The 10 Best Charcoal Smokers Review with Buyer’s Guide in 2020

Nothing beats the excellent flavor charcoal BBQ smokers add to food. As such, adding the best charcoal smoker to your collection is a great idea. With a charcoal grill, you can sear food directly over radiant heat, get the right texture, and still get that sweet savor of burnt wood in your food. Not to even mention charcoal burns at a high temperature, ensuring you get the right temperature to cook your meat. The only downside of using a charcoal grill is that it is time-consuming. Nevertheless, using a charcoal smoker grill is worth every second spent.

Another thing you should note about these top charcoal smokers is that they are somewhat expensive, and a bit of a hassle to get the best. A lot of factors come into play when buying a charcoal grill, the most prominent being the ease of maintenance and the durability. In this charcoal smoker review, we would be looking at the 10 top charcoal smokers you should get in 2020. Take note to buy a charcoal smoker ideal for your needs to get optimal value for your money. Additionally, we would be looking at some pros and cons of each top charcoal smoker in this review as well.

Contents of This Guide

Top 10 Best Charcoal Smoker Reviewed of 2020

Below is a list of 10 cheap charcoal smokers you can get in 2020 to get the most value for your money. They are not only affordable but also durable. You would find different types of smokers ranging from the ones suitable for backyard grilling to the ones ideal for camping and tailgating.

#1. Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Signature Series – Editor Choice

Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Signature Series charcoal smokers

Specification
  • Length: 45.5 inches
  • Width: 24.9 inches
  • Height: 58 inches
  • Weight: 124.3 pounds
  • Cooking area: 1,382 square inches
Features
  • Offset charcoal smoker
  • Five chrome-plated cooking grate
  • Two durable wheels for easy mobility
  • Removable offset charcoal grate and ash pan for easy access to fuel and dispose of ash
  • Analog temperature gauge with grill zone and smoke zone indicator
  • Preinstalled sausage hooks for additional cooking flexibility
  • Cool to touch spring handle provides safer access to food
  • Detachable offset smoker box can be used as a portable grill for tailgate or camping

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Dyna-Glo Signature Review:

Heavy-gauge Steel Body Construction

Dyna-Glo constructed this charcoal smoker with a heavy-gauge steel body, which is durable enough to stand the test of time. This steel body locks in the heat, preventing heat loss due to radiation. And most importantly, it is coated with premium paint to prevent corrosion.

Five Chrome-plated Cooking Grates

You get an ample smoking space of 1,382 square inches on this Dyna-Glo Signature Series vertical charcoal grill. It features five round chrome-plated cooking grates measuring 17 inches in diameter or 276 square inches each. This chrome-plated cooking grate is easy to maintain as food does not stick to it. And for additional cooking space, you can use the offset smoker cooking grate, which allows you to sear your food over direct heat.

Stainless Steel Temperature Gauge

The stainless steel analog temperature gauge that comes installed on the door of this grill comes in handy when smoking food. It is important to take note of your smoking temperature since smoking is a long process. The temperature gauge that comes with this smoker features a grill zone and smoke zone indicator for maintaining an ideal cooking temperature.

Oversized Wheels

This Dyna-Glo grill is massive, weighing over 120 pounds. As such, for easy mobility, it features two durable wheels.

Pros
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Well-ventilated smoker ensuing you smoke your food at the ideal temperature
  • Temperature gauge feature indicator that lets you know the ideal temperature for grilling or smoking
  • Detachable offset smoker for use as a portable grill
Cons
  • The charcoal grate is small and may require you to constantly refuel

#2. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker – Best Value

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smokers

Specification
  • Length: 34.52 inches
  • Width: 20.2 inches
  • Height: 47.03 inches
  • Weight: 57 pound
  • Cooking area: 1,176 square inches
Features
  • Heavy-gauge steel construction
  • Sturdy legs
  • Six porcelain enamel coated cooking grates
  • Adjustable cooking grates
  • Stainless steel temperature gauge with grill zone and smoke zone indicators
  • Porcelain-enamel coated steel charcoal chamber and ash pan
  • Removable ash pan can handle a large amount of ash for hours of maintenance-free cooking
  • A well-designed charcoal chamber keeps charcoal stacked tightly for improved burn efficiency
  • Adjustable steel smoke-stack flue and side dampers
  • Cool to touch handles

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Review:

Heavy-gauge Steel Body Construction

This model of Dyna-Glo vertical charcoal grill and smoker also features heavy-gauge steel construction. The steel is coated with premium paint to prevent corrosion. Because of the heavy-gauge steel used for the body, this grill does not easily lose heat to the environment.

Six Porcelain-enamel Coated cooking Grate

You get six porcelain-enamel coated cooking grates on this Dyna-Glo smoker. The grates measure a total of 784 square inches of cooking area which can handle up to 25 pounds of food per grate. Accommodate different sizes of food in this vertical charcoal grill/smoker as it features height-adjustable cooking grates.

Built-in Stainless Steel Temperature Gauge

Additionally, for a better grilling experience, Dyna-Glo built this smoker/grill with a door-mounted analog temperature gauge. This temperature gauge helps you monitor your cooking temperature, allowing you to grill/smoke with precision. The temperature gauge also features a grill zone and smoke zone indicator which allows you to maintain an ideal grilling or smoking temperature.

Adjustable Steel Smoke-stack Flue

For added convenience, Dyna-Glo designed this grill with an adjustable steel smoke-stack flue and side damper that works together to improve airflow and heat transfer. As such, smoking/grilling with precision is easy with this grill thanks to its excellent temperature control feature.

Easy to Use and Maintain

This Dyna-Glo smoker is easy to use and maintain as it features a removable ashtray and grease cup. As such, after every use, you can easily dispose of the ash or grease. Moreover, the enameled charcoal chamber is as easy to clean, as the cooking grates.

Pros
  • High-performance backyard smoker
  • Easy to control the temperature
  • Maintenance is easy
  • Well-designed adjustable cooking grate and charcoal chamber that stacks charcoal tightly
Cons
  • No wheels included for easy mobility

#3. Weber 711001 Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker – Best Overall

Weber 711001 Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smokers

Specification
  • Length: 14.7 inches
  • Width: 14.7 inches
  • Height: 31.4 inches
  • Weight: 24 pounds
  • Cooking area: 286 square inches
Features
  • Drum-style charcoal smoker
  • Two cooking chamber
  • Fuel door to add more charcoal and access food on the lower rack
  • Water pan included
  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Plated stainless steel cooking grate
  • Rust-resistant metal legs
  • Probe thermometer ports
  • Stainless steel lid and base air dampers

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Weber 14-inch Smokey Review:

Plated Steel Cooking Grates

This charcoal BBQ smoker features two porcelain-enamel plated steel cooking grates. Since the cooking grate is plated, it provides you with a nonstick cooking surface, which lets you cook delicate meats and vegetables. Moreover, you’d need less oil or fat while using this smoker.

Two Cooking Chambers

Amongst the vertical charcoal smoker reviews so far, this Weber Smokey Mountain cooker features two cooking chambers. Each chamber measures 143 square inches. As such, you can cook up to 2 racks of ribs on this smoker. You can access the food on the top grate by opening the lid, and food on the bottom grate through the fuel door. The grate closer to the charcoal gets more heat than the ones higher up. As such, you can optimize the cooking grate based on what you want to smoke.

Rust-resistant Steel Legs

This Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain smoker is a tripod grill. It features three rust-resistant steel legs that make this grill sturdy. These legs elevate the smoker from the ground, bring it to an ergonomic height for grilling.

Stainless Steel Lid and Base Air Dampers

When it comes to charcoal BBQ smokers, it is important to have a good ventilation system in place to control the temperature. This Weber grill comes with stainless steel air dampers that let you regulate the inlet and outlet of air from the grill. By regulating this grill, it can reach a maximum temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Built-in Lid Thermometer

The built-in lid thermometer on this grill helps monitor the temperature inside the grill. But in case you need to measure the exact temperature of the food, Weber designed this grill with probe ports that allow you to use a probe thermometer.

Pros
  • A large water pan helps to maintain the heat for all-day smoking
  • Two plated steel cooking chambers
  • Lid mounted thermometer gauge
  • Stainless steel air dampers for airflow control
Cons
  • No lid hook

#4. Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw Charcoal Smoker – Best Charcoal Smoker Grill

Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw Charcoal Smokers

Specification
  • Length: 42 inches
  • Width: 29 inches
  • Height: 50 inches
  • Weight: 100 pounds
  • Cooking area: 1,063 square inches
Features
  • Cart-style design smoker
  • Heavy-duty steel body construction
  • Two durable heavy-duty wheels for easy mobility
  • Cast iron cooking grate
  • Convenient storage with three available shelves to store ingredients and tools
  • Adjustable fire grate and hood heat gauge dampers for total control of airflow
  • Easy dump ash pan
  • Lid mounted temperature gauge

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Char-Griller 2137 Review:

Durable Construction

This Char-Griller smoker is durably built with heavy-gauge steel with powder coat finish, which makes it corrosion resistant. Char-Griller made use of cast iron for the cooking grate, which is not only durable but locks in flavor and creates a bold sear mark on the food. And for easier mobility, two heavy-duty wheels were added.

Ample Grilling Space

You get an ample grilling space on this smoker, and enough storage space to keep ingredients and tools. The cooking area features a main cooking area and a swing-away warming rack on which you can fit up to 38 burgers. The primary cooking area measures 725 square inches, while the secondary cooking area measures 338 square inches. For added storage space, you get a side table, a front table, and a bottom shelf to store ingredients and tools.

Easy to Clean

Using and cleaning this grill comes easy as it features an easy dump ash pan, which makes ash disposal quick and convenient. So no more scooping up ash with your hand or tipping the grill over, as you can now simply remove the ash pan and dispose of the ash appropriately.

Adjustable Fire Grate

Apart from the well-designed location of the air dampers that creates excellent airflow, which you can use to control the temperature, you can also adjust the fire grate. The fire grate is adjustable in three stages, high, mid, and warm temperature control. With this charcoal grill/smoker you can choose the optimal grate height to best cook your food.

Pros
  • Good consistent heat
  • Pre-seasoned cast iron
  • Fairly priced grill/smoker
  • Ample grilling space and storage space
  • Mobility is quite easy
Cons
  • The lid does not close tightly

#5. Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D Charcoal Smoker – Best Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Specification
  • Length: 20.83 inches
  • Width: 21.45 inches
  • Height: 49.73 inches
  • Weight: 56 pounds
  • Cooking area: 784 square inches
Features
  • Vertical smoker with two doors
  • Cool to touch spring handles
  • Four porcelain-enameled coated cooking grates
  • Height adjustable cooking grates
  • A large ash pan can handle a large amount of ash
  • Steel temperature gauge
  • Adjustable smoke-stack flue

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D Review:

Durable Construction

The heavy-gauge steel construction of this grill is one of the standout features that makes it worth every penny. It features two doors that lock properly, sealing off the heat in the chamber. As such, smoking on this grill gives you an evenly heated environment with no hot or cold zones.

Two Doors

This Dyna-Glo smoker features two doors with cool to touch spring handles. The upper door provides access to the cooking chamber, while the lower door provides access to the charcoal chamber.

Four Height-adjustable Porcelain Enamel Grates

Another feature of this smoker is the four height-adjustable porcelain enamel grates with a total of 784 square inches. You can accommodate different types and sizes of meat and food in this smoker because of the adjustable feature.

Charcoal and Ash Management System

For more efficiency, Dyna-Glo designed this smoker with a porcelain-enameled coated charcoal chamber that is not only easy to keep clean but also stacks charcoal tightly for improved burning efficiency. Also, there is a removable steel ash pan designed to handle a large amount of ash for hours of maintenance free cooking.

Stainless Steel Temperature Gauge

This smoker features a stainless steel temperature gauge integrated on the door of the smoker. It is an analog thermometer and it features a grill zone and smoke zone indicator. As such, even if you are a beginner, you can always grill or smoke at a precise temperature ideal for what you are doing with this Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D vertical smoker.

Pros
  • Great budget smoker
  • Built-in temperature gauge with grill zone and smoke zone indicator
  • Durable construction with sturdy legs
  • Easy to maintain
Cons
  • Does not features a water compartment

#6. Char-Broil 18202075 Bullet Charcoal Smokers – Best Charcoal Smoker Under $200

Char-Broil 18202075 Bullet Charcoal Smokers

Specification
  • Length: 21.2 inches
  • Width: 23 inches
  • Height: 37.6 inches
  • Weight: 41.18 pounds
  • Cooking area: 370 square inches
Features
  • Drum-style design smoker
  • Two cooking chamber
  • Porcelain-enameled cooking grates
  • Front access door
  • Lid mounted temperature gauge
  • Steel tube tripod sturdy legs
  • Features a lid handle and two side handles
  • A large ash pan can handle a large amount of ash for hours of cooking
  • Innovative airflow system

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Char-Broil Bullet Review:

Durable Construction

This Char-Broil wood/charcoal smoker is well built with a porcelain-coated steel body which is not only durable but easy to maintain. Plus the body does well in locking in heat to create an evenly heated cooking chamber with no hot or cold zone.

Two Porcelain-enamel Cooking Grates

This smoker is designed with two cooking chambers for more cooking flexibility. The cooking surface is coated with porcelain-enamel and measures 185 square inches each. You can access the upper cooking grate by opening the lid, and the lower grate through the front access fire door. The front access fire door seals the smoke in the chamber and lets you add charcoal easily.

Innovative Airflow System

The conventional challenge of using a charcoal smoker is regulating the temperature. But with the innovative airflow system on this Char-Broil smoker with a numbered damper system, regulating the temperature of this smoker is quite easy. You can regulate the airflow by setting the dampers between 1 and 5.

Temperature Gauge

The lid-mounted temperature gauge on this unit enables you to easily monitor the smoking temperature of the cooking chamber. Moreover, the smoker thermometer is easy to read and quite vital for precise smoking.

Convenient Ash Pan

The large ash pan that comes with this smoker is removable and can handle a large amount of ash for hours of smoking without maintenance. The ash pan neatly collects the ash, making clean up quick and simple.

Warranty

This Char-Broil smoker is backed by a 1-year limited warranty that covers any fault due to manufacturer defect. Contact Char-Broil to fix the problem or for a replacement.

Pros
  • Innovative airflow control simplifies setting and maintaining cooking temperature
  • Porcelain-coated steel body and grates for lasting durability
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Great grill for its price
Cons
  • Lid and access door does not create an airtight seal

#7. Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet smokers

Specification
  • Length: 48 inches
  • Width: 22 inches
  • Height: 51 inches
  • Weight: 84 pounds
  • Cooking power: 25,000 BTUs
  • Hopper Capacity: 20 pounds
  • Cooking area: 694 square inches
Features
  • A cart-style designed pellet grill
  • 8-in-1 barbeque smoker
  • Uses 20 pounds of pellet for more than 20 hours
  • Stainless steel built body
  • Digital controller
  • Features automated electric feed system
  • Temperature ranges from 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fan forced convection cooking
  • Electronic auto ignition
  • Features a drip tray that directs grease to a grease cup at the side of the grill
  • Coated steel grates
  • Bottom shelf to keep tools and ingredients
  • Two durable wheels for easy mobility
  • Free waterproof grill cover
  • Backed with a 3-year warranty

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Z Grills ZPG-7002B Review:

An Ultimate 8-in-1 Pellet Grill

If you are after a versatile grill, then the Z Grills ZPG-7002B would be ideal for you as it is an ultimate 8-in-1 pellet grill. You can use this pellet grill to char-grill, barbeque, roast, bake, braise, sear, smoke, and grill. And most importantly, it is completely digital and easy to use.

Easy to Use Digital Controller

As a digitally controlled grill, it features an LED screen and a knob you can use to set the grill’s temperature to a pre-programmed feature like sear, smoke, grill, char-grill, etc. Apart from that, this Z Grills also feature an advanced pellet feed system with an auger that carries pellet to the fire pot and an induction fan that strokes the fire.

Large Cooking Area

Another feature you’d love about this grill is its cooking area that gives you a spacious cooking experience. The main cooking area on this smoker measures 513 square inches and a second cooking rack measuring 187 square inches.

Easy to Clean

Since the grates of this grill are coated, they form a nonstick grilling surface that is quite easy to clean. Moreover, this grill features a drip tray that directs grease to the grease cup at the side of the grill.

Warranty

The Z Grills is backed up with a 3-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you confidence when you buy.

Pros
  • Grill cover included
  • Auto-ignition with a fan to keep the fire burning and create an even heating environment
  • Pellet burns with little to no waste products
  • Digital controller with LED screen
Cons
  • No cleanout door for ash in the firebox

#8. Char-Broil 14201571 Gourmet Offset Smoker – Best Offset Smoker Under $500

Char-Broil 14201571 Gourmet Offset Smoker

Specification
  • Length: 48.03 inches
  • Width: 17.5 inches
  • Height: 44.6 inches
  • Weight: 102.1 pounds
  • Cooking area: 1,115 square inches
Features
  • Offset charcoal grill smoker
  • Two durable wheels for easy mobility
  • Bottom and front shelf for storing utensils and ingredients
  • Multiple adjustable dampers
  • Plated steel body construction with cool to touch spring handles
  • Lid mounted thermometer
  • Porcelain-coated grates

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Char-Broil American Review:

3-in-1 Cooking Options

This charcoal smoker is a perfect outdoor backyard charcoal BBQ smoker as it allows you the flexibility to different cooking options. You can use this grill to smoke, grill, or make barbeques. Moreover, there is enough cooking surface on this grill to handle cooking food for a crowd. The main cooking chamber measures 670 square inches which can hold up to 18 burgers. The main cooking grate is also adjustable letting you set the ideal distance of your food to the heat source. The swing-away warming rack measures 355 square inches, and the firebox cooking grate measures 110 square inches.

Multiple Adjustable Dampers

Regulating the damper on the firebox and the chimney on the cooking chamber of this grill allows cross circulation of air in and out of the smoker, which keeps the charcoal burning.  You can easily regulate these dampers to either reduce the inlet of air or increase it to regulate the temperature of the grill. And with the lid mounted thermometer, monitoring the grilling temperature is easy.

Easy to Clean

Cleaning a charcoal smoker is usually a hassle. But the excellent grease and ash management system put in place in this smoker, cleaning wouldn’t be such a hassle anymore. The firebox has an ash cleanout door that makes cleaning ash easy, midst smoking. Also, the grates are coated with porcelain-enamel which is nonstick and easy to clean after use.

Storage Rack

Additionally, the storage rack at the base of this grill and the front shelf comes in handy in storing utensils and ingredients. And for more convenience, Char-Broil included two durable wheels to make moving this grill in and out of the backyard a breeze.

Pros
  • Durable plated steel body with porcelain-enameled grates
  • Ample cooking surfaces
  • Temperature gauge included
  • Sturdy construction
  • Holds heat decently
Cons
  • A bit of a hassle to assemble
  • The thermometer does not have numbers in degrees but has three indicators (warm, ideal, and hot)

#9. Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18″ Charcoal Smoker – Best Charcoal Smokers Under $200

Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18

Specification
  • Length: 22 inches
  • Width: 24 inches
  • Height: 43 inches
  • Weight: 32 pounds
  • Cooking area: 510 square inches
Features
  • Vertical charcoal grill/smoker
  • Sturdy stainless steel tripod stand
  • Lid mounted temperature gauge
  • Dual vent system
  • Porcelain enamel water bowl
  • Two 18 inches stainless steel cooking grates
  • Vertically hinged door
  • Latching base
  • Probe thermometer ports at the side

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Cuisinart COS-118 Review:

Two Tiers of Smoking Rack

On this vertical smoker, you get two tiers of smoking rack measuring 18 inches each. Plus, Cuisinart made use of stainless steel for the cooking grates of this vertical smoker. As such, you get enough cooking surface on this grill to handle large ribs and whole chicken. Also, the porcelain coated water bowl helps to maintain the heat in this smoker for prolonged smoking.

Dual Air Vents

To ensure you get enough air to keep the charcoal burning in this smoker, Cuisinart integrated two air vents in this smoker. The dual air vents in this grill create a flow of air in through the bottom and out through the top creating an evenly heated ambiance.

Vertically Hinged Door

You can access the food you are smoking through the vertically hinged door in front of this smoker. This door also gives you access to add more fuel when needed. And with the cool to touch handle, it would never get too hot to hold.

Latching Base

To make transporting this smoker around easy without it falling apart, there are locking latches at the base to hold the parts of this smoker together. The two side handles also make it easy to lift this smoker.

Pros
  • Lightweight with sturdy construction for easy transport
  • Easy to clean and use
  • Steel house comes with a dual vent system which gives you more control over smoke and heat
  • Temperature gauge included
Cons
  • No lid hook

#10. Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill & Offset Smoker

Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill & Offset Smokers

Specification
  • Length: 45.3 inches
  • Width: 26.8 inches
  • Height: 48 inches
  • Weight: 57 pounds
  • Cooking area: 800 square inches
Features
  • Offset professional charcoal smoker
  • A big capacity charcoal pan
  • Two durable wheels for easy mobility
  • Porcelain-enameled coated steel cooking grates
  • ¼-inch diameter cooking grates rods
  • Adjustable dual dampers for better airflow
  • Professional lid-mounted thermometer
  • A 2-level adjustable charcoal pan
  • Two storage rack

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Royal Gourmet 30 Review:

Multiple Cooking Surfaces

On this Royal Gourmet grill, you get an ample cooking surface to handle all your cooking desires. The steel cooking grates are ¼-inch thick and coated with porcelain-enamel creating a nonstick surface. The main cooking area on this grill measures 438 square inches. You also get a swing-away grate measuring 179 square inches, which you can use as a warming rack. There is also a cooking grate on the surface of the firebox measuring 183 square inches.

Dual Vents

Charcoal needs air to keep the coal burning. As such, Royal Gourmet integrated this smoker with two air vents. The dual air vents in this grill create a flow of air in through the bottom and out through the top creating an evenly heated ambiance.

Storage Racks

Also, Royal Gourmet included a bottom and front wire gauge storage rack, which comes in handy in storing utensils and ingredients.

Durable Wheels

For added convenience, there are two durable wheels on this grill that makes it easy to move this grill in and out of the backyard.

Pros
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Durable construction
  • Ample cooking surfaces
  • Easy to read thermometer
Cons
  • The firebox is small and requires constant refueling

Best Charcoal Smokers Buyer’s Guide

1. Size

With the right size of charcoal smoker, you can grill and smoke all you want. Moreover, you should take note of the space you have in your backyard when getting a charcoal smoker so it’s the size for you. To get the right charcoal smoker size for your needs, ask yourself how many people you normally host, and the maximum number of people you need to smoke or grill for at once. Once you’ve estimated the total, you’ll have an idea of how big your charcoal smoker or grill needs to be. Take note, offset charcoal smokers or pellet smokers are usually bigger than vertical smokers.

2. Build Quality

Charcoal smokers come in different classes and quality. Some are built with a more durable material than others. For example, 304 steel is more durable than the 404 steel used in constructing smokers. However, the thicker the material used in making the charcoal smoker, the heavier the smoker will be. Nevertheless, always aim for heavy-gauge metal with premium coating material as they tend to last longer. Steel is a better material to have on a charcoal smoker than aluminum. Also, inspect the welding of the smoker to ensure it is sturdy with no leaking spot.

3. Maintenance

Another factor you shouldn’t take likely is the ease of maintaining the charcoal smoker. Charcoal smokers create a lot of mess due to burning coal and are quite a hassle to maintain. To know if the charcoal smoker you want to purchase will be easy to maintain, check if it has removable parts. For example, a smoker with removable grates and an ash pan will be easier to clean than the one that is not removable.

4. Temperature

The charcoal smoker you want to buy should be able to maintain smoking temperature for a long time. As such, there should be no leakage through which heat can be lost. It would also be a nice inclusion if the smoker has a temperature gauge you can use to keep track of the temperature of the cooking chamber. Some charcoal smoker comes with a probe port, which comes in handy in monitoring the temperature of your food without having to open the lid. It is important to always monitor the temperature of a charcoal smoker as the temperature commonly fluctuates.

5. Cleaning Grill Grates

There are different types of grill grates, and the type that comes with the charcoal smoker you want to buy would determine how easy it would be to clean. Cast iron grill grates are the most durable and heat retaining grates, but they have a problem of rusting and food sticking to it. Steel, on the other hand, is nonstick but not as durable, however, they are quite affordable. The best type of grill grates to aim for are porcelain-enameled coated grates as they make the grate nonstick and protect the metal underneath from rust. Moreover, they are the easiest to clean after use.

6. Wrapping up

Go for a smoker that is easy to assemble and disassemble for easy storage. The smoker you buy doesn’t need to be portable, but it should be one you find easy to wrap up and store after use. A smoker with a lockable lid or latches is a good place to start. Also, if the smoker has wheels, it is a good addition as you would find it easy to move it in and out of your backyard. And lastly, aim for a charcoal cabinet smoker like a bottom shelf or side tables.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How Much Can You Spend?

It is important to have a budget when it comes to buying anything, and buying a charcoal smoker is no exception. The amount of money you want to spend on a charcoal smoker is completely up to you. But to get a durable charcoal smoker that will last you for years, you should be willing to spend up to $300. Several factors affect the price of a charcoal smoker like the features that come with the smoker. To get a medium-sized charcoal smoker with all the right features to make smoking a delight like an excellent grease management system, thermometer, and easy to control air dampers, aim for a budget not less than $200.

2. Do you Need a Combo Grill?

In reality, everybody needs a combo grill as it gives you the flexibility of different cooking options. A combo grill saves you the cost of spending extra to get different cookers. For example, a smoker that can grill, roast, sear, and smoke food allows you different cooking options without having to invest in separate appliances. Additionally, if you have a combo grill perhaps a gas and charcoal combo grill, you get to choose which fuel source best goes with what you want to cook. Your fuel source has an impact on the final flavor of your food.

3. Are Offset Smokers Better?

Offset smokers are the best when it comes to smoking food. The offset firebox creates the hot smoke which travels through the cooking chamber to cook the food, and then out of the chimney. Offset smokers cook food slowly giving it the right texture and flavor. Some offset smokers even allow you to add more charcoal in the cooking chamber in case you need more heat in the cooking chamber. So, if you are after a slow-cooked meat, then an offset smoker is ideal for you.

4. How Do I Get More Smoke?

To get more smoke in a charcoal smoker adding wood chips is a good place to start. But avoid dense white smokers as they are not healthy and they create a bitter taste on your food. It also helps to wet the wood chips before adding it to the charcoal smoker. Since we are after smoke and not read burning charcoal, it also helps to shut the air dampers a bit to reduce the rate of combustion of the charcoal. And in the case of a pellet smoker, reducing the temperature will help create more smoke in this aspect.

5. Is Charcoal Smoker Harmful?

It has been said that smoke causes cancer, which raises a lot of questions about the safety of eating smoked food. Smoking food over a charcoal smoker is not harmful. But it is important to be careful when using a charcoal smoker as the dense white smoke you first see when you light charcoal can be toxic. Other fumes like carbon monoxide can cause poisoning, that is why it is not recommendable to smoke food indoors. So, when using a charcoal smoker, it is best to let the charcoal burn for a while before adding food.

How to Choose a Charcoal Smoker?

Many times people choose a charcoal smoker based on their personal preference. While this is a good idea because you will get what you love, many times these smokers don’t last past a couple of months. So, when choosing a charcoal smoker, there are several factors you should consider. The first and important factor you should put into consideration is the size of the smoker. The weight and cooking area are things you should take note of when buying a smoker. A smoker with enough cooking area allows you to cook enough for a crowd in one session.

Another vital factor you should put into consideration when choosing a charcoal smoker is the durability of the smoker. While a smoker with a durable construction material may be more expensive, it is advisable to spend a little extra to get a smoker that will last. The grates should not be neglected, as a solid grate makes a bold sear mark on your food. Cast iron grates as the most durable, but they tend to rust easily. Steel grates, on the other hand, are not as durable but they are more affordable.

Consider other features like the grease management and venting systems. With a well-designed grease management system smoker, you wouldn’t have to stress with cleaning the smoker after every use. Also, you wouldn’t find it so difficult to control the temperature of the smoker with a good venting system. Most charcoal smokers come with a dual venting system for inlet and outlet of air.

Benefits of Charcoal Smokers?

1. High Heat

Charcoal smokers burn at an incredibly high temperature giving you enough heat to cook any recipe. Also, unlike gas grills that have a definite max temperature, it can attain, charcoal smokers have no max temperature setting. In other words, you can make a charcoal smoker burn as hot as you want them to.

2. Versatile Cooking

Charcoal smokers give you the flexibility of versatile cooking options. On a charcoal smoker, you can cook food over direct or indirect heat. You can even use infrared heat to cook food over a charcoal smoker. It all depends on the design of the charcoal smoker/grill because with charcoal you can sear, smoke, grill, bake, and more.

3. Tender Meat

Nothing beats the tender texture of meat after smoking it in a charcoal smoker. Because of the prolonged exposure to slow heat, the connective tissues of meat fall apart. As such, smoking tough cut meat in a charcoal smoker makes them tender and easy to chew.

4. Incredible Flavor

Also, charcoal smokers create a real and genuine smoke flavor in food. Smoke caramelizes the sugar produced by the food giving it a nice brown and smoky flavor you’d love. Plus when juice from your food drips on the charcoal, it evaporates instantly, creating an aromatic smoky particulate that fuses back into the food.

5. Less Expensive

Charcoal smokers are the least expensive smokers because of the lack of expensive components. Charcoal smokers have a simple design that even a beginner can easily wrap their hands around.

How to Clean Charcoal Smokers?

Below are highlighted steps you can follow to properly clean a charcoal smoker:

1.  Allow the Smoker Cool Down

After smoking, allow the charcoal to cool down for 24-48 hours before you start cleaning. While you want the smoker to cool down so it doesn’t burn you as you clean, it’s best to clean the smoker while it is still warm. Also, ensure you clean your charcoal smoker in a well-ventilated area.

2. Clean the Grates

The next step after allowing the smoker to cool down is to remove the grate for cleaning. Use a soft brush and sponge to clean the grate. To remove tough food particles, use warm soapy water. It is important to clean the grates clean to avoid food sticking on it in future smoking.

3. Wipe Down the Lid and Cook Box

Don’t also forget to clean the lid of the smoker and the interior of the cook box. By doing so, you remove the smell of previously smoked food so it doesn’t affect the flavor of future smoking. Also, this maintenance routine keeps the smoker in good shape, making it last longer.

4. Clean Out the Ash Catcher

Now that the charcoal has cooled down properly, you can remove the ash catcher. Check for any ember charcoal to avoid a fire hazard. In case of none, sort out unburnt charcoal and keep it aside to use another time. Dispose of the ash and clean the ash catcher with soapy water and sponge.

5. Allow Drying Before Assembling

Keep every part of the charcoal smoker you cleaned in a well-ventilated area to dry before assembling it again. When properly dry, assemble, and store. If you have a cast iron grate, lightly grease it with oil before storing to prevent rust.

How to Use Charcoal Smokers?

Below are steps you can follow when you want to use a charcoal smoker.

1. Light the Charcoal

Arrange the charcoal in the smoker. You can either light the charcoal directly in the smoker using lighter fluid or use a chimney starter. If you use a chimney starter, use paper to light the charcoal, and when the charcoal is ignited pour it on the charcoal in the smoker.

2. Prepare Your Meat

Prepare your meat by trimming off excess fat. You can brine the meat to add taste. You can also baste the meat or inject it with any marinade of your choice.

3. Grease the Grate

Grease the grate with oil or butter to prevent food from sticking to the surface of the grate. Use a tong to dip a parchment paper in oil to grease the grate.

4. Add Meat

Add meat on the grate and close the lid of the smoker. Ensure the lid of the smoker is closed at all times to prevent loss of trapped heat.

5. Monitor Smoking Temperature

Monitor the smoking progress with the thermometer installed on the smoker. And if the smoker has a probe thermometer port, use it to monitor the temperature of the meat.

Conclusion

To sum things up, out of all the best charcoal smokers mentioned above, to get the ideal smoker for you to follow our buyer’s guide. We are sure of one thing, and that is, with any of these charcoal grills mentioned above, you are guaranteed premium quality. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.

Leave a Comment