Best Charcoal Smoker 2021-{Review and Tips}

When you talk about versatility and quality at once, with direct and indirect cooking abilities, the conventional charcoal grills give you a feeling of pride. Unlike electric smokers, the charcoal grills quickly heat up and produce the best quality textured food with rich flavors and dripping juices. So, based on my experience I decide to share with you the list of the best charcoal smoker in 2021 for the money.

When you try to explore new horizons of barbequing and your friend suggests you give it a try at charcoal grills. But he would not share with you the secret lies in his best charcoal grille, of course! But we won’t do that; we will instead give you a hand in choosing the best charcoal grills well-suited to your grilling abilities in a 10-minute read.

So yes, in this article I will find you the best charcoal grilles you can have for your money.

Best Charcoal Smokers 2021

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES PRICE
Premium Choice
Masterbuilt MB20041220 Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker, Black
  • Features: 1050 sq inches cooking space, 150F to 700F temperature range, +/- 10F Temperature Variation, 10lbs Lump Charcoal or 16lbs briquettes capacity
  • Benefits: Heats Quickly, Variable controllable fan speed, No Baby Sitting Required
Check on Amazon
Five Star
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
  • Features: 39.1 lbs weight, 220 briquettes capacity, 07-09 Hours Refilling Cycle, 100F to 350F Temperature Range
  • Benefits: 30 min setting up, +/-4F variation in temperature, Best Air Control
Check on Amazon
Best Inexpensive
Realcook Vertical 17 Inch Steel Charcoal Smoker
  • Features: 18.6 lbs Weight, 200℉ to 275℉ Temperature Range, Grilling at 400F, 453 square inches cooking space
  • Benefits: 30 mint installation only, Easy to Clean, Easy to fit in a Car or a Truck
Check on Amazon
Best Versatile
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite
  • Features: 90lbs Weight, 200F-700F Temperature Range, 447 square inches Total Cooking Space, 314 sq inches Primary Cooking Space, 5 Years Warranty
  • Benefits: Well-Insulated Grill, Easy to Use, No Rust Signs before 5 years
Check on Amazon
Best Value
Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black
  • Features: 32.3lbs Weight, Can reach 500F easily, 363 Sq Inches Cooking Space
  • Benefits: Assembly Tutorial on App, Easy to Move, Holds temperature very well
Check on Amazon
Best Verticle Offset
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
  • Features: 57lbs Weight, Steel Material, 784 sq inches smoking area, 25 lbs Cooking Capacity per Grate, 3 Years Warranty
  • Benefits: Performs well when freezing, Easy to Use, Consistent in Temperature
Check on Amazon
Best for Camping
Royal Gourmet 30″ BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker CC1830S
  • Features: 54.2 lbs item weight, 800 square inches Cooking Area, Off-set Smoker 183 sq in, Max Temperature 400F
  • Benefits: Accurate Temperature Gauge, Quick to Heat, Room for at least 18 burgers at once
Check on Amazon
Best Old School
Old Smokey Charcoal Grill #22 (Large)
  • Features: 19 lbs Weight, Dual Side Handles, USA Made, Two Years Warranty
  • Benefits: Easy to Use, Quick to Assembly, Light Weight
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1. Masterbuilt MB20041220 Gravity Series 1050 -Premium Choice

Best Charcoal Smoker 2021

|33.07 x 61.02 x 52.17 inches dimension|

|202.9 lbs weight|

|1050 sq inches cooking space|

|150F to 700F temperature range|

|+/- 10F Temperature Variation|

|10lbs Lump Charcoal or 16lbs briquettes capacity|

|One Hopper filling Lasts for 8 Hours|

|One Year Warranty|

Overview

Maybe you have been grilling on one of the best pellet smokers in the past or perhaps using the top electric Smoker for your ease. But, when we talk about the real strong smoky flavor, the master-built Gravity Series smoker wraps the discussion.

Comprising of 1050 sq inches of extendable cooking space, this charcoal smoker and grill can hold up to 7 Racks of Pork Ribs, 17 Chickens, 67 Sausages, or 45 Burgers at the spot.

Owning this Smoker means that you are blessed with prime versatility, for you can smoke, sear, grill, bake, roast, and much more in this amazing apparatus.

A one-hopper filling lets you rest for at least 8 hours. Just fill the Hopper either with 10 lbs Lump Charcoal or 16lbs briquettes; your charcoal grill will handle the meat alone.

The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth controls add more leisure to your grilling hobby. With an app, you can control and manage the temperature settings with great ease. No matter where you are, you can grill anywhere.

Built-in temperature gauge and meat probe make you aware of the meat’s conditioning throughout the process.

In addition to that, the fans are also digitally controlled and ensure optimal temperature control within the area.

The temperature goes up like a real rocket, so no more wait for the delay. The show will be over when the smoker hikes to 225F in 10 minutes and 700F in just 15 minutes.

There is fold-out cord storage with an apex convenience and the side shelf’s back to prevent any loss or damage to the power supply.

  • Heats Quickly. Takes just 5 mint to jump to 700F from 200F.
  • Variable controllable fan speed.
  • Double Wall Insulated Cooking Chamber to retain temperature.
  • No Baby Sitting Required
  • Up to 22+ Hour Longer operating Stamina
  • Equally good at direct, indirect smoking and searing.

  • Assembling is a bit grueling.
  • The app is not responding well; it loses connection sometimes.

Top Tip

When routing the wire to the switches, use wire ties to keep away from the areas. Exposure to heat may burn it down and puts you in trouble.

You may face some trouble in getting it lit. There are two hacks to resolve this. You may get a fit starter cutting it in half and feed it from the bottom. In another way, get some instant light charcoal and place it in the Hopper first.

Editor’s Verdict

From automation to strong smoky flavor to your meat, whatever it is. My best pick is the top valued charcoal smoker for the money. No babysitting, no bullshit, just set in your favorite chunk of meat and set the temperature. Whether it takes 2 hours or a whole day, this will perform equally well consistently throughout your smoking journey.

An Inexpensive Version

Best Charcoal Smoker 2021

|24.65 x 54.13 x 51.97 inches|

|147 lbs weight|

|225°F in 7 minutes|

|700°F in 13 minutes|

|560 total square inches of cooking space|

|1 Year Warranty|


2. Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker -Five Star

Best Charcoal Smoker 2021

|Rust resistant metal legs|

|Plated steel cooking grates|

|Two Cooking Grates|

|10-years Limited Warranty|

|21 x 19 x 41 inches Dimension|

|39.1 lbs weight|

|220 briquettes capacity|

|07-09 Hours Refilling Cycle|

|100F to 350F Temperature Range|

|Fuel Type: Charcoal|

|Power Source: Charcoal|

|Nickel-plated 18-1/2-inch-wide cooking grates|

|Built-in Lid Thermometer|

Overview

With its good results, Weber 18 inches Charcoal smoker has been serving for decades. You can’t judge its performance just because of its small size. This Smoker can hold One Whole Turkey and an Entire Ham at a time.

The Porcelain-enameled steel built makes it adaptive to the settled temperature. With 2 Nickel Plated 18.5 inches wide cooking grates, you can cook the food for your small family. You can make 3 racks of ribs (using a rack rib that stands them up vertically) and a shoulder, a couple of potatoes, and maybe a turkey leg.

The nylon handle is there to aid you in easy picking without burning your hands.

Though the legs have no wheels, yet they will last for the rest of your life as they are rust-free.

Durability is added when you come to know that the dampers are constructed with aluminum. It lasts longer and helps maintain the perfect temperature within the cooking region.

There is an outdoor fuel system, allows you to input charcoal without removing the cover anyways.

  • Very easy to set up and easy to keep temps low for slow and low cooks
  • 30 min setting up
  • Just +/-4F variation in temperature
  • Best Air Control
  • No Spare Parts are included in the hardware kit
  • Delayed Customer Support
  • No Built-in Meat Probe

Top Tip

The water bowl could be a problem for you. It sticks down way too far into the bottom of the fire pit. For that, you can get a 14½” pizza pan and stick it in as a heat deflector. 

Ensure you season it properly for optimal results.

When it comes to cleaning this apparatus, never wash the insides. Get a good grill brush and scrape down the insides and dome. Not to miss the “aroma” this takes several years to build up.

Editor’s Verdict

For slow and low cooking, this Smoker is the beast. From brisket to chicken wings, this charcoal cooker will improve itself day by day. The temperature control is impressive, yet it fluctuates a little, not more than +/-10 in winters. So it is the complete barbecue package and holds to be the best charcoal smoker for the money.


3. Real cook Vertical 17 Inch Steel Charcoal Smoker -Best Inexpensive

Best Charcoal Smoker 2021

|22 x 17 x 35 inches Dimension|

|18.6 lbs Weight|

|Steel Material|

|200 to 275 Temperature Range|

|Grilling at 400F|

|6 hours charcoal Refilling Cycle|

|Charcoal Power and Fuel Source|

|453 square inches cooking space|

|Heat resistant bakelite handles|

|Chrome Plated Cooking Grid|

Overview

A well-spaced charcoal smoker builds up with steel material. For the money, it could not be better than what it is. 

Comprising dual access doors, you can make your choice more flexible than having a single access door. To check the status of meat, ribs, or whatever it is, inside, you can have a look from one door. In addition to that, just putting the charcoal inside makes it more comfortable with the other door.

You are fortunate to have one if you love trips and traveling. The two-layer design charcoal smoker not only makes your recreational activity easy but making it significantly easier to clean it. 

The latch locking system retains the heat inside and promotes stabilize temperature according to the setting.

Versatility at its apex with this small charcoal smoker. You can use it either for Grilling and smoking the food. This charcoal apparatus is specialized in this section. Besides this, you can use it either for cold and hot smoking. I will call it a 6-in-1 smoker, for, with this, you can smoke, grill steams, bake, braise and roast with great ease and without any deviation to the standardized quality.

The two cooking grids provide enough space to cook anything in 453 sq in range. You can cook different sizes and shapes with the 4 hangers and lid inside.

You can smartly control the temperature, for it has a temperature scale and adjustable air supply on the lid. 

  • A 30 mint installation only
  • Fairly accurate temperature indicators
  • Hooks to suspend various meats from the lid
  • Two Access door adds versatility in cooking
  • Easy to Clean
  • Ability to Hang is a boon for Vertical Smoking
  • Easy to fit in a Car or a Truck

  • Material is not as useful to last long for decades
  • It can’t work optimally in Cold weather
  • No Warranty to talk on

Top Tip

The ash pan will be full of ashy stuff after few cooking hours, maybe 4-5. I don’t cure properly. It will spill out of the open vent holes. To aid this, it is good to put a pan beneath the Smoker to catch that stuff.

This Smoker is not built of highly durable material. What else one can expect at such a thin price. So, to avoid rust, make sure not to expose the legs to water and apply the thin coating of linseed oil after 8-10 sessions of cooking.

Editor’s Verdict

Suppose you are a debutant to smoking and need to do some real experiments. I will suggest going for this package. It will be your companion to handle charcoal smoking anywhere you want—a beginner’s charcoal smoker, cheap and sturdy for the price you pay.


4. Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite -Best Versatile

Best Charcoal Smoker 2021

|26.6 x 24.8 x 21.65 inches Dimension|

|90lbs Weight|

|200F-700F Temperature Range|

|447 square inches Total Cooking Space|

|314 sq inches Primary Cooking Space|

|133 sq inches Warming Rack|

|22 Gauge Steel Contraction|

|One Year Warranty on Ash Pan and Defective Parts|

|5 Years Warranty on Grill-Hood and Bottom|

Overview

Once you get this apparatus to your home, it will surely last with you for decades. Its robust construction is the reason behind it. This charcoal smoker is constructed with 22 gauge steel, while the exterior finish is powder-coated, and the interior is all porcelain-coated. The material with which the Smoker is built does not retain rust hence long-lasting.

Where can heat escape? Nowhere, indeed, the Akorn Kamado Kooker is triple-walled to retain heat and maintain temperatures from 200F-700F.

It is merely easy to move your kitchen wherever you want. The Kamado Charcoal Smoker has large locking wheels comprising of 8″ size. This allows easy movability, and you can lock where you want to stay.

Whether it is slow and low or fast and high smoking, the adjustable top damper maintains airflow and heat control along with a built-in temperature gauge.

In addition to the top damper, there is another bottom damper to control airflow for pinpoint temperature control.

If you have a lot to put on, you don’t need a separate shelf. The Smoker comes up with a couple of them. If you have something to place, you can unfold them and put their belongings conveniently. 

You can smartly use the warming rack if you have to warm your food. If you don’t want it, simply remove it from the primary body.

  • Strong and Durable Build
  • Straight forward to Assemble
  • Well-Insulated Grill
  • Easy to Use
  • No Rust Signs before 5 years
  • The ash removal system is easy to use and effective
  • The cast iron grate is easy to use and keep clean

  • Trying Access coals after loaded up is difficult
  • Some Customer Support Issues

Top Tip

For quick recipes of burgers or two, it is recommended to use small charcoal chunks instead of large, lump charcoal. 

For smooth passage of air, clean the bottom trap timely. You may over-look it.

Editor’s Verdict

You may have been using a pellet grill or an electric smoker. But, if you ever have an encounter with this stuff, you will forget the rest. The real traditional Smoker, strong and stud, can serve your big family without any hassle. The Char-Griller bags the tag of the best seller just in few years. The price is seriously worth it, for it will never put you in trouble for some frequent maintenance. To me, this is the best charcoal grill and Smoker for the money.


5. Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black -Best Value

Best Charcoal Smoker 2021

|32.3lbs Weight|

|39.5 x 22.5 x 27 inches dimension|

|Can reach 500F easily|

|Porcelain Built|

|363 Sq Inches Cooking Space|

|Charcoal Power Source|

|high-capacity ash catcher|

|3D interactive assembly instructions on free BILT app|

|2-10 Years Warranty|

Overview

Build with a highly interactive design; this charcoal smoker can hold 13 burgers at a time. 

No need to lift the cover as cooking grated is hinged for adding charcoal while grilling.

Lid and bowl are constructed with highly porcelain material that retains heat and won’t rust or peel.

What makes you most conscious while you bring home a charcoal smoker, probably the way to clean it. Not the case with this Smoker, as it has a single-touch cleaning system. It has a high-capacity ash catcher that enables you to clean up the ash in one go after a long grilling or smoking session.

Controlling the temperature has never been so easy. Without lifting the lid, you can easily control the grill’s temperature by merely adjusting the damper. To extinguish the coal completely, close the dampers and cut down the oxygen flow completely.

The fuel stand is made up of such a good material. It can withstand high temperatures so that you can do direct or indirect coking relatively easily.

This Smoker made it easy to add fuel while grilling as the cooking grate is hinged down under. It is made up of some strong material that is easy to clean and retains heat.

You can remove the cover whenever you want without burning your hand. Shield handles are there to prevent your lid handle from getting too much hot.

The wheels are shock-bearer as you can move your grill around the yard withstanding the elements.

  • Just 30-40 minutes single-person assembly
  • Assembly Tutorial on App
  • Holds temperature very well
  • It comes with a Temperature Gauge
  • Easy to Move

  • For temperature control, you need to know the exact amount of charcoal to be used
  • Wheels installation is tricky
  • Grate quality needs improvement

Top Tip

If you are holding this Smoker as your charcoal debut machine, make sure to get some essential accessories: a chimney starter, grilling tools like tongs, fork, etc., a steel brush to clean the grates, the Weber Firestarter cubes, and some heavy-duty mitts to protect your hands and forearms while grilling.

Most commonly, if you have some budget constraint and don’t ever compromise on the smoking, I recommend you get a stainless steel grate. The SS grate is more solemn, larger gauge steel, and in general, does not rattle. 

Editor’s Verdict

So precise in heat control, the weber premium original never disappoints you in temperature fluctuation. Touch and a go cleaning system enables you clean the ashes instantly. Get a chimney starter to make your work so easy.


6. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker -Best Offset

Best Charcoal Smoker 2021

|Stainless steel Built-in thermometer|

|Fuel Type Charcoal/Wood|

|3 Years Warranty|

|20.2 x 34.52 x 47.03 inches|

|57lbs Weight|

|15,000 BTU Heavy Duty Cast Iron Burner|

|100F-350F Temperature Range|

|6 Cooking Grates|

|Charcoal Fuel Type|

 |1176 square inches cooking space|

|784 sq inches smoking area|

|25 lbs Cooking Capacity per Grate|

Overview

Dyna-Glo brings you the best slow cooker because it has an off-set design allowing you to keep the food-restricted from the direct heat. Cook slow and low and enjoy the bone leaving meat from your Smoker.

Whether it is a huge party or some family gathering, you can smoke heavy brisket with 25 lbs per grate capacity at once. You can also satisfy your soles by smoking a different style of cuts as it has a huge smoking area of 784 sq inches

A porcelain-enameled steel charcoal chamber is designed to improve the durability of this apparatus. The briquettes are stacked tightly with this design and hence last longer, which lowers your long-term operating cost as well.

Reviewing the common issues of grillers and smokers, Dyna Glo makes it convenient for the user to instantly clean the apparatus. The charcoal and ash management system is designed in such a way as to handle a large amount of ash without any hassle.

An easy-to-read gauge is there to achieve perfectly smoked food by observing the correct temperature reading in a go.

  • Performs well when freezing
  • Easy to Use
  • Quick to assemble
  • Consistent in Temperature
  • Ideal for slow cooking

  • Some heat escaping issues
  • No User Manual Included
  • No ideal Customer Support
  • No meat probe included

Top Tip

To avoid heat escaping, put a thermal seal around each door.

The other way that you can buy the high temp gasket and the bbq gasket to prevent leaking smoke and heat through the holes.

If you are mechanically sound, you can install a meat probe for your convenience.

Editor’s Verdict

Not everyone likes the high-temperature grilling. The real traditional bbq lovers loved to slow and low smoking. The dyno-glo is built keeping in mind the priorities of smoking veterans. For the money, you won’t get any better off-set smoker for your backyard. This is one of the best off-set smokers for the price. It may not complete the once with a $500 price range, but it can produce equally better food results in the longer run.


7. Royal Gourmet 30″ BBQ Charcoal Grill and Off-set Smoker -Best for Camping

Best Charcoal Smoker 2021

|55.1 x 27.2 x 48.4 inches dimension|

|54.2 lbs item weight|

|800 square inches Cooking Area|

|Wiring Grates 438 Sq in|

| Off-set Smoker 183 sq in|

|Max Temperature 400F|

|Lid-Mounted Temperature Gauge|

|Smoking+Grilling|

|One Year Warranty|

Overview

Smoking and Grilling, Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill, and Off-set Smoker enable you to do dual jobs at once. When Grilling is your passion, but you can’t forgo slow smoking either, this will be the reliable option for you.

Having an ample space of 800 sq inches, you can handle a bulk of a food without any hassle. The total space is further divided into 438 sq in the cooking area, 179 sq in chrome-plated wiring racks, and 183 sq in off-set Smoker.

When you are done smoking, or you have in a mid of your 15-Hours smoking, the ash pan will make it easy to dispose of the burnt ashes in no time.

Enjoy your savor filling your apparatus with lump charcoal or briquette. You can also add a small number of wood chips to increase flavor.

With a scald-proof handle, you can look into the food for its conditioning. Trust me! You will not have even a slight burn for that.

Porcelain Coated Cooking grates are there to avoid any sticking and maintain temperature without losing any heat.

The two-in-one control system allows you to open the side door to add charcoal or remove ashes instantly. You can slide away from the vent for quickfire, which allows full access of the air to the chamber.

The fire pan is adjustable to the two different levels. So you can easily adjust them accordingly, near the charcoal or just slightly away to the next level.

When you plan out to move it to the place you loved smoking at, the off-set Smoker follows your figure gesture as it has two durable wheels designed for easy transport.

  • Maintains the temperature significantly well even in cold
  • Accurate Temperature Gauge
  • Quick to Heat
  • Room for at least 18 burgers at once

  • The bottom Tray; where the charcoal stays, is not coated
  • A tricky assembly

Top Tip

Care for this Smoker, and it will care for you in return. If you don’t know how to season this grill, you just need to coat it with vegetable oil from a spray bottle or a Webber oil meant for seasoning. After that, heat it to about 400F for an hour empty. Put it out and let it cool completely. Respray it before you cook, and you will be good to go.

Editor’s Verdict

Royle Gourmet off-set is built with a little light metal. But, for the price, it’s fair to have one. When you have a limited budget and are new to charcoal smoking, this will prove to be the best charcoal off-set smoker for beginners as well as for camping. From brisket to salmon, you can Smoker high & fast or low & slow, and the off-set charcoal smoker is just in each case. The results are highly restaurant-grade; you will worth your decision once you get it to your backyard.


8. Old Smokey Charcoal Grill #22 (Large) -Best Old School

| 22 x 22 x 28 inches Dimension|

|19 lbs Weight|

|Dual Side Handles|

|USA Made|

|Two Years Warranty|

Overview

The old Smokey charcoal legend is still there to manage your crowd parties. The aluminum-built charcoal grill is easy to move and operate.

Durable material built will last long for your life. Old Smokey is a favorite for its extreme durability.

With the best smoke control, this apparatus is a grill come Smoker.

Sound air dampers are there to adjust the temperature inside manually. You can’t sit for long as once you set it up and put charcoal in, the weather will hike in no time.

Looking fragile stuff, this aluminum build giant holds the temperature for a more extended time.

No doubt, Old Smokey is ruling the barrel design smoking apparatus. This design aids in surrounding the smoke during the cooking process to make exceptionally cooked food. Besides this, with smart adjustments in the temperature, you can produce the results you want.

  • Easy to Use
  • Quick to Assembly
  • Plenty of Room to Cook for Gathering
  • Light Weight

  • No Temperature Gauge

Top Tip

Since the charcoal smoker does not come up with the Temperature Gauge, you can drill a 3/8″ hole and attached a Temperature Gauge for quick reading and optimal results.

For strong flavor and smoking, buy wood chunks (not chips) of all tastes and fire starters.

Editor’s Verdict

You may not know the value of this smoker if you are bring and bought up in 21st Century. However, your parents may know the value of this charcoal grill. This is the best traditional charcoal smoker i have ever used. No nitty gritty, just set up and start grilling without any delay.


What to look for Before Buying a Charcoal Smoker?

Getting a grill or a smoker home should not like adopting a pet. I reckon you get my point in a single phrase. Yes! Before buying a charcoal smoker, you must have your list of priorities and have sound knowledge to compare the best one. An average person would need to spend not less than a decade with the charcoal smoker. There are various reasons behind that. A more important one is that you get so aligned and used-to with your grilling apparatus that you can cook any food at its best in the long run.

The key factors one needs to keep in mind before getting a charcoal grill and Smoker home are the key factors.

Read: Charcoal Smoker Complete Buying Guide

Value of Money

It could be the most repeating phrase everyone focused on before buying a product, especially for a charcoal smoker and grill. Does the charcoal grill have the guts for the money? Check deeply. It not worth it if it does not have the quality they are charging for. So it is the first thing to consider.

Type of Charcoal Grill

Charcoal Smoker comes out in various shapes and styles. With time, different designers of top-notch companies introduced convenient designs for Grilling and smoking. For that, you must get the right one for your choice.

Charcoal Grills are divided categorically as follows:

  1. Kettle Grills
  2. Ceramic Grills
  3. Barrel Grills

Smart Buy

I always recommend a smart buy rather than a costly buy. For that, you must have spare time to invest in learning the Smoker’s anatomy and must have basic alteration gadgets.

Let’s make it clear with an example. Suppose you are in love with a particular smoker, setting your priority on a meat probe. Keeping all other things remains the same, you found two identical smokers with almost the same attributes, but one has a built-in meat probe, and the other does not have. When you come down to the price, you see a difference of $100. So, I will not let you buy an expensive one because you can install a brand new meat probe yourselves for just $20 only.

This mostly happens when you compare the brands of smokers. Additionally, the price difference could be so thick for just a minor difference.


How to Use Charcoal Smoker

Using a charcoal smoker at the entry-level could be challenging for you. But if you have smoked before at some other kind of Smoker, you can handle it easily. A charcoal grill and Smoker works on the traditional principle of smoking. Simply follow the below steps to accomplish your smoking desire. I assume that you have pre-seasoned your charcoal smoker, and you will cook for the first time.

Reach the Charcoal Chamber

Whether you have an off-set charcoal smoker or a vertical smoker, the entry steps involve accessing the charcoal chamber. Make it purely clean of any dust and any waste. You surely don’t want to get into some non-hygiene stuff instead of aromatic meat you love.

Filling the Chamber

Now fill your charcoal chamber with the briquettes. Briquettes are adequate for smoking; however, if you need any quick heat, you can dump lump charcoal. For some aromatic flavor, you can also take advantage of wood chips. Soaking them for 30mins or use the dry one is up to you.

In addition to that, if you are using a hardwood chunk for extra flavor, throw some medium to large size dry chunks into the top of the coals in the lower grate. 

Expose the Vents to Airflow

Until reaching the desired temperature, make sure to open up the bottom vents, making oxygen flow easy, which aids in the quick burning of charcoal. 

You can partially open the bottom vents depending upon your temperature requirement.

Fill Water

Don’t forget to fill your water bowl or pan with a lot of water. It will keep your food juicy and moist throughout the journey. If you simply want to have rugged and dry meat, you may skip it.

In case you are using water, adding some aromatic flavor is optional. Beer, Bay leaves apple juice or oregano; whatever you like, you can add.

Load your Meat

Place your stuff over the grates or grill nicely. Make sure that none of the parts is larger than the grate capacity. In case you have a considerable food to load on, divide it into two portions and place it on two grates if the Smoker has.

Close the Lid

Now, it’s time to close the lid and close the upper vents completely. To quickly hail in the temperature, you must follow the practice; otherwise, it will take much longer to reach the desired temperature.

Wait for the Required Temperature

After setting it all up, wait until the Smoker reaches the desired level. It depends on what you are cooking. In the case of meat, it requires between 225F-250F.

Use a good meat probe to check the temperature of the meat. 


Can you mix wood in with the charcoal?

Mixing wood with charcoal while Grilling has now become so trendy these days. Why people do it so? Of course, for the strong enhanced Smokey flavor. Wood chunks in a combination of charcoal can make a massive difference to the taste of your food. 

Loading time matters a lot. If you add wood whenever you want, you may lose the apex result. It is to keep in mind that you are using charcoal as the primary fuel source and timber as the secondary source. Right before setting the meat, you have to add few cooking wood chunks to the charcoal chamber. First, let the charcoal burn to your desired temperature and add the wood chunks right after. You will be amazed by the results for sure.

Make sure to use dry wood chunks for supreme traditional Smokey flavor. Using damp wood may lead to a musty taste, which leaves a wrong impression on your food and your smoking skills as well.


How to use charcoal Grill as a Smoker

Many charcoal grills and apparatuses are best for the Grilling only. It would be best if you turned charcoal grill as a smoker yourself. If you think that it requires some technicalities, really it does not do. Just following steps to follow, and your charcoal grill will work as a perfect smoker.

Regardless of whatever charcoal grill you have, you need to do a minor alteration to make it a full-fledged smoker.

  • Firstly, you need to convert your grill into two zones: a relaxed zone and the second one is a hot zone.
  • Secondly, remove the grate and place an aluminum box in the cool zone. The size of the container depends upon the total space. The package must comprise 50% of the entire space.
  • Now, the next step is to ignite your charcoal and put them into the hot zone of your charcoal grill. 
  • Now, your aluminum box is ready to get some liquid in it. You can use water to keep your meat moist and full of juice. On the other hand, you can use beer, apple juice, or wine.
  • Place the grate back, and here you can add some wood chips, soaked or dry whatever you want. I recommend using soaked chips for it will generate dense consistent smoke. The chips could be of any of your favorite flavors; hickory may be.
  • Now it’s time to preheat your grill. For that, put the cover back and open up the vents slightly about a quarter in the start to pass the oxygen and raise the temperature.
  • Once the temperature reaches the required limit, maybe 300F for any meat. Remove the cover and place your meat chunk over the grill after applying some vegetable oil. You must use a thermometer to verify the temperature.
How to turn a charcoal grill into smoker
How to Turn a Charcoal Smoker into Grill

What are Charcoal Smokers good at?

Before getting a charcoal smoker, being a beginner, you must know what charcoal smokers are good at. For a sight, do you know that about 70% of Americans vote in favor of grills and smokers for it provides improved taste?

Traditional Smoking

Grilling your food over charcoal has been a traditional intent of barbecuing. You will have a conventional glimpse of smoke when you do grill your food over burning charcoals. If you ask a veteran to use an electric smoker instead of a charcoal way of Grilling, most probably he will refuse to go because he has developed a strong taste of charcoal grilling. If you want to carry on the traditional flavor with you, you must never prioritize anything else but the Charcoal Grills.

No Maximum Temperature

Unlike electric smokers, the charcoal grills and smokers have no upper-temperature limit. If you have a good one, it may go over 1000F in no time. Despite the weather, the charcoal smokers and grills perform equally well in cold weather.

Quick Heat up

Generally, the charcoal smokers and grills pile up to the high temperature in no time. Just put in the burning charcoal, open the vents a quarter and wait for few minutes; your grill will be at 300F on a thermometer.

Easy to Modify

As compared to electric or pellet grills, the charcoal grills are easy to modify. You can turn your charcoal grill into a smoker without any high cost. Buying smartly, you can get an inexpensive charcoal grill and may transform it according to your need. You can add a quality grate, install a meat probe, and fix a personal thermometer to your apparatus. 

Assembling and Disassembling

No challenge to assemble your grills. All grilling brands offer to assemble manuals with the dispatch box. However, in many cases, you will not even need the instruction to assemble. It is self-locating. 

When you need to go tailgating with the kitchen, charcoal grills are the right options as they are easy to disassemble fit into your car or a van quite easily.

Rich Flavor

Whether you are using a gas smoker or you are in love with an electric smoker, you won’t get the richest flavor of Smoker as you can get with the old-school charcoal smoker and grill. 

With time, instead of depreciation, you experience a specific rise in food flavor. Richer in smoke and more deeply cooked, you can acquire food from an old grill. This happens as you pass your charcoal smoker from 15-20 smoking sessions. A thick layer appears on the inside of your Smoker; making it just perfect for smoking. 

Versatile in Cooking

Charcoal grills are versatile in cooking. You can cook the food you wish to in it. Whether you have brisket, chops, Boston butt, or pork shoulder, the charcoal will justify its importance, ensuring consistent results over the period. Besides this, the grill is versatile in the sense of use. You can either sear or Smoker in the same apparatus. 

Less Costlier

Charcoal Grills are found to be somewhat less expensive as compared to the other smokers in the market. Yet mostly, they don’t come with add ons like meat probes and thermometers. There is a box, a couple of grates, legs, a charcoal chamber, and a charcoal cover with vents. There may be a water pan or bowl as well. 

Being inexpensive does not mean that they are not eligible to produce good results. The charcoal grills make seriously smoked products tender, juicy, soft, or dry, whatever you want. 


What to Compromise on for a Charcoal Smoker?

With every bane, there is a boon stick to it. So, be ready to compromise on the following things if you want to have a charcoal smoker and grill in your backyard.

Excessive Smoke

The charcoal smoker and grills generate real smoke. The Smoker is higher and dense than any other smoker like propane or gas grill. You will surely enjoy the excessive smoke for your food. But if you live in a place surrounded by retirement communities or colonies, this would not be the option for you.

No Automation

Most charcoal grills lack automation, unlike the electric smokers. Adjust the vents or dampers, fill up the charcoal, manually check the temperature, add wood pellets, etc. Since it is conventional grilling, you have to forgo your leisure for the time being to enjoy the best foods. Additionally, you need to make some sort of alteration to optimize versatility in the Smoker.

Messy Cleanup

For a charcoal grill and Smoker, cleaning up the Smoker is as essential as expecting good food from it. But, in most charcoal grills, the cleanup is a little messy task. Most charcoal grills only have a single inlet to load the charcoal; hence, they have only a single way to clean the ashes. In the case of a separate charcoal inlet, you can do cleaning easily. But, when you have another one, cleaning might be challenging.


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