Best Charcoal smoker

Have you ever considered what causes steak and pork so delectable to the taste buds? What is it about meat that overcomes increasing scientific evidence of its negative effect on human health for most people?

Taste is the key to solving this problem. You’ll be shocked to find that 95 per cent of what most people think of as beef flavor comes from the scent. If you are not a vegetarian, it is reasonable to assume that you enjoy eating meat.

If you thought the grilled steak was out of this world, smoking would give a whole new level to the experience! The excitement around this cooking craze is more than simply a backyard rivalry with your neighbor to see who has the nicer barbecue. It tenderizes the meat and imparts a distinctly Smokey taste that no other grilling technique can match.

Grilling season has here, which means it’s time to step up your outdoor cooking game. While a charcoal barbecue may appear less luxurious than a gas grill, the most excellent charcoal grill certainly competes in flavor. It’s also typically less difficult to set up than a gas barbecue. A bag of charcoal, a lighter, plus your favorite toppings are all you need for charcoal grilling. You’ll be realizing the rewards of fast dinner with real Smokey taste in no time. Furthermore, charcoal grills are sometimes less expensive than gas equivalents, making them an excellent choice for those on a limited budget or newcomers to grilling.

Best Charcoal Smokers

For a long time, Texas-style offset smokers were the standard “go-to,” but alternative designs have gained traction. New technology, such as digital temperature and airflow control systems, can assist reduce the learning curve for producing great smoked meals with minimal expertise. Understanding how much work and expertise is required for each sort of smoker can assist you in determining which is best for you.

Few things taste better than smoked meats or veggies, which are oozing with moisture and have a particular flavor that can only be obtained through a smoker. If the thought of that flavor and texture has you salivating, a charcoal smoker might be the answer. Once you get used to it, charcoal smokers are pretty easy to use, are readily transportable for events like barbeques and tailgates, and generate far more assertive flavors than any electric smoker could.

You’re missing out if you haven’t tried it! We have created a list of the best charcoal smokers for 2021 and got the best charcoal smoker reviews to provide you with the most significant outcomes.

1

Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker

Wake up and light the smoker, because succulent pulled pork and fall-off-the-bone ribs come to those who wait. The Smokey Mountain Cooker smoker has two cooking grates for smoking multiple items at once, and dampers that adjust easily so that you’re always in control of the heat—and your feast. Please update this description and remove the old description.

4.8/5

Weber Smokey Mountain has been in existence for close to 40 years. It has grown from strength to strength, with the company adding new features and making improvements to the product. The plastic handles have been swapped with wood; a thermometer has been added and other features.

The Weber Smokey Mountain, or WSM, is a multi-level smokehouse with smoke spread evenly around grills and cooking foods. This smoker is best rated and comes with a larger than usual opening that allows you to refuel it as it works. Thus, you run zero risks of running out of smoke during operation. You can continually add as much wood as you like. This feature exists in all models and makes it easy to use.

 

The surface cooking area on the 14″ model is the smallest in the family of smokers from Weber. It offers the user around 286 square inches of cooking space. If you are looking to cook a complete rack of ribs at a time, you might not be able to do it on this model. The only way to do this successfully is by cutting the ribs into small portions. However, if you are smoking chickens, you can smoke a pair of butterflied chickens comfortably on this model.

 

The Weber Smokey Mountain doesn’t have an ignition system. Instead, it is powered by fuels. The most popular type is charcoal. For the WSM, the most popular types of fuel used are charcoal briquettes and lump charcoal. Both powers, when used, have their advantages and disadvantages.

 

There is a bowl-shaped aluminum attachment that lies below the smoker. The function of this is to protect the deck from heat-related damage. It also comes with a thermometer port that protects the probe wires from direct contact with the hot metal. Additionally, the design ensures that heat is trapped and optimized to smoke your food as well as possible.

The port has a tiny hole cut out to hold the probe that monitors the smoker’s internal temperature. Aside from that, another spot is designed to hold several probes wires to monitor the temperature of the food.

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2

Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker, 16"

The Char-Broil 16-inch Charcoal Bullet Smoker features 370 sq in cooking surface across 2 porcelain-coated cooking grates. Innovative airflow control system simplifies temperature regulation, and features numbered damper settings. Porcelain-coated body for lasting durability, and removable ash pan for quick and easy cleanup. Exterior features two chamber-lift handles and lid-mounted temperature gauge.

4.8/5

A backyard smoker doesn’t necessarily need to be fancy. It just needs to have quality in the places where you need it most. Bullet or so-called capsule smokers represent a popular alternative to traditional smoker cabinets. It has prompted a wide range of grill manufacturers to inject their take into the marketplace. The Char-Broil 20” Bullet Smoker tries to inject some innovation into the process. The lower damper is operated via an easy to slide handle. It has numbers to help you understand exactly what it is set at. Once you dial it in, the numbers allow you to adjust it consistently.

 

There is no formal water pan included in the purchase. However, the drippings pan can pull double duty for sessions where you want to inject some extra steam into a particular session.

When it comes to assembly, the Char-Broil 20” Bullet Smoker is pretty straightforward. There are a few points where the instructions might trip you up. If you take your time, you should have it fully put together in under an hour.

 

At first glance, the side access door doesn’t appear to be all that special. Still, it seals better than most competitors in this niche, improving heat retention and reducing smoke loss.

The lower damper is easy to control and slides with a simple lever. The numbers also help you dial it inconsistently.

 

Assuming you take measures to prevent a boil over the problem with the dual-purpose water/drippings pan, the Char-Broil 20” Bullet Smoker is relatively easy to clean. The non-stick porcelain layer makes it easy to clean the grates. The ash collection pan at the bottom is easy to pull out at the end of a smoking session.

 

On the other side of the coin, if you don’t take measures to prevent a boil-over incident, you will be looking at a nearly unholy mess. Drippings and things like excess marinade can then mix with the charcoal and ash, causing a gummy substance that will stick under your fingernails for a week; any water that boils over and drains to the bottom will dribble out onto the deck to leave a stain. Adding your own smaller water pan will help prevent this and spare you the mess of a boil-over.

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3

Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36" Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Charcoal enthusiasts, take heart! With this Dyna-Glo vertical smoker, you can now smoke your favorite foods with your favorite wood chips AND your favorite fuel source, charcoal! Vertical smokers are ideal for capturing maximum smoke flavor, so we’ve included 4 height-adjustable cooking grates, with a total of 784 square inches of cooking space, to accommodate different sizes and types of food. 

4.8/5

The Dyna Glo Vertical Charcoal Smoker is a popular and effective smoker both for cooking and roasting. It differs significantly from other sorts of smokers, particularly in terms of appearance. Nonetheless, the finest vertical smoker is favored by a large number of people worldwide. An upright cabinet smoker having two doors on one side is known as a two-door smoker. Loading is done from the front rather than the top. The top cover is missing on this smoker. As a result, you cannot grill with a two-door smoker.

 

The upper doorway is for grilling and contains several tracks, while the bottom portion is for fuel. This smoker comes complete with coal, a box, and a wooden tray. This device is used for temperature regulation. The heater, on the other hand, quickly loses heat with frequent exposure. In addition to your smoker, you’ll need a thermostat to monitor the heat and a sausage grinder to ground the meat. There isn’t just one type of wireless smoker on the market. On the web and local market, you may also get fast read thermometers and smoker thermometers.

 

This smoker’s user-friendliness is additionally enhanced by the presence of two loading doors on the side. A sturdy and robust design also allows your smoker to survive potential mishaps that might harm your smoker. The finest vertically smoker is also available for optimum safety and security with a custom-fit Dyna-Glo deluxe covering. While this covering is sold individually, it is widely accessible and reasonably priced.

 

Its upper doorway is used for grilling and includes several tiers of shelves to keep food. The lower part, on either hand, is for the gasoline. Furthermore, purchasing the smoker from a reputable vendor entitles customers to free coal, a container, or a wood tray.

Vertical smokers come in a variety of styles with varying characteristics. The top-rated and most highly reviewed product. This type is at the top of a list of vertically charcoal barbecue types. It indicates that any advantage to using a vertical smoker may be discovered in this model.

 

We validated this smoker’s genuineness with a simple activity that entailed a chat with the new customers. The majority of them expressed surprise and pleasure with their prior models. No customer complaint had been left unresolved.

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4

Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18" Charcoal Smoker

The Cuisinart Vertical 18″ charcoal smoker was built to last. With two 18″ solid steel cooking grates, this smoker can accommodate just about any food you’re looking to smoke at the house. Working a charcoal smoker is as simple as lighting the charcoal, filling up the water bowl, & then casually adjusting the air vents to control the temperature. 

4.8/5

A vertical smoker is an exciting piece of equipment that will surely add a wow factor to your backyard and the food you will cook using it. These smokers come in different shapes and sizes, but their common goal is to produce the juiciest and most delectable smoked foods that you will no longer have to visit your favorite steaks and ribs diner.

 

Setting up this smoker is easy. All the parts and accessories you will need to assemble it are all included in the box. You will get two (2) stainless steel grates, a porcelain-enameled lid cover and water bowl, a charcoal chamber with a vertically hinged door, charcoal ring, handles and all the rivets. You will need a couple of your screwdrivers and thirty minutes of your time to start enjoying your smoker.

 

This smoker has three main parts. The uppermost part has the lid and its cool-touch handle. There are adjustable dampers on the top and a built-in thermometer, so you don’t have to use the ones for the oven. The topmost level also covers the first layer of the grilling rack. The middle part makes up 50% of the total size of the smoker. It has two side handles that make it convenient to lift if you need to refill charcoal or clean the bottom part of the smoker.

It has a hinged door that makes the lower level grate accessible once you start smoking. This opening also lets you add more charcoal to the bottom chamber as necessary. The bottom part of the grill is the charcoal chamber. It is connected to the body of the smoker with three (3) steel locks. It has an adjustable damper for better temperature control.

 

Inside the bottom door, you will have a large capacity charcoal chamber seated on a stainless steel grate. Below this is a removable ash pan for quick disposal and cleaning. On top of the charcoal, the room is a wood chip box that allows you to enjoy your wood chips of choice for quality smoking.

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5

Realcook Vertical 17 Inch Steel Charcoal Smoker, Heavy Duty Round BBQ Grill for Outdoor Cooking, Black

Build-in thermometer with detailed temperature scale and adjustable air supply on lid for greater temperature control.Porcelain-enameled water pan and charcoal pan can provide you the stable use. The heat resistant bakelite handles make transport, basting and cooking a breeze. 2 pieces cooking grids provide total 453 square inches cooking space. With crossbar and 4 hangers inside the lid, you can smoke different sizes and shapes of meat.

4.8/5

One of the big problems you run into when shopping for a smoker is that most are essential One Trick Ponies. To be good at smoking things slow and low, they also sacrifice the ability to grill things over direct flame. With some charcoal smokers, you can improvise by taking out a water pan to get a Steak or hamburger patty closer to the love, and you can live with the results.

The body includes heat resistant handles and two access doors. It allows you to reload charcoal and wood chips in the lower fire chamber without having a massive effect on the heat and smoke in the primary cooking chamber.

 

The quality materials used in the Real cook Vertical 20 Inch Steel Charcoal Smoker is relatively high considering its very friendly price point. In a perfect world, it would include some level of insulation beyond just porcelain-enameled steel. The side access doors do leak a little bit and would benefit from some improved seal.

 

When you start breaking it down, it transforms a direct heat charcoal grills or even a fire pit. It calls for taking the top smoker section out and removing the water-drippings pan. When you use it as a smoker, this isn’t a big deal. When you use it as a direct heat charcoal grill, it can cause some meats to stick, which requires a little extra effort to scrape down.

 

Probably the most significant part of the cleanup is getting all the ash out at the end. Then release the lower locking clasps and carefully set aside the top sections and lid. You can then take the small base and pour out the dead coals and ash into a firepit or metal bucket.

If you are in the market for a vertical, high capacity charcoal smoker that can genuinely pull double duty as a grill, then it’s hard to look past the Real cook 20-Inch Charcoal Smoker. When you also factor in the friendly price point, it would be hard to find another smoker/grill combo standing above it.

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6

Cuisinart COS-116 Vertical Smoker, 16" Charcoal

The Cuisinart vertical 16″ charcoal smoker was built to last. With two 16″ solid steel cooking grates, this smoker can accommodate just about any food you’re looking to smoke at the house. Working a charcoal smoker is as simple as lighting the charcoal, filling up the water bowl, & then casually adjusting the air vents to control the temperature. 

4.8/5

Choosing the best Vertical Charcoal Smoker means adding a BBQ Flavor and authentic smoke taste to your meat or fish. The Cuisinart Cos-116 16” Vertical Charcoal Smoker is loaded with excellent features and specifications to offer the best experience and is unique compared with other vertical Charcoal Smokers in the market.

Add a few wood chunks to the lighted charcoal, fill the bowl with water, and use fresh foods like meat or fish on the interior racks. The barrel with a vertical design helps in distributing the heating evenly across the entire cooking chamber.

 

The smoker holds all important things except wood chunks and charcoal; setting up is also too easy. The smoker contains a steel bowl that is porcelain-enamelled for storing water, and there is a door on the vertical side for easy access to fuel and water.

 

The Cuisinart 16 inches vertical charcoal smoker comes with two wire racks made of top-notch quality steel to stash the food inside the smoker chamber. The manufacturer has designed the vertical charcoal smoker with enough room space, and therefore you can smoke any food items like vegetables, cheese, meats, whole chicken, fish, and more. The charcoal smoker is the perfect choice if you need to delight your family and guests with a tasty smoked meal, and the vertical charcoal smoker from Cuisinart is the perfect fit for making any outdoor grilled chicken.

 

Cuisinart’s Vertical Charcoal Smoker is quite similar to the Weber Smokey Mountain in the top spot, and it comes in 16-inch and 18-inch options. With an included porcelain enamel water bowl, your meat will stay nice and moist. Top and bottom vents allow the air to flow better, which means less chance of the smoker overheating.

Note that the COS-116 is only 23 pounds, so it’s lighter than the WSM by a considerable amount. It also has side handles and latches around the base, making it easier to transport. One negative is the temperature gauge, which is known to give inaccurate readings.

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7

Giantex 3-in-1 Charcoal BBQ Smoker, Round Grill Cooker with Built in Thermometer and Hangers for Outdoor Cooking Grilling (Black)

The main body of the smoker is divided into three layers, so the bottom can be used as a fire pit and the adjustable barrel grill is ideal for steaming, grilling, baking or roasting. With two different heights, it can be a BBQ roaster or a smoker according to your needs. In order to better observe and control the temperature, this BBQ grill is designed with a built-in thermometer with detailed scale. 

4.8/5

The Barbeque burner is pro due to its sturdy iron structure and will last for a long time when used outside. The movable open window aids in the reduction of smoking and the removal of warmth. The smoker’s top part is separated into three sections, with the base serving as a fire pit and the movable barrels grill perfect for boiling, cooking, roasting, or baking. It may be a BBQ roasting or a smoker depending on your needs, as it has two distinct elevations.

This Barbecue burner has a constructed thermostat with a broad scale to let you monitor and adjust the temperature. When coupled with the top-mounted variable outlet side, you can manage the airflow to keep a consistent temperature for the optimum restaurant experience.

This portable smoker is a fantastic option for gatherings, camping, beach BBQ, garden, and more with excellent craftsmanship and a beautiful appearance.

This BBQ smoker barbecue has two access doors for checking the food quality and adding charcoal as needed. Furthermore, elevated feet with a triangular construction can significantly improve their sturdiness.

Aside from that, the smoker has an access door that allows you to add charcoals, water, or wood chips while allowing the heat escape. Because the door access lever and lid grip are made of plastic, your hands will be safe from burning as well.

It is perfect for slow-cooking the most delectable meat. In addition, the smoker has a watering tray and two corrosion chrome-plated grilling grates. In all, you have 480 inches thick of cooking space.

If that wasn’t enough, it also has the best temperature control. It has one movable vent on the top and three others at the smoking base. The built-in temperature gauge, on the other hand, assists you in precisely maintaining temperature.

Furthermore, the smoker warms up quickly, maintains a temperature variation of fewer than 20 degrees, and may be used as a grill. Finally, Weber has included an aluminium attachment at the base to keep the ground from overheating.

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8

Outsunny 48" Steel Portable Backyard Charcoal BBQ Grill and Offset Smoker Combo with Wheels Outsunny 48" Steel Portable Backyard Charcoal BBQ Grill and Offset Smoker Combo with Wheels

The Outsunny steel portable backyard charcoal BBQ grill and offset smoker combo is a great choice for the beginner griller or for someone looking for a more compact sized option. This barbecue has two separate openings: one for the grill itself, and the other for the connected offset smoker, allowing for the ultimate backyard experience. 

4.8/5

Outsunny 48’’ steel portable Backyard Charcoal BBQ Grill is the best and most inexpensive grill. The major benefit of this Outsunny Steel Portable charcoal grill is it tends to be much less expensive and much more portable than other portable charcoal grill. You will be allure for its taste of food cooked over this grill. Charcoal grill is safer than gas grill. 

It has one movable vent on the top and three others at the smoking base. The built-in temperature gauge, on the other hand, assists you in precisely maintaining temperature.

Furthermore, the smoker warms up quickly, maintains a temperature variation of fewer than 20 degrees, and may be used as a grill. Finally, Weber has included an aluminium attachment at the base to keep the ground from overheating

This charcoal grill from Outsunny comes with a fairly unique design. In fact, this product is a combination of an offset maker, a BBQ, and a charcoal grill. Hence, it can be a very handy product when it comes to outside or backyard parties or gatherings.

Also, it can save a lot of space as well as a cost since you get the benefit of having all the equipment in one. The firebox provided in the product can help offset the heat. This offsetting of the heat imparts a delicious smoky flavor to the food. The side vent provided can provide the much-needed supply of fresh air that is essential for burning.

There are two storage shelves provided in the charcoal grill, one on the front and the other one on the side. There is also a metal grill present at the bottom whose main aim is to provide some extra space for grilling the essentials and the accessories.

The handles provided are made of wood and hence do not get heated as such, thereby preventing you from sustaining any burns. The angled legs make the grill sturdy and stable and the wheels provided on two of the legs on one side make it easier to move the grill.

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Buying guide

Designed to help you locate the finest charcoal smoker, we evaluated several criteria that distinguish different grilling devices. We started with the cooking area, which is the whole rack space on which you’ll be able to arrange goods. We also looked at the temperature range, which influences the sorts of food you may smoke and the pace with which you can cook. Finally, we evaluated how portable each charcoal smoker is and how easy it is to operate as a novice or an expert. In our buying guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know when choosing a charcoal smoker.

The sheer amount of seemingly fantastic alternatives accessible to someone seeking to buy a new grill may be the first thing buyers notice. However, what works well in one grill master’s backyard may not work well in another’s, mainly since grills are classified into three types: pellet grills, charcoal grills, and gas grills.

Grills are designed with speed, convenience, affordability, and quality in mind, but top pitmasters agree that a charcoal-fired grill is impossible to surpass when it comes to flavour. It directly impacts the taste of grilled food, which cannot be replicated in any other grill type. Food cooked over fire equals flavour, and charcoal enhances the grilled flavour of foods.

Pros and cons of charcoal smokers

There are various advantages and disadvantages to charcoal smokers, but every chef agrees on the distinct flavour of meats smoked with charcoal. Ask anyone who has used a charcoal smoker, and there is simply no comparison between the smoky flavour imparted by these smokers compared to electric or gas smokers. Better yet, by using different types and amounts of charcoal, you are in complete control of the flavour of your meat every time you cook.

 

Part of this distinct flavour is that charcoal smokers produce more smoke than a gas smoker ever could. You also have more ability to customize the smoke production, ventilation, and exposure to smoke that your meat has when cooking on a charcoal smoker instead of a gas smoker. The other key advantage to charcoal smokers is that they are generally easier to transport and use anywhere than gas smokers.

 

Charcoal smokers don’t require an electrical supply, and you can pick up more charcoal at almost any store. That said, there are some disadvantages to charcoal smokers. The most obvious is that you’re going to be left with a significant amount of cleanup work after every time you use the smoker. You’ll need to clear out the charcoal ash and leftover charcoal, which is a dirty job that few chefs appreciate.

 

The other issue that some chefs may have with a charcoal smoker is that it can be harder to control the temperature. Some charcoal smokers are easier to use than others, though, so this is where your choice of smoker comes into play. When it comes to cost, it can be hard to compare charcoal and gas smokers. Although charcoal smokers are generally less expensive, charcoal itself is relatively expensive. So, over the long term, the price of charcoal and gas smokers comes out about equal.

Features to consider while choosing a charcoal smoker

There are a wide variety of features that differentiate charcoal smokers from one another. Here, we’ll take a look at the essential elements you need to know about and explain how they can affect your cooking.

  • Total cooking area and a hopper capacity

The total cooking area of your smoker refers to the amount of rack space available for smoking meats. Rack space on small smokers like the PK Original smoker can be pretty limited, at under 400 square inches. That’s not a problem if you’re only cooking for yourself, but if you’re hosting a large party, you may need over 1,000 square inches of space as the massive Dyna-Glo smokers provide.

  • Hopper capacity

The hopper capacity refers to the amount of charcoal that the smoker can hold. Typically, hopper capacity is scaled according to the amount of cooking area that your smoker offers so that you can smoke an entire cabinet’s worth of meat without having to add charcoal at any point.

  • Temperature range

The temperature range of your charcoal smoker is crucial because it determines the types of meats you can cook and smoke simultaneously. Some meats can be thoroughly cooked at temperatures below 350 degrees, while others require a higher temperature to cook thoroughly. Keep in mind also that there may be cases when you want to smoke meats that are already cooked, in which case you may need a smoker like the Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D that can operate at temperatures as low as 100 degrees.

  • Build quality

The construction quality of a charcoal smoker is paramount – a shoddily made charcoal smoker will leak smoke everywhere, dramatically reducing the efficiency of the smoking process. It is essential for offset barrel smokers like the Oklahoma Joe’s smoker since the system needs to be properly sealed for the smoke to make its way into the cooking chamber.

  • Dimensions and weight

The dimensions and weight of your smoker might not be vital if you don’t ever plan to move it. But if you are looking to take your smoker out for tailgates and barbeques, it will be essential to think about whether your smoker will fit in your car and whether it’s light enough to lift. It is where smaller smokers, like the models from Masterbuilt and PK Original, can be extremely useful.

  • Temperature controls and ease of use

Charcoal smokers rely on air vents to control their temperature, but the ease of controlling the temperature with these vents can vary widely. Charcoal smokers with only one or two vents, like the Masterbuilt and Cuisinart smokers, can be easier to operate but give you less room to dial in the right temperature. On the other extreme, smokers like the models from Dyna-Glo, with their different flumes, can be more complex to operate but give you more ability to control the temperature.

  • Warranty

When purchasing a charcoal smoker, you want to ensure that it will last. Most manufacturers provide several-year guarantees on their smokers. However, these warranties might vary depending on the item and the manufacturer. Weber, for example, provides a five-year contract on the cook box, lid assembly, and cooking grates, but only a two-year warranty on the rest of the grill.

  • charcoal smokers typically cost

Charcoal smokers can vary widely in price depending on the type, size, and build quality of your smoker. On the budget end of the spectrum, Masterbuilt’s smoker sells for less than $100. However, you should expect to pay between $250–$450 for a high-quality or giant smoker.

Tips for maintaining your charcoal smoker

You can do a few things to maintain your charcoal smoker and ensure that it will last for years to come.

The first and most important thing you need to do is clean out the ashes every time you use your smoker. Ashes left sitting in the smoker will attract moisture from the air, eventually leading to the bottom of your smoker rusting out.

 

It’s also important to clean off the metal grates in your smoker. Any residual food will create burned or rancid bits on your meat the next time you smoke. To prevent that, scrape down your grates with a scraper or metal brush after every time you use the smoker.

 

After the smoker has cooled down, it’s also a good idea to clean off the inside of the cooking chamber. If you don’t do this, the room’s interior will eventually start flaking off burnt crisps that can get into your food. All you need to clean the cooking chamber is a brush with soap and water, as well as a bit of elbow grease.

FAQ

  • What is charcoal?

Charcoal is essentially burnt wood. But charcoal can burn again, clean and hot because it is burnt initially without oxygen. The left burns material without much of a flame and leaves relatively little ash compared to wood.

  • How can I keep the temperature in a charcoal smoker consistent? Do I have to babysit it?

The best way to keep the temperature in your smoker consistent is to wait until the charcoal is fully burning and then use the vents to dial in your temperature. Once the temperature stabilizes, it should remain consistent without your having to babysit the smoker. However, keep in mind that this will require some patience over the first 30 minutes or so after you light up the smoker.

  • Can I use wood in a charcoal smoker?

Most water smokers are not designed to burn wood – this will produce flames that will char your meat and potentially damage the smoker’s interior. But, offset barrel smokers like that from Oklahoma Joe’s can typically use either charcoal or wood. The smoking chamber is designed to handle the flames from a wood fire and gives you easy access to tend that fire.

  • What are the main components of a traditional charcoal smoker?

The heat is generated within the firebox. It is where you load in your charcoal. If you pour in a whole 15-pound bag, this should burn all day long, more than enough time to smoke a perfect brisket. You’ll also need to load in some wood chips to add that trademark smoked taste and aroma. Positioned above the firebox, you’ll find the water pan. You’ll need to fill this roughly three-quarters of the way up with water to help regulate the temperature inside the smoker. It also serves to produce steam. The food is placed in a cooking chamber where it usually sits on top of grids, just like you find on a regular charcoal grill. The lid locks all the heat inside. It is vented so you can allow smoke and steam to escape.

  • What is the optimum temperature for smoking meat?

It would help if you aimed for somewhere between 225F and 250F for best results. Most of the best charcoal smokers come with integrated thermometers, so you won’t need to fuss around with a third-party kit.

  • How long does it take to smoke meat?

Cooking at a low temperature for a lengthy period is the key attraction of smoking meat, and it’s this process that returns such succulent results. It will take 6 to 7 hours to smoke a rack of ribs, while a substantial turkey would benefit from 18 hours in the smoker. Pack some patience and be prepared to be amazed at the results.

Conclusion

Our three overall favourite charcoal smokers on the market today are the Weber Smokey Mountain, the Dyna-Glo Signature Series and Charbroil smoker. We feel the Weber smokey smoker is the best, thanks to its massive cooking area across a single grate that allows you to smoke massive cuts of meat. While users overall loved this smoker, keep in mind that it doesn’t have a removable ash pan. The Dyna-Glo smoker offered a tremendous amount of cooking area and finely tunable temperature controls, making it our pick for hosting backyard barbeques. But the Weber Smokey Mountain was our pick for the best charcoal smoker under 200 overall, thanks to its combination of ease of use, cooking area, and solid build quality. Weber’s smoker is very versatile and offers something for every chef and can even be easily transported, so you can make smoked meats anywhere you go.

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