For people looking to enjoy the best of BBQ at home, it’s fundamental to start with the right grill. Grilling and smoking are two of the most fundamental BBQ cooking options that can get you started on this journey. While there are excellent grills and dedicated smokers in the market, it might not be feasible for you to invest in two different devices dedicated to these tasks.
While most grills can be used as smokers with the right modifications, a good solution is to buy a grill that can double up as a smoker (aka smoker grill) with ease and convenience. In this article, we try to break down what a smoker grill combo really is, the characteristics you need to be looking for, and the right way to use such a combo. We also review five of our favorite smoker grill combos for you to choose from.
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks:
|Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560||CHECK PRICE|
|Campchef Woodwind 24" with Sear Box||CHECK PRICE|
|Oklahoma Joe Gas and Charcoal Grill Smoker||CHECK PRICE|
|Slow 'N Sear Charcoal Grill||CHECK PRICE|
|Kamado Grill Classic I||CHECK PRICE|
Okay, now let us start by taking a deeper look at the concept of a smoker grill combo.
Understanding a Smoker Grill Combo
A grill and a smoker are two fundamentally different pieces of equipment, designed to serve very different purposes. A grill is meant to produce high heat and cook food quickly. If you want to cook a cut of meat quickly, develop grill marks, and create good searing and color, a grill is the right device for you. Typically, these reach temperatures of up to 700F+ rapidly and maintain these high temperatures with ease.
On the other hand, a smoker is meant to cook food low and slow, with usual temperatures ranging from 200F and 300F. While a grill uses direct heat, a smoker typically uses indirect heat and cooks the food with the application of hot smoke.
While using a smoker, the smoke comes from the application of particular types of wood and or charcoal that produce flavorful smoke. The flavor of the smoke is infused into the food.
It is evident that these are two fundamentally different pieces of equipment for two separate use cases. For purists and perfectionists, using one device for both applications might not be a good idea. However, there can be space and cost constraints that can prevent you from purchasing, storing, and using two different devices. In such cases, there is no need to constrain yourself with only one method of cooking. Instead, you can buy a smoker grill combo and enjoy both cooking methods with one device.
What is a Smoker Grill Combo?
A smoker grill combo is one device that can both grill and smoke. This means that it is capable of reaching high temperatures for grill applications and maintain very low temperatures for smoking applications. It also means that it is constructed to facilitate both cooking methods with ease.
A smoker grill combo is meant to be one solution for both your grilling and smoking needs. Due to its versatility, the smoker grill combo can be used to create a wide range of recipes at home. Since it is one device, it can help you negate both the cost and the space required to purchase and maintain two different devices while achieving close to the same results.
The main appeal of a smoker grill combo unit lies in its flexibility. If you have a limited budget and limited space in your backyard, buying either a smoker or a grill can limit you in terms of the food you can whip up. A smoker grill combo solves that problem by offering both functionalities in a small, compact package.
In fact, grill and smoker combos are often used for other methods of cooking like baking, roasting, and broiling. They come in a variety of designs and can use different fuel sources including gas, charcoal, and electricity. While it is cost-effective and saves space, the best combo grill smokers can often provide multiple cooking chambers or zones that can be used for dedicated purposes, sometimes at the same time. This incredible versatility can allow new doors to open and new recipe ideas you can take to fruition.
On the flip side, there are certain drawbacks. Dedicated devices for grilling and smoking can produce better results. When you are choosing to get both functionalities in one device, you might have to give up something in terms of performance. These devices mostly tend to focus on one area and also do the other competitively well. However, there is a focus on either grilling or smoking and the other, usually, is the weaker aspect. I still believe a dedicated offset smoker produces the best smoked meats vs. any combo, pellet smoker or charcoal smoker. However, most people do not have 14 hours to dedicate sitting beside an offset and tending the fire/heat every 30 minutes.
Are Combo Grills Worth it?
To the average person we believe smoker grill combos are worth it. Not everyone has the space or budget to keep separate dedicated grills and smokers. Technology in this area has dramatically advanced and made combo units impressive at both grilling and smoking. Below we go over the different types of combos available today.
Types of Smoker Grill Combo
The smoker grill combos comes in different designs, with different features and conveniences. Depending on your use case, one of these types might be a good choice for your home.
Gas and Charcoal Combo
One of the most versatile products in this category is the gas and charcoal combo smoker and grill. These products usually provide support for both gas and charcoal fuel sources with separate cooking chambers. On top of this, they might also feature a firebox dedicated solely to smoking. With these products, you have a wide, flexible range of cooking options available. You can reach and maintain a wide range of temperatures and cook meats, seafood, vegetables, and sauces.
Pellet Grill Smoker Combo
The pellet grill and the digital charcoal grill are similar products. With these, the focus is on ease and convenience. These are essentially “set and forget” types of products that can be great for beginners and experienced BBQ aficionados alike. The pellet grill uses wood pellets as a fuel source and features a digital controller that feeds pellets at a consistent rate to the firing chamber. By regulating the rate of flow of pellets and the airflow to the chamber, these grills can maintain the temperature precisely without outside intervention which means meat that tastes so good that even your vegetarian cousin will choose to switch sides.
Digital Charcoal Grill Smoker Combo
The new kid on the block, the digital charcoal grill uses a very similar concept with the difference being that the fuel source is lump or briquette charcoal. The controller takes care of feeding the right amount of charcoal to the fire at regular intervals. With both these products, a lot of opportunities can open up. Not only are these excellent for beginners due to their automatic operation, but they also often come with large fuel storage chambers.
This means that these can be used at a stretch for long periods of time—a crucial ability for smoking food. You can target a wide range of grilling, searing, and smoking recipes with these grills. Masterbuilt has come out with a really exciting digitally managed combo charcoal grill smoker that we think is superb.
Kettle Grill Smoker Combo
The kettle grill has been a popular product for many decades. Simple and minimalistic, it is a cost-effective and inexpensive way to bring home a small grill that does basic grilling tasks remarkably well and is built to last. However, charcoal kettle grills can also double up as smokers. Due to their simple design, you would need to purchase an attachment or accessory to facilitate this. Mostly, this is done using a divider attachment that can fit into the base of the kettle. With this kind of attachment, the kettle grill can become a capable smoker.
Kamado Grill Smoker Combo
Another option is the kamado-style grill. It is very similar in design to the kettle grill but brings quite a few advantages to the table. While traditional kettle grills are usually made from metal and shaped like a dome, kamado grills are usually egg-shaped and made from ceramic. These are extremely sturdy, simple to operate, and really versatile. Grilling and smoking are both possible and you can also make use of a wide range of accessories available in the market that can really extend the functionality of these grills.
Best Smoker Grill Combo–Product Reviews
Best Overall – Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Charcoal Grill and Smoker
What We Like…
- Accurate temperature control
- 220-700F temperature range
- Remote tracking with mobile app
- Large hopper capacity
What Makes Us Angry…
- Some users report fan quality issues
- New Tech that needs time to prove itself
- Limited one-year warranty
The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 is a one-of-a-kind product bundling easy functionality and innovative features that can really make your life easy. It is a digital charcoal grill and smoker that brings together the cooking characteristics of a charcoal grill and the ease of use and convenience of a pellet smoker. Just like a pellet smoker automatically feeds pellets from a hopper to maintain temperature, this charcoal grill uses a digital controller to feed charcoal to the burning area.
The grill offers 430 sq. inches of cooking area and a 130 sq. inches warming area for a total of 560 sq. inches. You can use up to four meat probes and one is included in the package. There is a large controller at the front that allows you to set and forget the temperature ranging between 220F and 700F for all your smoking and grilling needs.
To cook, you add briquette or lump charcoal to the hopper and use a firestarter to get things started. Once your coals are hot, you set the temperature using the control panel, place your food in the cooking area, and walk away. The controller then kicks into action, manipulating the airflow by controlling the fan speed and vents.
The unit also supports remote capabilities with the help of a mobile app that lets you monitor and control the temperature. This means that you do not need to babysit the grill, even for those long smoking sessions. The large hopper can last up to 15 hours.
Best Pellet Smoker Grill Combo – Camp Chef Woodwind
Wi-Fi 24” with Side Kick
What We Like…
- Firebox can reach really high temperatures fast
- Automatic pellet grill system for easy, convenient smoking
- Large cooking area
- Convenient pellet changing system for flavor experiments
- A nice 3-year warranty
What Makes Us Angry…
- Automatic temperature control fluctuates sometimes
- External areas can get hot to the touch
An incredibly versatile BBQ beast, the Camp Chef Woodwind is a flexible, powerful product that can help you grill and smoke with ease. At its heart, this is a pellet smoker with a huge 22lb hopper that can last for many hours. You can even discharge all the pellets with one lever to load a new batch, allowing you to experiment with different wood flavors.
This massive grill has a total cooking area of 811 sq. inches with the main chamber sporting durable and easy to clean porcelain-enameled steel grates and allowing for a temperature range of 160-500F. A powerful auger system feeds pellet to the burning area and you have a digital temperature control panel to dial in the optimum temperature. You can set the temperature and the smoke level from the controller and walk away, leaving the smoker to do all the hard work.
However, this unit can also come in handy if you are looking for a quick grill or sear with extremely high heat. For this, there is a heavy-duty propane side kick attachment that employs a massive 28,000 BTU burner. The side kick can be used to get searing temperatures for steaks. The Sidekick will also accommodate many of Camp Chef’s accessories like the Pizza Oven and Grill Box. As it is a separate unit, you can use it completely independent of the main cooking area. Camp Chef is one of the few pellet grill manufacturers that offer this sidekick accessory which makes it one of the best combo options out there. Look out Traeger, Camp Chef has it figured out.
The unit also features a reliable automatic ignition system, dual meat probes, and stable steel construction.
Best Gas Grill Smoker Combo – Oklahoma Joe Gas
and Charcoal Grill Smoker Combo
What We Like…
- Huge cooking area
- Versatile with separate grilling and smoking chambers and offset firebox
- Side burner that can also accommodate chimney starter for your charcoal
- Capable of grilling and smoking at the same time
- Ample storage space
- Two-year warranty
What Makes Us Angry…
- Heavy and difficult to assemble and move
- Massive in size, space may be an issue
- Wheels can be unstable
The Oklahoma Joe Gas and Charcoal Grill Smoker combo ticks all the right boxes and can give you a wide range of options when it comes to grilling and smoking across a wide variety of temperatures. Built like a tank, this uses quality materials and construction and can last you a lifetime.
The highlight of this grill smoker combo is the mammoth 1,060 sq. inches cooking area, separated into a 750 sq. inches main cooking chamber and a 310 sq. inches firebox on the side. The main cooking area houses three 12,000 BTU gas burners. The smoking chamber is fed by the offset firebox and there is an additional 12,000 BTU side burner that can serve a variety of purposes.
Both cooking chambers have lid-mounted thermometers that can make monitoring temperature a breeze. The side burner, apart from being excellent for whipping up quick sides, can also accommodate a chimney starter to get your charcoal going for the firebox. This makes it incredibly easy to set this unit up, both for grilling and smoking.
If you decide to use this for a long smoking session, the firebox and the smoking chamber both sport multiple dampers that can make it very easy to control the temperature and the smoke level. The strongly built unit also features a large storage area for added convenience and the firebox door can be opened for stoking without disturbing the main smoking chamber to avoid heat loss. The handles are specially treated to remain cool to the touch, even during high-temperature cooking.
Budget Smoker and Grill Combo – Slow ‘N Sear Charcoal Grill
What we Like…
- Built like a tank
- Easy to assemble and truly portable
- Great value for money
- Slow ‘N Sear insert makes it a capable smoker
- Built-in thermometer and additional thermometer port
What Makes Us Angry…
- Needs refilling for longer sessions
- Airflow and temperature control need careful manual handling
- No advanced features
The kettle grill, revolutionized by Weber, has been around for a long time. While highly functional and durable, the kettle grill does not do well as a smoker by itself. However, with this charcoal grill from Slow ‘N Sear, you have a capable budget grill and smoker combo that can deliver the goods in both grilling and smoking scenarios.
On the surface, this is a typical kettle grill with solid construction and materials. The unit integrates a lid cradle and a large side shelf and features a 22” grill grate (380 sq. inches area) to accommodate large cuts of meat.
The lid features a thermometer next to the vent and the unit also has a probe port where you can insert a digital thermometer for more accurate readings.
This seemingly innocuous grill instantly transforms when you add the included Slow ‘N Sear insert, an accessory well-known to BBQ enthusiasts. This divides the firing area into two cooking zones and turns the unit into a capable smoker as well. To use this as a smoker, you fill the unit with unlit charcoal and un-soaked wood. Add a few lit briquettes to the corner and give it a few minutes. The unit is then ready to go and can keep the smoke flowing for up to eight hours. You can add water to keep things moist and use the vents to control airflow and temperature.
Usage is easy with this sturdily built unit that also features easy ash removal with its unique five-vent ash removal system. There is a circular bottom vent that can be used to fine-tune the airflow to a great degree and control smoke production.
Best Kamado Style Grill and Smoker Combo – Kamado Joe Classic I
What We Like…
- Quality ceramic construction
- Excellent ventilation system for precise airflow
- Two-tier cooking system
- Spacious side tables
- Multiple accessories
What Makes Us Angry…
- On the expensive side
- Heavy and unwieldy
- Needs knowledge of advanced BBQ techniques for great results
- Works only with charcoal
Kamado style grills are known to be extremely versatile and this Kamado Joe unit is no exception. Kamado’s provide multiple cooking zones with temperatures ranging from 225F to 750F, making it an excellent choice for both hot searing/grilling and low/slow smoking. A total of 406 sq. inches of cooking area is on offer.
The divide and conquer cooking system lets you cook different foods at different heights and different temperatures. The heat deflector system and the solid construction make sure that heat stays inside and makes it easier to maintain temperature for long periods of time, making this especially convenient for low and slow cooking sessions.
The unit sports excellent build quality, has side shelves on either side, and has an integrated thermometer. A cast iron top vent makes airflow management easy. The functionality of the unit can be enhanced dramatically in many ways with the many accessories on offer. For example, you can get a smart temperature control and monitoring attachment for full remote control through their mobile app, a sear plate for fast and easy searing, additional probe thermometers, and pizza-making accessories including the Dojoe cast-aluminum pizza accessory, the deep-dish ceramic pizza stone, and a pizza cutter. Kamado Joe keeps advancing their grills with features that make it easier to use. That’s why we like them.
Smoker Grill Combo Buying Guide
When you are looking to buy a smoker grill combo, you need to pay close attention to their design, practicality, features, versatility, and to come at a fair price.. There are several design types to choose from, several fuel types to consider, and particular features to look for.
First, think about how many people you are planning to cook for. The size of the grill will decide how much meat you can pack in there at one time. Depending on how small or big it is, you might be able to finish all of your cooking in one go or have to go back multiple times in batches. The combo units above range from 380 sq/in to over 1000 sq/in, so you have very different size options available.
The more people you need to cook for, the larger size of grill you will need. If you are planning to cook whole poultry, you would need a large chamber in all three dimensions. If you are planning to smoke ribs, you will need a wide cooking area.
A lot of smokers also give you the option to hang meat from hooks. Typically, this means more meat in the smoker and a more tender, juicier product.
Take a look at the smoker grill combos you are considering and check out how much cooking area they provide, the dimensions of that cooking area, and how accessible it is if you want to turn your meat or add new ingredients. A lot of grills might offer more than one cooking grate or have dedicated areas to keep food warm after cooking. Some grills even incorporate side burners that can allow you to quickly whip up some veggies or sauces while your main protein is cooking.
Arguably, this is the most important quality to look at before buying a smoker grill combo. An effective grill needs to reach high temperatures quickly and maintain it for the duration of the cook. A sensational smoker should be able to keep the temperature low and steady for hours on end – this is ideal and basic. These are very different qualities, and the right smoker grill combo should be proficient in both these temperature profiles.
However, being able to reach certain temperatures is not enough. The combo unit should also be able to maintain those temperatures, especially when it comes to smoking. If you are cooking something low and slow, you might need to maintain a specific low temperature for upwards of 12 hours. In such cases, temperature fluctuations can lead to a final product that is sub-optimal. We’ve chosen combo grill/smokers that perform well in this area.
Temperature control might be difficult in certain grill and smoker combos, like the ones that use charcoal or wood as a fuel source. In such cases, you might have to manually control a lot of the variables to ensure that the temperature remains the same. You might have to add more fuel periodically, open and close several air vents, and adjust fuel placement and shelves. In contrast, a gas grill or pellet smoker can make things a lot easier.
Depending on how much work you want to put in, you need to choose the right smoker grill combo that allows you to reach and maintain your desired temperatures for long periods of time so that you do not have to compromise with the quality of the end product.
Build Quality and Design
Grilling and smoking can take quite a toll on the materials of your smoker grill combo. You might also consider this a large investment that is required to provide you reliable service for many years to come. Keeping all this in mind, you need to choose a smoker grill combo that is made from quality materials and has tough, durable construction.
Steel construction is usually preferred for its durability and strength. You also need to pay attention to the parts of the grill that you are supposed to handle. These need to be properly shielded from the heat to allow for safe operation. Any shelves, storage areas, and legs also need to be tough and durable for your combo to stand the test of time. These are also important to ensure proper stability and safety while cooking and to allow you to transport the unit to different places according to your requirements.
For efficient operation, the grill needs to be properly insulated. Respectable insulation ensures that the heat stays inside the unit. By preventing large amounts of heat loss, it is easier to maintain temperature and keep the unit operating at excellent efficiency levels.
The fuel source your chosen grill and smoker combo supports will have a lot of impact on the kind of food that you would be able to cook and the kind of performance you would be able to extract from the unit. For example, a lot of gas and electric smokers are extremely easy to operate and can come to temperature very quickly. They can also give you precision control of the temperature in very small increments so that you can fine-tune your cooking process to a great degree. However, these typically do not reach the very high temperatures that are required for quick grilling or searing.
On the other hand, grill and smoker combos that use either charcoal or pellets can be excellent for high heat while involving certain compromises for low and slow cooking. Charcoal grills can also sometimes be a little finicky to operate and require a great degree of manual intervention for precise temperature control. There are certain compromises that you would have to deal with no matter which fuel source you choose. It is important to choose wisely.
If you are looking for excellent usability and convenience, it is important to keep an eye out for modern features and functionality that can really transform your BBQ experience. Some of these features can actually bring you better results with your cooking while some are excellent as quality of life upgrades and conveniences.
Features like built-in thermostats that can accurately monitor and control the temperature according to your needs. A lot of these thermostats can be easily controlled through external knobs and switches and some might even support wireless monitoring and control using an app on your phone.
Similarly, some grill and smoker combos offer you the option of temperature probes and thermometers, either built into the hoods or lids of the unit or available as wireless accessories that you can directly insert into your meat. With these, you have even more convenience of being able to choose the exact temperature you need your cuts of meat to come up to. You can use these probes to set target temperatures and configure your combo to sound an alarm when that target temperature is reached.
This can make the process of grilling and smoking a lot easier and will enable you to walk away from your combo unit after you have set things up initially.
You can also look for added features like side burners, shelves, and storage areas that can add a lot of convenience to your cooking process. Attachments like hooks you can use to hang up large cuts of meat or rotisserie attachments can also open up new cooking avenues that you can explore.
Usability and Convenience
The best smoker grill combos are made with usability and convenience in mind. These features can make the cooking process a whole lot easier and more convenient. For example, you can take a look at how accessible the main cooking area is. Having constant and easy access to the main cooking area can ensure that adding ingredients or turning your meat can be accomplished very easily.
You can also look for smoker grill combos that have all the provisions in place that make them a lot easier to clean and maintain. Grease management systems and removable ash pans can make life a lot easier for the BBQ enthusiast. Special heat-resistant coatings in all the places you are likely to touch during the cooking process can also ensure safe handling.
Price and Value
Purchasing a smoker and grill combo is an investment and you need to look at the price and calculate the value that you would be getting out of it to ensure that it is a good one. It’s a poignant idea to decide on a budget and to stick to it. Also, take a look at the warranty options available as a long, comprehensive warranty can bring you peace of mind.
The Best Smoker Grill Combo?
The products we reviewed can all be great additions to the home of any BBQ enthusiast looking for one device that can take care of both smoking and grilling duties with ease. However, the top product we recommend in this roundup is the Masterbuilt Digital Charcoal Grill Smoker Combo. This is a first in the world of automatically feeding charcoal to maintain specific temperatures. The Masterbuilt can also provide high searing heats without a side burner and low/slow temps for smoking that next brisket. We are really impressed with this unit from Masterbuilt and think it deserves to be recognized. This is the best innovation in the grill/smoker market since the pellet grill was invented.
With that said, any of the other products we reviewed here can also be a great addition to your home. Depending on your budget, choice of fuel, and other requirements, you can choose from this list of the best smoker and grill combos and end up with a versatile, powerful unit that opens the door to myriad tasty BBQ possibilities.