My husband is the chef in our family, and I don't bandy that term around lightly. If it were up to me, I'd bake some form of meat, add a rice or potato side, nuke some frozen veggies, and dinner would be done. Not so for him, and when we went to replace our old gas grill, nothing would do for him but a CHARCOAL grill. I thought that went out with disco and shag carpeting, but he was insistent, which is how we ended up with the Char-Broil Silver Smoker.
Recommend this product?
::: Do You Know What a Smoker Is? :::
When the Char-Broil Silver Smoker came home with us, I had absolutely no idea how on earth a smoker worked. Luckily for me, my husband had read the Dinosaur BBQ Cookbook from cover to cover, and was all raring and ready to go. Once we got it assembled, that is.
The Char-Broil Silver Smoker is ginormous, even in the box, so make sure you have a way to get it home. Like on a flatbed. We were just able to fit it into our wagon with the seats all down, but it was a tight fit. Once getting it home, you are definitely going to need two people to remove it from your preferred method of transport and assemble it.
The grill is actually two sections: the main grill section and the smoker section. The pieces have to be fit together JUST so to get a tight enough seal for the smoker to work properly, and of course, mounted on the grill base with wheels, etc. A lot of cursing was involved, and it took us the better part of a morning to get the thing put together.
Once you do have it assembled, the Char-Broil Silver Smoker has to be seasoned, much like cast-iron cookware. My husband used a pure vegetable oil spray on the grill, let it simmer for a couple of hours, and he was ready to go making my ribs. Yum.
::: Using the Grill and Smoker :::
My husband (who is consulting on this review) highly recommends the use of a charcoal or briquet chimney for starting your charcoal, along with some newspaper. You have three options for cooking on the Char-Broil Silver Smoker: direct grilling in the large chamber, using the smoker section as a grill for a small amount of meat or veggies, or using it as a smoker, my absolute favorite.
The main grill section will hold a decent amount of meat; my husband tested that limit over Father's Day weekend when he made SIX beef briskets in the smoker (we aren't lions; he sent some to our great neighbors who help us out all the time). That's a LOT of meat, which makes this the perfect grill for large parties.
How well does it smoke, you might ask? Well, in the Dinosaur cookbook, John Stage says of cooking brisket:
When you slice the mat, you'll see a rosy border all the way around. If that border is 1/8 inch, you're doin' a reasonable job of smokin' the meat. If it's 1/4 inch, you're on your way to bein' a pit boss, and if it's 3/8 inch, come see me about a job!
My husband? On his first attempt? Had a solid 1/2 inch ring. And oh, was it tasty! This summer we had ribs more than we've had any other summer, which makes me beyond happy. The only things keeping the Char-Broil Silver Smoker from a five-star rating are the lack of temperature gauge (which you can buy separately) and the lack of a rotisserie. There is another, slightly more expensive model that has that, but we needed it right away and couldn't wait to find it and order it. You also want to get a grill cover that will fit, keeping in mind that the Char-Broil Silver Smoker has a chimney of its own for the smoking process that it has to fit over.
Considering the price of gas grills and the flexibility of the Char-Broil Silver Smoker, his opinion is that this grill far surpasses its propane counterparts, and highly recommends it. Based on the things he's cooked on it? I'll second that recommendation.
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Amount Paid (US$): 150.00