Best Grill & Smoker Combos for Unforgettable Barbeques
Try to think of one good reason why you wouldn’t get a grill and a smoker, if you could have both? Pretty tricky, right? A grill & smoker combo can be used to either grill or smoke, but many can be used for baking, searing, braising, roasting, and more.
They can be fueled by charcoal, gas, pellets, or electricity – and cook using direct heat for grilling and indirect heat for smoking. If your mouth is already overflowing with drool just thinking about a juicy brisket, then keep reading to find out how your next project could be cooking up a storm.
Benefits of Grill & Smoker Combos
Are you still contemplating getting yourself or your partner a grill and smoker combo? If you need a nudge to justify your purchase, then check out some of the benefits included below:
Flavor – Nothing beats the flavor that can be infused with a high-temperature sear or with low-and-slow smoking. Amp it up a notch by adding specialty flavored wood chips or pellets for that authentic Southern BBQ taste.
Versatility – Why limit yourself to only having a grill or a smoker when you could have the best of both worlds? In addition, many of the models listed below can also roast, braise, sear or broil.
Get outside – The last thing you want to do in summer is having your oven or stovetop on for hours and heating up your home. You’ll either need to use up more power, cooling it down with air conditioning, or live in sweltering conditions. The fact that the mess is primarily kept outside is another added winning combination.
Entertaining – Smoking is ideal for entertaining and cooking for a crowd. It keeps the party outdoors and is relatively low-maintenance. You can make a lot of meat in one go, and the side dishes can all be pre-prepared and kept in the fridge. Plus, it’s a conversation starter where everyone is happy to join in on sharing recipes and trying out the final goods.
Detailed Reviews of the Best Grill & Smoker Combos
Sometimes you just want to get yourself a grill & smoker that does what it needs to do, without paying for all the extra bells and whistles.
The Royal Gourmet 30″ BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker is pretty basic by design. It’s got a standard charcoal grill with two adjustable grate levels. It’s also got an offset smoker on the side that can be used for additional grilling space, totaling up to 800 square inches of cooking surface.
The side firebox is easy to access, and the hatch allows you to tend the coals without needing to open the lid and let out all of the heat and smoke. This baby reaches temperature quickly, especially for its size, and is relatively straightforward to maintain, though you will need to keep one eye on the in-built temperature gauge consistently.
Once you get this Royal Gourmet grill & smoker combo assembled, you’ll notice how basic it actually is. We wouldn’t take this as a deterrent, though, as it merely means that there’s less to go wrong. Our only main gripe with this model is that the coal box should have been thicker, as it will burn through, which can be potentially dangerous. It also tends to rust if left to the elements.
|Easy assembly||Coal box is not overly durable|
|Massive 800 square inches of cooking area||Best kept covered as can rust|
|Side box can be used for smoking or for grilling||Suggested to only reach temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Wheels for ease of mobility|
|Includes temperature gauge|
|Ash is easy to clean out and dump|
|Adjustable fire grate|
For a beginner or for anyone on a budget, the Royal Gourmet 30” BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker provides fantastic value for money.
You get the best of a flavorsome charcoal grill and the ability to try your culinary skills with smoking. Is this grill & smoker going to last three seasons of consistent use? Likely not. You can look at lining the firebox to extend the lifespan. However, we simply can’t fault how well the Royal Gourmet works while it lasts.
The Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker is marketed as being able to do it all. We are a bit surprised to find out that it can’t do the grocery shopping and wash the dishes, to be honest. Though sold as an 8 in 1 grill & smoker with the added ability to sear, braise, bake, roast, BBQ, and Char-grill, it doesn’t do all of these things equally well.
It’s not the best at getting too scorching hot temperatures needed for searing and charring, but it does well with roasting and baking. Where this unit shines is with smoking; it is easy to use and fairly straightforward with regards to temperature control. The different variety of pellets will make for some delicious meals in your future.
One aspect of smoking is that it’s social. You’ll spend hours waiting for your food to be cooked, hours which tend to be spent having some drinks and chatting while drooling over the smell and thoughts of what is to come. All of this tends to bring in the crowds, and this particular grill & smoker will be too small to feed many hungry people.
|Straightforward assembly||Temperature regulation can be tricky|
|Free grill cover included||You will need to complete one type of pellets before adding another|
|High-temp, powder coat finish in striking copper color||Pellets can get clogged between the hopper and auger|
|452 square inch cooking surface|
|Large hopper capacity|
|Touted as being able to char-grill, barbeque, roast, bake, braise, sear, smoke, and grill|
If your main goal for buying a grill & smoker combo is the capability to smoke, then the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker will be a fantastic purchase.
You’ll quickly be making restaurant-quality smoked meats and getting excited about your favorite pellet mixes. However, if you thought you’d be ditching your traditional grill and just using this, then you might want to think again.
The Realcook Vertical 17 Inch Steel Charcoal Smoker got our honor for being the best vertical grill & smoker, whereas it could have won multiple prizes in reality. This is likely the most versatile, portable, and easy to use grill & smoker on our list.
Honestly, we wish that Realcook had put a bit of additional funds into making the housing more durable so that it would hold up to the rigors of being taken on camping trips and cookouts. The design element is there, but you need to take extra care when moving it around. For the price, though, it’s hard to complain.
The designers at Realcook earned their paycheck with this vertical smoker. The two separate doors mean that you can get to what you need without letting out additional smoke and heat.
The unit can be broken down into two independent grills, or the trays can be taken out for smoking tall items like a beer can turkey.
|Built-in thermometer||Realcook cover needs to be purchased separately|
|453 square inches of cooking space||No vent to adjust the amount of fresh air coming into the unit|
|Suitable for cold or hot smoking||It is tricky to keep the temperature consistent|
|Can be used as two grills|
|Four in-built sausage hooks|
|Easy to clean|
For those looking for an affordable, entry-level grill & smoker that is incredibly versatile, the Realcook Vertical 17 Inch Steel Charcoal Smoker is a hit.
It’s straightforward, though somewhat tedious, to assemble and incredibly simple to use. There isn’t much to complain about at the price, but the design of this model is so good, we would have been happy to pay a bit extra for a thicker, more durable steel body. It’s not going to last you forever, but this is an excellent grill & smoker combo to get you in the mood for outdoor cooking.
The Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill is on our list of best grill & smoker combos because it markets itself as both. Nevertheless, this is an excellent smoker and worth every penny on that front. If you really need a grill, though, then you might want to keep looking.
As an affordable smoker, this unit is fantastic and fit for purpose in numerous ways. There are in-built sausage hooks, and the vertical and horizontal capacity is amongst the best we’ve seen. However, you might need to jimmy things a bit to get the best functionality as there are numerous voids that can let out heat and smoke. Tape will do the trick and get this smoker from pretty good up to fantastic in no time. As such, we recommend this grill & smoker combo for more seasoned smokers that know how to tinker and aren’t looking for a dummy-proof model.
Our other gripe is that the temperature within the unit varies considerably. This is the case from left to right and from top to bottom. Again, experienced smokers or those good at modifications can amend this by putting a fire brick bridging between the water pan and firebox exhaust.
|Large steel wheels for easy mobility||Can be significant temperature variation within the unit|
|Includes analog temperature gauge||Cleaning ash while smoking is challenging|
|It contains 5 x 17-inch cooking grates|
|Has pre-installed sausage hooks|
|Made of heavy-gauge steel|
The Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill is fabulously priced for what you get. Anyone with smoking knowledge will understand the intrinsic value of the base unit; however, we wouldn’t recommend this for those new to the smoking world.
To get the most out of this grill & smoker combo, you’ll need to make some simple changes to ensure the heat and smoke stay in the unit, and the temperature doesn’t fluctuate. Once those challenges are met, the Dyna-Glo is terrific for large batch smoking.
The Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker takes about 90 minutes to 3 hours to assemble, and you will need a basic set of tools on hand to get the job done. Once set up and you’ve done the necessary pre-burn, you can get cooking from day one.
What we do love about this Masterbuilt is that it is effective for both newbies and those that are old hands at smoking and grilling. It has the height capacity that is so often lacking in a grill & smoker combo, so making multiple briskets or a large turkey won’t be an issue. And believe us when we tell you that you’re going to want to perfect a smoked turkey before next Thanksgiving!
This grill & smoker combo scores goals for preheating quickly and at maintaining the set temperature. Where Masterbuilt does let you down is with the efficiency of the coal hopper. Pieces fall down into the ashtray that are only partially burnt, and you can’t gauge how much coal you have left without opening the tower and visualizing which lets out the heat and smoke. This seems to be a consistent issue and means that you’ll go through way more charcoal and wood than if Masterbuilt just fixed this problem.
|It gets to the desired temperature very quickly||Charcoal tends to only burn partway before dropping into the ash pan|
|Can reach temps of 700 degrees Fahrenheit||The body would do with a thicker metal construction|
|WIFI and Bluetooth connectivity|
|Digitally control temperature and monitor on the app|
|Digital, variable speed fan for easier temperature control|
|Excellent cooking capacity|
|Easy to clean|
The Masterbuilt is one of our list’s pricier models, though certainly still in the low to the mid-range price point for grill & smoker combos on the market. Is it worth the bucks? Yep, without a doubt.
It is arguably better than a pellet grill as way more versatile and creates a better smoky flavor while still being straightforward enough for newbies right out of the box. This is honestly one of the few models that we can vouch can work more than effectively as both a grill and a smoker rather than making concessions for one or the other. Our only beef (pun intended) is that Masterbuilt should fix the charcoal hopper so that it runs more efficiently.
Grill & Smoker Combo: A Quick Buyer’s Guide
When you invest in a grill and smoker combo, you want to be assured that you are getting the very best your hard-earned money can buy. You also want to ensure you get a machine that will do its best to cook your food to perfection reliably. Below are a few of the factors to consider before you pull out your credit card:
Heat – A grill & smoker combo needs to be able to get to searing hot temperatures when used as a grill. However, when used as a smoker, you want to look for a model with an excellent ability to maintain consistent temperatures. The top models will be able to self-regulate based on conditions you have set.
Portability – Think about where you intend to use your grill & smoker combo. Some people like the option to take it out for tailgating parties, picnics, or camping trips. If this is your intention, you’ll want to get a grill & smoker combo that is as lightweight and portable as possible. Look for options with detachable legs or a latched lid so that the grill & smoker combo can fit into your vehicle more easily. If you are more likely to use your grill & smoker exclusively at home, look for a model with wheels so that one person can move it.
Construction – Check that all of the movable parts on the grill & smoker combo are easy to adjust and operate. You want to ensure that bolts are securely in place and that lids close securely with no gaps for heat or smoke to escape. Steel construction is always a winner.
Cooking Surface – The cooking surface of your grill & smoker will directly correlate to how much you can cook at one time. Smokers often bring in a crowd, but remember that smokers use the low-and-slow cooking method, so unlike when grilling, you won’t be able to make extra food quickly. The height is also integral to what you can cook and the amount you can cook, especially if you intend to smoke large briskets or whole turkeys.
Type – Grill & smoker combos can be powered by charcoal, gas, or pellets. Charcoal models are often the easiest to use and the least expensive but can be a pain to clean and regulate temperature. Gas models provide better temperature control but aren’t great for infusing flavor. Pellet grills are often the priciest, but they provide fantastic flavor from the hardwood and require less tending.
Cleaning – How straightforward an appliance is to clean is often not thought about until it comes time to scrub. However, we recommend that you seriously consider this issue before you finalize your decision on which grill & smoker combo you would prefer to buy. The last thing you want to do is fork out a bunch of money and then stop using your purchase because you don’t feel like cleaning up afterward. Look for an accessible drip tray and coated interiors that are simple to wipe down.
Budget – Many of us have Ferrari dreams on Fiesta budgets, and this includes our options for a grill & smoker combo. If you are just getting into the art of outdoor cooking, then opt for a model that is easy to use but not overly expensive. Once you get the hang of things and decide how often you’ll use your grill & smoker, then dive in, and you can splurge on our Ultimate Quality Grill & Smoker Combo.
Features – The number of features on a product typically directly impacts the overall cost, and it is no different for a grill & smoker combo. Have a think about which features you will actually use and which features you couldn’t live without. Sensors, temperature settings, WIFI, and additional extras all come with a higher price tag.
Do you need both a smoker and a grill?
Do you need both a smoker and a grill? Well, there aren’t many items in life that we need per se. So, let us rephrase the question: would it be bloody freakin’ fantastic to have both a smoker and a grill? Absolutely!
It’s quite evident that smokers use smoke for cooking food. In addition to this, they cook food by using indirect heat. A grill, on the other hand, can use either direct heat or indirect heat. Direct heat will be if you put your thick, juicy steak right on top of the flames so that they lick the surface and provide those gorgeous char lines. Indirect heat on a grill is achieved by using the side of the grill where the flames are not on.
Another significant difference between a smoker and a grill is the temperature they are designed to be used at. A grill’s temperature can easily range higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for searing meat. On the other hand, a smoker will have a much lower cooking temperature, generally capping out at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grills are simply faster at cooking and therefore easier for feeding a crowd quickly and easily. Perhaps let’s put it this way: a grill is like a quickie, whereas a smoker is like slowly making love. Both generally get you to the same place, but it depends on how much effort you want to put in that day. Now, do you see how it can be challenging to compare one with the other?
If you have the patience and gumption for a smoker, then the resulting flavor can be out of this world. The low and slow cooking method means that the meat stays moist and sucks up all of the flavors of the wood chips or charcoal being used, therefore creating that authentic BBQ flavor profile.
Luckily, it is possible to get both a smoker and a grill combined together, which we hope you’ve realized by now if you have reached this far down into this article. Whether you are looking for the best value grill and smoker or the ultimate grill and smoker combo, we are here to help get you cooking.
Grilling and smoking and wonderful hobbies that can be enjoyed year-round, especially if you have a covered deck at home. Having a unit that can both grill and smoke is double the fun and will save space and money. We hope that you’ve been able to pinpoint which of our best grill & smoker combos will work best for your next outdoor project.