The 7 Best Grill Smoker Combos for 2023
We’ve reviewed lots of great grills and lots of great smokers, but what about a grill that can do both?
If having a separate smoker and grill isn’t an option for you, we’ve picked the best smoker grill combos that excel at both tasks.
While you can rig almost any grill into a smoker with enough mods, we’ve focused on units that can do both jobs well without needing too much fiddling around.
In a rush? We think the Kamado Joe Classic II performs great at both grilling and smoking, while the Weber SmokeFire Gen 2 is one of the few pellet grills that can handle both grilling and smoking.
Read on to find out what your best options are at a variety of different price points.
Our Top Choices For The Best Grill Smoker Combos in 2023
If you want the freedom to grill or smoke without buying multiple products these are the best choices.
We’ve included charcoal, pellet, and propane options as each fuel type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that may make it more suited to your needs.
1. Best Overall Grill Smoker Combo – Kamado Joe Classic II Ceramic Charcoal Grill
In our opinion, Kamado ceramic grills are some of the most versatile grills on the planet.
They are great for both grilling and smoking (they hold their own as a pizza or bread ovens as well) although you may need to purchase a heat deflector accessory for smoking.
Fueled by charcoal, Kamado grills are exceptionally well insulated which means they can hold steady temperatures for many hours without you having to babysit them.
While you can’t go wrong with a Big Green Egg, for the money we like the Kamado Joe Classic II (see our Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe breakdown).
You can choose from a few different sizes. The 18″ is the sweet spot for most people although you can opt for the Big Joe if you need extra grilling area.
The 18″ model gives you 406 square inches of grilling area and is capable of smoking temperatures around 225°F all the way up to searing at 750°F
Kamado Joe has included some cool innovations like the divide and conquer cooking system which lets you grill different foods at different heights.
There’s also the airlift hinge which reduces the weight of the dome by 96%. A handy feature to have with a grill this solid.
What we like:
- Versatility and ease of use – The
Kamado Joeticks all the boxes for a versatile grill smoker combo. The two-tier grill rack system is super convenient and makes it easy to grill different types of food at once. With the heat deflector, you can easily smoke low and slow all day long without much fuss.
- Low fuss charcoal – Some people are put off charcoal because they think it’s a lot of work to manage and clean up. While it is a little more hands on, the
Kamado Joeis so well insulated it doesn’t require a lot of adjustments to hold a temperature for smoking low and slow, and the ash clean system makes cleanup simple.
What we don’t like:
- On the expensive side – You definitely pay for the construction quality and if you need to cook for a large group you’ll need to go for the more expensive larger option.
It’s worth noting that
If you need to have the latest and greatest it’s technically the best option, but most people won’t notice the difference and so you can save a few hundred bucks with the Classic II.
2. Best Budget Grill Smoker Combo – Char-Griller Akorn Kamado
Read our full Char-Griller Akorn review.
Some of the benefits of a Kamado grill at a budget price
If you liked the sound of the
The design of this grill looks similar, but the body is made out of 22 gauge steel instead of ceramic and the interior is finished with porcelain coated steel.
This has been done to keep the cost of the grill down, but you do give up some of the benefits of a true Kamado grill. You’ll need to take care of it as the steel will eventually rust.
You get 314 square inches of primary cooking area plus a 133 square inch warming rack. The grill grates are made out of cast iron.
What we like:
- Great value for money – If you want to get stuck into Kamado grilling without a huge budget this is still a good option and will allow you to sear steaks or cook brisket for long overnight smokes.
- Simple ash cleanout – The removable pan collects all the ash and makes it easy to dump it all out when you’re finished cooking.
What we don’t like:
- Cheaper construction – Hard to fault Char-Griller for this as this is sold at a much lower price point. This unit won’t hold temperatures quite as steady for long low and slow cooks as the
Kamado Joeand parts are more likely to break down over time.
- Requires a little more attention – For low and slow cooks you’ll need to keep a closer eye on this grill, especially when smoking in extreme weather.
This might not be the grill you end up handing down to your grandson, but if you want a cheap Kamado that can grill and smoke it’s a decent alternative.
3. Best Pellet Grill for Smoking & Grilling – Weber SmokeFire Gen 2 Wood Fired Pellet Grill
Read our full Weber SmokeFire review.
If you’re not fussed about being traditional and want all the latest features like WiFi connectivity, wood pellet grills are probably your best choice if you need a versatile cooker.
Even though they are called pellet grills, most of them actually struggle to grill as their design prevents them from reaching the high temperatures required for proper searing.
Weber has come up with a solution to this problem with their first entry into the pellet grill market, the SmokeFire.
Choose between the EX4 with 672 square inches of cooking space and the EX6 with a whopping 1008 square inches.
You can get up to a max temperature of 600°F while most pellet grills are only capable of 450-500°F.
While the initial release was plagued with issues,
What we like:
- Improved wood pellet hopper and auger design –
Weberhas shaken up the standard pellet grill design convention by moving the 22-pound hopper to the back of the grill. This means they can use a shorter, inclined auger which should experience fewer annoying pellet jams.
- Smoke & Grill –
Most pellet grills struggle to sear properly. The SmokeFire’s unique open design allows for higher direct heat, making this a great combo grill/smoker.
- Pellet hopper sensor – Get an alarm on your phone when your pellets are running low. Nothing worse than running out of pellets in the middle of a cook.
What we don’t like:
- Grease catchment system –
Webertried to change up the standard design here, and unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well as other pellet grills on the market. Easily fixed by placing aluminum catch pans underneath the grates.
- Minimal shelving and storage areas – All you get is one tiny shelf for food prep and storing gear, unless you splash out for the front or side shelf addons.
You can check out our hands-on SmokeFire review where we share all our experience cooking on the larger 2nd Gen EX6.
4. Best Tabletop Grill Smoker Combo – Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill
Read our full Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill review.
If you’re looking for something a little more portable that can grill and smoke, then the Ninja Woodfire is an interesting choice.
This is an electric grill, which we normally wouldn’t recommend unless you are in an apartment or area with strict regulations.
Ninja has added smoking capabilities. All you need to do is fill the smoke box with pellets and set the grill to smoke mode.
You can also combine different cooking modes, for example you could smoke wings and then finish them with an air or grill.
What we liked:
- Excellent smoke flavor – Electric grills struggle to rival gas or charcoal, but by burning wood pellets you get a really good level of smoke flavor
- Mobile – Grill is small and light enough that you can pack it away between uses, or put it in the back of your car for a camping or tailgate trip
- Easy to clean – All the mess is contained and easy to clean. Grill grates are easy to remove for scrubbing, and simply empty out the smoke box (if you used it) and drip pan.
What we didn’t like:
- Could be a little wider – While the compact size is nice for portability, if the grill were a bit wider, it would make this even more versatile.
- Easily add smoke flavor
- Very easy and safe to use
- Combine different cooking methods
- Could be slightly bigger
5. Camp Chef SmokePro SG 24 Deluxe Pellet Grill with optional Sear Box
If your budget can’t stretch for the
It’s a great pellet grill for the price, with the option to add a searing station in the future
The SmokePro SG 24 Deluxe lets you choose between 175 – 400°F. It also offers several other pre-sets like “High”, “LO Smoke” and “HI Smoke”. You can easily hold at an ideal smoking temp of 225-250° consistently for many hours.
It’s a mid-sized grill that strikes a perfect balance between quality and value for your dollar. The temperature control is super simple and gives you plenty of options to dial in depending on if you are grilling or smoking.
With 429 square inches of cooking area, you can easily fit several racks of ribs at once. One of the benefits with a pellet style cooker is they are super fast to fire up. You’ll be cooking within 10 minutes.
What we liked:
- Smoke stack position – has been cleverly positioned behind the unit, giving you more space to work with on the right hand side.
- Efficient and well insulated – Unless you are cooking in extreme conditions this grill is super efficient and doesn’t chew through pellets like some of the cheaper options.
What we didn’t like:
- One year warranty – Below industry standards. It’s a shame Camp Chef couldn’t stretch to 3+ years because this smoker is a solid, well built unit that should last you for many years.
While the Camp Chef can easily stay in the ideal smoking temp range, and get as hot as 500°F (hot enough to produce crispy skin on a chicken), it’s never going to compete with a dedicated grill for searing.
This is why if you want to use it as your dedicated grill and smoker, we would really recommend the optional Sear Box add on.
The Sear Box attaches to the side of your smoker and allows you to grill at blistering hot temperatures up to 900°. This addition makes the Camp Chef our most expensive option, but it makes up for the extra cost in convenience and versatility.
If you still can’t decide we have a detailed guide comparing gas and pellet grills.
6. Weber Original Kettle Premium 22″ Charcoal Grill
Read our full Weber Original Kettle 22″ Review.
The classic Kettle grill is an excellent, affordable grill that can do a surprisingly good job at smoking with a little know-how
As a grill, the
What you might not know, is that with a simple variation on how you place the charcoal, a standard Weber Kettle can be turned into an excellent smoker.
With some clever tricks, the
The Kettle comes in numerous different sizes so you can size up or down depending on how much food you plan on cooking. We wouldn’t recommend going too small as that can make it difficult to use as a smoker.
We’ll explain why below.
The 22″ classic original is a great option for the price. If you think you’ll need a lot of space, the 26″ version is also excellent.
This is definitely the best grill smoker combo if budget is an issue for you.
What we like:
- Durable construction – Pressed sheets of steel are coated with porcelain enamel to form the body of the kettle. This ensures a long lasting product that shouldn’t rust, but stilll make sure you invest in a grill cover if you leave it outside.
- Well-sealed and air tight – For such a cheap option you get outstanding heat control which allows you to maintain stable temps for a long time, while burning less fuel.
- Light and portable – The two wheels attached to the base of the legs makes this grill very easy to pack up and take camping.
You’ve got two options for setting the Kettle up for smoking. One is free, and the other is a third party add on that is also useful for grilling.
Smoking on the
Option 1: The Snake Method
The easiest and cheapest way to setup a
You can see this in practice in this excellent video.
- Make a ‘C’ shape by stacking coals around the edge of the charcoal grate. The number of coals and length of the snape will depend on the size of your grill and how long you plan on cooking for.
- Pour some lit coals onto one end of the snake so that they are touching the unlit coals. You can turn you charcoal chimney upside down and use the smaller section to measure out the right number of coals.
- Add a few large chunks of wood spread out along the section with the lit coals.
- Add the largest aluminium pan you can fit next to the coals and fill it with warm water
- Add the grill grate, and then place the food above the water pan to protect it from the heat of the coals.
That’s all there is to it. You’ll need to play around with how many coals to use, and monitor the internal temp closely with a wireless thermometer and keep your vents adjusted to main a temp between 225 – 250°F.
Option 2: The Slow ‘N Sear.
The Slow ‘N Sear is a stainless steel basket that clips on to your
This keeps everything nicely contained, and leaves more room to place your food. You can also cook for 8 hours on a single load of charcoal.
Check out how Adrenaline Barbecue use the Slow ‘N’ Sear to cook ‘Last Meal Ribs’ on a
While people usually buy the Slow ‘N Sear to smoke on, it also gives you an incredibly hot ‘sear zone’ when you place meat directly over the charcoal basket. This gives you better searing than
A dedicated smoker like the Smokey Mountain is always going to outperform the
For much less money, and much more flexibility, it’s an excellent option if you want the flexibility to grill or smoke on the same device. And if you decide to upgrade to a dedicated smoker like the
7. Weber Genesis ll E-310 Propane Grill
The best gas grill smoker combo if you will be primarily grilling with the occasional smoke
As the name implies, the Genesis ll E-310 is marketed as a grill. And as a grill, the genesis represents the best value you can get in this price range.
With 507 square inches of cooking space and three burners capable of outputting 38,000 BTUs the E-310 makes an excellent dedicated grill.
We’ll go into more detail later, but the three burners and excellent thermal insulation helps you use the grill for low and slow cooking.
The assembly for a grill of this size is relatively easy and should take most people around 30-45 minutes.
What we like:
- Outstanding build quality – While the BTUs per square inch is lower than some other grills, the efficient design of the Genesis ll helps to hold in the heat that it creates. The components are well made and sturdy, and you can tell that
Weberhave put a lot of thought into the placement and functionality of every part of the grill.
- Even heat distribution – Unlike some cheap grills that need you to babysit them, the Genesis ll distributes the heat evenly which prevents hot spots and flare ups.
- Generous warranty – While you shouldn’t need to use it (due the build quality we were just harping on about), you get the added piece of mind with a 10 year warranty.
What we don’t like:
- No cabinet doors – This shouldn’t be an issue for most people, but if you have critters around your property then not being able to close off access to the grease tray can be annoying.
Note that if you want a side burner you’ll need to upgrade to the Genesis II E-335.
Smoking on the
Weber Genesis ll E-310
We don’t need to go into any more detail about what makes the E-310 a great grill. What you really want to know is how to set it up for smoking and how it performs cooking barbecue. Great barbecue requires steady low temperatures (between 225 – 250°F), and smoke for the first few hours of cooking.
The E-310 shouldn’t have any problem with maintaining temperatures (although a good wireless thermometer is still recommend). You’ve got a couple of options for producing smoke.
Option 1: The Coffee tin method
For this method you’ll need a large coffee tin or similar with six holes punched in the bottom. Next you’ll need some wood chunks (not the more commonly found chips). I like using Apple but there are lots of options out there.
You need to get a couple of good sized chunks started. The easiest option is to use a Chimney Fire Starter. Commonly used for starting charcoal, but you can use one for igniting your smoking wood. Once the wood is starting to smoke place it in the tin.
Then you want to remove the grate off one of the burners and place the tin on top of it and then turn it on as low as it will go. Then you place your meat on the other side with the burner off.
If it gets too hot at the start you can cut the burner for a few minutes. This should allow you to maintain around 225. You’ll need to reload the wood once or twice, but after about 4 hours the meat stops taking on smoke.
Option 2: Pellet Smoker Tube
This option is much easier, but does require the purchase of a smoke generator. Luckily this little tube will only set you back around $25.
This tube works great and can produce smoke for hours at a time when you follow the instructions correctly. You load it with pellets and then place it near heat and it generates smoke for up to 4 hours.
While you can get a variety of different shapes and sizes, I find that the 12″ tube is the most versatile.
Make sure not to put it directly over the heat. For example, I would put mine in the middle and use the left burner.
Whether you go for the pellet tube smoker or rig your own wood holder, the Genesis ll E-310 is an excellent grill that can easily double as a smoker with some simple setup.
What’s the difference between a grill and a smoker
To put it simply, a grill is designed to sear food at high temperatures up to 700°F, while a smoker is designed for low and slow cooking at temperatures between 225-300°F.
You use a smoker to cook traditional low and slow style barbecue. Think pulled pork or smoked brisket.
Grills on the overhand excel at cooking hot and faster. Steak, fish, vegetables, chops, etc are all best cooked on a grill.
What to consider when buying a smoker grill combo
The first thing you need to understand is that the things that make a grill a good grill, often make it a bad smoker (and vice versa).
That’s why most people will recommend you buy a dedicated grill and smoker and get the best of both worlds.
If space is limited, or you only have the budget for one item, that doesn’t mean you have to give up hope though.
Here a few factors that are important when buying a combo.
The fuel source or type of smoker
Not all fuel sources are created equally. For example, propane and electric smokers would fail at grilling due to their low temperatures and lack of direct heat.
Your two best options are charcoal, where you can control the airflow and amount of charcoal to achieve either searing or low and slow temperatures and pellet grills.
Although pellet grills are electric, some models have been designed to get around the searing problem with some design features.
Insulation and build quality
Good insulation isn’t very important when you are searing steak over burners putting out 37,500 BTUs.
If you need to close the lid and generate smoke over low temperatures for 12 hours at a time you’ll understand the importance of insulation.
That’s why we are especially fond of Kamado grills for their ability to smoke and grill.
Technology and features
If WiFi connectivity and the latest tech features are important to you, then a pellet grill is your best bet.
Being able to control your grill via your phone is a cool trick (especially if you live somewhere that gets extra cold).
Some people couldn’t care less, and like the more hands on nature you get cooking with charcoal.
There’s no right or wrong answer (ignore what any grumpy old man tells you), it just comes down to your personal preference.
When it’s time to think about upgrading to a dedicated smoker
Hopefully you’ve found this guide to the best smoker grill combos useful and are now confident in buying a new grill.
But if you think you’re going to be smoking the majority of the time, or you just want to keep your options open we suggest you review all your options.
We’ve compiled the following guides to help you understand the pros and cons of each type of smoker, as well as comparing the best models across different budgets.
- Best beginner smokers
- Best charcoal smokers
- Best gas smokers
- Best electric smokers
- Best pellet smokers
If you do decide to upgrade to a dedicated smoker, you can usually get a pretty good deal buy selling your old smoker on Ebay.
But let’s be honest, once you get the barbecue obsession, collecting a range of smokers and grills is all part of the fun.