The Different Types of Cookers (Not Just BBQS and Smokers)

Different types of cookers

Do you feel like you need to branch out away from your traditional gas barbecue or smoker?

Here are a range of different appliances and cookers you should consider looking into.

Each of these different cookers has their own purpose and pros & cons.

The awesome thing about each of these cookers is that almost each one can teach you a different way to cook, or a different cultures food.

I hope you enjoy and this list gives you something new to consider when you are up for a new cooker!

My two favorite cookers at the moment are the Pit Barrel Cooker and the Tailgater 20.

coleman roadtrip grill xle in the shed
Our current favorite grill!

Different Types of Cookers and Cooking Appliances

  • Air Fryer:
    An airfryer uses hot air to cook food using convection cooking. It was a smaller convection oven designed to make food fast.

    A small fan circulates hot air around your food very quickly to give your food a crispy outer layer.

    Air fryers do not use oil and are a healthy alternative to deep or shallow frying food. 
my airfryer on the kitchen bench

  • Barrel Smokers:
    Barrel smokers are usually homemade out of old 55-gallon drums.

    They are a simple design usually including air holes at the top and bottom to help you control airflow and temperature. Barrel smokers are usually fuelled by charcoal.

  • Bread Maker:
    A bread maker is an appliance that helps you easily bake bread. They are designed to take raw ingredients and turn them into fresh bread.

    Bread makers have the main bread tin, stirring paddles, basic control board, and viewing window. Y

    ou can bake any bread from a basic white loaf to classic wholewheat sourdough. 

  • Charcoal Grills:
    A charcoal grill is one of the most basic grills. Charcoal grills usually only consist of a basic cooking rack, air ventilation holes to help control airflow and temperature, and sometimes a lid.

    Charcoal grills can be a little harder to master than other grill types since controlling the temperature can be more difficult than gas or pellet style grills. 

  • Charcoal Kettle Grill:
    The kettle grill was first created by Weber back in 1951. The kettle grill gets in name from its unique spherical shape.

    It is a basic unit that includes a cooking grate, a round lid, top and bottom vents to adjust airflow and temperature. Kettle grills are fun to cook on and are a great option for those who are camping or tailgating. 

  • Countertop Oven:
    Countertop ovens are a fantastic appliance for those who have limited space in their kitchens.

    Countertop ovens are versatile and can replace several other appliances since you can use them to bake, toast, and microwave a whole range of different foods.
    Since they are a smaller unit they tend to retain heat really well and can cook food more quickly than a traditional larger oven.

  • Deep Fryer:
    A deep fryer is one of America’s favorite home and commercial appliances. Deep fryers work by cooking food in hot oil. Food is submerged in oil over 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Deep fryers are a popular way of cooking french fries, fish, chicken, corn dogs, and various other snacks. You can get smaller home-style deep fryers and larger commercial units. 

  • Drum Smokers:
    Drum smokers are basically the same as barrel smokers. They are usually made from old 55-gallon drums and are more often than not fuelled by charcoal. 

laying out charcoal
using a charcoal smoker

  • Electric Griddle:
    An electric griddle is a home appliance that is used to cook a whole range of foods you would usually use a pan or flat top bbq for.

    They are great little units that can cook for much faster than a traditional stovetop or grill.

    Because the cooking surface is made from a nonstick material cleanup is a breeze and you can cook without using any additional oils or grease. Electric griddles do not take up much space and are a great option for those who do not have space for a full-size stove or bbq at home. 

  • Electric Grill:
    Electric grills are another great option for those who don’t have a huge amount of space.

    Electric grills are typically a smaller kitchen appliance and are easy to clean, use, and can cook a wide range of foods. Electric grills are appealing to home cooks who don’t have enough space for a bigger gas or charcoal style grill.

    As the name suggests they are powered by electricity and need to be plugged into the wall socket. A good example of an electric grill is the Geroge Foreman, they are world famous. We love our one, we use it grill our steak indoors in winter!

Best George Foreman Grills
  • Electric Skillet:
    Electric skillets are similar to an electric grill, however, they are designed to be used as a frying pan/wok. Most electric skillets come with a non-stick coating which makes it possible to cook without the addition of oils or fats.

    Most electric skillets are dishwasher friendly and can be stored easily with your other pans/woks. 

  • Fondue Pot:
    A fondue pot is a specially designed pot used to make fondue.

    Fondue is basically a communal pot of melted cheese (Swiss cheese), made over a portable heat source, and is used to dip various items into the melted cheese into.

    You can use oil, chocolate, or broths instead of cheese. Fondue originated in Switzerland in the ’30s but gained popularity in the USA towards the ’60s.

  • Food Steamer:
    A food steamer or steam cooker is a kitchen appliance designed to cook for via steam.

    Food steamers are generally a smaller appliance powered by a wall socket. Food steamers work by trapping steam inside the main cooking chamber steaming your food.

    Steamers do not need any grease or oils to cook food and are often referred to as a healthy way of cooking meat and vegetables.  

  • Freestanding Cookers:
    A freestanding cooker is a cooking unit such as a BBQ, smoker or oven which is not built into your kitchen or outdoor area.

    Freestanding units can be inserted into any kitchen/outdoor area and are usually fuelled by gas or electricity. 

  • Gas and Propane Grills:
    Propane or gas grills are one of the most popular cookers on this list. This style of cooker refers to your BBQ.

    Almost everyone reading this list will be familiar with this style of cooker.

    You can get gas/propane grills in lots of different sizes with a range of different features to suit your own style of cooking. 
  • Gravity Smoker
    A gravity smoker is simailr to a pellet grill. however a gravity-fed smoker use charcoal. It is regulated by an electric panel, which allow charcoal to fall into a firepot.

  • Hobs:
    Cooking hobs refer to the burners on top of your stove or other cooking unit. Typically hobs are electricity or gas-powered. Hobs are very common both at home and in commercial kitchens. 

  • Hot Plate:
    A hot plate is a smaller home appliance used to cook food. Hot plates are powered by electricity or gas and are a lightweight unit perfect for cooking while camping or traveling.

    Hot plates are common in smaller kitchens where there is not a lot of space of an over or hob unit. Hot plates can get very hot and can be used to replace the traditional hob. 

  • Induction cooker:
    Induction cookers use direct induction heat to cook food. The hob has a copper coil under the cooking surface which electric current is passed through to create heat for cooking.

    Induction cookers need a specific style of pot or pan to work. Induction cookers are fast and fairly energy efficient.

  • Kamado Grills:
    Kamado style grills are made with a ceramic outer body.

    The ceramic outer provides this oval/egg shape with very good heat retention properties. Kamado grills are a fully enclosed grill and re most well known for the delicious flavor they create. It is perfect for a smoking a brisket in, see my recipe for smoked brisket in a Big Green Egg, which is a type of kamado grill.

    Kamado grills are typically fuelled by charcoal and can be a little more expensive than other styles of grill, however, they will last a long time. 

    The Big Green egg is a popular type of Kamdo grill.

my big green egg in the backyard
My Big Green Egg in the Yard

  • Microwave Oven:
    The microwave (oven) has got to be the most popular cooking appliance worldwide. They cook/warm foods by using electromagnetic waves. Microwaves cook a range of foods very quickly and do not require fats or oils to cook food. Microwaves are very common in the home kitchen, however, not common in commercial or professional kitchens.

  • Multi-Cooker or Instant Pot Style Cookers:
    Multicookers or Instant Pot style cookers are made to replace several other cooking appliances. They are powered by electricity and can be used in place of microwaves, ovens, deep fryers, slow cookers and even a stovetop pan. They are a great home appliance for those who don’t have much space or are not very confident in the kitchen.

  • Offset Smokers:
    Offset smokers are one of the most popular smokers out there. They contain a horizontal main cooking chamber and a ‘firebox’ to the side where either wood or charcoal is burnt to create smoke to cook the food. Offset smokers are a popular cooker to use for low and slow style cooks.

    Offset smokers are typically made from very thick steel and can last a very long time. Since they are a heavy unit they retain a lot of heat and often need wheels to move. It is common for backyard pitmasters to make their own offset style grill since they are a very basic design.

thin blue smke from my offset smoker in the backyard

  • Open Pit and Campfire-Style Grills:
    An open fire or campfire-style grill is a very basic grill often used by backyard pitmasters, campers and trekkers. The open-pit is usually made by creating a fire pit out of rocks and wood. Once the wood has burnt down the hot embers are used to cook for on grills, in cast iron pans or wrapped in foil.

    Open pits are great when you don’t have any bbq equipment and are a very flavorful way of cooking.

  • Ovens:
    Ovens are another very common kitchen appliance, they are an insulated chamber used to cook, grill, bake, roast, or dry foods. You can get many different styles of oven ranging from gas, ceramic, and electric. Ovens are one of the most popular ways of home cooking.

  • Panini Maker:
    A panini maker, panini grill, or panini press is a contact grill with two electric heat plates that grill food quickly. They are great for cooking steaks, chicken and sandwiches. The top plate is often on a hinge and the bottom plate is fixed. You can get panini press’ with both flat and serrated grill plates.

    Panini press’ are great for quickly warming or cooking food. Although they don’t deliver a charcoal flavor the serrated models to leave grill style marks on your food. 

  • Pellet Grills:
    Pellet grill/smokers are a grill unit made similar to an offset smoker. However, instead of a firebox and manually adding wood or charcoal, there is an automatic auger that feeds little wood pellets into the firebox. Pellet grills are one of the most high tech grills and are often some of the most expensive.

    Pellet smokers are controlled by an electric controller where you can control everything from the temperature, pellet feed speed, and airflow. 

  • Popcorn Maker:
    Popcorn makers are another very popular small home appliance. They are designed to specifically cook popcorn using hot air. Popcorn makers are a healthier way of popping popcorn because they don’t use any fats or oils. 

  • Pressure Cooker:
    Pressure cookers are used as a fast way to cook food at home. Pressure cookers use water (or other similar liquid) to cook food at a high pressure-temperature. This is done by having a tight-fitting lid trapping the heat and steam inside the cooker. 

  • Quesadilla Maker:
    Quesadilla makers are a little contraption make specifically to make the Mexican dish the Quesadilla. Quesadilla makers work similarly to a panini press by using 2 heated grill plates. The difference with the Quesadilla press is that it has little pockets on the top grill plate which leaves room for fillings. This creates a little pocket full fo your desired fillings. 

  • Rapid Egg Cooker:
    Rapid egg cookers are a great little home appliance. They are designed to cook eggs to perfection.

  • Rice Cooker:
    Rice cookers are designed to cook rice. They are a simple appliance which both cooks and keeps rice warm at the press of a button.
  • Rotisserie Smoker
    There is nothing like the flavor of meat cooked on a stick! Try lamb, chicken or pork on it and you’ll be blown away.
  • Slow Cooker:
    Slow cookers or ‘crock-pots’ are a ceramic or porcelain bench-style appliance that is designed to cook for at a low temperature over a long period of time. Slow cookers are perfect for stews, soups and casseroles. Slow cookers are great for cooking cheap, more tough cuts of meat.

  • Solar Cooker:
    Solar cookers use the sun to cook food. They come in a whole different range of shapes, sizes, materials and are often home made. Each is slightly different, however, the basic principle is the sun is reflected towards the food by a reflective material.

  • Sous Vide Machine:
    Sous Vide means ‘under vacuum’ in French. The name refers to the sealed vacuum packed bag the food you are cooking. Once your food is vacuums packed it is cooked in water at a low temperature using precision cooker. To finish off your cook you need to sear, grill or boil your meat. The Sous Vide method of cooking yields very tender and juicy results. Some of our favorite things to cook in the sous vuide include;
    Beeef Shanks
  • Smoker Box:
    A smoker box is a little metal box that you can use to add a smokey flavor to your traditional gas bbq. Smoke boxes are typically small and designed to fill with wood chips to add a smoky flavor without the hassle. 
  • Thermomix: Uses unit allow you to cook a range of food from risotto to cakes, as well BBQ, here are some of my favorite thermomix BBQ recipes that take me no time to whip up.
  • Toasters:
    The humble toaster. Its a staple in every house hold. They range from single slicers to 8+ slice toasters. Toasters usually come in two different types; toaster ovens and pop up toasters.

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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