Dyna-Glo's Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill is manufactured using heavy-gauge steel and has durable, oversize steel wheels to facilitate transportation. The analog temperature gauge features smoking, barbecuing, and grilling indicators to help you achieve your ideal temperature. The preinstalled sausage hooks offer an additional cooking option.
Because of the larger size and bulk, the unit may be mishandled during shipping and can arrive dented.
This Dyna-Glo compact smoker features 2 chrome-plated cooking grates that can provide a total of 390 square inches for cooking. The lid and bottom dampers allow you to fine-tune your cooking temperature, while the large stainless steel side door provides quick internal access.
Although the high-gloss forest green paint looks appealing, the cooking temperatures will eventually burn it off.
The cool-touch handles remove the risk of burning your hands when opening either of the unit's lids, while the porcelain enameled steel grates are designed to retain heat for more even cooking. The removable offset charcoal grate allows quick and easy access to refuel or to clear away ash.
Overall, there aren't too many cons to this smoker other than an occasional faulty or missing part, which the manufacturer will make good on.
The design of this wide-body smoker allows you to cook a variety of food while capturing the maximum amount of flavor. It's capable of smoking 150 pounds of food at once and the porcelain-enameled offset charcoal chamber can provide maintenance-free cooking for hours at a time.
The lower door latch can be awkward to access, and some models arrive with slight dents that may allow smoke and heat to escape.
This electric smoker has 3 adjustable chrome-plated cooking grates and a temperature dial so you can call up the precise cooking temperature for your needs. The unit also has a side access so you can add wood chips without losing heat or smoke.
An electric smoker doesn't infuse as much smoke and flavor into food as a charcoal smoker does.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Dyna-Glo’s high-quality smokers offer some of the most popular and competitively priced ways to create succulent, flavor-filled ribs, steaks, chicken, joints, and sausages. You can also do wonderful things with fish, vegetables, and even cheeses. The company offers charcoal, propane, and electric options, offset, horizontal, and vertical, but how do you know which one is right for the way you like to cook?
That’s what we at BestReviews are here for. We’ve been busy investigating each model and doing some taste testing (it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it). We’ve looked at cooking space and extras like glass doors and cool-touch handles.
The results of our research are the recommendations shown above and in the following buying guide, which should give you all the information you need to make the best decision for your outdoor space and taste buds.
When reviewing Dyna-Glo smokers, we looked at four key areas: flavor, capacity, convenience, and features.
If you check websites dedicated to cooking with smokers, you’ll see that enthusiasts like nothing more than a good debate about technique. One thing remains pretty much constant, though, and that is the most authentic smoky flavor comes from an old-fashioned charcoal-fired smoker. Okay, it’s “authentic” in as much as that’s the way it’s been done for as long as people have smoked food, but is it better?
Gas: A gas smoker uses propane to heat charcoal and/or wood chips. It creates smoke in the same way as a charcoal smoker. However, propane does have a small impact on the flavor. Some experts describe it as more “bacon-like.”
Electric: An electric smoker uses an element to heat wood chips. There’s no charcoal involved. A water pan can be used with all smokers, but it’s particularly important with electric ones to maintain the right humidity and keep meat from drying out. The lack of charcoal impacts the flavor, but much of the flavor comes from wood choice, marinades, and rubs.
In our opinion, it’s important to consider all the factors rather than just jump to “charcoal is best.”
Dyna-Glo smokers, like most smokers, are typically rated by the size of the rack space. Our budget choice offers 390 square inches, and at the upper end models can provide over 1,900 square inches. Some people struggle to picture what that means in real food terms. One simple visualization trick is to measure a rack in the oven in your kitchen and imagine how many times that would fit into the smoker you’re considering. Also, as a general guide, Dyna-Glo says that each shelf has a capacity of up to 25 pounds. The Compact Bullet has one shelf; other models have three, four, or five.
Electric: With a Dyna-Glo electric smoker, starting is immediate and trouble-free. Electric models are also the only kind with glass fronts so you can see what’s going on without opening the door and losing valuable heat. There’s also the question of control, which is more precise on a model that uses electronics.
Gas: Propane models also have push-button ignition, and while not quite as accurate as electric, the burners are very controllable. The only drawback here is the propane bottle itself. It’s bound to run out at the least convenient moment, so to be safe you need two, and that requires extra storage space.
Charcoal: Charcoal models are less easy to regulate and so need more attention to get the best results. However, dampers and an adjustable flue are a great help.
This is the one for those who like to go big. The tough, high-quality chassis encloses over 1,300 square inches of cooking surface. In addition to five grates, there are six sausage hooks, so no space is wasted. The offset area gives you grilling at the same time. Cool-touch handles provide safe access, and big wheels make for easy mobility. Want to invite all your friends and family? With this smoker, you can feed the whole neighborhood!
Offset: The main benefit of an offset smoker is that the heat is always indirect, which is ideal for smoking.
Weight: This is a consideration if you’re going to move your Dyna-Glo smoker from cooking area to storage and back again. The Compact Bullet is only 21 pounds, so it’s easily portable. Some of the larger models have wheels. The challenge comes with the midsize models that weigh 60 to 80 pounds. You’ll either need to put it in a permanent location or get help to move it.
“Smoke zone”: A very useful feature of Dyna-Glo smokers is the “smoke zone” incorporated in the temperature gauge, a clear guide to achieving the best flavor.
Adjustability: In most models, the height of the racks is adjustable, giving you the option of accommodating cuts of all shapes and sizes. Rib racks and sausage hooks are included in some models, further enhancing flexibility.
Power: British Thermal Units (BTU) are often quoted, perhaps because the numbers are impressive. It’s not a feature of great significance because, unlike with a grill, you never need powerful, fast heat.
If there’s a drought, local ordinances may prevent you from using a charcoal smoker. If you buy an electric model, you can use it any time.
If you need to keep your smoker outdoors when it’s not in use, a cover is a sensible investment. Dyna-Glo makes its own tailored versions, but others are also available.
Dyna-Glo smokers — even electric models — are not suitable for use indoors. Wood chips release carbon monoxide, which is invisible, has no smell, and can kill. Outdoors means outdoors, not in a garage or shed with the door open.
Inexpensive: You can start smoking with a Dyna-Glo for around $60, which isn’t very much at all when you consider the quality and flexibility of the smaller models.
Mid-range: Vertical charcoal and analog electric smokers start at about $150. Propane and offset charcoal models cost from $200 to $350. The biggest of these has a capacity of up to 150 pounds.
Expensive: The Dyna-Glo digital electric range with Bluetooth control costs from a little over $300 up to $450 for the 100-pound capacity two-door model.
Versatility and value
This is a great introduction to the joys of smoking, and the low cost certainly doesn’t mean it lacks in quality. Galvanized and stainless steel make for a very durable chassis, yet it weighs just 21 pounds. Heavy-duty chromed racks clean up quickly and easily. It has all the features you need, and if you lift out the middle section, you can use it for tasty barbecue, too!
Don’t overlook the water pan. Water helps even out the temperature and makes the smoke “stickier” so it improves the depth of flavor. In electric smokers, it increases humidity, which helps keep the meat tender as it smokes.
Let the smoked meat rest. To ensure your meat is succulent and packed with flavor, let it rest before serving: 3 to 5 minutes for chops or steaks, from 10 to 20 minutes for a large joint. This allows the juices that have moved to the center of the meat during cooking to spread throughout the meat again.
Safety first. If you’re going to leave a charcoal smoker unattended, make sure there’s no chance of it being knocked over or of hot embers blowing onto flammable material. In general, these devices are very safe, but it would be foolish to take risks with your property.
Drink responsibly. Many of us like a beer or other alcoholic drink with our smoked meat. Nothing wrong with that, but while you’re smoking your food, you want a clear head so you can cope quickly and easily if anything goes wrong. The best policy is to have your drink when dinner’s ready.
Dispose of ash carefully. If you’re using a charcoal smoker, be very careful when disposing of the ash. It can stay hot, and therefore be a fire risk, for a surprisingly long time.
We stand by our top picks, but there are a couple other models we’d like to point out. The Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D Vertical Charcoal Smoker is a midsize two-door model typical of Dyna-Glo’s high product standards, good value, and user-friendly feature set. The 36-inch smoker has a capacity of 784 square inches over four racks, which each hold up to 25 pounds. The Dyna-Glo DGU951SSE-D Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker mixes the best of traditional and modern. While firmly focused on getting the best flavor from your food, it offers absolute control either from the panel on the top or via your smartphone. The cooking area is 951 square inches, and you can see what’s going on thanks to the LED lighting.
Q. What’s the best Dyna-Glo smoker for a beginner?
A. That’s a very difficult question because it depends on your food preferences, how often you’re likely to use it, and the number of people you’re serving. The Compact Charcoal Bullet Smoker is a terrific value, and even if you move on to a larger model, it will always be useful. If you’re looking for convenience and easy control, a propane or electric model might be a better choice.
Q. How do I maintain my Dyna-Glo smoker?
A. Dyna-Glo smokers are very durable and have chrome, galvanized, and stainless steel components that are easy to clean and reduce maintenance to a minimum. When you first get your Dyna-Glo smoker, season it following the instructions in your owner’s manual. It will improve both the longevity of the smoker and the flavor of your food. Cleaning is best done right after each use, as soon as the racks and interior have cooled. That way, juices don’t get really stuck on. Use a cloth and a brush with nylon (not steel) bristles.
Q. Which wood chips can I use in my Dyna-Glo smoker?
A. There are lots! Apple, oak, and pecan are popular, but there are at least a dozen others. Each adds its own distinct flavor, and it’s great fun to find your personal favorite. One note of caution: we recommend using store-bought wood chips unless you’re absolutely sure of the source. Waste or scrap wood might contain harmful chemicals, and some woods, such as English yew, are toxic.
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