Best Backyard Charcoal Smokers

Barbecue smokers come in a lot of shapes and styles these days. Charcoal is, of course, the best path to authentic smoke flavor for the average backyard cook. These are the best of this category and represent a number of styles and capacities. A good backyard smoker will cost a few hundred dollars up to more than a thousand. The difference is the style and capacity you are looking for. All of these will cook several racks of ribs or at least one large brisket. They are simple to use, easy to control, and in general efficient. They all are capable of holding low and slow smoking temperatures for long periods of time and will produce great barbecue.
Weber Smokey Mountain 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker
Weber Smokey Mountain 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker

1

Weber Smokey Mountain 18

Read the Full Review of the Weber Smokey Mountain 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker

The Weber Smokey Mountain is the standard by which all backyard charcoal smokers are measured. With some practice, it can be set up to hold temperatures for longer than any piece of barbecue requires. While this is a relatively small smoker, it has the capacity to fit most people's needs. Since it is so popular, the internet is loaded with tips and tricks and there are a host of accessories to make it even easier to use.

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2

Primo Oval XL

Read the Full Review of the Primo Oval XL Kamado Grill

I have chosen the Primo Oval XL for this list because of all the Kamado grills on the market, it has the capacity and shape that makes it the perfect backyard smoker. This is the most expensive cooker on this list, but with the added value of being a fantastic grill, it is the one cooker that can do it all. Durable, well constructed and capable of producing a lot of barbecue, for those willing to spend more, this is the product to buy. You won't be sorry.

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Also see the Best Kamado Grills

3

Pit Barrel Cooker

Read the Full Review of the Pit Barrel Cooker

Barrel cookers or pits are simple in design and use, yet offer a wide range of cooking versatility. The Pit Barrel Cooker comes with everything to smoke, roast and grill. In this design, food hangs over a charcoal fire that is controlled by little more than the way the cooker is built. Because of the hanging style of cooking, this unit has one of the largest capacities on this list and can cook several large roasts or racks of ribs.

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4

The Good One Open Range

Read the Full Review of The Good One Open Range Smoker

The Good One smoker (yes, that is the name) is based on the classic offset smoker design. The innovation here is that two chambers, the fire and smoker chambers run parallel to each other, reducing the size of the smoker and putting the heat more evenly associated with the smoking or food chamber. A single baffle or door runs between these so that the smoke chamber can be cut off from the fire chamber as needed. Highly precise vents control the airflow and what you get is an efficient and capable smoker in a small size. There is also a grate over the charcoal, so this smoker can also grill. It does it all.

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5

Napoleon Apollo 300 Charcoal Smoker

Read the Full Review of the Napoleon Apolloe 300 Charcoal Smoker

The Napoleon Apollo is billed as the smarter bullet smoker (similar in size and capabilities to the Weber Smokey Mountain above). This is a theme you find with Napoleon. What makes this smoker different is that it is actually three cookers in one. The two center sections can be removed as desired so it can be a full sized smoker, or a small, portable charcoal grill. The sections lock in place (something the Weber could stand to consider) so it is easy to move and the airflow is better controlled. If you don't want the Weber, this is the one to look at.

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6

Weber Kettle Original 22 Charcoal Grill

Yes, it is the iconic charcoal grill. It is also a great smoker. The superior airflow control of the Weber Kettle means that it can be held at low temperatures for long periods of time. It won't go more than a few hours, but as a smoker, this is an inexpensive alternative to many backyard smokers. To smoke on this grill, put the coals on one half of the grill with an aluminum pan of water over the fire. Place the food over the indirect cooking space. Adjust the vents to hold the heat around 250 degrees F. and now you are smoking. If you want to make this process easier, consider buy the excellent Smokenator accessory easy smoking on a kettle grill.

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7

Broil King Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Not to be left our, Broil-King has introduced its own vertical charcoal smoker. This block style unit had great capacity and good airflow. While more expensive than the Weber, it is a good sized unit with front doors making access to the food and fire easier. Well constructed and easy to use, this is also a great backyard smoker.

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8

Dyna-Glo Signature Heavy Duty Charcoal Smoker

Dyna-Glo has become a major player in backyard cooking and this heavy duty smoker is in fact heavy and has a side mounted (or offset) firebox that is easy to access and moves the heat out from under the food and off to the side. This design is well implemented and the heat flow is cook. This large unit is comparable in price to most of the smokers above, though a little more limited in quality.

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