Seared steaks and smoked briskets are two prime staples of all summer cookouts. However, it’s impossible to achieve that smoky flavor by grilling your meat and you can’t get a grilled flavor by smoking your burgers and hot dogs either. What’s the solution? Grill smoker combos!
A grill smoker combo is an all-in-one device that can handle both searing and smoking under the same roof. Unfortunately, these devices can put a serious dent in your pocket, so finding the one that suits your needs and budget can be quite tough.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Grill Smoker Combo
To ensure getting the best bang for your buck, there are a few factors that you need to consider before buying a grill smoker combo.
Which Fuel Source Do You Prefer?
The fuel you’re going to use on your grill smoker combo plays a major role when it comes to the flavor of the food. For example, a lot of people prefer to go with charcoal because it gives food a charred flavor. There are others that opt for pellets or wood chips, which can offer a wide variety of flavors depending on the type of pellets, from touches of oak and hickory to cherry and apple.
Do You Need Temperature Regulation?
Smoking your food isn’t really an easy task because consistent heat temperature is required. It’s important to think about this because some heat sources like charcoal are very hard to regulate, and so your need for temperature regulation can affect your choice of fuel source.
There are plenty of smoker grill combos that feature regulating dials, but those tend to have a bit of a steep price tag. If you’re unable to buy such a model, you may require a digital thermometer to probe the food. If you plan on smoking a lot, a model that features a temperature gauge is the way to go.
How Much Space Do You Require?
Smoker grill combos tend to have separate places for each method of cooking. Regardless, you have to estimate how often the unit is going to be used and how much food needs to be served. Consider the size that works best for the average number of people that you usually host.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind when deciding on the size of a unit is how compact and portable it’s going to be. Generally, models that provide more grilling space tend to be bulky and heavy, which means that you’ll need more storage room for them. Keep in mind that a large unit will be hard to move around, so you’re likely going to stick to one location for your cookouts.
Can You Easily Clean the Unit?
Cleaning a grill or a smoker individually is already hard, imagine trying to clean a device that has both features under the same roof. While previous factors are all based on personal preference, this one is simply imperative to look for in a grill smoker combination.
Being able to clean these devices with ease depends on a couple of things: the type of cleaning accessories that come with the unit and the material of the cooking surface. You won’t need that many accessories if you have a high-quality, non-stick cooking surface anyway.
However, if the grill you want doesn’t feature a non-stick surface, you can grill with an aluminum foil, which will help keep the top clean. Also, if the unit doesn’t come with a grill brush, you have to buy one in order to scrub the sticky surface. Grill brushes are very affordable and convenient tools to clean your unit.
Does the Unit Come with a Warranty?
You’d think that all smoker grill combinations are accompanied by a warranty, but the harsh truth is that only the best units on the market come with warranties. These warranties tend to be for a limited amount of time, for the most part at least. However, you can still find warranties that offer lifetime coverage. Ideally, you want to stay away from models that don’t come with a warranty.
Which Accessories Do You Need?
There are a bunch of accessories that are usually looked for in a grill smoker combo. Those will help make the process of grilling and smoking your food a lot easier. Keep in mind that it’s not at all necessary to have these accessories, but we’re trying to get the best bang for the buck here.
The very first accessory that you need to look for is wheels. Having wheels on your grill smoker combo will make it a lot more portable, making it easier for you to take it to a tailgate party or so. Not only that, but it also makes the unit much easier to store. You’ll find that smaller to mid-sized units tend to have a two-wheel design, while larger models are mounted on four wheels.
Other accessories to look for are interior racks and exterior shelves. Interior, movable racks can help you cook larger cuts of meat with ease and will add more versatility to the unit. On the other hand, exterior shelves will provide more space for you to place the food and cooking utensils. Of course, if your budget is a little tight for such accessories, a table will do.
Lastly, you want to look for a grill smoker combo that features a cover. These devices tend to be stored outdoors, for the most part, so a cover will help prevent any damage that can be resulted by harsh weather conditions. While this is considered an accessory to your grill smoker combo, we consider it of utmost importance because it helps prolong the life of your device.
5 Best Grill Smoker Combos on the Market
If you’ve spent some time searching for the perfect grill smoker combo, you’ve probably noticed how the market has an endless deluge of offerings, which makes the process of picking out that perfect grill quite frustrating. To narrow down your focus, here are 5 of the best grill smoker units on the market today.
The Big Easy from Char-Boil is one of the most popular gas smoker grill combos on the market. The SRG stands for Smoker, Roaster, and Grill, so this is really a 3-in-1 unit. It features a unique cooking grill that’s coated with porcelain with a zig-zag cross-section which helps it radiate heat evenly across the entire grill surface.
The cooking results with this unit is simply impressive. For additional flavor, you can woodchips into the smoker to get that smoked aroma infused into the food. We love how the flames never come in contact with the food so that it doesn’t burn it. We also love that it features single heat control that ranges from slow-roast temperatures to searing heat.
The Char-Boil Big Easy comes with a meat thermometer that allows you to know when the food is cooked properly. However, you can’t mount this thermometer on the inside of the lid, you need to stick it into the meat. Admittedly, the unit is pretty heavy and bulky, making it really hard to for one person to move it around. Not the prettiest unit around, but arguably the most versatile.
- Can smoke, roast, and grill the food
- Even heat and very consistent cooking
- Features a single heat control function
- Reasonably priced compared to others
- Pretty heavy and bulky construction
- The grill capacity isn’t that impressive
This charcoal-fueled grill from Pit Boss may look like a normal backyard grill, but with the help of its ceramic construction, this unit boasts superb insulation. The interior of Kamado grills absorbs and maintains the heat consistently throughout the whole cooking process, resulting in flavorus meals that are evenly-cooked. Temperature inconsistencies are non-existent with this unit.
This unit is equipped with a bottom slide vent and a top damper that serve as a means to control the heat for the user. Such means come in handy when you’re trying to smoke some meat. Also, the provides 567 square-inches of cooking space and has two, foldable side shelves which can be used to store all of your cooking utensils and as a place to keep the cooked food.
Weighing at around 180 pounds, the Kamado grill is far from being a lightweight unit. This is due to the heavy-duty hardware it’s equipped with in order to secure its delicate ceramic frame. Now, while this adds a lot of weight to it, it gives it an aesthetically-pleasing, premium finish. And don’t worry about portability and stability as it’s mounted on locking wheels.
- Rust-proof, ceramic construction
- Highly durable bamboo shelves
- Has two layers of cooking space
- Incredible insulating capabilities
- One of the heaviest units out there
- The ceramic frame is a little too fragile
This is a wood-pellet-fueled grill that consists of a main grill, pellet hopper, and side searing box. And even though the unit only weighs around 35 pounds, it’s mounted on a wheeled cart of your convenience. Boasting an electronic panel, you can easily regulate the cooking temperature. It’s also accompanied by a meat temperature probe to double-check the temperature of the food.
You’ll love how easy it is to operate this unit if you’re a beginner chef. It features an auto-ignition function so that you can start cooking right away, in addition to a control dial. Moreover, the unit features a patented ash cleanout system that gets rid of ash with a pull of a lever. We’d strongly this unit for BBQ enthusiasts in love with wood-infused flavors.
- A very commodious cooking surface
- Boasts a wide temperature range
- Extremely easy to use and operate
- The cleanup process is effortless
- A costly investment compared to others
- We would have liked a larger hopper
The Pit Barrel Cooker is one of the coolest looking units on the market today. This unit can also work as an oven with a great ability to disperse the heat throughout the barrel. This may not be the cooker for you because it doesn’t feature heat regulation, as it’s designed to operate at 300 degrees. Regardless, it’s able to cook food in short periods of time.
The great thing about this unit is that due to its simple yet extremely rugged design makes it an extremely low-maintenance device. It really takes care of itself if you regularly clean up after all your cookouts. And despite its hefty exterior, the unit actually weighs a lot less than a lot of other products on this list. If you’re looking to show off, this product has just the right design.
- Very attractive, airtight construction
- Even cooking all around in the barrel
- The barrel capacity is fairly large
- Doesn’t require a lot of tending to
- Doesn’t feature heat regulation
- Reaching in can be challenging
In a nutshell, the Texas Elite 34 from the famed Traeger is an entry-level pellet grill that‘s highly affordable and provides great cooking space. If you’re new to pellet grilling, we’d highly suggest you start with this unit to learn the ropes. It’s super easy to use and we can safely say that it’s a low-maintenance unit. Not to mention how easy it is to clean as well.
The Texas Elite Grill is built with high-quality materials, giving it a rugged body that can handle some serious hits. Additionally, its hefty build allows it to hold up very well in the rain. You can even grill in the winter and the performance won’t be affected that much. If grilling isn’t just an activity you do in the summer and you want to a year around grilling unit, this is your best bet.
- Ideal energy efficiency at 110 volts
- A great choice for beginner chefs
- Operates well in colder conditions
- Highly durable construction
- Some parts feel a little cheap
- Not an easily portable unit
Picking an absolute winner out of the above-mentioned products isn’t very easy since each unit shines in different categories. However, one unit that seems to have everything right going for it and that we feel is the clear winner here is the Pit Barrel Cooker Co.Classic Pit Barrel Cooker.
From the great look and the incredible performance to the lightweight yet super sturdy frame, we can’t think of a better grill smoker combination. What do you think?