Best Smoker Grill Combo
Smoker Grill Combos are probably one of the most versatile backyard cooking platforms you can buy. They are often fueled by pellets, charcoal, or even gas. Whether you want to grill chicken or smoke racks of ribs, a smoker grill combo can do it all. Overall we feel the Masterbuilt Gravity 800 charcoal grill/smokers deserve to keep their spot for 2023, even though new competitive grills have come from Pit…
Smoker Grill Combos are probably one of the most versatile backyard cooking platforms you can buy. They are often fueled by pellets, charcoal, or even gas. Whether you want to grill chicken or smoke racks of ribs, a smoker grill combo can do it all. Overall we feel the Masterbuilt Gravity 800 charcoal grill/smokers deserve to keep their spot for 2023, even though new competitive grills have come from Pit Boss and Camp Chef.
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 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 the best grill smoker combos for you to consider.
In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks:
|Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800
|Camp Chef Apex Grill
|Oklahoma Joe Gas and Charcoal Grill Smoker
|Pit Boss Sportsman 1230
|Kamado Joe Classic II
Our Top Pick Smoker Grill Combos
1. Best Overall – Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 Review
What We Like…
- Get the flavor of charcoal with the convenience of a pellet grill through the WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled digital controller and fan
- Versatile performance with a temperature range of 225°F to 700°F and the included flat-top griddle and cast iron grill grates
- Folding front shelf adds prep and workspace
What Makes Us Angry…
- Some customers reported having issues with their controllers not working properly and needing to be replaced
- Packaging could be better as some users mentioned damaged through shipping.
Typically when you think of a smoker and grill combination, you think that the grill side will be either propane or natural gas while the smoker side is a pellet grill or offset smoker/charcoal grill combination. Masterbuilt decided to not follow that line of thinking and instead launched the Gravity Series 800. You won’t find wood pellets nor gas on the grill, but you will have the ability to smoke and grill.
The Gravity Series 800 uses a digital controller and fan system, much like a pellet grill, but it uses charcoal for the fuel rather than wood pellets. Rather than featuring a hot rod like a pellet grill, you do need to start the fire yourself, but once it is started, the grill takes over. The grill boasts a 16-pound hopper that can hold that much regular charcoal or 10 pounds of lump charcoal due to the size.
The grill boasts 800 sq in of cooking space spread across the main cooking grates and two folding porcelain-coated warming racks so you can grill or smoke plenty of food on this grill. When you’re smoking, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 800 can hook up to your phone through WiFi or Bluetooth and the Masterbuilt app so you can monitor temperatures without standing at the grill itself.
2. Best Pellet / Gas Smoker Grill Combo – Camp Chef Apex Series
What We Like…
- The cooking chamber houses the fire pot and the gas burners so no need to swap things around.
- WiFi connectivity and the Camp Chef app makes it simple to keep an eye on temperatures remotely especially with the included meat probes
- One of the easiest grills to clean up with the slide-out grease tray and the ash cup
What Makes Us Angry…
It’s hard not to look at the Apex as being, well, the “apex” of the grill and smoker combination. This grill is made to be an incredible smoker with all the work that Camp Chef put into the lid and the entire heat and smoke circulation system. Not only is the Apex the best pellet and gas combo on this list, but it’s also one of the best wood pellet grills out there. The lid seals better, trapping smoke and heat in. Gone is the old smoke stack. It’s been replaced by rear vents that work in concert with the new heat diffuser to allow the smoke and heat to circulate better throughout the cooking chamber before escaping through the rear vents.
The Apex grills have a 22-pound pellet hopper which will be plenty for whatever you want to throw on this grill. The level of pellets is monitored by an included pellet sensor, so if you somehow are running low, the grill will let you know. The pellet smoker side of the operation is run by the digital PID controller that can hook up to your WiFi and the Camp Chef app for real-time monitoring from your phone. The grill comes with four probes, each individually colored for easy monitoring, and included storage right beneath the control itself. No need to stash probes in a kitchen drawer inside anymore.
There are two sizes when it comes to the Apex series, the 24” and 36”. The 24” model has four burners for the 811 square inches of cooking space while the 36” has six for its 1,236 sq in of total cooking space. Each burner is a 9,000 BTU burner capable of searing steaks and grilling plenty of burgers.
The Apex gas combo grills also come with CampChef’s well-known Sidekick attachment and a flat-top griddle included. The Sidekick burner is capable of 28,000 BTUs, plenty of power for whatever you want to do on the side. It is also compatible with all the standard Sidekick accessories like the pizza oven or you can just throw a cast iron skillet on top of the burner.
Read our full Apex review here.
3. Best Gas/Charcoal Grill Smoker Combo – Oklahoma Joe Gas/Charcoal Grill Smoker Review
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.
4. Budget Pellet / Gas Smoker Grill Combo – Pit Boss Sportsman 1230 Review
What we Like…
- 1,261 sq in of total cooking space spread out over two 630.5 sq in cooking chambers
- 21 pound pellet hopper is perfect for a long smoke for a brisket or pork butt
- Maximum grilling capacity with a direct-flame access on the pellet grill side capable of up to 1,000°F
What Makes Us Angry…
- Does not have a PID controller for the smoking side
The Pit Boss Sportsman 1230 Gas Combination grill gives you a massive amount of cooking space across two cooking chambers. At first glance, it looks like the left side of the grill is exclusively for smoking via the pellet grill and the right side is exclusively for grilling via gas burners. So while it has 1,261 sq in of cooking space, you might think you’ve got two nice-sized grills in one.
However, appearances can be deceiving. Pit Boss has two features built into the grill that can allow you to use the entire cooking area for either style of cooking with one caveat for smoking in the gas grill side.
First, there is a small tube that connects the pellet grill side to the gas grill side that can be opened for smoke to move through. In fact, the smoke stack is on the gas grill side. That means you can smoke food in both chambers. However, the gas side of the grill will be more of a cold-smoking situation rather than smoking at 225°-275°F.
On the flip side, Pit Boss installed a direct-access system for the fire pot that they advertise as capable of reaching 1,000°F for high-heat searing. That allows you to grill on both sides of the grill for hosting a large summer cookout party. Pit Boss boasts that the grill is capable of handling 62 burgers simultaneously. No need to worry about people needing to wait for the next batch of burgers.
The grill also has a side shelf and a folding front shelf to make preparations easy while also having a spice rack on the side of the hopper so you can keep your favorite rubs and spices within easy reach at all times.
5. Best Kamado Style Grill and Smoker Combo – Kamado Joe Classic II Review
What We Like…
- Quality ceramic construction
- Excellent ventilation system for precise airflow
- Two-tier cooking system
- 18″ Diameter
- 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 (Charcoal grills) are known to be extremely versatile and this Kamado Joe unit is no exception. Kamados 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. The Classic II has a total of 508 sq. inches of cooking area when utilizing two sets of grill grates.
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 them easier to use. That’s why we like them.
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 maintaining 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 Combos
The smoker grill combos come 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 Combos
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 Combos
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 Combos
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 barbecue. 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 Combos
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 Combos
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.
Smoker Grill Combo Buying Guide
When you are looking to buy a smoker grill combo, you need to pay close attention to its 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 that will determine each grill’s capabilities as both a smoker and a grill.
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 roast 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 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 with 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 a 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. If you can find a smoker grill combo made of heavy gauge steel, you know it will be sturdy and last for a long time. Stainless steel construction can help ensure the longevity of these shelves and storage areas. 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. Plus, you don’t want to come outside one day and find your grill covered in rust after a year. Powder coating exterior surfaces is another way manufacturers help protect grills.
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 precise 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.
Smoker Grill Combo Features
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 Conclusion
The products we reviewed can all be great additions to the home of any BBQ enthusiast looking for one high-quality 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 heat 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.
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