Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker

Editor rating

3/5 on August 12, 2016

User's rating

1,187 reviews

PROS

  • Price
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean

CONS

  • Flimsy and low gauge metal
  • Leaky

VERDICT

Even though this grill has its problems that will need to be addressed before having a good, successful smoke, it’s hard to beat the price.  It’s pretty difficult to find a hot box-equipped smoker for under $200, and this one is under $80.  We’re not thrilled with the construction of the grill, you have to watch for hot spots, and it’s definitely not for neighborhood cookouts, but as a family grill at a low price point, there are few as versatile.

Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker Review

The Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker is a great option for the beginner BBQ smoker and for family grilling. The offset fire box allows for classic indirect cooking through the transmission of smoke, flavor, and low heat through the cooking chamber. The cooking chamber is covered by a 288-square-inch porcelain wire cooking grate. There is an access door for easy ash removal as well as a side shelf.  Lightweight, mobile, simple, versatile, and inexpensive – it’s never been easier to get into smoking.

Key Features

  • Combination Offset Smoker, BBQ, and Charcoal Grill
  • 290 square inch cooking surface in main chamber
  • 140 square inch cooking surface in firebox chamber
  • Adjustable height steel fire grate
  • Clean-out door for easy ash removal with adjustable built-in damper

Out of the box

The shipping box weighed about 45 pounds, and was 16” x 28” x 52”.  Reports of shipping damage on this item are fairly rare, and ours arrived in good shape.  As we removed the pieces from the box, it’s clear that the metal gauge is lower on this unit than more expensive grills and there are some components that are alarmingly flimsy.

Setting up

Assembly took about 45 minutes, and can be done solo.  We knew going into the review that this was a smaller grill, but it’s even more quaint than we thought.  We’ll be interested to see how much we can fit onto it later.  Also, for being primarily a smoker, we were concerned that the fittings between pieces were not tighter.  There are a lot of holes, slits, and slots where smoke can escape, so we’ll be interested to see how it performs.  It’s the lightest grill we’ve reviewed up to this point at about 44 pounds, and is very easy to move around.

Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker Performance

As we mentioned, this is a cozy grill.  Even though there’s a hot box for the smoking function, if your food is anywhere near the hot box, you’re going to get a lot more direct heat than indirect heat.  This is owed to the thin metal and having generally little real estate on the grill.  We were able to either rotate our food from the “hot” side to the “cold” side, or stack everything up on the far side of the grill from the hot box.  Similarly, if you use this unit as a direct grill and put your coals in the main chamber, your food is quite close to the coals – a little charcoal goes a long way.  If you want to smoke and grill at the same time, you can use the grill surface in the hot box, but the same warning applies: your food is very close to the heat source, so it will cook very quickly!  Be cautious and aware of that, and there will be no surprises.  As we suspected, none of the leaks magically sealed as we fired up the smoker, so we smoked a chicken before and after sealing up the gaps with silicone to compare results.  It took 6 hours to smoke the chicken before sealing the grill, and 4 hours afterward.  It was hard to maintain the cooking temperature before sealing, and much easier afterward.  The difference in taste was also noticeable, with it having a more “smoked flavor” after sealing.

Note: the Deluxe version of this smoker, while nearly twice as much, also delivers 2x the cooking space.

Video Review – mods, seasoning, and advice

Youtuber Anthony’s Texas BBQ gives some great advice on how to season this grill, and a quick mod or two to increase its performance.

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