One common mistake in specifying smokers is underestimating or overestimating how much capacity will be needed. 

There are a number of factors to consider when specifying smokers.


Manufacturers recommend that operators scale up in smoker size to ensure enough food can be produced at one time. Restaurants featuring mainly smoked or barbecued items require a higher capacity smoker, but it's still important to estimate daily or weekly volume when choosing from the various sizes. This can be accomplished by estimating how much smoked food will be prepared, the table turns and the percentage of barbecued or smoked items.

Fuel Source

When specifying a smoker, operators need to consider the fuel source, either electric, gas or wood, which will determine the utilities needed to operate the unit.

Consumable Storage

Operators need to designate a proper storage space for consumables. If a smoker utilizes large amounts of wood, operators will need a place that not only provides enough room, but also that is protected against rodents and other pests. In some locales, health departments prohibit storing wood outside that is uncovered.


Because different varieties of wood impart distinct taste profiles, operators should consider the types of items that will be prepared in the smoker. Traditional woods used in smokers include hickory, mesquite and applewood, but operators can create their own distinct flavors by adding different saw dust or wood chips.

Ventilation Requirements

Ventilation needs and requirements are important when specifying smokers. These can vary greatly, depending on local codes, although there is a national standard put forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).


Read more: 

When to Replace Smokers

Smokers: An Overview 
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How to Know When to Replace a Smoker
Smokers can last as long as 50 years, but the average service life of these units is about a decade. Here are a few signs that it is time to replace a smoker.

Smoker Applications
Foodservice operators utilize smokers to impart flavors in food that would be difficult to create in any other way.

Maintaining a Smoker
Proper smoker maintenance and cleaning is a necessity for safe use and fire prevention.

Spec Check: Smokers
One common mistake in specifying smokers is underestimating or overestimating how much capacity will be needed.

Energy Efficiency and Smokers
With newer smoker models and specialty units, there have been advancements that enhance energy efficiency.