Smoking food — from whole cuts of meat to soups and stews to specialty items — is more popular than ever and, like most things, improved by the latest technologies.

“Some of the newer smokers get hot enough to grill steaks or bake cornbread, even pizza,” says Terry Houser, Extension meat specialist with the Iowa State University Meat Laboratory in Ames. 

Newer machines use propane or wood pellets to create heat, giving the advantage of more consistent temperatures as well as a shorter warm-up time. Some can even be monitored and operated from your smartphone.

But while some people like the newest and best, others prefer the good old fashioned charcoal or wood fired cookers. 

Either one will give you ...