Improve the Taste of Smoked Meat with the Best Charcoal Smoker 2023

January 9, 2023

Cooking with the best charcoal smoker has always been a joy for meat-loving people around the world. They brag about it, love to share the epic stories about it, and even those stories are often mouthwatering, isn’t it? However, you got to have the best charcoal smoker with you to feel the same levels of joy; otherwise, it would be a painstaking task as it must furnish you with constant and consistent temperature throughout the process. This is the exact reason why we tested out a couple of products to see what performs best, and we are optimistic that these choices will provide sufficient data to help you choose the best charcoal smoker.

A charcoal smoker is a specifically designed equipment that generates smoke by burning the charcoal and provide low and indirect heat over a long time to smoke meat.

Our Recommendation

After testing several products in the market, we choose the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill & Smoker [The Best Charcoal Smoker Grill Combo] as the best charcoal smoker 2023. 

Masterbuilt is an industry leader, and we skimmed through a couple of Masterbuilt charcoal smoker reviews before choosing this product for testing. It’s an awesome masterpiece, and we noticed top-notch performances at the testing. When you talk about the best rated smokers, we expect certain characteristics from the machines, like grilling quality, the convenience of assembling, construction, easy cleaning, and few other extra features.

We found all these elements at the expected levels. And at the end, picking this product as the best charcoal smoker was relatively easy. We will dig deep and clarify all the above aspects in a minute. 

Factors To Consider For The Best Charcoal Smoker And How We Picked It

 As we elaborated briefly, you don’t type charcoal smokers for sale and pick one there, and neither did we. It would be best if you were well-resourced with the knowledge to own the best meat smoker. Following were the points we thought about, and it would be great if you follow our steps.

  • Capacity

First and foremost, you must have a clear idea about how many heads you are expecting to serve at a time. If you have a big family or a large number of friends to serve, the first thing you have to consider is the smoking capacity.

  • Portability

According to our book, we don’t want to cook every day at the same boring place. If you are in the same boat, look for the best portable smoker as much as possible. If your choice of smoker has wheels, for that matter, you are a winner.

  • Construction

Heavy-duty made smokers tend to last long compared to the light-duty ones, and the outer coat is also a crucial factor that requires your keen attention as you don’t want to own a rustic smoker over time.

  • Temperature Control

You know, it’s not the most straightforward thing to deal with the temperature on charcoal smokers as they don’t carry an automated temperature controlling system. Therefore, you should eye one with the right temperature control panel for precise and better quality results.

  • Cleaning And Maintenance

Cleaning and maintenance must be comfortable with your charcoal smoker, and you must pay adequate attention to it as well. The machines do reveal the cleaning procedures, so read them well before you purchase, as messy products will lead you to a nightmarish smoking experience.

  • Budget

This factor is totally up to you. However, you will have to be more careful about the copycat products that would look the same as the original but comes with a relatively lower price. Yes, obviously, you don’t want to rob a bank for a smoker or gas grill, and at the same time, you would want to own the best smoker for the money as well.

best charcoal smoker 2021 for any kind of bbq and Vegetable grilling and smoking

How We Tested It? 

We were on the hunt for the best smoker grills for more than two months to come up with the best charcoal smoker 2023 for you. Over the course, we have gone through five reputed smokers, and all the factors mentioned above were considered in the first place. Then, we wanted to try out various types of meat and recipes to see the differences in taste, flavor, cooking time, and other factors.

First, we’ve scrolled through the internet and asked experts about how to use a charcoal smoker because, for optimum results, we had to acquire appropriate knowledge on the subject. Even we had a brief study about how to smoke ribs on a charcoal smoker, all in all, we went for the knowledge and had some discussions with the pitmasters to identify what are the essentials we should look for while testing.  

We tried recipes with different temperature levels and times and even monitored how fast the smokers reached the expected heat. Also, we went with skin side down, some recipes with the lid open, applied several BBQ sauces on them, different edible parts of meat (we tested chicken wings, thighs, breast, drumsticks, and in whole). Another element we monitored was that what the temperature levels of the smokers are at the time we receive the final product.

Even we thought it’s necessary to check on the accessories’ feasibility while you cook and the accuracy of the control settings. Finally, we have tasted the recipes, and there were noticeable differences from one smoker to another. We found no smoker with awful taste or anything such as all these units were good at different aspects, and that’s why we are recommending these products as best smokers 2022.  

With that being said, let’s talk about product specifications and all other essential features we noticed on these smokers.

What Is The Best Charcoal Smoker 2023?

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560Weber Smokey MountainChar-Griller Akorn Kamado
MaterialStainless Steel, MetalSteelMetal
Weight146.98 Pounds39.1 Pounds90 Pounds
Dimensions LxWxH24.65 x 54.13 x 51.97 inches21 x 19 x 41 inches26.6 x 24.8 x 21.65 inches
Cooking Space560 square inches480 square inches314 square inches
Avg Price per Sq in$ 1.15$ 1.46$ 0.93

Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill And Smoker

Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill And Smoker is the best charcoal smoker 2021
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Easily the best charcoal grill and smoker combo we came across. Meat-loving people do like to prepare their food with indirect heat like smoking, and at the same time, some might like to enjoy grilled stuff with direct heat; we love them both.

Over the past, smoker machine manufacturers searched for a solution for this matter and came up with some of the best offset charcoal smokers attached to the barrel-style grills. However, it wasn’t the ideal solution. The combination found wanting in different aspects such as grill compatibility and heat controlling issues; but, there are no such problems associated with this machine. 

We are well-equipped with many supporting factors to justify that Masterbuilt MB20040220 is the best charcoal grill with a smoker. You can use charcoal briquettes, lump, or wood as the fuel.

It also consists of a gravity feeding system with a dig fan connected to the digital controller to control internal temperature.

This says you can play with temperatures as low as 150F to even up to 700F creating direct flames to the coated grill grates. Not only that, we have monitored the temperature via the dedicated app, which you can connect to the machine using either Bluetooth or WiFi

Masterbuilt MB20040220 is the best grill smoker in various elements; let’s see what they are.

  • Performance

One crucial thing we observed was that this smoker reaches up to 225F in seven minutes, and it takes no more than 13 minutes to heat up to 700F, which was amazing. As we mentioned, you can use a chunk of wood alongside charcoal for enhanced performance, but you can’t use only wood for the flames. No, it’s not designed to run entirely with wood, and yes, if you want your cuisine to be a little aromatic, you can use wood types like hickory or apple wood to the ash pan.

This will blend the smoke into the meat without flames, and with Digi fan, you can maintain a consistent heat throughout the process. We think it’s a no brainer explaining the importance of finding the best charcoal briquettes and best charcoal for smoking. 

  • Grills

Grills are porcelain coated and cover 560 square inches in which we have cooked six whole chickens; as per the manufacturers, they say that this space is enough for eight whole chickens. .

If you are searching for the best home smoker, this would absolutely fit your requirements

  • Construction

As said, it seems that Masterbuilt was competing against heavy-duty offset charcoal units, so they left no space for the complaints and built this unit with high-quality materials. When talking about mobility, it weighs around 147 pounds, so we had to deploy a couple of members to move this unit, but, believe us, it wasn’t that difficult. The assembly also wasn’t a bothersome work as they offer easy to understand manual with the product; also, the internet is full of guide videos on assembling. 

  • Other features

We loved the mobile app, and you have digital controllers on the machine as well. The built-in digital fan, temperature gauge, and meat probe thermometer are few other contemporary features that made work easy for us. You will also receive a one-year warranty with the product, which can be a great cushion, especially on the grill.

  • Cleaning

There were no pitmasters with us, so we thought cleaning would be difficult, but it was wrong. The ash pan made sure that it collects all the used embers without much of a mess, and the greased pan was so convenient to take out of the machine and required little to no effort to clean. Also, the porcelain coated grills had no stuck meat on them; all in all, the cleaning process was super easy. 

  • Our Final Verdict on Masterbuilt MB20040220

Masterbuilt gravity series 560 digital charcoal grill & smoker seems to be the future of smokers, and we again say that it’s the best charcoal grill smoker combo in the market. The results we received were impeccable, and the only minor downside we noticed was that it doesn’t have a water pan to generate steam but, we hardly needed that given the taste and flavors we relished. 

Features of the Charcoal Smoker
  • Material: Stainless Steel, Metal
  • Weight: 146.98 Pounds
  • Reaches 225°F in 7 minutes or 700°F in 13 minutes
  • Built-in temperature gauge and thermometer
  • WIFI, Bluetooth Capability
9.4Expert Score
All Time Best Charcoal Smoker

  • Vast temperature range (150F to 700F)
  • Smoker and grill combo
  • Rapid heating
  • Digital controllers
  • Dedicated phone app
  • One year warranty
  • No water pan

Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker, Black

Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker, Black , best gas charcoal smoker grill combo
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If you are looking for the best type of smoker for beginners, this Weber charcoal grill with smoker got you covered. It doesn’t necessarily suggest that this doesn’t suit the pit masters, as this unit is capable enough to deliver high-quality outputs as you get with other high-valued machines.

The superior construction quality of Smokey Mountain keeps this product ahead of the best budget smokers, and one of the main aspects we focused on this product was its affordability. 

It held steady temperature levels for us throughout the testing, and we observed that the smoker consists of three main fragments. You will see the charcoal ring at the lower portion of the machine, where you insert fuels such as charcoal or wood.

Also, there are three vents for you to control the airflow. The middle part has the water pan and two cooking grates; also, you can see a door there to add more charcoal or wood. At the top, there is the lid and the thermometer. 

It was effortless to use. We cooked a part of a pork loin in it, and we were curious to see whether the temperature is fluctuating or not. It stayed at the point we wanted, and almost it’s a “fix and forget” type of a smoker.

Yes, it somewhat looks small and compact in structure, but it covers about 480 square inches of cooking space. So, you don’t have to get worried about the number of people you need to cater to at a time. 

Another eye-catching and useful feature was the metal legs it has; it sits upright almost anywhere we wanted, and the plated steel grates prevented any annoying glued meat. The total unit weighs about 40 pounds making it a super-portable product.

The only worry we had over this Weber charcoal smoker was the cheap-looking aluminum door; other than that, it was a great and efficient unit.

Features of the Charcoal Smoker
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 39.1 Pounds
  • Made of porcelain-enameled steel
  • Includes a water pan and thermometer
  • Rust-resistant metal legs
  • Plated steel cooking grates
9.6Expert Score
Best Rated Charcoal Smoker

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Good cooking capacity
  • Consistent heat distribution
  • The side door looks cheap and bad.

Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker, Black

Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker, Black, best charcoal smoker 2021
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Usually, cheap grills are always troublesome and challenging to cook with; at the same time, you don’t want to pay a smoker a needlessly big amount. In this Char-Griller product, we found the sweet spot which we were running behind.

We got to know that to make this product an affordable one, Char-Griller had gone with insulated 22 gauge steel instead of old heavy-duty ceramic. This makes the unit light-weighted, affordable, and durable as well.

There is a separate warming rack other than the dedicated cooking space for your foods; combining both make over 440 square inches, where we have cooked three chickens and a couple of burgers, with lots of space left to spare. 

Assembling was a cakewalk, and since we have done it to perfection, there were no leakages spotted. The main grate looked solid and sturdy, and there was a removable section right in the middle to put more wood to the coals.

The warming grates seemed not solid as the main one, but it made enough space for us to keep a considerable amount of food; according to the manufacturer, it can hold up to 8 pounds without any issue. 

Another crucial feature we saw is that this Char-Griller product comes with rubber wheels; as we pointed in the factors to consider section, it’s a great addition a smoker can have for mobility. Moreover, the features include a locking lid, easy dump ash pan, and a heat gauge.

Also, there is an adjustable damper on the top of the unit to maintain airflow to the smoker, and you can do the same with the bottom damper. The user manual was quite helpful and descriptive; you can find almost everything and anything in it.

Features of the Charcoal Smoker
  • Material: Metal
  • Weight: 90 Pounds
  • Triple-walled insulation retains heat.
  • Adjustable top and bottom dampers
  • Easy dump ash pan
9.4Expert Score
Best Valued Charcoal Smoker

  • Affordable and worth the money
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Two high-quality grate sections
  • Wheels for easy portability
  • Astonishing finish
  • The lid seems not fit the grill 100% perfectly

Dyna-Glo Signature Series Dgss1382vcs-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill

Dyna-Glo Signature Series Dgss1382vcs-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
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We will start reviewing this Dyna Glo charcoal smoker by saying it’s the best vertical charcoal smoker, and we liked it. When it comes to best charcoal smokers 2023, Dyna-Glo vertical charcoal smoker makes its appearance in many reviews; we are not different because we gained more than 95% of what we anticipated from it. It holds a massive amount of meat in it; we are talking about a whopping 1382 square inches. Yes, it even could have more meat than our top pick!

Honestly, at the first look, we felt like there would be nothing special about the output from this unit, but, ended up having some delicious BBQs; basically, it proved us wrong. There are five removable racks in it, and we tried a whole turkey and a couple of large portions of meat.

It did not matter the rack you place your meat on; the heat distribution is even and precise. Regarding the flavor, we have relished the classic smokehouse taste, and we think the slow cooking process of the machine is the reason for the delicious flavor. 

Access to the food was also not a problem, thanks to its cool-touch spring lid. The temperature gauge features a smoke zone, which is there for you to indicate ideal temperature levels for infusing the perfect amount for smoking flavor. In addition, you can easily pull out the charcoal drawer if you want to add more fuel to the unit without having to open the cooking chamber. 

In terms of body construction, it’s built with heavy-gauge stainless steel and weighs around 124 pounds. So, moving from one place to another can be a daunting task if you happen to do it by yourself; but, in our case, we had a team for the work and only demanded two heads. 

Features of the Charcoal Smoker
  • Material: Steel
  • Weight: 124.3 Pounds
  • Analog Temperature Gauge
  • Removable Offset Charcoal Grate and Ash Pan
  • Cool-Touch Spring Handle
  • Sausage Hooks
9.2Expert Score
Best Large Charcoal Smoker

  • Value for money
  • Massive cooking space
  • Strong and sturdy finish
  • Efficient fuel consumption
  • Five cooking racks
  • The outer body seemed a bit thin

Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36" Vertical Charcoal Smoker is the best charcoal smoker 2021
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This particular Dyna-Glo vertical offset charcoal smoker holds a slightly upper hand compared to the previous product with reference to affordability. It is strange to see that this unit works with charcoal instead of gas or electrical power being a cabinet smoker.

The main advantage we felt is that access to the food items was never a hassle as some smokers require you to remove the whole rack to get your hands on the food; in this unit, you can access all four racks without having to remove them. 

These racks cover 780 square inches of cooking space, which is another advantage we saw in this product. The smoker’s main box comes in a pre-fixed method, which eases the assembling process, and the racks look solid.

Charcoal and ash management is made convenient with a charcoal chamber, charcoal grate, and a removable ash pan. There is a smoke zone indicator similar to the previously mentioned product. 

Another benefit we experienced was that these vertical smokers tend to capture more smoke flavor than horizontal smokers. The taste is a wee bit different, in a good way, though. The smoker’s double door design comes in handy when you access the food and refueling, which also seem to play a big part in retaining maximum heat inside the smoker. 

The big ash pan is more than enough to capture a tremendous amount of ash, and since it is easily removable, we saved more time in cleaning the smoker. Amazingly, this is a light-weighted smoker as it only weighs around 56 pounds; and, the shape of it allows you to store it in a small space. 

Features of the Charcoal Smoker
  • Weight: 56 Pounds
  • Material: Steel
  • 4 Cooking Grates
  • 784 Square Inches of Cooking Space
  • Porcelain Enameled Charcoal Chamber
9Expert Score
Best Functional Charcoal Smoker

  • Plenty of temperatures controlling features
  • Vertical built cabinet smoker
  • Two doors
  • Easy assembling
  • Easy cleaning
  • The lid of the wood box doesn't fit perfectly

Guys, that concludes our five reviews on the best charcoal smoker, and it’s time to answer a couple of frequently asked questions about charcoal smokers. Before that read more about about offset smokers and electric smokers.

Charcoal Vs Coal, What Is Best For Smokers? 

We will put it in this way, coals might not be the most suitable fuel for smokers, but you hardly notice any difference in the flavor. On the other hand, charcoal does take a little more time to get going, but the heat is consistent and long-lasting. And, if you don’t know, coal is earth-made, and charcoal is human-made. 

You Might Think To Use Pallets In Your Smoker! Read How To Use Pallets In A Charcoal Smoker!

What Is The Best Charcoal For Smokers?

We would recommend briquettes are more suitable for your charcoal smoker, but the efficiency levels can get enhanced if you buy the cleanest version of them. They are a brilliant fuel source to keep a steady temperature level throughout long hours and stay away from the cheap brands as they usually add coal to the briquettes, which sometimes can blend awful taste to the food. 

Are Gas Charcoal Smoker Combination Grills Good or Bad?

Yes, it’s another great option you can consider. We will provide both pros and cons for your supervision. 

Pros of The Best Gas Charcoal Smoker Grill Combo

  • One package flavor from both gas and charcoal
  • No need to buy separate smokers
  • No room needed for two smokers
  • You have two alternate fueling options
  • Less cleaning hassle when using gas

Cons of The Best Gas Charcoal Smoker Grill Combo

  • As a rule, they are expensive
  • The size of the unit can be massive
  • Typically comes with smaller cooking space
  • Gas taste can be different from the authentic charcoal taste
  • Since it gets powered with two fuels, the quality of the product can be poor

Wrapping up..

So, we think now you have decided on what’s the best charcoal smoker, and now you have five outstanding options at your disposal. You don’t buy smokers every day, so do it with knowledge, and this article contains all details you need to reach the best smoker 2023. If you need further clarifications on the products we elaborated on, please let us know. We are always there for you. Cheers!

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