What could be a better way to slow cook meat than using a charcoal smoker? Not only will you be able to cook chicken but you can also smoke fish, poultry and seafood to perfection using an efficient smoker grill. And with the best charcoal smoker grill, you will be able to cook tender, delicious food that is packed with flavour.
If you have been smoking for a while, you probably have known or heard about charcoal smokers. They are familiar compared to any other type of smokers. At least, this is where almost all lovers of smoking begin. However, without knowing what the best charcoal smokers comprise, you might find challenges achieving your goals.
Smoking is very different from grilling because flame does not touch meat. Smoking slow cooks food until you get tender, moist and juicy meat that’s perfect for any special occasion. And with an efficient and versatile charcoal smoker, you can cook just about any food you want.
At the end of this review, be sure you will choose wisely and ultimately, you will enjoy whichever model you want. We are going to answer any questions you have had in mind for long. Most importantly, we have created choices and alternatives for you, as far as smoking with charcoal smoking is concerned.
Let’s get started (and smoking).
The 6 best charcoal smoker grills of 2018 reviews
Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker – best vertical charcoal smoker
The Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker simmers meats using charcoal which lets you keep the authentic smokehouse flavour that you have been longing for. The cooker has a simple principle; hot and efficient charcoal sits at the bottom part of the smoker while smoke slowly and efficiently tenderizes and cooks meat or poultry. The smoker lid and bowl is made of premium-grade US steel coated with porcelain inside out to maintain temperature.
Compact size charcoal smoker with 726 square inches of cooking space
Don’t be fooled by the size of this smoker because inside is two-nickel plated 22 ½ inch-wide cooking grates. The two durable grills give you a total of 726 square inches of cooking space, enough to cook several cuts of meat, a whole chicken, half a kilo of sausages or a dozen burger patties. This charcoal smoker lets you prepare all kinds of meat, fish, processed meats, fish and poultry without the need to use a full-size grill. You can also keep this away quickly because of its compact size.
The Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker gets the job done slowly and keeps flavor inside very tender meat. It has a large cooking space inside a compact traditional smoker. It is made from durable materials and is very simple to use. You can smoke almost all kinds of food making it a truly versatile, efficient, slow cooker that you must consider.
Broil King Keg 5000 – Best Kamado Grill
The Broil King Keg 5000 is another high-quality charcoal smoker for a very decent price. It has 255 square inches of cooking space. It has a unique kamado-style design (which is a traditional Japanese wood or charcoal stove)
We found the build of The Broil King EXTREMELY strong and sturdy. It has two layers of baked enamel steel, with a layer of extremely high-temperature oven grade insulation in between them.
The Broil King keg was able to hit very high temperatures and maintain them while staying cool on the outside. Surprisingly, due to the efficiency of this unit you need a minimal amount of charcoal to fire the grill. The small amount of fuel required is what makes this one of the best charcoal smokers you can buy right now.
We found this unit to loaded with features as well constructed of the of the highest quality materials available. If want something that will last you for years and years this is the unit for you.
Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill – Best Cheap Charcoal Smoker
This is a grill and smoker that is ideal for small apartments, small decks and patios and smoking or grilling only a small amount of food. The Char-Griller 1515 Patio Pro Charcoal Grill is easy to fire up and to maintain.
This grill is a good size for 2-5 people and it will quickly handle 8 burgers. So far I’ve grilled salmon, chicken breast, burgers and hot dogs on it and they’ve all cooked evenly and browned very well. Because of its smaller size, charcoal usage is reduced but it still gets plenty hot enough to do an effective job. Make sure you follow the seasoning process outlined in the instructions. It makes a big difference as far as breaking in the cooking grates as well as protecting the outside from rusting. I took off one star because the 4 legs wobble at the joints where they bolt together. Not a huge problem, but a couple of brackets to secure them would be very helpful for stability.
It has great features and is made from tough materials making it durable and perfect for any party or gathering. It may be small but it works well. It is easy to maintain and clean after every use too.
Weber 14501001 Master-Touch Charcoal Grill – Best All-Around Smoker
It’s a Weber kettle so there isn’t much more that I can say that hasn’t already been said about these fantastic grills. This Master Touch really has some great features for a very wide range of grilling requirements. This is a large grill too. I have found that even with various searing devices, the grate temp just doesn’t reach the temps I like for searing a good steak and that is due to the depth of this grill. I will continue to shop for something a bit smaller and more shallow just for searing steaks. For everything else that requires low-n-slow cooking, this thing is just awesome. I do also recommend buying a good quality digital cooking thermometer as opposed to using the metal “dial” type thermometer that comes with this or Any grill. Dial type thermometers can be off as much as 50 degrees ! Some are better than others but none are as accurate as a digital.
This charcoal smoker or grill is has a compact design that it perfect for small patios, backyards and gardens but will grill and smoke almost every kind of food. The grill is very durable and will let you cook a variety of food with a design that will let you maintain just the right amount of temperature. There are a few disadvantages to its use but all-in-all, this is a good charcoal smoker to consider.
Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18″ Charcoal Smoker – best bbq smoker
This unit is very large, much larger than most of the other ones I’ve seen. The 18 inch refers to the diameter of the can (distance across) not the height.
It comes with two levels of grills for smoking.
The assembly instructions are poor. Three of the grill holders had to be installed but this was not indicated. It comes with a huge variety of unmarked screws, of which you only use half. By unmarked I mean that the instructions say to use Screw A and nut B but when you go to the screws and nuts none of them are marked. Don’t get me wrong, you can figure it out on your own, the instructions are just crummy.
The finished unit is very strong and modestly heavy.
There are some instructions for use in the back of the installation instruction manual, things like “put some water in the bottom” and “don’t put too much charcoal in it”. You will probably find online videos to be useful as well.
Overall I think its a solid unit that will provide you with years of reliable service, but if you are the kind of person who needs detailed and accurate instructions you might not like it so much on the first day.
The Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical Charcoal Smoker is compact, efficient and gets the job done. It is a good alternative if you live in a small apartment or you want to grill when you camp out or at a picnic. There may be some flaws but still it’s a good, compact grill/smoker that could be right for your needs.
Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo – Best Combo Smoker
So I’ll start off by saying this is an awesome grill, and all of the reviews noting the positive are 100% true. Bought it a month ago and have cooked on it 10 times already (including 2 times smoking a pork shoulder) But you’re reading reviews to find the negatives not to hear 500 people gush over the same features. With that in mind I’ll share what I DIDNT like and explain why it’s only getting a 4/5.
The side burner is a flimsy piece of crap… period. Feels like a soda can and it’s attatched to the grill by 6 screws. Mine was bent and was irritating me, so I just took it off.
The wheels are useless. Keep in mind that this thing weights over 200lbs, so navigating it from place to place is already a task. The wheels are these enormous steel circles held onto the gril legs only by 1 push pin. So they’re extremely wobbly. If you need to move it I recommend just team lifting it.
The gauges on the grill are WAY off. My first attempt at smoking a pork shoulder failed due to the fact I thought I was keeping my temp at 200-250 (gauge reading) but in reality was 300-350 (oven thermometer reading). Simple fix though, get an oven thermometer for $3.99 at Wal-Mart and place it in the chamber when you cook.
This is just a small nitpick. No hooks or studs anywhere on the grill for hanging your grilling utensils. Thought it was weird because even $90 Wal-Mart grills typically have these. Oh well.
Charcoal Smoker Buying Guide
What is Charcoal Smoker?
Charcoal smokers are common and thus available in many homes today. This type of smoker is especially beneficial for all smokers looking for an authentic smoked flavor. Although they are considered conventional and are simple in make, different models come with a wide range of benefits.
The design of a popular charcoal smoker is not much complicated. Its basic parts include the firebox, water chamber and cook chamber. Each one of these parts serves different but vital functions to give you the great final results
Additionally, charcoal smoker comprises of a steel drum and at the bottom, there is a bowel that holds charcoal. The top part has a cooking rack on which meat is placed for smoking.
Experts have thought it wise to include a water bowl and at least one vent for producing steam. The best models such as vertical charcoal smoker and Weber charcoal smoker come with two vents.
Variation among these models is what makes some models better than others. To get the best cheap charcoal smoker, you need to compare different models available on the market. If you have a wide range of models to choose from, your chances of getting the best are also high.
Why Should You Buy a Charcoal Smoker?
If you enjoy the top-notch flavours of smoked meat, then you should be looking at a charcoal smoker. The charcoal smoker will give you most authentic smoked flavor to your food. But this comes at a with a little more work. You’ll have to start, watch, and dispose of your charcoal, just like you would with a charcoal grill.
With a charcoal smoker, you can add two levels different wood flavoring by burning flavored charcoal and wood chips together. This lets you mix and match woods to create delicious deep flavors as well get that converted smoke ring. The charcoal smoker is the choice of the gourmet smoking enthusiast.
Factors to Consider
Different brands of charcoal smokers have different levels of popularity. Brands such as Weber charcoal smoker are widely recognized for excellent performance. There are emergent brands as well, whose products have not been consumed widely.
For the leading brands in terms of reputation, quality of their products is often guaranteed. We have reviewed some brands here so that you have full details of which exact model you should go for.
Moreover, you still have to read through the reviews, compare among different models and chose your best.
Aspects such as certification and product warranty are assurances that what you are purchasing is of high quality. Reviews and ratings also manifest quality.
Therefore, consider purchasing a charcoal smoker that is highly rated and positively reviewed.
You want to ensure that the charcoal smoker has thick metal, insulation and high-quality seals. Thick steel ensures heat and smoke is distributed evenly. Have high-quality seal ensures you don’t any leaks. If you have leaking heat or smoke it’s extremely hard to maintain a correct temperature.
The grills should sit solidly on the supports. so there is no danger of them falling when loaded with a lot of heavy meat.
Price matters a lot because it obviously affects your budget. Although it is lightly said that cheap is often expensive, sometimes cost-effective is not always cheap.
Depending on your financial ability, it is wise to spend on something that is affordable. This, however, depends on whether the smoker you are buying meets your expectations or not.
In this regard, before buying a product, consider some of the essential features and compare the price. At least, there will be a variation. Then consider your own financial position. We don’t advise buying a smoker that is too cheap because there may be unrecognized deficits.
Ease of Use
Versatility refers to the possibilities of an equipment to serve multiple functions. A versatile smoker is better than a single-purpose smoker because it can grill as well as smoke. As you try to consider the best smoker on the market, it is better to prioritize a versatile one.
Even if your primary intention is to use your smoker for smoking, there comes a time when you might need to grill. To be on the safer side, we recommend buying multi-purpose equipment.
There may be other features you are looking for which are not included in a versatile charcoal smoker. In this case, you might prioritize your basic requirements.
A large charcoal smoker should have wheels to make it possible to move it around.
A good thermometer is almost a necessity. Most smoker usually come with a cheap thermometer, which is usually inaccurate. Invest in a really good thermometer and start excelling with your charcoal smoker.
Convenience has to do with many things including user-friendliness, speed of work and automatic functioning. The “set it and forget it” feature found in some advanced charcoal smokers such as is an important aspect of convenience. When your smoker relieves you in one way or another, then it is convenient.
Flexibility and mobility is another aspect of convenience. A flexible and mobile charcoal smoker is easy to move from one place to another. Although most, if not all charcoal smokers are designed for outdoor use, you might want to shift its position in the outdoors.
Maintenance through cleaning also determines whether the smoker is convenient or not. A smoker that is difficult to clean causes inconveniences to the user.
Lastly, general usability counts a lot among the aspects of convenience. The position and nature of the loading system determines whether your cooking or grilling will be a hassle or not. A smoker that is easy to use is worth your expenditure.
Need Help Picking A Charcoal Smoker?
If your on the hunt for a new smoker or grill you might have noticed that there are a lot of smoker and BBQ sites out there. Each will trying to to give you most accurate information. However, I have personally used all the charcoal smokers I have recommended below.
I want to give you all the most informative and in-depth reviews from first- hand experience to ensure you are cooking and eating like a king
In a nutshell, charcoal smoker is among the basic kitchen appliances that you need for smoking and grilling. Fortunately, most types of charcoal smokers perform both functions effectively. One greatest advantage of charcoal smoker is that you are always certain of achieving the best flavor and taste of food.
Different models have been described to give you a wide variety from which you can choose your best model. Your choice entirely depends on your needs, convenience and other considerations such as the price. Different charcoal smokers can be used by different users in different contexts.
The working of charcoal smokers uses a simple process involving burning of charcoal to release heat used for grilling or smoking.
Different smokers vary in efficiency and convenience, right from starting the grill and temperature maintenance. This is why it requires utmost consideration of multiple factors while choosing one that fits you.
For this reason, we are here to help you out. Trust that you will get the best model by simply reading through and considering our reviews. Ultimately, you will be able to make an informed choice for which you will always be proud.