As we know, the Charcoal smoker is used in BBQ parties for grilling the meat; it gives your food an authentic taste of charcoal. But a beginner encounters a lot of hurdles in smoking meat. For that purpose, we help you choose the best charcoal smoker for beginners.
Before making a purchase, keep in mind that a smoker should be of good quality so that the temperature range can be easily controlled, and there is adequate capacity.
Based on our experience and research, we are providing our readers with the list of the top 10 excellent smokers for beginners. So, this article will also help and guide you in choosing the smoker according to your level of expertise.
10 Best Charcoal Smokers For Beginners
Table of Contents,
1. Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
The Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker has various features that help you achieve an authentic smokehouse flavor at home. It is one of the top-selling charcoal smokers for beginners, manufactured by the international American brand Weber.
The smoker’s body comprises powder-coated stainless steel that offers lifetime durability and keeps all the heat inside the unit. The best feature of this smoker is an ample cooking area of 481 square inches and an 18-inch diameter that can simultaneously accommodate a whole turkey and ham. This way, you can cook a large roast for the entire family in a single session.
The Weber Mountain Cooker also comes with 2 nickel-plated 18-inch wide cooking grates. It includes a water pan, thermometer, individual vents on the bowl and lid, and a heat-resistant nylon handle.
There is also a temperature gauge that helps you to adjust the temperature. The two aluminum dampers in the lid controlled the airflow and temperature. Besides this, the aluminum side fuel door or access door helps to add charcoal, water, and wood pellets without letting the heat out.
Weber is the American brand that manufactured the first kettle grill, and the brand has now expanded its business and produces top-quality gas, electric, and charcoal grills. In this regard, Weber Mountain Charcoal Smoker is a good starting smoker for beginners.
2. Kamado Joe Classic Version 3
Kamado Joe Classic Version is Kamado Joe Brand’s newest innovation, which provides options for grilling, smoking, and baking. The 3-Tier Divide and Conquer Flexible System, a multi-level half-moon design, allows you to cook different foods simultaneously in various styles and temperature ranges.
The Classic version has a diameter of 18 inches and a total cooking area of 245 square inches. The Premium 18-inch ceramic grill has a heavy-duty galvanized steel rolling cart and locking wheels.
It is one of the best charcoal smokers with a new level of ease and efficiency. The Kamado Joe Classic Version 3 provides versatility with various features listed below.
- SLOROLLER – It is a Harvard university design that creates recirculating or rolling waves of heat and smokes heat necessary for consistent meat cooking. It also prevents any hotspots and produces the best flavor of the meat.
- Charcoal Basket- that creates a separate cooking zone for smoking and grilling.
- 3-Tier Divide and Conquer system has a revolutionary multi-level half-moon design that provides versatility in cooking.
- Dojoe- is another best feature that can transform your grill into a pizza oven.
- Joetisserie- is a powerful motor that can spin up to 20 pounds of food for 360 degrees cooking like a microwave.
- Kontrol Tower Top Vent- Another best feature is the Kontrol Tower Top Vent, made of powder-coated cast aluminum that effectively controls the airflow and allows you to smoke between 225F- 750F.
- Air Lift Hinge- the innovative air hinge can reduce the dome weight by 96% and be lifted with one finger.
So, we can say that it is Not Your Average Joe! It is expensive but works brilliantly and produces efficient output. So, it is also regarded as one of the top smokers for beginners. The best reason to buy this smoker is its versatility which allows you to cook, grill, bake, roast, smoke, and save money to purchase additional units.
3. Pit Barrel Cooker Package
Pit Barrel Cooker Package is another best recommendation for beginners because it has a unique design and is very easy to operate compared to other smokers. The hook remover tool is another great feature that keeps you safe from injuries necessary for beginners.
It makes smoking and grilling easy due to its 8 stainless steel hooks used to hook and hang the meat, due to which the meat gets evenly cooked from all sides. The large charcoal basket provides a large quantity of charcoal for longer cooks that are easy to remove and clean.
Pit Barrel Cooker also has an ideal cooking capacity of 30 gallons with an 18.5-inch diameter that gives impressive results with minimal hurdles. The porcelain enamel coating promises its durability and also has an affordable price.
As the name indicates, the Pit Barrel Cooker Package includes 1-30 gallon porcelain-coated steel drum, 2 steel hanging rods, 8 stainless steel hooks, standard grill grates, charcoal basket, 1-3 point barrel stand, and 1 wooden hook remover tool.
The Pit Barrel Cooker Package is ideal for grilling and smoking quickly without needing to regulate temperature or smoke, producing perfectly cooked meat. The Pit Barrel Cooker received Gold Medal Award for its top quality from AmazingRibs.com and declared PBC the “best bargain on a smoker in the world.”
4. Weber Premium Charcoal Grill
Another best product from Weber is their classic 22-inch Kettle Charcoal Grill. The product has versatile features, such as using it as a grill or a smoker by building a 2-zone fire because it is airtight and can be used as an effective indirect heat smoker.
The Weber Premium Charcoal Grill has a good cooking area of 363 square inches, accommodating up to 13 burgers. And the 22-inch size means that we can grill the ribs flat.
One of the most prominent features of the Weber Charcoal Grill is its One-Touch cleaning system that provides hassle-free ash clean-up after a long day of grilling, and the original kettle made by Weber will always be the grill built for everyone.
The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl offer lifetime durability to the product and keep all the heat inside the unit. The hinged grate also provides access to add more coal according to the requirement. The dampers allow you to control the temperature inside the grill.
The Weber Premium Grill Charcoal Package includes top and bottom sections, handles and hardware, an ash catcher, leg, wheels, lower wire brace, and cooking grates. The product’s 3D interactive assembly instructions are available through the free BILT app.
Moreover, this product is the best for beginners because it is highly adjustable and easily controls heat levels with upper and lower vents.
5. Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill
Char-Griller is the best and most affordable Kamado-style BBQ grill and smoker, perfect for high-heat grilling and low and slow cooking. It has a large cooking area of 447 square inches, a 97-pound weight, and a 20-inch diameter that can easily accommodate up to 2 dozen burgers simultaneously. Char-griller is easy to use as it controls the temperature levels with adjustable dual dampers and thermometers.
This versatile grill and smoker can maintain the cooking temperature range from 200-700F because it is built with triple-walled 22 gauge steel. You can also quickly clean it using the removable Easy Dump Ash Pan.
One of the best features of Char-Griller is the top and bottom adjustable dampers that effectively maintain consistent airflow and keep all the heat inside the unit.
Char-Griller is also a fuel-efficient griller and smoker that limits the use of charcoal while cooking. It also offers durability due to the powder-coated exterior and porcelain-coated interior finish.
Char-Griller offers many features that are listed below.
- Solid Steel Construction
- Large Locking Wheels
- Adjustable Top Damper
- Folding Side Shelf
- Bottom Damper and Ash Pan
6. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker is a 180.8 pounds heavyweight contender with a large surface area for cooking. It consists of a total of 900 square inches of cooking area, divided into 619 square inches for the main chamber and 281 square inches for the firebox chamber.
The firebox chamber comprises a sizable stainless steel fuel basket and a clean outdoor area for easy ash removal. The top of the firebox is flat to heat a pot of beans while waiting for the meat to grill.
Oklahoma has four baffles that direct the even heat and smoke and maintain a perfect temperature for even cooking meat. The baffles are also removable and adjustable with an optional smokestack. Oklahoma Reverse Flow Smoker also has porcelain-coated cooking grates and multiple dampers that control heat and smoke.
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker is made of heavy gauge steel and is equipped with a large charcoal basket that ensures durability. It also consists of Cool-touch Handles that protect your hands from heat and injury while cooking. It also features a professional lid-mounted temperature gauge and adjustable dampers that accurately monitor and accurately regulate heat and smoke.
The Convenient front and bottom shelving provide plenty of space for charcoal, wood, and other fuel types. There’s also a convenient door on the side of the firebox called the Swing-Open Firebox Door, allowing you to stroke your fire without opening the chamber lid.
7. Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker
Dyna-Glo Vertical Charcoal Smoker is a pocket-friendly product with good features. It is easy to use and assemble, which is the perfect option for beginners. The smoker comes with 4 height adjustable cooking grates and has a cooking area of 784 square inches, 21-inch diameter, 49-inch height, and 21-inch width. So, the vertical charcoal smoker can easily accommodate different sizes and types of foods.
Moreover, the four grates allow you to smoke various meat, poultry, and fish for a large family. The double-door design of the smoker comprises one door for fire tending and the other for a cooking area. The doors minimize heat loss and keep all the heat inside the chamber. It also helps you to add additional food and fuel safely. This helps in making delicious meat in a minimum time.
Dyna-Glo Vertical Charcoal Smoker also features a charcoal chamber, charcoal grate, and a removable ash pan. The ash pan is designed to handle a large amount of ash and allows a one-step cleaning process.
Vertical Charcoal Smoker also has an influential stainless temperature control gauge with smoke that indicates the ideal temperature. The smoker will be effective and efficient with a bit of modification, such as using gaskets and sealant to prevent leakage.
8. Master-built Charcoal Bullet Smoker
Masterbuilt Charcoal Bullet Smoker is reliable and easy to use for beginners. It has 395.4 square inches of cooking space, two porcelain-coated smoking racks, a charcoal pan, and a water bowl.
The porcelain-coated cooking racks don’t let your food stick. Moreover, the baffles of the smokers effectively maintain heat and smoke inside the unit. The built-in-lid thermometer provides an accurate temperature measurement. The front and center door helps you to add charcoal and other items.
Masterbuilt is a name you can trust because it offers versatile and highly effective charcoal grills and smokers.
9. Char-Broil Offset Smoker, 30
Char-Broil Offset Smoker is the best choice for beginners; offset smokers are not usually on the list of beginners. But the features of these charcoal smokers are good, with impressive results.
Char-Broil Offset Smoker has ample storage space for food and fuels. The cooking area comprises 477 square inches, 54.3 inches wide and 20.7 inches deep, providing ample space for about 2 dozen burgers.
The 3-piece smoking chamber maintains the temperature and reduces the air draft. The top damper adjusts for heat and smoke control. Moreover, the lid-mounted temperature gauge provides an accurate temperature level and monitors the grill’s inside temperature.
Char-Broil Offset Smoker also has an easy clean-up system that consists of porcelain-coated cooking grates and a firebox ash door. The porcelain-coated cooking grates are rust-resistant and easy to clean.
The smoker’s construction is made of sturdy steel that offers durability and reliability with a one-year warranty. Moreover, the mobility of the smoker is easily done through large 8-inch wheels.
Char-Broil has been America’s favorite grill brand since 1948. It provides a wide range of good quality and economical smokers, charcoal grills, and BBQ grills.
10. Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18″ Charcoal Smoker
Cuisinart Charcoal Smoker is ideal for smoking cheese, vegetables, and meat. It is easy to use and portable enough to take everywhere. The smoker comes with 18 solid steel cooking grates that can easily accommodate any food.
The working of Cuisinart Cos Vertical Charcoal Smoker is also easy and simple; you have to light the charcoal, add some wood chunks, fill the water bowl and load fresh food on the two interior racks. You can also control the temperature level and the amount of smoke by simply adjusting the air vents. The smoker is also easy to maintain and clean. It also consists of a porcelain-enameled steel bowl that provides longevity.
The vertical barrel design of the Cuisinart Charcoal Smoker also distributes the heat evenly throughout the cooking chamber, resulting in consistent food cooking.
Cuisinart Charcoal Smoker is 45 inches tall and has 3.54 square feet of cooking space. It also includes two steel wire racks stacked inside the smoking chamber, which provides enough room to smoke fish, meats, vegetables, or even a whole chicken.
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Buying Guide For Best Charcoal Smoker For Beginners
After having a detailed review of the best charcoal smokers for beginners, we move towards the buyer guide that helps you know; what types of smokers are best for beginners.
So, here are some features that you should consider when buying a charcoal smoker, as they will also help you understand an essential question, i.e., what type of smoker should I buy?
Before buying a charcoal smoker, you must consider your needs, i.e., the amount of food you want to cook. The offset or large cabinet smokers handle the crowds if you have to serve big parties.
The cooking capacity is an essential consideration before purchasing a charcoal smoker. A smoker’s average cooking area size is between 300-400 square inches. And this size is ideal for cooking food for a small-medium family or small parties.
However, vertical and offset smokers have ample cooking capacity. You can also figure out the number of burgers and patties a smoker can easily accommodate to measure the cooking capacity more precisely.
Temperature measurement and a built-in thermometer are other crucial features that should be included in charcoal smokers. So, grab the smoker having the best temperature management controls.
Always buy smokers from popular brands or have heard from friends or family about their quality and performance. However, a beginner should not compromise on the quality of the product because “inexpensive or cheap quality smokers” means the leakage of smoke and heat, resulting in poorly smoked meat.
Moreover, low-quality smokers will have a thin sheet, poor temperature control, and no insulation. So, in this regard, always buy a smoker with thick walls, tight seams, vents, and well-insulated.
A customer should know about the type of smoker designs before making a purchase. There are two ways to build a smoker, i.e., vertically or horizontally.
In vertical smokers, heat and smoke go from top to bottom in a straight line, just like a big chimney. It also takes up less space and comes in various kamado styles, water/bullet styles, and vertical cabinet smokers. The horizontal charcoal smokers are great for cooking large quantities of food because of the ample cooking area.
Dedicated Smoker or Combo Grills
Combo grills can be used as a grill or a smoker, saving you money from buying an extra grill. The combo grills are useful as they allow you to grill meat or cook food items at high temperatures, such as pizza. Though combo grills are expensive, they have various features.
Portability is another important factor to consider before making a purchase. Large grills or smokers that are primarily vertical in design are not meant for portability. However, the personally used smokers are lightweight and have portable wheels that let you take them camping, tailgating, and traveling.
Future-proofing is necessary because it will save you from impulse purchasing, and you may regret it. For that purpose, always consider your requirements and needs.
For example, if you want to cook multiple and various food items such as pizza or ribs, you should go for a smoker with ample cooking area, enough racks, and probe ports. Likewise, an offset model is best for cold-smoking a lot of fish and cheese.
If you are required to grill meat for a few people, you should buy a kettle grill or bullet-type smoker. These smokers are best for low and moderate usage. Moreover, vertical smokers are the best option if you need a smoker with a large cooking capacity.
The working of the charcoal smoker is easy and simple. Firstly, prepare fuel; for this, you have to light the charcoal and add some wood chunks. Next, fill the water bowl with three-quarters of cold water and load fresh food on the two interior racks. Add wood chunks and let the meat cook slowly and long.
Oxygen in the air helps to control the temperature of the smoker. The more air that gets into the grill, the hotter it will become, and reducing the amount of air will lower the temperature. You can do this by adjusting the air dampers, which will help you increase or decrease the temperature. For this purpose, you will find a vent near the base of your charcoal smoker; if you open the vent, coals will burn hotter.
Cleaning the grill grates is important for the best results. You can scrape the grates with a scraper or a wire brush. Deep cleaning of a smoker is necessary at least once a year; check out the inside of its cooking chamber and wipe off the thermometer probe using a damp soapy sponge.
The ideal or optimum temperature is 225°F to 250°F. Moreover, some high-quality smokers have built-in thermometers that will control the temperature range. If your smoker does not have a built-in thermometer, you can also place a thermometer just a few inches away from the grate to measure the accurate cooking temperature.
A newbie in this field of smoking and grilling meat must know the usage of a charcoal smoker. And for that purpose, we have jotted down the best and most reliable charcoal smokers for beginners with pros and cons. So you can pick the best one according to your needs and expertise. After having in-depth research and personal experience, we recommend the following top three charcoal smokers that are efficient in their qualities and performance.