get you started on your search for the perfect smoker for you!


In a Hurry? Check out our Favorite Competition Smokers Here:

Or skip ahead to read about each one individually.


Competition Smokers

1. Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker, 22”

The Pit Boss competition smoker is a top choice for grill lovers everywhere.

Not only does this competition smoker give you abundant space for your meat, but you can also cook, bake and grill with the Pit Boss.

With thick ceramic walls, this all-in-one competition smoker will lock the moisture into your food, enhancing the flavor for a perfect bite every time.

ou will have complete control of the airflow with the cast iron top tamper, allowing you to set the cooking temp with precision. And with two side shelves made of solid bamboo, you have your prep area right where you need it.


2. Dyna- Glo WIDE Charcoal Offset Smoker

A vertical competition smoker is perfect for absorbing every bit of smoky flavor, and the Dyna-Glo Offset smoker does not disappoint, using wood chips and charcoal for endless flavor.

With six adjustable grates and 1176 square inches of total cooking area, this competition smoker can smoke foods of all sizes.

The offset function keeps the food away from direct heat, giving you tender, evenly cooked meat every time.

The charcoal chamber is porcelain-enameled and keeps the briquettes stacked tight, improving their burning efficiency.


3. Smoke Hollow Digital Electric Smoker

This competition smoker offers affordable simplicity, especially as a backup or secondary smoker to add to your competition arsenal.

The Smoker Hollow electric smoker will give you consistent and even smoking every time with its integrated thermostat temperature control inside the fully insulated body.

Using the digital control will allow you to get the exact temperature and even heat distribution and smoking, with an 800 watt heating element.


Other Competition Smoker Options

Here are a few of our other favorite and highest performing competition smokers currently available:





Build Your Own Smoker

You can buy your competition smoker, or you can take on the task of building your own.

Check out our own recent STEP-by-STEP tutorial on How to Build your own Oil Tank Smoker HERE.

There are all different kinds of DIY competition smokers, but one of the most common one is the Drum Smoker.

The Drum Smoker is made from a 55-gallon steel drum and is easy to make and use.

Do not be fooled by their DIY status; they work incredibly well.

You can now find DIY Drum Smoker kits that come with all the pieces you need, minus the drum.

The concept of building a drum smoker is straightforward; take a 55-gallon drum and drill holes into it and place a charcoal basket inside with a grilling grate.

Using plumbing valves as air inlets as the finishing touch, you have yourself your very own competition smoker.

Ensure you have all the proper tools before starting; power drill, hardware (nuts, bolts, etc.), and a propane weed torch.


The Drum

An easier option if you don’t already have a clean oil drum or barrel already is just to buy ther COMPLETE kit like this one:


If you want to buy the the pieces individually though, purchasing a new and non-lined drum is your best option.

This ensures no previous materials have been left on the drum and able to seep into your food while smoking.

These drums can be found at hardware stores and online.

If you choose to get a used drum for your competition smoker, be sure you know what kind of material it held before; never use drums that have held toxic materials.

Organic oils are the best-used drums to find because they will not have an interior liner – you will be unable to remove it by hand.

Clean your drum using dawn dish soap to cut through any oil and grease. And then, scrub it again.

Check out our COMPLETE Tutorial on How to Properly Clean an Electric Smoker HERE.

If your drum does not come with a lid and is sealed on both ends, cut one end off 3 inches from the “lid.”

Curve the edges of the open end of the drum in by hammering them in with a hammer or rubber mallet, so the lid fits nicely over the rest of the drum.


Burn That Barrel

To ensure the proper removal of any excess paint or oil that your scrub did not remove on the outside, use a weed torch to burn off anything left over.


Season and Smoke

burning a fire in a trash can turkey

As with ANY new smoker, you need to seaosn it well before cooking food in it.

Check out our COMPLETE Tutorial on How to Season a New Smoker HERE.

Before drilling into your drum, take a decent amount of lard and coat the inside of the drum.

Then, empty a 5lb bag of charcoal – lit – into the drum. This will season and coat the inside of the drum and protect the metal from corroding over time.

Paint the outside of your drum with heat resistant paint for a more polished finish for your competition smoker, add handles on both sides, and the lid for easy access.


Air Intake

Drill a 3-inch hole near the bottom of the drum and attach a 3-inch metal cap with a nut and bolt – a lock-tightened nut is needed here. Install three of these around the bottom of your drum, evenly spaced apart.


Installing the Grate

Bolt 4 3-inch L-shape brackets spaced evenly to the inside of your drum and level them out using ¼-inch bolts; this will support a 21” grill grate perfectly.


Fire and Water

In order to season your new smoker you are going to need a big load of lit charcoal.  And using a charcoal chimney starter is the easiest way to get a big batch lit.

Don’t own a charcoal chimney starter?

Check out these 3 EASY Options to quickly make your own DIY Charcoal Chimney Starter at home out of things you probably already own.

Fill a cast-iron pan with water, and place on top of your starter adds moisture while an old baking sheet or pan can be used to catch your ashes.

You can put your wood and charcoal in a chimney charcoal starter, or you can look into finding or building a charcoal basket.


Looking for More Grills, Smokers, and Accessories to Add to your Collection?

Check out some of our favorite brands and styles of grills, smokers, and cooking accessories to add to your list!





Competition Smoker Recipes

Looking for some inspiration for what to make next on your competition smoker?

Check out some of our favorite recipes below that can easily be done in a competition smoker.

Trash Can Turkey – OK, technically not made on a grill but one of the most fun ways there is to cook a Turkey…at over 700 degrees in only 2 hours!  You’ve got to check it out!



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