Find the Best Smoker Grill Combos on the Market
ometimes, you just want it all. That’s okay! Whether you’re indecisive, short on space, or a minimalist who still wants to enjoy a great barbecue, a smoker grill combo could be the headlining star of your outdoor kitchen.
A smoker grill combo is a grill with patience. These outdoor cooking units are designed to produce and maintain a whole spectrum of temperatures. They can crank out enough heat to sear a beautiful medium-rare ribeye, but also hold the line for a low-and-slow brisket-smoking session.
They are available in gas, charcoal, and electric varieties. With a one-and-done, do-it-all grill, you don’t have to worry about packing tons of equipment into a small space, either when in use or in storage. What’s not to love?
Read on for our roundup of the best smoker grill combos on the market. We’ve got a pick for each fuel type so you can find the one that works with your favorite. We’ll be comparing the Z Grills ZPG-7002B Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, the Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw, and the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill.
How do SmokerGrill Combos Work?
Your smoker grill combo has a main grilling area with the grates you’d expect and a heat source for traditional direct-heat grilling. In another area of the grill, wood chips or pellets can be heated to produce smoke that is then circulated through the main area. This way, food is cooked slowly with indirect heat and smoke has plenty of time to soak in and provide flavor.
Can I just Throw a Smoker Box in a Regular Grill?
Yes, you can set up a traditional grill to smoke food with the addition of a smoker box or packet of wood chips. If you only smoke occasionally or want to add a hit of smoke flavor to regular grill items like burgers, this may be enough.
However, if you want to smoke often or take on big projects like brisket that take longer than 12 hours, you might need something more.
A combo unit achieves more consistency and retains temperature better at lower ranges. Many have better temperature control units built in. They are designed for better air circulation to make sure that the smoke and heat circulate throughout the cooking area.
Tips for using your combination grill and smoker
Every grill is unique. Different features and fuel types make each behave a little differently than their brethren. However, there are a handful of things you can do to set yourself up for success, no matter what type of equipment you’re using.
Know the Temperature
Correct cooking temperature is possibly the most important thing to get right when grilling or smoking. Too hot and you’ll have food that’s burned on the outside and raw on the inside, too low and your food could come out bland and baked.
You’ll be cooking a wide variety of foods on your combo unit because variety is the whole point of getting a combo unit. Do a little research and figure out what the best temps are for the food you’re cooking. Steaks usually want a quick super-hot sear and then a few minutes of indirect cooking in a fairly hot environment. The sweet spot for slow-smoking foods is between 200 and 250.
Furthermore, get fanatic about really knowing how hot your grill is and how hot things inside your grill are. Make sure your thermometers are well-calibrated. Use probe thermometers for meats, especially when you’re doing a long-cooking project in your smoker. A probe thermometer can withstand the heat inside the grill and give you a real-time read on how the unseen inside of your meat is going. This way you don’t have to struggle with guesswork.
Use the Right Type of Wood
The type of wood you use for smoking has a big impact on the flavor of the food. Woods for smoking come from deciduous (leaf-dropping) hardwood trees. These woods have less resin and other volatile compounds that can give an unpleasant flavor to foods. Softwoods like pine should be avoided.
Among hardwoods, the aroma and flavor of the smoke vary greatly. Alder and oak are milder, more balanced flavors while walnut and mesquite produce heavy, pungent smoke. Fruit woods such as apple and cherry have round, sweet flavors, while classic hickory is more savory and almost spicy.
Match the intensity of the wood you’re using with the boldness of flavor in the food you’re smoking. Hearty meats like beef or wild game go great with strong woods, while more delicate items such as fish can be overwhelmed by a heavy smoke flavor. Lighter foods should be smoked by milder woods.
Give Yourself Enough Time
Burgers and kebabs are a great choice for whipping up a quick meal because the fun neighbors across the street stopped over. They cook fast and you can often throw them together out of things you may have around in your kitchen already.
However, if you’re smoking the championship brisket, you want to have plenty of time on your hands. You can’t rush low-and-slow cooking. A large cut of meat will retain heat for a long time after you pull it out of the smoker, too. So don’t worry too much about getting it finished up a little early.
What to Look for in a Smoker Grill Combo
Quality materials are the essential component that sets good grills apart from crummy grills. You’re working with high heat in an outdoor environment. Flimsy metal, subpar coatings, and poorly constructed seals will create a grilling experience that’s not worth the trouble.
Look for a unit that’s made from heavy-gauge metals. The door should have a good, tight fit to keep heat and smoke inside. Your grill should have a fair amount of weight to it, so choosing a unit with wheels will make it easier to move around.
Circulation is another important factor to consider. Good results rely on even, consistent heat, especially for long-cooking items like brisket or pork shoulder. Smoke needs to be able to pass through and then escape. Hot spots and variations in temperature will have a negative effect on your cooking.
How many wood chips or pellets you can put in will impact how much you have to attend to your smoker during a long cooking session. Pay special attention to the capacity and ease of adding more if you want to do a lot of long, slow smokes.
The Best Smoker Grill Combos
At a glance:
- 700 total square inches of cooking space
- 20-pound pellet hopper capacity
- 160°F to 450°F temperature range
This smoker grill combo from Z Grills heats with electricity and burns cooking pellets to produce smoke. It’s a convenient, powerful, “plug-and-play” cooking unit. You can crank it up for quick-grilling items like burgers, steaks, and kebabs, or turn the heat down for a steady low-and-slow smoking session. The temperature control dial makes managing the heat as simple as turning on your kitchen oven.
Z Grills use convection to distribute heat throughout the grilling area and an auger system to feed pellets steadily to the fire from the 20-pound hopper. These features combined with the digital temperature control give you unparalleled set-it-and-forget-it convenience.
At a glance:
- 1063 total square inches of cooking space
- Side firebox available separately
Char-Griller’s Outlaw is a champion of versatility. Over 700 square inches of main cooking area plus 300 more of warming rack give you space to spread a real feast in this thing. The adjustable fire grate enables you to choose the distance between food and coals, giving you tons of control over how fast your items cook.
The side firebox addition turns your grill into an offset smoker. It attaches to the side opposite the handy shelf and floods the main grilling area with savory smoke from wood chips or pellets. This upgrades your grill into a combo unit and expands your barbecue horizons. What’s more, it’s removable and functions by itself as a portable mini-grill with the help of easily added tabletop legs. You’ll never be without great grilling on your next road trip, camping excursion, or beach night.
At a glance:
- 470 total square inches of cooking space
- 160°F to 500°F temperature range
- Included sear box
This impressive, full-featured smoker grill combo enables you to cook just about anything, just about any way you would want. It can maintain low, consistent temperatures for deeply flavored smoked meats, grill up burgers for a crowd, and produce a blistering sear for steaks and chicken breasts. The patented ash clean-out cup makes maintaining a clean and efficient grill easy and fast.
Igniting the grill and controlling the temperature are also hassle-free with the dial on the left side of the unit. You won’t be left fussing with a flaky ignition system or fighting with managing the fire.
At a glance:
- 50”H x 62”W x 29”D
- 580 square inches of primary cooking area
- 830 square inches of total cooking area
- 250 square inch firebox
While a lot of charcoal grills can be rigged up to smoke food, the Char-Griller Smokin’ Pro Charcoal Grill comes ready to star in both roles. A side firebox provides outstanding smoke flavor for when you want to go the low-and-slow route with your barbecue.
This grill offers an enormous 830 square inches of total cooking area. Platforms on the side and front provide easy access to tools and accessories. The Smokin’ Pro has a sturdy steel construction and durable powder coat for rust resistance.
While it does have wheels, this 118-pound piece of equipment is better suited to get set up in one place and then left there. It’s a reliable and versatile barbecue tool with more than enough space to take care of big cooking jobs.
This Way for great Grilling
All of these smoker grill combos have a lot to offer backyard cooking. That said, we love the innovative pellet feeding system in the Z Grills ZPG 7002B. The convenience of electricity as a power source and hands-off management style of this grill means you don’t have to spend all your time keeping a close eye on it. Throw on your favorites, set your desired temperature, and go enjoy your get together. You deserve it!