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The “smoking” method is one common way of cooking food. It is often used to preserve food through dehydration, or it can be used to convert barbecue to a real barbecue.

Has it ever crossed your mind that there exist both direct and indirect food smokers?

The two types of food smokers are closely related, yet they function differently, and they are both used for specific kinds of foods.

Direct smoking is efficient with fast-cooking meals compared to indirect smoking, which is appropriate for foods that take longer to cook, such as ribs.

Food Smokers

Food smoking has been done for many years. The process commenced centuries ago, but it was popularized during World War II.

People started smoking food as the process required less attention, and the food was also more durable than the food prepared the usual way.

The history of food smoking

Direct food smoking can be defined as cooking or flavoring of food, also referred to as browning, through exposure to smoke emitted from a smoldering or burning material.

Smoking can be done through the use of wood, which is most prevalent in barbecues.

The process of food smoking started as a form of food preservation and a food flavoring method.

The people who invented the technique realized that the food that was passed through smoke acquired a different flavor, and it was also able to last longer.

Direct food smoking

Direct food smoking is the process of cooking food by placing it directly close to the heat source.

It is done on foods that require less time in cooking.

Examples of such foods include; chicken breast, burgers, or even the fish fillets.

These types of foods are recommended as they get ready before the meat starts to burn.

If you use this method for butt, it will burn before the meat’s interior parts are ready.

Direct food smoking is cooking food by placing it in an indirect heat source of around 225F to 250F.

This gives foods such as ribs enough time to cook before the meat dries out, and it probably gains a gross taste.

The food is placed in a chamber that gets heated, but not directly for hours until it is ready.

This method is mostly preferred because it renders off the fats in the meat during the cooking process.

Indirect Smoker vs. Direct Smoker: How do they compare


Direct smokers are used for fast-cooking foods. This means that the cookers can be used for preparing quick meals during your picnics.

They are the type that is commonly referred to as grills as the process involves grilling of meat on a heat source.

The direct smokers seal the exterior of the meat, trapping some of the fat inside the meat.

In direct smokers are used for cooking foods that require more extended periods to cook.

They are made of chambers with controlled temperatures that heat the food without exposing it to any direct heat source.

Foods such as ribs can be prepared using these smokers since other than acquiring a unique flavor; the bones get enough time to cook even inside.


Direct smokers were designed to cook less time-consuming foods.

Some grills offer an option of adjusting the length between the meat and the heat source when cooking food that requires longer durations.

The cooking of these foods is achieved by increasing the distance between the heat source and the cooking food to prevent the food from drying out before it is ready.

Direct smokers create a distinctive flavor on food. The flavor comes from the smell of the fats that burn after dripping from the meat.

Indirect Smokers make use of a plate setter that separates the heat source and the food that is cooking.

The setter’s work prevents heat from burning the feed directly, which creates a crust on the food.

This, however, makes the cooking process take longer compared to the use of direct smoking.


Direct smokers have gained much popularity due to their portability. Most grills used for direct smoking contain a removable lid, a stand, and grill gates.

These parts can be dismantled if the need arises and be transported to the desired location.

Many Indirect smokers use other sources of heat other than charcoal or wood.

This makes it challenging to move with the smoker if you need to use it during outdoor events.

Direct smokers are also lightweight, a factor that makes their mobility efficient.


The reliability of the two types of food smokers depends on many factors.

When it comes to cooking food in a hurry, direct smoking will be very reliable as you will have your meal ready on time.

On the other hand, if you want a smoker that will cook your meat well but for more extended hours, then indirect smoking should be your best choice.

Both smokers are reliable, and if used with some level of expertise, both will produce tasty food with that unique flavor.

Environmental impact

Direct Smokers leave much harm to the environment when used. This is because most of them make use of charcoal as their source of heat.

When charcoal burns, it produces carbon dioxide, also known as a greenhouse gas, highly harmful to the environment.

The amount of carbon dioxide emitted when making use of indirect smoking is less.

Gas grills are the best when it comes to conserving the environment because they release the lowest carbon dioxide levels.

In direct smokers are more environmentally friendly, and as a result, they pose a less threat to human life even during the cooking process.


Direct smokers are relatively cheaper compared to indirect smokers.

The building of direct smokers is not complicated, and in most cases, the design accommodates the use of charcoal as a source of heat.

In the case of direct smokers, on the other hand, they are highly-priced due to their intricate designs.

To guarantee efficiency, some smokers are even fitted with computers that help regulate the temperatures inside the grilling chambers.

Safety considerations

When using any food smoker, you are advised to use all the necessary grilling equipment to avoid accidents.

Direct food smokers require you to trim excess fats from the meat to prevent flare-ups when the fat drips into the heat source.

You should only use your direct smoker in a well-ventilated place to avoid the risk of suffocation from lack of enough breathing air.

You should also ensure that you do not leave your smokers’ unattended and do not encourage children to play around the smokers.

Direct and Indirect food smoking is a mechanism s used in cooking.

They produce food that lasts longer before going bad and introduces a unique flavor from the smoking process.

The significant difference between the two types of smokers is the type that they are used to prepare.

Direct smoking is used with less time-consuming foods, while direct smokers are used for making the food that requires more extended periods to cook.

Both smokers work well and produce excellent results if they are used appropriately.

You only need to get the right smoker and prepare the right kind of food, in the right way.

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