Are you planning to smoke chicken quarters? Or how about creating smoked venison? These delicacies are both delicious smoked food, but you cannot make them without the help of one of these sturdy, powerful smoking machines.
You have a lot of choices when you set out to buy a smoker. Gas smokers and electric smokers are both options. But, if you don’t mind doing a little tending, then you might want to try out the best charcoal smokers. Just like other log burners, they require monitoring. However, familiarizing yourself with their operation does not take long, and once you have learnt the ropes, then charcoal smokers will provide you with excellent results.
Fortunately, the market is not lacking when it comes to this type of smoker, but not all of them are the same. Some are easier to control, while others provide more ergonomic features than their counterparts. But, regardless of what your preferences are, I am sure you will find what you want!
If you are looking for recommendations for charcoal smokers, then you have come to the right part of the internet. I will introduce you to some high-quality units that are worth every buck that you’ll spend! Here they are!
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 18″
The Classic PK Grill & Smoker”
Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Offset Smoker
Char-Broil American Gourmet Charcoal Grill
Best Charcoal Smokers
- Top Picks For The Best Charcoal Smokers
- 1. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 18″
- 2. The Classic PK Grill & Smoker
- 3. Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill
- 4. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Offset Smoker
- 5. Char-Broil American Gourmet Charcoal Grill
- Our Ratings
- Choosing The Best Charcoal Smoker
- Temperature Control
- Seals And Insulation
- Durability And Ruggedness
- The Smoking Hot Conclusion
Top Picks For The Best Charcoal Smokers
1. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 18″
Image from Amazon.com
Your weekend parties and gatherings will not be complete if you don’t invest in this charcoal smoker from Weber. I have a lot of respect for this tough guy, considering that it has both the build and performance that will suit any application. In fact, the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is capable of making genuine smokehouse flavors wherever you are, and none of its parts feel cheap or counterfeited!
This smoker is well constructed as its entire body is made out of porcelain-enameled steel. Meanwhile, its cooking grates are made from nickel-plated steel. Overall, the entire cooking surface is around 480 square inches. Therefore, it can cater for really large servings, as well as simultaneous smoking. You don’t have to worry about how it handles either, as it has a handle made of a heat-resistant industrial nylon.
The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker has a number of other ergonomic features and all the necessary amenities to make your smoking both smooth and convenient. It comes with a water pan, air vents on both the lid and bowl, and a built-in thermometer. So, once you get this charcoal smoker, you probably won’t need anything else!
- Durable construction.
- Both the lid and bowl have their own individual vents.
- Large cooking surface.
- Nylon lid is heat resistant.
- It can roast and smoke at the same time.
- Nothing seems to be wrong with this charcoal smoker.
2. The Classic PK Grill & Smoker
Image from Amazon.com
Portable Kitchen is a reputable company that makes high-quality cookware, grills, and smokers. All of its products are solid and ergonomic enough to cater for the needs of every household. This is why they are a constant favorite, especially with American consumers. In fact, their Classic PK Grill & Smoker recieved the Consumers Digest 2017 Best Buy Award, which provided further proof that their quality products are just too good to miss.
This particular smoker provides excellent airflow control that will optimize the smoking process every time you cook. It also provides impressive temperature control and retention that ensures your food is properly smoked. Unlike other smokers currently on the market, the Classic PK Grill & Smoker features a rectangular horizontal body, which gives you quicker and more convenient access to the coal room.
This smoker also has a tough body, as you would expect from this company. The entire structure is crafted from a cast aluminum body, and its cooking grates are made out of porcelain-enamel steel. These features will provide you with mess-free smoking results every time.
The product’s horizontal body means it has a large cooking surface. It is also suprisingly portable as it comes with two handy wheels that enable you to transport it quickly.
- Provides excellent heat retention.
- Comes with a four-way venting system.
- Capable of holding constant temperatures for an extended period.
- Rugged and durable design.
- Provides foolproof portability.
- Doesn’t have a water pan or built-in thermometer.
3. Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill
Image from Amazon.com
If you are looking for a charcoal griller that generates even heating, you should consider this charcoal grill. The Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker is a compact yet ergonomic option worth checking out. It features a cast-iron grate that optimizes the entire smoking process. As it is a smaller size than most of its counterparts on the market, it does not have the largest cooking surface. However, it is the perfect choice for tailgate parties and outdoor excursions.
Even though this is a compact charcoal grill, it still has all the essential amenities that are required for efficient smoking. The product comes with an ash pan so that you can clean it easily. There are also air dampers installed on the top and bottom to ensure that the temperature control is both quick and precise. This feature also improves the device’s capacity to cook you food evenly.
Apart from these perks, this charcoal grill also has a heat gauge, hinged lid, and an insulated steel wall. These components ensure that you will be able to smoke and grill your food efficiency and conveniently. Finaly, this unit also has a widely spaced heat-resistant handle that means you can easily handle the device using your preferred setup.
- It is lighter than ceramic grills.
- Has a durable and rugged design.
- Excellent heat-retention capabilities.
- Portable and compact design.
- Easy to clean and use.
- This is not a device for large grilling purposes.
- There is a small cooking space (it is a given).
4. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Offset Smoker
Image from Amazon.com
Sometimes, people prefer offset smokers. Well, if you are among them, let me introduce you to the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker. When it comes to cooking space, this device is pretty enormous as it offers no less than 900 square inches of cooking area, which I think you will agree is truly astounding! This is, therefore, the ideal choice for big parties and gatherings as it can deal with multiple servings in one go!
The Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker uses four baffles to optimize the food smoking process. These handy components ensure that the smoke and heat will be guided properly through the main smoking chamber, so that you can get delicious, tasty results every time. These baffles are removable too, so you will be able to customize the unit.
The rugged construction of this charcoal smoker is 100% sturdy as the entire device is made out of a tough, heavy duty steel construction. The material has been properly coated to ensure that it won’t chip away, even when it is exposed to high temperatures. Just like other modern smokers, the Oklahoma Joe features porcelain-coated cooking grates and several air dampers.
- Portable design (comes with a pair of 10-inch wheels).
- Large cooking surface.
- Has a lid-mounted temperature gauge.
- The firebox has an ergonomic access door.
- It features multiple dampers for more efficient heat control.
- This device has no noticeable drawbacks.
5. Char-Broil American Gourmet Charcoal Grill
Image from Amazon.com
This unit from Char-Broil is another offset charcoal smoker that you should try. I must confess that this device is not as good as Oklahoma Joe’s offset smoker, but that is fully understandable, as it is an entry-level offset smoker. Don’t worry about this, however, as it doesn’t suck. In fact, it may surprise you.
There are three versions of the Char-Broil American Gourmet Charcoal Grill: starter, standard, and deluxe. I am going to highlight the deluxe model unit. You get a 3-in-1 smoker for a price tag that does not exceed $200, as this device can grill, barbecue, and smoke, depending on your appetite and preferences. Its primary chamber features a 670-square inch cooking surface, and its firebox chamber offers another 355 square inches of cooking surface.
This charcoal smoker is as ergonomic as it gets, and there is a set of chrome-plated handles that have a cool-touch feature. In addition, its built-in dampers can be adjusted to easily control the heat and smoke output. You can also make use of its storage rack by utilizing it as a portable counter for your cooking utensils. Furthermore, the all stainless steel construction makes it an extremely sturdy and durable product.
- The square legs provide improved stability.
- It has a lid-mounted temperature gauge.
- Comes with a storage rack.
- The handles have a cool-touch feature.
- This is the ideal choice for amateur smokers.
- The assembly process is quite tricky.
- Some of the parts are quite flimsy.
Choosing The Best Charcoal Smoker
The aroma of smoked food is totally alluring and the smell of hardwood smoke makes your mouth water. Of course, this is just my opinion, but I am pretty sure that most of you will feel the same.
Smoked products, especially meat, have an authentic taste and appeal, and you just cannot enjoy a weekend trip or party without them. Seductive smoked salmon, venison, and ribs are all great crowd-pleasers, which is why people are so mad keen to get a good smoker.
As I mentioned earlier, charcoal smokers require a bit of tending. They are more cost-efficient than gas and electric smokers as their fuel source is not that expensive. In fact, you can get restaurant-grade lump charcoals for a low price.
Charcoal smokers are ideal for both amateur and professional smokers alike because their functionality means they can be used by anyone. Many of you will be curious as to what you should look for when it comes to choosing the best device for you. Should you go for the high-end brands or set a limit on your budget instead? What features should you be looking for? Well, let’s find out the answers to these questions together!
The price of the smoker is an essential factor as the size of the price tag will determine the type of smoker you can afford. Fortunately, charcoal smokers are cheap. An entry-level unit should only cost about $100, while those devices that have extra features range from $300 to $500. Of course, 3-in-1 units will cost more because of the complexity of their designs.
The price of a smoker determines its usability. Entry-level items are great for beginners and amateurs as they have limited features and functions. Whereas expensive charcoal smokers are designed for people who are familiar with all the ins and outs of smoking.
If you are going to buy the package online, pay attention to the shipping charges and other logistics taxes, as well as the sales tax.
A good charcoal smoker should have excellent temperature control that will prevent you from overcooking or undercooking your food. This way, you will always be in control and fully able to serve up delicious, evenly cooked food that makes you look like a real gourmet.
Your charcoal grill can only control the temperature if it has a thermometer gauge or thermostat. These are basic amenities that any charcoal grill should have, but sadly, a lot of them don’t. Air vents and dampers are also helpful in regulating the device’s internal temperature.
It is worth noting that charcoal smokers with these amenities will qualify for barbecue contests and circuits. So, if you are aiming to join these leagues yourself, you will need to invest in a high-end charcoal smoker. Electric and gas smokers do not qualify for these contests, however, because they are very easy to use, and so the judges cannot gauge the overall skill of the participants.
The construction of the charcoal smoker also calibrates its temperature control. It is important to remember that a unit cannot provide proper heat retention if it is made out of flimsy materials. Ideally, the body of the charcoal smoker should be made from heavy-gauge steel or other materials that provide foolproof, tight insulation.
Seals And Insulation
As previously mentioned, the presence of insulation improves the quality and speed of the smoking process. Smokers that don’t have enough insulation cannot maintain high-temperature settings for long and leakages can happen if there are gaps in the construction. You don’t want the smoke and heat to come out when you are smoking or you will end up having trouble throughout the process.
Therefore, it is necessary that you inspect all the welds, seals, and insulation of the smokers that you are considering buying. The thickness of the material should be assessed too.
Durability And Ruggedness
It is necessary for a charcoal smoker to be both durable and rugged. If the material used in the smoker’s construction is thick and sturdy, you can expect it to both generate and disperse heat optimally. You should get a thick smoker, especially if you live in cold regions. A thin charcoal smoker will generate heat even during cold conditions, but they can’t hold these high temperatures for too long.
The thickness of the charcoal smoker also improves its durability because thick materials do not warp easily when they are exposed to high temperatures. For this reason, you don’t want to end up with a flimsy unit.
Make sure that you never forget to check the welds of a smoker. After all, you don’t want the smoker to have any sharp edges that could cause unwanted cuts and bruises. Inspect the legs and base too. Are they sturdy and stable enough to support the entire device on different platforms? How about the paint? Can it protect the entire smoker from rust and corrosion? Always include these considerations on your checklist.
Apart from the factors that I have listed, don’t forget that you must also have a warranty. This is essential as it will cover you for future damage, as well as issues that may come up. A good, comprehensive warranty reflects the reputation of the manufacturer.
The Smoking Hot Conclusion
A charcoal smoker is a great amenity for any household. It enables anyone to create deliciously smoked delicacies whenever and wherever they want to. For those who love the taste of smoked ribs, chicken quarters, or any meat products, a charcoal smoker is a necessary investment.
All of the smokers that I have featured here can deliver the output that you desire. Various users have lauded them because of their high quality and performance. You can relish an authentic smoking experience if you try the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker. This particular smoker has a durable and excellent construction, excellent temperature control and great temperature retention. Because of all these benefits, which I’ve highlighted in the review, I consider it to be the best charcoal smoker.
But how about you? What are your thoughts on this? Do you know any other charcoal smokers that perform better than the ones I have featured here? Feel free to share your answers in the comments section below!