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Reviews of the Char Broil Offset Smokers Range

by Burning Brisket
Reviews of the Char Broil Offset Smokers

Probably way before you were even an apple in your parents’ eyes, Char-Broil brought out one of the first charcoal grills, revolutionizing cookouts forever. And this is a habit they’ve kept up ever since. Responsible for such innovations as the portable grill and their incredible TRU-Infrared Cooking System, these are just a couple of examples in a long line of updates, with convenience and performance at top of mind. No surprise then, when their CB940 model was awarded the World’s Best BBQ Grill in 1984. These guys really are the pros. What makes Char Broil special, is that they understand that every cook, nay every cookout, is unique. Skill level, space, ingredients, head count, desired end result, Char Broil is dedicated to providing a grill for every occasion.

With that in mind, Char Broil’s impressive array of offset smokers can be divided into two categories. The Char Broil range offers an entry level set of smokers. Starting at just over $100USD, these are the perfect choice for those on a tight budget. But, for those looking for real quality and incredible value, the Oklahoma Joe range offer a whole lot more bang for your buck when it comes to high performance materials, make, additional features and ultimately end result. (Which is why we’re all here, right?)

But, before you part with your hard-earned dollars, check out our rundown of the standout pieces from Char Broil’s offset smoker range.

A Note on the Entry-Level Char Broil Offset Smokers Range

It is important to note with all of the Char Broil entry-level models, that these low price tags do come at a cost. The units aren’t the sturdiest, the steel could be thicker, and there are reports of smoke leakage, all of which will affect your meat. Inaccuracies on the temperature gauge to the tune of 120°F mean that in actual fact, beginners may struggle to get a good result without a shed-load of mods. This is especially noteworthy if you’re planning to be cooking up a storm in chilly weather, as the low-grade steel will take a while to get to a cooking temperature which will be tricky to maintain. If you’re looking for a more solid offset smoker that’s an excellent mix of quality, durability and value, we suggest skipping straight to the Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s range reviews.

Char Broil Offset Smoker & Deluxe Offset Smoker

Coming in at that bargain price of under $100, the Char Broil Offset Smoker is the real budget option. It comes equipped with the minimum features you need to make a success of your next cookout. A vertical pipe smokestack, with adjustable dampers to control your flames, a temperature gauge to monitor your cook and an offset firebox, allowing you access to the flames without letting heat escape.

The cooking grates are porcelain-coated for an easy clean. Cool-touch handles and wheels mean that this model is portable, even right after you’ve finished cooking. If you’re a charcoal grill pro who wants to try their hand at smoking without a big initial layout, this model is a low risk purchase.

The Deluxe Offset Smoker version offers an upgrade on grilling space, giving you the increased control of multiple dampers.

Stats for the Char Broil Deluxe Offset Smoker

Barbecue material: Painted steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated wire

Cooking capacity: 355 sq. in. (Deluxe model)

Fuel type: Charcoal

Model: 14201571

Dimensions: 59″ W x 50″ H x 27″ D

Weight: 102lbs

Warranty: 1 year

Pros of the Char-Broil Offset Smoker and Deluxe Offset Smoker:

  • One of the cheapest offset smokers on the market
  • Comes with all the basics to smoke at home
  • Cool touch handles
  • Built-in cart for portability
  • Deluxe version offers more space for a bigger cook up

Cons of the Char Broil Offset Smoker and Deluxe Offset Smoker:

  • Doesn’t support grilling
  • Thin metal body won’t retain heat well in colder and wet climates
  • Thin metal may warp if temperature gets too hot
  • Prone to flaking paint
  • Cheaper design will leak some smoke but you could address this with some simple mods
  • Thermometer isn’t always a reliable measure of the true temperature making it hard to smoke meat well

Char Broil American Gourmet 30" and 40" Offset Smoker

For just a few bucks more, the Char Broil American Gourmet Smoker, which comes in 30 and 40 inches, offers an improvement on quality and performance from the entry model. The big bonus with this iteration is its versatility. It can double as a charcoal grill, thanks to the inclusion of three charcoal grates, meaning your garage won’t be cluttered with two separate units. The clean up is taken care of, as those porcelain-coated cooking grates are back, and this time you have an ash door for easy firebox clear out.

Stats for the Char Broil American Gourmet 30" // 40"

Barbecue material: Painted steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated wire

Cooking capacity: 477 sq. in. primary + 128 sq. in. secondary (30″ model) // 739 sq. in. primary + 275 sq. in. secondary (40″ model)

Fuel type: Charcoal

Model: 18202078 (30″) // 18202079 (40″)

Dimensions: 57.24″ W x 43.9″ H x 22.13″ D (30″ model) // 66.77″ W x 46.22″ H x 22.13″ D (40″ model)

Weight: 72lbs (30″ model) // 96lbs (40″ model)

Warranty: 1 year

Pros of the Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smokers:

  • Built to smoker and grill
  • Large and extra large cooking capacity so you can buy to suit your party size
  • Inexpensive entry-level Char-Broil offset smoker
  • Access door on side of firebox to make it easy to clean
  • Built-in stand with side shelf for convenient storage

Cons of the Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smokers:

  • Hard to keep heat at an even temperature as the thin metal doesn’t retain heat well, particular in  colder and/or wet climates
  • Accidentally making your fire too hot might cause the metal or warp and paint to flake off
  • Does leak some smoke, but, this can be fixed with a few mods
  • Inacurate thermometer

Char Broil American Gourmet Deluxe 40"

The American Gourmet Deluxe tops out the Char Broil offset smokers range at just under $200. This hefty smoker is a good option if you’re entertaining on a budget. With space for a 40lb pig, you’ve got a great value way to feed a crowd.

For this price, you have all the standard features, plus some attractive stainless steel handles and a handy transport handle, so that taking your smoker to your next tailgate is a cinch. The shelving is moved to the front of the unit for added space and easy access.

Stats for the Char-Broil American Gourmet 40" Deluxe

Barbecue material: Painted steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated wire

Cooking capacity: 739 sq. in. primary, 275 sq. in. secondary

Fuel type: Charcoal

Model: 18202080

Assembled size (in): 46.22″(H) x 57.87″(W) x 29.24″(D)

Weight: 100.3lbs

Warranty: 1 year

Pros of the Char Broil American Gourmet 40″ Deluxe:

  • Large cooking capacity
  • Value under $200 offset smoker
  • Works as a smoker and a charcoal grill
  • Slide out ash tray for easy cleaning
  • Porcelain-coated grates for easy cleaning
  • Comes with a cart with shelving for ease of use

Cons of the Char Broil American Gourmet 40″ Deluxe:

  • Thin metal doesn’t retain heat well, costing more to run and making it really hard to keep at a constant temperature in cooler/wet climates
  • Cooking at high temperatures might cause the steel to warp and paint to flake off
  • Temperature gauge isn’t accurate and there are some reports of being up to 120°F out
  • Leaks smoke but this can be somewhat fixed with a few mods

Oklahoma Joe’s Highland and Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Offet Smokers

As we slide into the Oklahoma Joe range, you’ll notice an immediate upturn in quality materials. The Highland and Longhorn are great mid-range offerings, ideal if you’re new to smoking. Made from high-temperature steel, significantly thicker than on the entry range, this great value model was inspired by smokers from the Texas oil fields. Not only will the quality of your cook benefit from the improved heat retention, but your grill is sure to last a lot more rounds in the ring. Temperature control is a breeze, thanks to high quality dampers and a decent built-in thermometer.

No need to worry about the basic features, you’ve got a removable shelf for your marinades and utensils as standard. Portability isn’t a problem either, with cool-touch handles and a robust set of wheels. Perfect for launching him in and out of the garage every weekend.

Space-wise, you’re looking at 619 square inches of solid cooking real estate on the smaller model, the Highland. We’re talking a whole brisket and a pork butt, here. With versatility in mind, you’ve got 281 inches of grill space directly over the coals as extra. If you’re really hungry, the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn gives you an extra 160 square inches to play with. Perfect to feed a ravenous crowd.

Compared to the budget range, the smoke leakage is minimal and, we personally feel like it doesn’t NEED to be addressed. However a few quick, uncomplicated mods will iron out any minor issues if you wish to.

Stats for the Oklahoma Joe's Highland // Longhorn

Barbecue material: Painted 2.5mm steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated wire

Fuel type: Charcoal or wood

Cooking capacity: 619 sq in primary + 281 sq in secondary (Highland) // 751 sq in primary + 309 sq in secondary (Longhorn)

Model: 15202031-63 // 13201747-63

Assembled size (in): 57″(W) x 33.5″(D) x 53″(H) // 64.3″(W) x 36.5″(D) x 55.5″(H)

Weight: 178lbs // 238lbs

Warranty: 2 years

Pros of the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland and Longhorn Offset Smokers:

  • Smoke or grill on the one barbecue
  • Heavy-duty steel which is less likely to warp
  • Multiple dampers making it easier to control the temperature
  • Professional grade thermometer for more accurate temperature reading so you can achieve better results
  • Large or extra large cooking capacities to suit your needs
  • Sturdy cart with removable front rack for utensils and a beer
  • Porcelain-coated grates are rust-resistant and easy to clean
  • Wheels are large enough and sturdy enough to move this smoker by yourself
  • Cool-touch handlles
  • Additional bung is already there so you can add another thermometer easily if you wish

Cons of the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland and Longhorn Offset Smokers:

  • Does lead a little bit of smoke which can be fixed if you want to (we didn’t worry about the leakage on ours)

Oklahoma Joe’s Highland and Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker

Unique to these models, is the reverse flow system, giving you absolute control and flexibility over the temperature in your cylinder. With four removable baffles and optional smokestack locations, you’ll have even heat and smoke distribution throughout your cook. This guarantees an incredible result, with zero stress or fuss. The inbuilt thermometer is a professional-grade bit of kit, significantly more accurate than on the more inexpensive models. This little gem is perfect for the experimental cook, who wants a stand out companion to take their ‘cue skills to the next level.

The other great feature on this smoker is the larger charcoal basket, so your attitude to fuel management can be as laid back as you are. Not only that, but without the need to refuel as regularly, your temperature will remain steady. Low and slow, perfect for that sweet brisket.

The impressive engineering and sturdy quality of this grill will last you much longer than the price tag suggests. With improved smoke retention, you’re also locking in all that moisture to make for a mouth-watering finish.

While the Highland Reverse offers plenty of space, once again, the Longhorn Reverse offers an upgrade in terms of space, for when you’ve got the whole family round.

Stats for the Highland Reverse // Longhorn Reverse

Barbecue material: Painted 2.5mm steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated wire

Fuel type: Charcoal or wood

Cooking capacity: 619 sq in primary + 281 sq in secondary (Highland) // 751 sq in primary + 309 sq in secondary (Longhorn)

Model: 17202052 // 17202053

Assembled size (in): 57″(W) x 33.5″(D) x 53″(H) // 64.25″(W) x 35.5″(D) x 55.5″(H)

Weight: 181lbs // 226lbs

Warranty: 2 years

Pros of the Char-Broil Highland and Longhorn Reverse Flow:

  • Reverse flow design creates more even heat distribution for improved cooking
  • Reverse flow is easier to cook on than a regular offset smoker so it’s more ideal for beginners
  • Multiple dampers make it easy to reach the exact temperature you want
  • Large and extra large cooking capacities to suit
  • Can even be set up as a regular offset smoker if you’d like
  • Suitable for smoking and grilling
  • Includes a coal box to make it super easy to keep your fire compact
  • Side door in firebox for easy cleaning
  • Heavy-duty steel that’s less likely to warp
  • Rust-resistant, easy to clean porcelain-coated grates
  • Built-in cart with storage makes a great stand alone feature on your patio
  • Large wheels make it easy to move by yourself
  • Professional-grade thermometers for accurate temperature readings and better barbecue results
  • Cool-touch handles

Cons of the Char-Broil Highland and Longhorn Reverse Flow:

  • Leaks a bit of smoke but, overall, an unbeatable value choice for an offset smoker

Oklahoma Joe’s Bandera Vertical Offset Smoker

Not only is the Bandera a feast for the eyes, but the unique vertical build will soon be smoking up a feast for hungry bellies. Offering almost 1,000 square inches of grill space, you can happily have a couple of projects nestled side by side, with no danger of overloading and affecting the quality of the cook. This baby also boasts specialist features such as the rib rack set and meat hanging hooks, making it ideal for you ‘cue aficionados. The larger firebox allows you to load up with your favorite wood for maximum flavor.

As you’d expect, heavy gauge steel construction, high quality dampers: the usual suspects are all present and correct here. With only a few minor mods needed to improve the seal on the door, the Char-Broil Bandera is a great value smoker that will be your barbecue buddy for years to come.

Stats for the Char-Broil Bandera Vertical Offset Smoker

Barbecue material: Painted steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated wire

Cooking capacity: 738 sq. in. primary (smoking) + 254 sq. in. secondary (grilling)

Fuel type: Charcoal or wood

Model: 16202020

Assembled size (in): 66(H) x 42(W) x 28(D)

Weight: 192lbs

Warranty: 2 years

Pros of the Char Broil Bandera Vertical Smoker:

  • Suitable for grilling and smoking
  • Very flexible and large cooking space with hooks, rib racks and regular grates to let you smoke almost anything
  • Vertical offset smoker style takes up less room than a regular horizontal smoker
  • Heavy-duty steel design minimizes chances of warping
  • Multiple dampers for optimal temperature control
  • Cool touch handles
  • Professional-grade thermometer for accurate temperature readings
  • Comes with a sturdy cart with storage and wheels so you don’t need anything else to smoke in your backyard
  • Slide out ash tray to make cleaning easy

Cons of the Char Broil Bandera Vertical Smoker:

  • You may want to do some mods to improve the seal on the door, but, we feel it’s not 100% necessary

Oklahoma Joe’s Combo Charcoal & Gas Offset Smoker

For a comparably modest sum, the Char Broil Longhorn Combo Offset Smoker is a three in one combination grill with myriad benefits. Sizzle burgers on the gas grill, char a few steaks over the charcoals, whilst smoking a pork butt. Or, why not reverse sear a steak on the gas to take your smoking to the next level? Versatile doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Electric ignition on the one hand, and a traditional offset firebox on the other allow you to run the gamut for your next cookout. All the speed of a quick igniter, with all the rustic charm and patience of a low, slow smoker. If your barbecue appliance needs to deliver on functionality, versatility and durability, look no further. Even the most experimental cook will struggle to exhaust all the possibilities that this baby opens up to you.

Space won’t be an issue, with 1,060 square inches of cooking surface across your multiple fuels. And, as you’d expect, you’ve got two temperature gauges and quality dampers to keep all that sizzling meat in check. The high-grade steel used in production ensures a relatively quick heat up, even in those cold winters.

Stats for the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn Combo Smoker

Barbecue material: Painted 2.5mm steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated cast-iron

Fuel type: Charcoal, wood and gas

Cooking capacity: 325 sq. in. smoking, 325 sq. in. gas grill + 310 sq. in. shared between firebox grill and additional gas side grill

Model: 15202029

Assembled size (in): 50.6(H) x 74(W) x 31.5(D)

Weight: 205lbs

Warranty: 2 years

Pros of the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn Combo Smoker:

  • All-in-one solution to your complete barbecue needs as you can smoke and grill with charcoal, wood or gas
  • Large total cooking capacity
  • Quality steel design that’s less likely to warp and rust than cheaper alternatives
  • Rust-resistant, easy to clean porcelain-coated cast iron grates
  • Dual, professional grade thermometers so you can accurately monitor the temperature of both main cooking chambers
  • Sturdy cart with built-in storage and wheels to make it easy to move
  • Cool touch handles
  • Easy clean firebox design

Cons of the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn Combo Smoker:

  • The split fuel design means that although this barbecue is huge, neither side is actually that big on it’s own and you can actually only smoke a moderate amount and grill a moderate amount
  • As with the other Char Broil OJ’s, some smoke leakage will probably occur which can be addressed if need be

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