Smoker vs Grill
I love both backyard grilling and smoking but is one better than the other? In my opinion, it all comes down to what you are trying to achieve with your cooking and how you are feeling on a certain day.
Who hasn’t woken up to a nice hot day perfect for firing up the grill and you have a spur of the moment cook out with your family. Sometimes you just want to throw some sausages on the grill and get on with it.
Smoking is more of a labor of love and this slow process means that whatever you are cooking not only gets infused with delicious smoky flavors but produces tender succulent meat.
I am an outdoor cooking fanatic and have separate grills and smokers but there are plenty of great options for combination grill and smokers and that’s what we are going to check out in this article.
We have researched the top rated smoker grill combo’s available in 2016.
Join us in our discovery of the Best Smoker Grill Combos available on the market today.
We have ordered them by cost from the lowest priced Smoker grill to the top of the range model.
- 1 Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker [Lowest Price]
- 2 Char-Broil Offset BBQ Smoker Video
- 3 Masterbuilt M7P 7-in-1 Smoker and Grill
- 4 Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker, Roaster & Grill
- 5 Cooking on the Big Easy Video
- 6 Pit Barrel Cooker [Top Rated Grill/Smoker Combo – Our Number One Pick]
- 7 Video Overview of the Pit Barrel Smoker
- 8 Traeger Pellet Grills BBQ155.01
- 9 Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal Gas Smoker Combo
- 10 Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQ [Great Price!]
- 11 Camp Chef Pellet Smoker Overview Video
- 12 Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 PS9900 [LP Gas or Charcoal, Smoke Grill and Sear]
- 13 Pit Boss Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker [Half the price of a Green Egg]
- 14 REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill [Top Quality Grill/Smoker but at a price]
- 15 World Class Ribs with a Rec Tec Grill Video
- 16 Our Final Verdict on the Top Rated Grill Smoker Combo’s
Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker [Lowest Price]
This is an entry level charcoal smoker that doubles up as a grill, it is the cheapest option that we are reviewing here. If you pay this sort of money for a grill/smoker then you need to moderate your expectations. Don’t expect the same quality as a higher priced model.
Both the BBQ grill which can serve a family of 4 and the smoker work adequately and would suit the occasional backyard cook fine and would be a good starter for a beginner to get their feet wet.
Reviewers have mentioned it is smaller than it looks in the pictures online so don’t be disappointed if it is not as large as envisaged.
Some users have complained of rusting, when not in use we recommend that you use a cover for it and store it away in a garage or shed, don’t just leave it out in your backyard or patio.
Some modifications should improve the cooking experience such as replacing the built-in thermometer in the lid with a couple of BBQ thermometers level with the grate. Also, once you have done your first cook check where heat and smoke is escaping and use some high-temperature gasket seal to solve this issue.
If you are looking to start small and see if you enjoy backyard cooking then this could be a good match. It does the job but it is small and isn’t a particularly quality built product so longevity might be in question. Ideally, we would recommend spending more and getting something a little more special if you are able.
Char-Broil Offset BBQ Smoker Video
Masterbuilt M7P 7-in-1 Smoker and Grill
Number two on our list in order of price is this multipurpose backyard cooking system from Masterbuilt.
This one can be fueled by either propane or charcoal, both have their pros and cons but at least now you have the option of using either fuel source. Propane is more set and forget while charcoal lets you experiment more and produces more flavor.
The Product requires a little assembly and comes with clear instructions. It is light enough to be transportable which makes it not just great for backyard cookouts but for camping trips and tailgating as well.
As well as its smoking and grilling options it also roast, steams or boils food. This opens a whole world of recipes you can try out; you’ll never get bored with experimenting on the 7-in-1! Online reviews of the Masterbuilt M7P have mentioned cooking a wide variety of food items. For instance boiling a large pot of crabs, smoked turkey, deep fried a catfish, made shredded beef and pulled pork and even grilled a pizza.
Once again this isn’t the perfect backyard cooking solution and it needs a couple of easy modifications if you want it at its best…..
Typically most of the low to mid-price smokers and grills that come with built-in thermometers aren’t that great and the Masterbuilt is no exception. So we would suggest buying a digital oven thermometer for accurate temperature readings.
We noticed there were a lot of issues with the flame going out in even slight winds with the propane burner. Most users worked around this by constructing some sort of wind shield.
What we did notice was that lots of previous users had commented that they were so impressed with the use that they got from their previous Masterbuilt 7 in 1 that they were going to invest in a replacement one. One reviewer said that his had lasted 14 years though he suggested buying a cover for it. Another guy had two of these ones at home and one at his cabin and he was replacing one after ten years of use.
We would suggest buying a thermometer, a cover and setting up some sort of wind shield if you are using propane when there is a bit of a breeze. Once these minor modifications are in place you should have a fantastic cooking experience.
The Masterbuilt 7-in-1 does have a lot of common with our next model; you might want to compare the two before deciding on your choice.
Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker, Roaster & Grill
Here’s another one from Char-Broil with a completely different style and this one not only smokes and grills but roasts as well!
The Big Easy runs on propane gas and there is a more expensive electric version as well, we prefer the propane version for its portability and of course the lower price! It uses an infrared process so there is no direct heat this technology also means that you don’t get flare ups.
While this is an extremely versatile backyard cooking appliance it really comes into its own when cooking turkeys, we’re talking speedy and succulent here; it will cook a 20-pound turkey in around 3 hours.
It has a lot of really positive online reviews with users mentioning great ‘set and forget’ results and loving its versatility. The only real negatives mentioned were that the surface area for grilling food was fairly small and that describing it as a smoker was a bit misleading as in reality it just adds a great smoky flavor to whatever your cooking, which is fine for most people.
Other positive feedback was that it was fairly healthy as you are not frying your food in oil also that there are a number of recipes with step by step instructions on YouTube that you can easily replicate.
All in all, this is one of our top picks for a small grill and smoker with the added bonus of being able to roast as well. For family cookouts, this is absolutely perfect with reviewers describing it as ‘The best grill I have ever owned’ and saying they ‘can smoke a whole chicken in 1 hour’
If you aren’t catering to large groups and if you aren’t an old school slow smoker then this is one to put on your shortlist of top rated smoker grill combos.
Cooking on the Big Easy Video
[Click on the image to watch the Big Easy Video]
Pit Barrel Cooker [Top Rated Grill/Smoker Combo – Our Number One Pick]
With nearly 500 reviews on Amazon for the Pit Barrel Cooker and a 4.9 out of 5 rating, there is no way we could not add the Pit Barrel Cooker to our list. There is no other grill smoker combination that comes close to this for its massive popularity.
Coming in at slightly under $300 [Check the Best Price at Amazon Here] you also get a ton of accessories including hanging racks and hooks to improve your outdoor cooking experience.
This barrel cooker is fueled by charcoal so a bit messier than your propane models but if you line the bottom of the barrel with foil it makes for an easier clean up. It’s easier to clean up the hooks that are used to cook the meat rather than grill grates or drip pans.
This one is another set and forget product and amazingly easy to use – you just season the meat [seasoning is provided], hang the meat, close up the lid and just leave it until it’s done.
How simple is that!
It can also be taken apart easily for tailgating or transporting around.
As well as getting an amazing backyard cooking experience they offer a customer service experience to match with an unparalleled service, so in the slight chance that you do have an issue, these guys will get it resolved in next to no time. The company was founded by an Iraq War Veteran, Noah Glanville in 2010 and is a family business based in Colorado.
It also provides enough food to cater for larger groups as you can cook, 2 turkeys, 8 racks of ribs or up to 4 chickens at one time.
It’s really difficult to find any negatives to say about this product, I suppose if you are a diehard pit master and like to experiment with your backyard cooking rather than have it set and forget this might not be for you.
For the price it really can’t be beaten, if you haven’t heard about the Pit Barrel Cooker before then I really suggest you get over to Amazon and read all the reviews. Highly competitive in price, cooks food to die for, a US made product with a highly responsive customer service, what more can we say? This is without a doubt our Number One Pick.
Video Overview of the Pit Barrel Smoker
[click on the image to play the video]
Traeger Pellet Grills BBQ155.01
The Traeger will certainly be center stage in your backyard cook out area and it has real aesthetic appeal with its Victorian Steampunk vibe. But looking great is one thing, how does it compare when it comes to cooking something?
This is a pellet smoker so your food will get enthused with that wood-fired flavor that most of us just love.
Straight out of the box it is simple to set up and most customers are getting good results. Some weren’t so happy and pointed out that you have to use Traeger wood pellets otherwise your warranty is voided.
The grill is mid-size and is designed for tailgating, it has folding legs so is also for those who have small backyards and want to store it away after use.
It has some nice features like an auto-start function; this fires the grill up and the digital temperature control for the first four minutes uses 3000 watts and then for economy uses just 50 watts for the duration of the cook. It also has an induction fan to circulate the heat and smoke, as well as a useful auger that moves the pellets from hopper to firepot automatically.
So I suppose you could call this another set and forget model – one customer described it as a simple scientific way to cook food outdoors which I think is about right.
Our conclusion on this one is that it has its positive’s, no burnt food or flare-ups, evenly cooks the food, easy to operate but the issue with only using Traeger pellets gives you little choice but to buy their expensive pellets or break their warranty. If you read the reviews they are really mixed some people swear by Traeger others are not so much in love. So even though this model does get in our top ten it is in the lower end of our recommendations.
Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal Gas Smoker Combo
This is the third Char-Broil model to appear in our top ten so they must be doing something right! If you are looking for a combo that is constructed like a tank then you need to look no further. This is a heavy [200lb] heavy gauge steel construction that is built to last. I get images of Arnie or the Rock cooking on this giant of a grill.
With a cooking surface of 1,060 square inches, this will provide you with the ability to cook for large backyard parties with ease.
This has plenty of fire power as well with three 12,000 BTU Burners and an additional side burner as well. You can use gas or charcoal as well depending on the type of cooking you want to do and if you want to speed things up a bit with the propane.
There were a couple of negatives;
The wheels don’t seem to have much functional use and this was noticed by a few online reviewers so once you have it in place you won’t want to move it around much.
There are a few leaks, for instance around the lid, so some sealant will be needed to stop any leakage found.
If you are looking for a grill/smoker combo that is well constructed and heavy with plenty of room to cook on then this should meet your criteria.
Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQ [Great Price!]
We have here another wood pellet combo to take a look at with the Camp Chef PG24, it’s a bit more expensive than the Traeger we looked at earlier but it does come with a lot of bells n’ whistles.
The PG24 has a whole range of features that include cutting-edge digital smoker controls and accurate dual temperature sensors. It includes a one of a kind ash removal system that takes a lot of the hard work out of cleaning your smoker/grill.
Though it is designed for the novice and is a fairly automated process make sure you check out the instructions beforehand. If you do have any issues Camp Chef’s customer service has a good reputation for answering your questions. It has a ton of other great features that are worth looking at such as the built in cool down function and accurate meat probe.
Most quality pellet smokers will be over the $1,000 price range so Camp Chef’s first venture into pellet smokers has been a success in our opinion.
Keeping the right temperature is one of the most important factors when smoking food and this model achieves that. If you are in the market for a pellet grill and smoker the Camp Chef PG24 would be a good place to start looking. It is well designed and more competitively priced than many others we looked at.
Camp Chef Pellet Smoker Overview Video
Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 PS9900 [LP Gas or Charcoal, Smoke Grill and Sear]
This four in one model from Smoke Hollow uses hybrid fuel methods either charcoal or liquid propane gas. You can also cook indirectly using the smokebox or produce fantastic looking seared steaks or burgers using the infrared side burner.
If you want to perform a diverse range of BBQ cooking on a single unit then read on…
This is a big piece of outdoor cooking equipment and the manufacturers claim that you can cook 20 burgers on it at the same time. If you plan on cooking and entertaining a lot in your backyard this will be one to consider. Assembly is straight forward and requires a bit of time and it is suggested that two people are better than one.
Once assembled it is a sturdy grill and being able to do so much with it will entertain any backyard pit master for a very long time.
The big issue with this particular Smoker/grill is that it is not designed for leaving outdoors, so you will need to find somewhere to store it when not in use for any length of time. You will also need to buy a cover for it which will increase the overall cost. On saying that, most outdoor cooking equipment will benefit from a cover so this is not an isolated case.
There were also some mentions of smoke leakage but as this is a common problem with a lot of smokers it’s not a deal breaker and can easily be remedied with some sealant.
Many reviews have tried out all of the 4-in-1 options and were pleased with the outcome whether they were smoking, grilling or searing meat. This isn’t a cheap option and really needs to be stored properly and looked after for any longevity. The positives are that it cooks well whatever BBQ style you are using, is sturdy and you can cook for large groups of people.
Pit Boss Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker [Half the price of a Green Egg]
We are nearly at the end of our reviews now and we are going to take a look at a Kamado style grill. If you don’t know what a Kamado is you can read more about it here. Usually, they are egg shaped ceramic grills that you can smoke or grill on. You can even use it as a pizza oven or an Indian Tandoor so you have plenty of options. They are fueled by lump charcoal which provides long lasting heat.
The most famous brand is Big Green Egg and while they are a great brand a lot of what you are paying for is the ‘name’. There are equally good Kamado’s available online and the Pit Boss Kamado is one example.
The Pit Boss comes in two sizes 22 or 24inch. It comes with a built-in thermometer and two bamboo shelves that fold out on either side, keeping it in line with its Asian origins. This will make a really nice looking addition to your backyard or patio area; expect some envious friends and neighbors.
This is a sturdy, heavy piece of equipment, there is step by step easy assembly instructions but because of the weight of this, you will need two of you to assemble it.
The top reason for considering a Kamado like the Pit Boss BBQ is that it controls heat to a very high level of accuracy and reliability. Which is the reason that you can cook all sorts of food on it from grilled vegetables or steak to Pizza to Tandoori Chicken, the list is nearly limitless.
Kamados are very popular at the moment but also are fairly expensive, you might want to do some further research on them and check out Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe or Chargriller’s Akorn Kamado.
The Pit Boss Kamado is fairly new on the market, so far reviews are positive but there is little online information as yet. We will update our research when more online information appears.
REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill [Top Quality Grill/Smoker but at a price]
So last but not least we have the most expensive grill smoker combo on this list, but just look and it, isn’t it beautiful!
So what do you get for something that is just shy of a thousand bucks?
Pretty much everything you need in a high-end Grill.
Everything about the REC TEC is quality and huge.
The hopper holds one bag of 40lb wood pellets, which is a complete bag so not ½ bags are being left around.
The actual cooking surface is huge – we are talking customers who have cooked four 12lb Turkeys at the same time, 5 full racks of baby backs. An 18lb turkey and a ham for Thanksgiving…want more?
Then check out the video below
For those of you who are a bit fragile, you might not want to watch this video of a whole 40lb hog being cooked on a REC TEC. I’m guessing if you are in the market for a thousand dollar grill then you are probably a big meat eater and not so squeamish!
Reading through all the hundreds of customer reviews online we kept on hearing about the fantastic customer service. The actual owner gives you his personal phone number to call if you need any help. You might think this is a gimmick but we’ve read the reviews where customers have made use of it and one of the owners has phoned them straight back to answer their questions.
One noticeable point with many wood pellet smoker grills is the hopper jamming up but this doesn’t seem to be an issue with the REC TEC.
The simple controls gives you the ability to keep the temperature constant from as low as 180ºF to as high as 500ºF [ great for cooking pizza].
It comes with a six-year warranty for components and you have no worries in this department with the stellar customer service.
Really this is the King of BBQ’s and even at the high price still puts other high-end models to shame.
World Class Ribs with a Rec Tec Grill Video
Our Final Verdict on the Top Rated Grill Smoker Combo’s
Ten models at a range of prices and different types, I hope we have helped you make a decision. We have three favorites and you probably noticed which ones they were.
The Pit Barrel Cooker and the Char-Broil Big Easy have got to be our two favorite mid-priced picks. It would be hard to choose between the two, if I planned on cooking a lot of turkeys I might go for the Big Easy otherwise with its fantastic online reputation the Pit Barrel would probably win.
If some long lost aunt suddenly died and left me $1,000 it would be invested into the beautiful and highly functional REC TEC [unless the wife got hold of the cash first!] this is the crème de la crème of BBQ smoker grills for home use and would look so perfect in my Backyard.
Whatever your decision drop us a line and let us know what you decided on or even your personal opinion on what you rate as the best grill smoker combo. Happy BBQing!
We also recently looked at this New Model that is getting rave reviews – The Kuma Platinum Reviewed Here