Getting to the point
There are a few variations of charcoal smoker grills you can consider:
- The offset charcoal smoker grill
- The upright charcoal smoker grill
- The ceramic charcoal smoker grill
- The barrel charcoal smoker grill
The grill will make very little difference, as it really is down to personal preference of the user. The horrible truth about charcoal smoker grills is that maintaining an even temperature on them is extremely difficult, meaning that long cooks and predicable timings also become very difficult. If you insist on using a charcoal smoker, you must be prepared to monitor your cook hourly and your fire every 30 minutes to an hour. This means staying put for the length of the cook.
Most people insist on a charcoal smoker because of the idea that the flavour is superior, whereas the truth is actually very different. A pellet BBQ smoker offers all the flavour of a charcoal smoker but is a lot easier to control, a lot more predictable, and the results are virtually identical.
If anything, the results from a pellet BBQ smoker are usually better due to the fact that temperatures are maintained and controlled throughout the entire cook. The “set it and forget it” approach of a pellet BBQ smoker also means you won’t be imprisoned within the confines of your 4 walls. You'll be more likely to use your BBQ smoker on a regular basis, rather than the usual cycle of buying one, using it once, realising how time consuming and difficult it can be then leaving it to collect dust.
"I want that charcoal flavour though," I hear you say. I, for one, love the taste of charcoal grilled meat and the good people at Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills have created the perfect solution. Charcoal BBQ smoker pellets. All the taste of charcoal with the convenience of pellets. The answer is finally here for those who want the charcoal taste as well as convenience.
If you are adamant that a charcoal smoker grill is for you, then we recommend the Pit Boss K24 ceramic charcoal grill. This way, if you get bored of using it as a charcoal smoker, you can also use it as a BBQ grill.
If you can foresee a charcoal smoker grill quickly becoming just an expensive garden ornament and think a pellet BBQ smoker might be for you, we recommend Pit Boss Grills and Louisiana Grills BBQ smokers. They are great value for money, deliver competition winning results, have a superior build quality and come with a 5-year warranty.
A bit more detail
If you’re a veteran outdoor chef, you will likely be aware of the various pros and cons which are associated with using different methods of cooking outside. From charcoal grills to gas lighters, natural wood fire-pits and pellet grill smokers, the internet is packed full of information about outdoor cooking; from assessing the advantages of charcoal and gas and whether one or the other is better for our health and the environment, to the quality of our food.
When it comes to charcoal, the generic view seems to be that the lump charcoal is best for grilling foods you want to cook quickly; providing that caramelised layer on the outside of the meat which gives it the smoky flavour the grill is made for. Charcoal is built for the authentic BBQ and is closest to the way our ancestors would have cooked; utilising an open flame which, when controlled, can provide an even cook which seals in the juices of your meat while releasing tons of flavour.
Gas and other BBQ grills are ideal for the modern outdoor chef; the one who wants to ensure an even cook across everything, in a well-controlled environment which can be set to a certain temperature and left to do its thing. These styles of outdoor grill are far closer to indoor convection ovens, making them easy and safe to use and control.
But what about those who want the fun and grandeur of that smoky charcoal finish, without losing the control and perfect cooked finish of a more modern BBQ grill?
Finding the perfect BBQ smoker grill is a balance between something which offers that natural caramelisation of the meat, and something which provides an even cook. What better way to achieve that than with a modern pellet grill which uses charcoal pellets?
What is it that we love about a charcoal BBQ?
One of the first questions to answer is why we so often choose a charcoal grill or BBQ over the more convenient (and let’s face it - less messy) gas option.
Does it all come down to the expense of a modern BBQ, or is there a tangible difference in the quality of the meat which makes charcoal cooking so much more attractive?
For the seasoned outdoor chef, there really is no competition. Where a modern grill provides an even cook which is super convenient and easy to light almost instantly, charcoal provides the authenticity of a piece of meat cooked atop an open flame. And really, what is the point of barbequing if you aren’t looking for that perfectly caramelised edge and rare, tender centre?
With so many buyers looking for ways to achieve that charcoal-smoked finish but still wanting the ease and safety of a controlled cooking environment, the launch of new BBQ smoker grills which are based on pellets rather than lump charcoal really does become a case of “the best of both worlds”. Here’s why.
Why a pellet grill is a better choice than a charcoal smoker grill
In short, the pellet grill boasts a design that offers far more versatility than a traditional charcoal smoker grill; combining all the benefits of a charcoal smoker, alongside the functionality of a BBQ grill which can be controlled from the outside using a digital control board and temperate gauge.
Where a charcoal smoker grill relies almost entirely on the smoke itself to cook the meat, a pellet grill allows you to choose how you use your cooking space; exposing as much or as little of it to the direct and open flame as you like, while engaging the pellet grill’s convection interior to spread the heat out among the rest of cooking space. The built-in sliding plate gives the pellet grill a unique design which quite literally determines how much of the cooking space is subject to the direct pellet heat, culminating in the fire pot which is where you will find that distinctive chargrilled flavour and caramelised finish.
Another top benefit of the pellet grill which puts it far above a traditional charcoal grill is the feature we like to call the “set it and forget it” tool. This allows you to set your pellet grill to the optimum temperature based on what you’re cooking, before leaving it; safe in the knowledge that the temperature will be maintained consistently and safely. Depending on the brand, this can be controlled by anything from a digital control box to a connected app and WiFi connection.
In short, a pellet grill offers the authenticity of a traditional charcoal grill, combined with the control of a more modern gas BBQ or smoker grill.
How can I achieve the quality finish of a charcoal smoker in the controlled environment of a pellet grill?
One of the best things about both the Pit Boss and Louisiana Grill smokers is that they not only offer high end products which are built to last and provide incredible results, they also offer a range of different styles of pellet to cook with – including the popular and industry-leading charcoal pellets to compliment their grills.
These charcoal pellets offer the woody and smoky aroma and flavour infusion of real charcoal, in a format that compliments the design of the pellet grill – and best of all, they are made using 100% natural hardwood with no added extras or unwelcome artificial flavours. For the experimental outdoor chefs, try out the infused blend range of charcoal pellets, each boasting their own unique flavours to intensify and improve the finish of your meat and other BBQ treats.
So, next time you’re looking for all the flavour and freedom of a charcoal smoker, with all the functionality and technological intervention of a BBQ grill, head to the Buff BBQ range of pellet smoker grills which offer the finest quality, the highest level of versatility, and the most affordable prices for top tier barbecuing, all year round.