Best Grill Smoker Combo For Delicious BBQ Meals (2020)

Best Grill Smoker Combo For Delicious BBQ Meals (2020)

At some point during your journey from grill newbie to grill master, you will have to grapple with the question: Grill or smoker? Our response is: Why not both? Instead of settling for either a grill or a smoker, why not try a grill smoker combo deal?

Grill smoker combos, as their name implies, are dual-purpose machines that can be used for grilling tough meats like burgers and steak and can be switched into smoker mode for cooking BBQ and other slow-cooked meats. Grill smoker combos tend to be large and have extremely variable temperature settings that can range from a low 70 degrees F for smoking up to a hot 450 degrees F for grilling. Grill smoker combos can be either traditional offset smokers or more modern vertical smokers.

There are a lot of grill smoker combos out there which obviously will make your decision difficult. We went through the web and, for your viewing pleasure, put together this list of the best grill smoker combos available now. These grill smoker combo units have been picked based on their versatility, ease of use, and general cooking quality. Ok, now that our boilerplate intro spiel is over, let’s get to the good stuff.

10 Best Grill Smoker Combos Perfect for Every Occasion

1. Traeger Texas Elite Grill & Smoker

Traeger Texas Elite Grill & Smoker

Starting off our list strong is this beautiful Elite Grill & Smoker combo from Traeger Texas. One thing we really like about the Traeger is its sheer style. The Traeger just looks like what an offset smoker should look like; big, made from metal, rustic, and with lots of charm. The large barrel cook unit has over 600 sq. in. of cook space that can fit up to 8 chickens or 30 burgers, perfect for even the largest cookout.

Unlike many traditional barrel-style smokers, the Traeger has a handy electric starter switch that makes lighting wood pellets easy. It can reach a maximum temperature of 450 degrees F and since you can add wood chips, you can get that classic smoked wood flavor that BBQ enthusiasts love. This max temperature is a bit on the lower side, which is a good thing for beginners as they won’t accidentally over grill anything. The cooking surface and grill hood are made from a porcelain coated cold rolled steel which is incredibly durable and long-lasting.

The Traeger is an offset smoker which means the primary heating unit is not located directly underneath the cooking grates but is a separate unit on the side. This means that your food won’t get ash on it from sitting directly over the wood, but it does mean you might have some trouble getting a consistent temperature. This is a common problem with offset smokers in general and is not an indictment of the Traeger. Once you get used to it though, offset smokers are one of the best ways to get that classic BBQ taste.

Since it is a full-size offset smoker, the Traeger is pretty heavy and not the easiest to move. However, it looks great parked right in your backyard and the wheels make it at least manageable to move around. 

What We Liked:

  • Looks amazing, the Traeger perfectly captures the aesthetic of an old-fashioned smoker
  • Digital temperature display
  • Side loaded wood box makes adding fuel easier
  • Cook space is large enough to make food for 8 people
  • Generous 3-year warranty

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Heavy and difficult to move
  • A bit difficult to maintain consistent temperature at first. 

2. Char-Griller Akorn Kamado BBQ Grill

Coming in at second is the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado BBQ grill. The Char-Griller is a Kamado grill meaning that its design is based on traditional Japanese earthen cookware. True to its name, the Akorn kamado looks like a stout acorn and can handle a wide range of temperatures from 200 degrees to 700 degrees F. the Akorn is made from solid steel with a porcelain enamel finish and includes cast iron cooking grates. The cast iron is a great touch as cast iron is the premier material for both grilling and smoking due to its ability to lock in flavor and seasoning over repeated cook sessions.

The Akorn excels at both grilling and smoking. You can operate it on high heat with the lid open for grilling or you can dial down the heat, lock the lid, and walk away while your meat smoke for hours. The porcelain enamel has excellent heat retention which ensures that the charcoal burns slowly and efficiently and a damper on top lets you open up airflow to raise the heat. An extra damper near the bottom gives you even more temperature control.

Another good feature of the Akron is its charcoal loading mechanisms. Unlike many Kamado grills in which you have to remove the entire grate to add charcoal, the Akron has a small circular section right in the middle of the grate you can open to add charcoal. This design choice lets you add charcoal while you are cooking without missing a beat or having to remove things from the grill.

The Akron also comes fixed to a sturdy base with 2 locking caster wheels and retractable side tables for food prep storage. Unfortunately, the grill itself does not have any side handles so you have to rely on the wheels to move it around. 

What We Liked:

  • Compact design is easy to store and transport
  • Double-wall steel construction is durable and retains heat
  • Built-in temperature gauge
  • 2 dampers; one near the top and one near the bottom
  • Removable ashtray for convenient cleaning

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Lid hinge may wear down with time
  • Ashpan can get stuck if not regularly cleaned
  • No handles, you have to move it using the wheels

3. Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker & Grill

Whereas the Traeger is a classic horizontal offset smoker, the Dyna-Glo takes that horizontal barrel design and flips it 90-degrees on its side. This vertical offset smoker works exactly the same as a horizontal offset smoker, except its, you know, vertical and such. Vertical smokers have a few advantages over horizontal smokers, chief among them being it is much easier to evenly heat meats and keep a constant temperature inside the cooking unit. Also, since they are vertically oriented, you can use more of the internal space for cooking which effectively doubles the cooking space surface area.

The entire smoker and side firebox are made from tough stainless steel and include heat resistant cast handles that won’t get hot while in operation. Each of the 6 internal racks is made from chrome=plated steel that is anti-rust and easy to clean with just soap and water. One thing we especially like about the Dyna-Glo is the dual loading charcoal box which opens from either the top of the side. You initially load the charcoal via the top and use the side opening if you need to add any more while cooking.

One drawback of the Dyna Glo is that it is kind of hard to move. Since it is a vertical smoker, it is somewhat top-heavy, which can make balancing it while leaning on the wheels a precarious act. Make sure to grab a friend to help if you need to move this monster around. By the same token, the steel construction makes it pretty heavy, which is to be expected of a smoker its size.

Even though it is designed for smoking, you can still use the Dyna-Glo as a perfectly good grill for normal cook jobs. The grates can be placed over the firebox so you can actually use that alone as a grill without the vertical smoker chamber. 

What We Liked:

  • Looks like a big chimney and that’s pretty cool
  • 6 grates and a vertical smoker barrel give tons of interior space for cooking (1382 sq. in.)
  • Interior hooks let you hang cuts of meat
  • You can use the firebox as a mini grill on its own
  • Easier to maintain consistent heat and smoke volume than horizontal offset grills
  • Built-in temperature gauge
  • Firebox has two openings for loading and adding charcoal while the grill is in operation

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Big and arduous to move around
  • May require some extra sealant around the door hinges and firebox hood
  • A bit tricky to get the firebox started initially

4. Davy Crockett Pellet Grill

Davy Crockett Pellet Grill Tailgating

Named after the great frontiersman himself, the Davy Crockett Pellet Grill from Pellethead is a wonderful portable grill smoker combo. That right, it is a portable grill smoker. Most grill smoker combos are huge pieces of equipment which, while they can be moved around and taken apart, they are not considered “portable” by any means. The Davy Crockett is unique because it brings the amazing versatility of a grill smoker combo and puts it into a package that can fit in your camper trailer or RV. In that sense, we would say the Davy Crockett is the perfect grill smoker combo for camping and tailgate parties.

The Davy Crockett can achieve any temperature between 200 and 550 degrees F and it runs 100% on wood pellets; no charcoal needed. The wood pellets give your meats that classic smoky BBQ flavor that charcoal just can’t emulate. The entire unit weighs less than 60 lbs. and has a 7’ tall lid that provides over 200 sq. in. of cooking space. While it may not be able to feed a big group of 20 people, it is more than robust enough to handle food for up to 8 people at small gatherings. The Davy Crockett also has an integrated grease channel that directs runoff to a removable bucket that can be hosed out when finished.

One final great feature of the Davy Crockett is its smart thermal sensor and control panel the sensor is WiFi compatible so you can use your smartphone as a remote to open and close dampers, turn the grill off, and keep tabs on the current temperature.

Overall, the Davy Crockett is a great portable grill smoker combo that has the performance of a larger unit in a compact package that can be taken on the road. Adding the nice tech features, the Davy Crockett grill is a great purchase for both newbies and experienced grill masters. 

What We Liked:

  • Truly portable
  • Smartphone compatibility makes it easy to start up and turn off
  • 100% wood fired
  • Removable wire rack for food prep storage
  • Grease bucket for trapping runoff
  • Electric autostart mechanism

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not very large
  • Quality is not amazing, but still good for the price point
  • Grease bucket does not work as well as it could
  • Lid and handles can get hot

5. Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill

Up next is the Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill. Weber is a favorite among grilling enthusiasts due to its high quality and simple products. The Weber has the classic kettlebell design that many manufacturers have copied to great success. Even though it is primarily marketed as a grill, the Weber Kettle works perfectly as a smoker and in fact, is one of the easier smokers on our list to use. Rather than dealing with a separate firebox, the coals are directly under the cooking grates which makes it easier to get and maintain a specific temperature.

The Weber is also very easy to set up and use. Just light the coals and you can get straight to cooking; no dealing with confusing vents and airflow holes. This convenient design adds an even more convenient removable ashtray that makes cleanup a cinch. The ceramic bucket and lid are extremely resistant to weathering and discoloration from heating, and the stainless steel grates are removable and easy to clean. Two nylon handles on the side resist heat and won’t get hot during operation. A convenient hook on the lid lets you hang the lid while the grill is in use.

Overall, the Weber is not anything fancy and lacks some of the bells and whistles of other products on our list, but it absolutely nails the fundamentals of a good grill smoker combo. It is affordable, durable, easy to clean, and has a very casual learning curve so its great for beginners trying out their first charcoal grill smoker combo. 

What We Liked:

  • No-nonsense practical design
  • Ceramic bucket and lid are durable and have good heat retention
  • Removable ashtray
  • Nylon handles are comfy to grab and heat resistant
  • Aluminum damper on the top has 4 holes for changing airflow
  • Light and easy to move with the wheels on the bottom

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some may want something a bit more complex
  • Lid has no locking mechanism
  • Bottom shelf is too small to use for most things

6. CampChef Smoke Pro Pellet Grill

At first glance, the CampChef seems overwhelming with all of its add ons and fixtures. Along with the main grill space and an attached firebox, the CampChef Smoke Pro also has a smaller gas powered side grill for searing burgers and other meats. The main cook unit can reach temperatures up to 500 degrees F and the sear box can generate over 25,000 BTU per hour, an extremely powerful grill.

Aside from the extra sear box, the CampChef has a lot of nice features that streamline its operation and make it easy to clean. The smoker has a digital temperature probe and has built-in pellet purge, ash clean-out, and grease management systems. An auto-ignite mechanism makes it easy to fire up and a small knob on the side of the firebox opens it up so it’s easy to add more wood.

Overall, the CampChef Smoke Pro is a wonderful grill smoker combo that comes with some excellent quality of life features. The digital temperature probe is accurate enough and the integrated cleaning systems are easy to manage. We especially like the addition of the sear box, even if it does require a separate gas source to power. 

What We Liked:

  • Large cook surface
  • Comes with a separate sear box ($250 value)
  • Digital temperature display panel also has an electric ignition button
  • Capable of powerful cooking
  • You can use the sear box mount as a table for food prep storage
  • Very sturdy and durable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some might wish they left off the sear box and just given you more cook tip surface area
  • Grease trap mechanism is not amazing, will require some targeted cleaning
  • Sear box requires a separate gas source to run

7. Smoke Hollow 4-In-1 Gas Charcoal Grill Smoker

Smoke Hollow 4-In-1 Gas Charcoal Grill Smoker

The main draw of the Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 Gas Charcoal Grill Smoker is that it can use either gas or charcoal, which opens up some new possibilities for cooking. The Smoke Hollow has 4 distinct parts: a side firebox, main cook chamber, separate warm-up chamber, and a side sear box for searing meats and veggies. The addition of these 4 separate units make the Smoke Hollow very big and heavy, but its versatility is virtually unparalleled. You can smoke BBQ on the main grill and warm up some burgers in the heating tray, all while searing some steaks on the sear box.

The main cooking chamber has three separate burners that are each controlled by an individual knob. You can run the entire unit off of gas or you can open up the firebox and use charcoal is you so desire. The sear box has ceramic plated grill plates which make it uniquely suited to quickly searing meats and both the main cooking chamber and heating chamber have independent temperature gauges that tell you the current heat. We especially like the addition of 2 food prep storage racks underneath the heating unit chamber and a storage chamber for any attached gas canisters.

The Smoke Hollow is probably not a good option for beginners as the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. However, it is a great option for more experienced grillers who want a versatility of cooking options. Unfortunately, neither the firebox or the sear plate can be removed so you can’t create any extra space. However, the two attachments are so useful you’ll probably never find yourself using the Smoke Hollow without them. 

What We Liked:

  • 4-in-1 grill setup offers many cooking options
  • Runs on either gas or charcoal
  • 3 separate burners on the main chamber can be independently controlled
  • Removable charcoal pan for easy cleanup
  • Large cooking space. Can fit up to 20 burgers at once

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Big, heavy, and hard to move
  • Firebox and sear plat attachments cannot be removed

8. PK Grills Original Charcoal Grill & Smoker

Last but certainly not least is the PK Grills Original Charcoal Grill & Smoker. The thing we really like about the PK is the extremely simple design. There are no knobs or hoses to connect and everything can be operated from the main cooking unit. The entire frame is made from a special rust-proof aluminum that is very light and conducts heat up to 4 times more efficiently than other kinds of metals. The capsule-shaped grill can be removed from the cart and be carried around for grilling on the go.

The grill has 300 sq. in. cooking space and the grates are made from the same durable aluminum as the body of the grill. Another great feature of the PK is that it can be taken completely apart and it can fit in most standard-sized dishwashers. You can use either charcoal briquettes or hardwood lump charcoal and the sleek streamlined retro design makes it stand out against other bulky models.

A few problems though: There is no ash clean up tray so you have to remove the grill and dump it out to clean. It is also somewhat small compared to some other grills which might be a problem if you need something that can feed large groups of people. 

What We Liked:

  • Simple, retro, streamlined design
  • Sturdy and lightweight aluminum construction
  • Easy to move and transport
  • Components can fit in most standard dishwashers

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some people may want more features
  • No removable ashtray
  • Does not come with a grill cover for storage outdoors

Conclusions

If you find yourself torn between wanting a smoker or grill, why not remove the conflict and get something that can do both? Grill smoker combos are a wonderful tool to add to your cooking arsenal and let you exercise your creativity and versatility in cooking. So next time you want a fancy new grill, why not try out a grill smoker combo?

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