Do you love to savor a juicy, smoked cut of meat? Chances are you have had this delectable treat at your favorite restaurant. But that can get expensive. Maybe you’re thinking of replicating that flavor at home. If so, you need to get a smoker. And what kind of smoker, you say? Well, there are different types – electric, gas, and charcoal being the most popular.
While electric and gas smokers are more convenient and easy to use than charcoal smokers, if you are looking for an authentic, strong, smoky flavor, the charcoal smoker cannot be beat.
Let’s find out about the most popular brands of charcoal smokers available on the market today:
This attractive and affordable charcoal smoker is the perfect size for a typical family or a small group of friends. It smokes with great flavor, resulting in juicy, mouth-watering cuts of meat.
This smoker is sturdy yet compact and light weight, and made of high-temperature steel. It has a porcelain-coated body which makes it more durable and rust-proof. It is very easy to assemble, which is handy if you are not mechanically inclined.
It offers 570 square inches of cooking space spread out over three chrome-plated, adjustable cooking grates.
It also has a dual door design that enables you to access the charcoal without having to access the smoke chamber.
This smoker has an innovative air flow system, with dampers to control the heat, making it easy to adjust the temperature. And it has a temperature gauge mounted on the lid. The high quality fire access door allows you to manage the flow of smoke while you are cooking.
The handle is cool-touch, which allows you to grip the lid firmly when you need to.
There is also a large pull out pan that catches the ashes and enables you to dispose of them whenever you need to.
Some users have complained that the dome thermometer in the lid is not accurate. Also, the door latch tends to come loose and may require tightening.
- Smokes with great flavor, resulting in mouth-watering, juicy cuts of meat
- Dual door design enables access to charcoal without opening smoke chamber
- Sturdy yet compact and light weight
- Made of high-temperature steel with a porcelain-coated body and cool-touch handle
- Has innovative air flow system with dampers to control the heat
- Built-in thermometer is not very accurate
- Door latch may become loose and need tightening
This affordable charcoal smoker is highly rated and can be used to smoke a variety of foods, including beef, chicken, fish, vegetables, and numerous types of cheese. It performs well, and cooks chicken and meats evenly. You can use this smoker with charcoal or wood chips, whichever you prefer.
The smoker is made of sturdy steel housing, which ensures durability. Because of this, you can keep your smoker outside even in bad weather, and it will resist rusting. It is also very portable.
It offers 510 square inches of cooking area spread out over two stainless steel cooking racks, which means it is unlikely that you will run out of cooking space.
This smoker is well known for its porcelain-enameled steel water bowl, which helps ensure your meat stays moist and tender while cooking.
It has two vents which enables you to control the heat level. It maintains temperature remarkably well. And you do not have to check the fire and temperature frequently while you are cooking. It also has a vertically hinged side door with which you can easily access water and fuel.
This smoker is easy to clean. Simply remove all the remaining ash, and wipe it with a damp cloth.
One drawback is, some smoke may escape while you are operating the smoker. Also, the ash catcher pan is not attached securely.
- Offers 510 square feet of cooking space spread out over two stainless steel racks
- Can smoke a variety of foods, including meats, fish, and numerous types of cheese
- Made of sturdy steel housing, which ensures durability and rust-resistance
- Has porcelain-coated water bowl which helps ensure your meat stays moist
- Smoke may escape while operating the smoker
- Ash catcher pan is not attached securely
This charcoal smoker is jumbo-sized. If offers 1890 square inches of cooking space, spread out over six cooking grates. You can cook multiple types of food at one time. Perfect for a large party! The cooking grates hold 25 pounds each and are height-adjustable, and thus the smoker can accommodate different sizes of food.
It has a vertical design which allows for rising heat, and this improves the smoky flavor. It also has an offset design which supports slow cooking by keeping food away from direct heat.
This model slowly infuses smoke flavor during the cooking process. It has a smoker body that seals very well. This ensures the temperature stays consistent for hours, which allows even and thorough cooking.
This item has a smoke zone gauge on the door, which enables you to monitor your cooking without having to actually open the smoker. There is also an adjustable flue on the smokestack which allows you to attain the right level of smoke. There is a porcelain-enameled steel charcoal chamber that keeps the briquettes stacked tightly, which improves the efficiency of the burn.
There is a viewing window so you can keep an eye on what you are cooking.
The smoker maintains its internal temperature, regardless of the temperature outside. So if you are cooking out in the cold, you will not have to cook your food for a longer time. There is also a temperature gauge on the door, so you can be assured your food is cooking at the correct heat.
Although this smoker can get messy, it is actually quite easy to clean. It has a removable ash pan to help remove large amounts of ash. When cleaning, make sure the smoker cools down first, and then you can wipe it with a wet cloth.
One drawback is the grease drip pan is too small if you are smoking something large like a turkey.
- Jumbo-sized: offers 1890 square feet of cooking space over six grates
- Cooking grates are height-adjustable to accommodate different sizes of food
- Vertical design accommodates rising heat, which improves smoky flavor
- Temperature stays consistent for hours, which ensures even and thorough cooking
- Maintains internal temperature regardless of the temperature outside
- Viewing window enables you to keep an eye on what you are cooking
- Grease drip pan is too small if you are smoking something large like a turkey
This combination smoker, grill, and oven is very versatile. It may not be as strong a smoker as some other brands, but it still provides high quality cooking.
This particular kamado charcoal grill and smoker is great for a tight budget. While most kamado charcoal cookers are made with heavy duty ceramic, this one is constructed of much lighter, double wall-insulated, 22 gauge steel. This has enabled the manufacturer to reduce the price while still maintaining durability. The inside of this device is made of porcelain-coated steel, while the outside is finished in powder-coated steel.
It is easy to assemble, and provides you with a leak-free, well-insulated cooking device. The cooking grates are made of sturdy cast iron.
This charcoal grill and smoker offers 314 square inches of cooking space along with another 133 square inches on a removable warming rack. Combined, there are 447 square inches to cook on.
It can maintain temperatures ranging from 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, and so can handle anything from searing on high heat to roasting on low heat.
This item has large eight inch rubber wheels which make it easy to transport around your yard. The wheels also lock into place. It also features a locking lid, a temperature gauge, and a removable pan for catching ashes.
One drawback is the included dome thermometer is not very accurate. Users recommend that you purchase a thermometer separately to use with this device. Also, some people do not like the appearance of the exterior, since it is not ceramic.
- Combination smoker, grill, and oven with total 447 square inches of cooking space
- Leak-free, well-insulated cooking device with cast iron cooking grates
- Provides excellent flavor
- Can maintain temperature ranging from 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit
- Has large locking wheels, a locking lid, and removable ash pan
- Thermometer is not very accurate
- Some people do not like the exterior, since it is not ceramic
What to look for in a charcoal smoker
Now that you have seen the features, pros, and cons of some of the more popular charcoal smokers available today, have you decided to buy one for yourself? If so, here are a few considerations to make when looking to purchase a charcoal smoker of your own.
Before getting swept up in fancy features, set your budget and try to stick to it. You should try to keep your budget down if you are new to charcoal smokers. Once you have your first smoker, you can play around with it for a while and decide what features you’d like in your next smoker.
Also consider the other costs involved with charcoal smokers, such as charcoal, which happens to be the most expensive type of fuel you can buy.
Quality tends to go hand in hand with cost, so you will need to decide what your priorities are. Basically, if you choose a low-quality smoker, it will be less expensive, but it may also have poor heat regulation and you will have difficulty maintaining the right temperature.
Some people prefer to have just a smoker, and others want a device that can act as both smoker and grill. The latter may be a good choice if you are short on space but it may also be more expensive.
Think about how many people you will be cooking for and how frequently you will be using the smoker. If you are cooking for your nuclear family most of the time, and/or you have a small space, a smaller smoker will work just fine. Likewise, if you do not intend to use the smoker that often, a smaller one may be the best choice. On the other hand, if you regularly host parties, a large smoker may be the most convenient, if you have the space.
Do you plan to move your smoker, for example to take it camping? Then you should consider a smaller, portable version. You definitely do not want a kamado grill/smoker on your camping trip as it is too big. Some people have one smoker for home and a smaller smoker to take to the great outdoors.
As you can see, there are many brands of charcoal smokers on the market today, and they each have their own features, benefits, and drawbacks. Compare the various brands and find out what users are saying about them. Then consider your own needs and the features that will best suit you and your family. You are sure to find the charcoal smoker that