Are you an avid charcoal griller who also craves for smokers? What if I tell you that you can get both in just one cooker? The best charcoal grill smoker combo is to die for if you want the fast-cooking abilities of a grill and the unique flavor of smokers.
|ATTRIBUTES||Char-Broil American |
Gourmet Deluxe Offset
|Royal Gourmet Charcoal |
Grill with Offset Smoker
|Price||Check Price on Amazon.com||Check Price on Amazon.com|
Getting these two in a single equipment is heaven-sent for families who love outdoor cooking and weekend barbecues. Charcoal grills offer fast cooking in large batches of food. Meanwhile, smokers are a bit slow with the cooking but a total champ on the taste.
Charcoal grill vs. smoker
If you’re new to smokers, you’ll be glad to know that it gives a fuller flavor and a great texture to the meat. However, it will take some time to get the cooking done. This is the reason why many want to have a charcoal grill at their disposal. They can easily switch if ever they have to get large batches done fast. Without sacrificing the smoky flavor, charcoal grills are excellent too.
The good news here is that grillers don’t need to buy these separately. There are charcoal grills that come with a built-in smoker. This is handy for any occasion. But before you purchase, it’s best to look for the following features:
Smoking or grilling isn’t just firing it up and closing the lid. A good griller knows how to control the temperature of his equipment to achieve the best cooking setting. Unlike electric smokers that you can set and leave to cook, charcoal models can be painstaking to use. You have to control various factors including the lid, the distance of the food to the charcoal, and checking the temperature. But most of all, temp control will require a lot of practice.
Of course, a smoker needs to have an effective lid to trap the smoke and cook the food. Take note that smokers rely on the charcoal smoke to get the food seared to goodness. The tighter it fits the better it would be for the food. Always check this part. Many smoker buyers tend to overlook this feature which makes billows of smoke escape the equipment.
One way to control the temperature of your smoker or grill is to play with the dampers. Make sure that the best charcoal grill with smoker of your choice has at least two dampers – one for intake and another for exhaust. You pretty much control the temp through the intake damper. This one allows you to choke or let the oxygen into the smoker. More oxygen means more heat.
On the other hand, the exhaust damper is usually wide open during cooking. This is so the excess smoke and gas can be freed from the smoker. Make sure that the dampers fit tightly so you’ll have a more accurate control of the temperature.
Running out of charcoal means there would be less smoke and heat inside your grill/smoker. A model with a charcoal door will be excellent so you can add or reduce the fuel as you wish. If there’s no door, there should be a way to get around the charcoal supply.
Cast iron grates are overrated and they aren’t usually a good choice for smokers. If you want a grilling or smoking surface, it would be best to stick to cheap wire grills. These are easier to maintain and clean. Also, wire grills don’t block airflow and radiant heat which is crucial when using a smoker. This grill doesn’t darken meat spots. Although grill marks are classic, it’s not really good when the marks are burned.
You surely want to get the most out of your grill with smoker. As you cook, ashes will accumulate inside the grill. Take note that ash is an insulator and it will absorb heat and decrease the heating ability of your equipment. Always look for the best charcoal grill smoker combo that allows you to remove the ash without opening the lid.
Types of charcoal grill with smoker
This type of smoker has a horizontal construction with two separate compartments. It has an attached firebox and adjustable vents as well as side-access doors. What happens is that the firebox produces smoke which crawls into the cooking chamber and into the smokestack. It’s considered to be the best charcoal grill with smoker.
However, offset smokers can be a pain to purchase since there’s no way to know if it actually works than firing it up. Some cheap models would also have to be modified to function properly.
Barrel and drum charcoal smoker
Barrel and drum smokers can be bought commercially or created at home. This type of smoker utilizes a steel drum or barrel with a cooking rack placed on top. A firebox at the bottom is where the charcoal will be placed and fired up.
Both the lid and the bottom area have vents that work as intake and exhaust to control the temperature. The barrel and drum smoker is usually used for large scale cooking. It’s also good when roasting chicken.
Cabinet style charcoal smoker
The cabinet style smoker is also known as the box smoker. It can range from a small box to a larger cabinet that uses a heat source and chambers to cook food. It’s imperative that the cabinet smoker has properly fitting doors and enough insulation. Usually, this type of smoker will use gas or electricity as a heat source. Some homemade cabinet smokers can also utilize charcoal on a modified version. It’s great for those who want a hassle-free cooking.
Bullet charcoal smoker
Bullet smokers are called as such due to its cylindrical structure. It has an internal cooking pan that uses charcoal and a water chamber above it to hold the heat. The water pan is important in controlling temperature and in making a moist smoking condition inside the smoker. A bullet charcoal smoker is best for slow cooking and mastering the art of smoke cooking. It can also endure long hours of heat exposure to temp as much as 250F.
Of these four common types, only the offset smoker can be the best charcoal grill smoker combo. It has a construction that suits regular grilling and smoking. Of course, you can experiment with the barrel and the cabinet style smokers.
How to pick the best charcoal grill with smoker
Aside from the said features, it’s important to consider what you actually need before buying a charcoal grill with smoker. Here are some to think about:
🔥Know what you need
Don’t be hyped by a charcoal smoker on sale. It’s best to consider where and when you’ll use the smoker. Do you have a large family to cook for? Or are you just thinking of a random backyard meal with your friends? A smaller charcoal grill with smoker will be excellent for families. However, you should go bigger if you tend to host barbecue parties and large crowds.
Whatever your needs are, it’s always best to get a grill with smoker that can withstand continuous use.
🔥Consider the size
Most of the smoker grills will have 300 to 400 square inches of cooking surface. This is already a good catch for those who are cooking for small to large crowds.
🔥Know your options
There are many charcoal grills with smokers out there in the market. It’s always best to get one with the configuration you need. There are different types of smoker grills out there which works differently.
🔥Think of your budget
A charcoal grill with smoker is pretty affordable. There are also a lot of models available that cater to various budget ranges. It can be priced from $100 to $500 with an average cost of $200-$250.
Things to remember
Before you jump into the bandwagon of charcoal smokers, you should prepare yourself for slow cooking. It will take longer than grilling and you have to keep an eye on various aspects like the temperature, charcoal, ashes, smoke leaks, and so on.
Since smokers use indirect heat from the smoke, it’s not for on-the-go grillers. But the good thing about getting the best charcoal grill smoker combo is you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds.
Smokers are only best for low and slow meat cuts like ribs, pork butt, large cuts, and briskets. The rest should be cooked on the griller.
The good thing about charcoal and smoker combos is you can add more charcoal without the opening the lid. But even with this convenience, you have to practice if you want to master cooking on this equipment.
Lastly, it gets tricky to cook on a smoker during colder seasons as the external temp will make it hard for the metal construction to retain heat.
The best charcoal grill with smoker picks
Char-Broil American Gourmet Deluxe Offset Smoker
This model from Char-Broil is a champ if you want a grill, barbecue, and smoker in one. It has 670 sq. in. of cooking surface which is excellent for outdoor parties and large gatherings. This is paired with a 355 sq. in. of firebox chamber. Overall, you can cook up to 18 burgers in just one batch. It also comes with cool handles that don’t get hot easily even if you cook for long hours.
For the grilling part, the grates are coated with porcelain for a non-stick and easy-to-clean effect. As for the smoker, it has easy-to-access drawers where you can conveniently add more charcoal and water. This Char-Broil model has a welded chamber that ensures no smoke will escape while you’re cooking. So far, here are the best points for this grill with smoker:
Multiple adjustable dampers. This construction gives you more freedom to easily tweak the temperature of the smoker.
Storage Rack. Below its solid steel construction is a steel rack where you can place utensils and extra charcoal.
Adjustable heat control. The offset smoker comes with a top chimney vent that allows heat control without the need to open the lid.
Side door for ash removal. Since this is made of residential and home use, there’s a side door where you can remove the ash and dispose of it properly. Doing so will increase the cooking power of the smoker and prevent the mess of billowing ash.
-You have to seal some parts. If you’re encountering smoke leaks, it’s best to use high-heat silicone gaskets to fix the problem.
-You need to add more charcoal. As a large smoker, you have to add more charcoal every 4-6 hours.
-Not automatic. No charcoal smoker has an automatic process. You have to watch out for the heat.
Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker
Looking for more cooking space? This Royal Gourmet grill with offset smoker will give you a whopping 800 sq. in. of cooking surface and an additional 438 sq. in. on its main chamber. The cooking surfaces are coated with porcelain. It comes with steel mesh surfaces on the front table and at the bottom where you can stack utensils and raw food.
It’s a must-have for large gatherings where a reliable grill and smoker is needed. Here are some of the pros and cons for this best charcoal grill smoker combo:
-Heavy duty lid. One critical feature for a smoker is an excellent lid. The Royal Gourmet does it right with an added professional thermometer for heat monitoring.
-Big charcoal pan. No need to refill the fuel multiple times since this model can carry up to 5 pounds in one batch.
-Side door and air vents. This best charcoal grill with smoker has a side door for ash removal and air vents to keep the temperature at par with your preference.
-Warming Rack. When using the grill area, you can utilize the swing-away warming rack to warm up the next batch of food you’re about to cook.
-Portable. This grill and smoker have a two-wheel design that allows it to be transported in the patio and almost anywhere in your yard.
-Assembly. If you’re not a fan of assembly, the process can test your patience. Anyway, it comes with a manual.
-Poor coating. Some models might have a poor coating which will require you to re-paint. Still, it’s not a deal breaker for the quality of cooking it can give.
-You need a sealer. Like the first model, you’ll need a sealer here. Smoke leaks are common problems among combo types but relatively easy to fix.
The best charcoal grill smoker combo is a great purchase if you want to have both without maintaining separate equipment. Just make sure that your prospect model is for the money and functional enough to meet your standards.