A charcoal smoker allows you to cook tough meat by smoking it over a long period of time. You may also hear it referred to as a grill smoker. This method of cooking produces tender, flavorful, delicious smoked meat. In this article, you can learn about the top models and what makes them so great.
Table of Contents
What is the Best Type of Smoker Between Electric, Gas, or Charcoal?
There are various types of smokers, and a charcoal one is among them. You now know some of its benefits. It produces meat with a delicious smoky flavor and is arguably the best type of smoker in this regard. On the other end of the spectrum, if you want more of a user-friendly and convenient choice, then you can get an electric smoker. This offers the highest precision and allows you to control the temperature, thanks to the built-in thermometer. The electric type is ideal for grilling and smoking fish, cheese, and other delicate foods. The main drawback is that you are not going to find the same great flavor with this option.
If you want a middle ground between the charcoal and electric options, you can get a propane gas smoker. This type offers convenience as well but also produces much better flavor than the electric option.
Different Types of Charcoal Smokers
Depending on the type of charcoal smoker you find and the manufacturer, the features may vary slightly. Some of the smokers you can get are the offset, drum, or Kamado style types. Some of the main features of a smoker, depending on the type, include the firebox, water pan, cooking chamber, and lid.
The 8 Best Charcoal Smokers
If you are looking for a great charcoal or wood smoker, you are in the right place. There are many different features you can explore to find the best cooker in this category. You could look at the area allotted for cooking, the mechanism to control temperature, the portability, the versatility, and the manufacturer. The material, such as stainless steel or iron, and the overall design are also significant. You want a cooker that is long-lasting and efficient. It should also be easy to use and easy to clean, even if you are a first-timer in the world of BBQ.
The following eight options all have great features and ratings. Learn more about each of them here.
18-1/2 Inch Pit Barrel Cooker
The classic Pit Barrel Cooker package has everything you need to get started. It is an 18-1/2 inch cooker weighing 57 pounds. It comes in black porcelain-enameled steel. It has a large total cooking surface area, and the drum has a height of 31.1 inches. Also included in the Pit Barrel Co. package are two hanging rods, eight stainless steel hooks for your meat, a standard grill grate for grilling and searing, a perfectly-sized charcoal basket, as well as a hook remover tool. Minimal assembly is required, and the unique design makes the Pit Barrel Cooker one of the best and very easy to operate.
Aleko Portable Charcoal Smoker Grill
The Aleko offset smoker grill is an all-in-one option if you are looking for both a BBQ grill and an offset smoker. In some ways, it is very much like the Oklahoma Joe offset smoker. With this product, you can enjoy both smoked and grilled meat at the same time. It is black and is made of powder-coated metal. The grates are chrome-plated to retain heating more evenly. This product has a large cooking area. The heat and smoke can be controlled using the air vent. Your smoked food can be cooked with just the right amount of smoke at just the right temperature.
Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker
The Royal Gourmet CC1830F-C 90-00-0 Charcoal Grill has a total of 800 square inches of cooking space and on another one of the all-in-one charcoal smokers. It is not a reverse flow cooker. It is black, made of steel, and weighs 57.3 pounds. The temperature gauge is easy to ready, allowing for perfect heat control while smoking your next meal. There is a front table and bottom shelf, which provide you with even more working and prep space.
Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18″ Charcoal Smoker
This Cuisinart vertical charcoal smoker is ideal for all smoked foods. It is made of steel and weighs 25 pounds. The two stainless steel racks provide a tool cooking surface of 510 square inches. There is a two-way air vent system with top and bottom air vents. This makes it easy to control the amount of heat and smoke in the cooking chamber. This product is straightforward to maintain and has a simple and easy cleaning procedure. You can use this portable option at home and away.
Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker
This 16-inch Char-Broil product is a durable-build, quality bullet smoker with two porcelain-coated grates for cooking. The removable ash pan is easy to remove, making the cleaning system very simple to use. The fire access door seals the smoke chamber. The airflow system design and temperature control allow you to make sure the food you like is always cooking at the right temperature.
Morinome Vertical Charcoal Grill Smoker
This Morinome product is a heavy-duty round BBQ grill. This drum smoker has two access doors to use for food and wood or charcoal. This design conserves heat and makes the cooker more convenient to use. Other features include a built-in thermometer, temperature indicator with a detailed scale. The adjustable air outlet found on the top cover makes controlling the airflow easy and allows you to keep a steady smoker temperature.
This versatile Morinome product is among the best smokers. You can do a lot with it, like grilling, steaming, baking, braising, and roasting all kinds of food.
Grill Pro 31816 16-Inch Smoker
The Grill Pro is made of cast iron and weighs 22.6 pounds. It is a standard vertical smoker that you can get to make a great barbecue at home. It has an enamel finish capable of handling high temperatures and a charcoal access door. It has two 16-inch cooking grids, a lid-mounted heat indicator, and a porcelain-enameled water and charcoal bowl.
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
The 14-inch Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker weighs 23 pounds, is made of steel, and comes in black. This product is a light-weight portable option. Smoking your meat at home is easy to do with the product. For larger smokers, Weber also produces the 18-inch and 22-inch Weber Smokey Mountain cookers and a range of light-weight Weber kettle grill products.
Some other features of the Weber Smokey Mountain cooker are the two plated steel cooking grates and the dampers to control the amount of heat produced. The cooker can reach an inside temperature of up to 190°F. Assembling the smoker is easy to do, and there are 3D assembly instructions available through the BILT app.
How to Use the Cooker Safely
Once you have chosen the cooker you want, after weighing out features, cooking grate area, and price, it’s important to operate it safely. You must follow the manufacturer’s instructions in the manual when assembling and using the product to prevent any hazards.
Know How Your Charcoal Smoker Works
The cooker works by heating food for a long time at a consistent temperature to produce a delicious BBQ smoke flavor that you cannot get when you sear it quickly on a standard high heat grill. The heat is generated from burning charcoal in the form of charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal.
When using the cooker, you must prepare the fuel, fill the water pan with cold water, light the fuel, and then add the food to the allotted space for smoking food. The temperature must be controlled, and you must add more fuel now and then.
Is Inhaling Charcoal Smoke Bad for You?
When fuels like charcoal and wood burn, they release smoke with several gases and compounds, some of which could be harmful in large volumes. Complete combustion produces carbon dioxide, while incomplete combustion releases carbon monoxide, among other things. When carbon monoxide builds up, it can cause poisoning.
Using a smoker grill like the Char-Griller indoors should only be done with caution, following the manufacturer’s guidelines. BBQ smoke presents a health risk when produced in a confined space with poor air ventilation compared with outdoor cooking, especially to people close by. It also contributes to air pollution. When compared to cigarette smoking, however, inhaling BBQ smoke is nowhere near as harmful. Care must be taken to ensure that there is adequate ventilation.
Make Your Final Selection
You can start making great-tasting BBQ-flavored food when you buy one of the eight great cookers included in the list above. Each of these has its pros and cons, so be sure to go through the product listing details to determine which product best meets your needs. You can also benefit from reading previous buyers’ reviews to find out what their experiences and recommendations were from using each of the cookers listed.