Char-Broil Offset Smoker Review
Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker, Deluxe 1280
The Char-Broil Offset Smoker 1280 is a large charcoal grill. It’s a 3-in-1 setup: a smoker, a barbecue, and a grill, all in one system. The Char-Broil American Deluxe Smoker is very spacious with 1,280 square inches of total cooking area in its two chambers. Both chambers have lids to lock in the smoke, enhancing the flavor of the grilled food. These lids feature cool-touch handles too, so you can open and close them safely while grilling. The grill grates inside are porcelain-coated, protecting them against rust while making them easy to clean. The Char-Broil Offset Smoker American Gourmet Grill also has multiple dampers for controlling heat and smoke. It also has a lid-mounted thermometer dial to monitor the temperature inside. In front of and below the cooking chamber are spacious racks for keeping utensils, ingredients, and extra charcoal close by. And of course, the grill includes wheels to move around much more easily.
Most of the Char-Broil is made of enamel sheet metal; the legs are made of steel. This makes it lightweight despite the large size. It’s five feet from end to end, but weighs only 102 pounds. That’s a good thing, because it’s easier to carry and move around.
This comes at a disadvantage, though. The metal used for the Char-Broil American Gourmet Deluxe Offset Smoker is thin, so the entire thing is not very solid. Because of that, the grill does not retain heat very well. It does not distribute heat evenly either. Maintaining your desired grilling temperature may thus be a challenge.
DIY enthusiasts may want to modify the Char-Broil Offset Smoker American Gourmet Deluxe Charcoal Grill to fit their needs. But for those who aren’t keen on tinkering with their grills, this may pose a problem.
Then again, it’s a consequence of that low price. You get what you pay for, after all.
As for the grill grates, they are porcelain-coated cast-iron. At least with these, heating is a lot better. Cast iron heats up quickly, distributes heat more evenly, and retains heat well. As a bonus, the porcelain coating makes for easier cleaning of the grates. It’s as easy as using water and a brass brush.
The Char-Broil Offset Charcoal Smoker has two chambers: one large main chamber, and another, smaller firebox chamber. Both have lids to keep the smoke in, which improves the flavor of the food inside.
The main chamber is where most of the grilling happens, with its spacious cooking area of 670 square inches. It also has a swing-away rack for warming food, and this has 355 square inches of area. With that much space, you can cook 12 large burgers all at once. This is great for those who need to cook lots of food for big groups of people.
The second chamber is the firebox, which is where the charcoal goes – this is why it’s an “offset” grill. You can add charcoal and stoke the fire in the firebox, without touching the main chamber. You may also cook in the firebox chamber itself, as features 255 square inches of area. That’s on top of the already spacious main chamber.
Again, because of the poor heat retention and distribution of this grill, you may need to figure out some parlor tricks to keep the temperature where you want it. The good thing, though, at least, is there’s more than one way to regulate the heat.
The Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Charcoal Smoker has multiple levels of temperature control. First is through the offset firebox chamber, where the coal goes. Second is through adjusting the height of the charcoal pan. Third is through the adjustable dampers of the smokestack.
As mentioned, you can add coal and fire up the grill through the firebox chamber. You don’t have to open the main chamber. The firebox distributes the heat to the main chamber, where most of the food is. The charcoal pan’s height can also be adjusted to provide more or less heat.
Behind the main chamber is a smokestack, and this also functions to regulate the heat. Open the dampers more to cool down the main chamber, or close them to keep the heat inside. It also doubles to control how much smoke is in the chamber.
The Char-Broil American Gourmet Deluxe Offset Charcoal Smoker And Grill also has a lid-mounted temperature gauge, so you always know how hot it is inside the grill. No more guesswork. And this does help a lot, given the uneven heat distribution of the grill. At least you know how hot it is inside the chamber every time. You can then adjust the heat accordingly.
The Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset BBQ Smoker does come with some additional tricks up its sleeve. One is the clean-out door behind the offset firebox. This makes disposing of ash a lot easier.
Another is the insulated handles for the lids and the clean-out door. That means you can open and close the lids safely even while grilling. Though it’s always better to use mitts when handling anything hot. That way you won’t scorch your hands by accident.
The grill also features two storage racks – one below the main chamber, and another right in front of the main chamber. Here, you can put your ingredients, condiments, utensils, oil, spare charcoal, lighters, and a lot more.
The Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset 3-in-1 Smoker also has two wheels underneath. That makes it a lot easier to move from place to place. And since it’s not too heavy (102 pounds), moving it around won’t be too much of a chore.
The best aspect of Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker 1280 is large cooking area, so you can prepare lots of food for lots of hungry guests. Being easy to clean is also a big plus, especially for a large grill. And the lightweight construction makes it more portable as well. True enough, there are other better grill and smoker combos out there, but you’ll have to pay a lot more for them. The Char-Broil Offset Smoker Grill is a good choice if you need a large grill but are also on a budget.