What’s a Charcoal Smoker Grill?

Print anything with Printful

The debate over the definition of barbecue continues between smoking food over wood or grilling over charcoal. A charcoal grill combo smoker is a compromise between the two methods, allowing for grilling and smoking. The “bullet” design is the least expensive type of charcoal smoker grill, while the offset hearth and horizontal cooking chamber is more expensive but doubles as a grill. Prices range from $30 to over $20,000.

There’s a long-running battle among outdoor cooking enthusiasts over the definition of barbecue. Each side claims that its way of preparation, either smoking food over wood or grilling over charcoal, is the correct method. In fact, grilling and smoking are as different as baking and broiling. The main difference between the two is that, when grilled, the food is cooked over direct heat. With smoke, the heat source is indirect.

To clarify or confuse the issue, many people buy a charcoal grill combo smoker. This device comes in many shapes and styles and allows the backyard chef to grill his steaks, ribs, chicken, fish and vegetables in any way he sees fit. Consider the charcoal smoking grill a compromise between warring tribes and the barbecue version of the Treaty of Versailles. It is the perfect machine for grilling and smoking.

The least expensive type of charcoal smoker grill — starting at around $30 United States Dollars (USD) — is often referred to as the “bullet” design. The body is a metal cylinder and a rounded dome at the top. Generally, inside the cylindrical body, there are grill grates at the top, in the middle and near the bottom. Also included are several metal pans. These pans can serve a variety of uses.

If grilling is desired, a skillet is filled with charcoal and placed on the center grate. The food to be cooked is always on the top rack. The charcoal ignites, burns to red-hot ash, and broiling begins. All one has to do is turn the food over on a few occasions and make sure that the fat does not drip onto the charcoal and ignite.

To use the bullet style of a charcoal smoker grill as a smoker, a grate filled with wood or wood chips is placed on the bottom grate. The wood is burned white-hot and a pot of water is placed on the middle grate. The pan prevents heat from reaching the food on the top rack directly. As a side benefit, the food takes on a little of the flavor of whatever type of wood is being burned. The cooking time when smoking with a charcoal smoker grill is long, while the cooking time is relatively fast when grilling.

The other predominant type of charcoal smoker grill features an offset hearth and a horizontal cooking chamber. The firing process is the same as the bullet version, but the layout is slightly different. For smoking, wood is loaded into the offset firebox, which is located at one end and slightly lower than the main cylinder. The wood is burned and the heat and smoke enter the main cylinder through a bore or hole. Raw food, placed on a cooking rack that runs the length of the horizontal chamber, cooks slowly at a temperature of approximately 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107 degrees Celsius).

This machine also doubles as a grill. The coal is placed in the lower part of the cylinder itself, set on fire and left to burn. The food is then placed on the horizontal rack. This type of charcoal smoker grill is a bit more expensive than the bullet model. Prices usually start around $100 USD, but larger versions — costing up to $20,000 USD and more — are available for commercial use.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content