Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker, Deluxe
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|Model Name||1280 Offset Smoker|
|Item Weight||102.12 Pounds|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||28.25 x 60.25 x 51 inches|
|Inner Material||stainless steel|
About this item
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- 3-in-1 smoker, barbecue and grill with 670 square inches cooking surface in main chamber and 355 square inches in firebox chamber
- Chrome-plated cool-touch handles to protect your hands from the heat
- Multiple adjustable dampers to easily control the heat and smoke in your cooker
- Storage rack allows user to keep cooking utensils and extra charcoal close-at-hand
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From the manufacturer
Char-Broil American Gourmet 300 Series Offset Charcoal Smoker and Grill
The Landmann Vertical Gas Smoker provides a durable and reliable way to smoke meats to perfection. This is a heavy duty Char-Broil Smoker with easy-access drawers to make replenishing water and wood chips a simple process. The steel construction and square legs make the Char-Broil Offset Smoker sturdy and stable. A welded cooking chamber keeps smoke inside, so you get the most flavor possible. You can control how hot your Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker gets with the fully adjustable heat control, and it also keeps smoke under control with the adjustable top chimney vent. A steel box holds wood-chips, and a porcelain-coated enamel pan contains the water. Attached side handles and wheels make it easy to move the Char-Broil Smoker from place to place when necessary.
- 290-square-in. cooking surface and dash.
- enough for 18 burgers.
- Dimensions: 48.03W x 17.5D x 44.6H in..
- All-black steel construction with cool-touch handles.
- Porcelain-coated grates.
- 140 sq. in. warming rack.
- Lid-mounted temperature.
|Dimensions||48.03W x 17.5D x 44.6H in|
Get a traditional smoking and grilling experience with the large-capacity 1280 Offset Smoker. Three porcelain-coated grates and a secondary chrome-plated grate help you get the most out of its massive 1,280 sq. in. total cooking surface. The barrel-style smoking chamber has a vertical smokestack and multiple dampers for heat and smoke control and a height-adjustable charcoal tray to regulate temperatures when charcoal grilling. There's a front shelf for work space and a firebox door for easy ash removal.
Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2017
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*** Update -- 9/10/2012 -- The grill has all but given up the ghost. It is completely rusting to pieces despite being protected from the elements when not in use. The tray which holds the coals melted under the heat of repeated uses and bowed in the middle so that it can no longer be adjusted. There is a hole that has rusted through the bottom of the smoker box. This is all within less than a year of use (I probably cooked on it about 20 times since purchasing it). Words can not begin to explain how disappointed i am in this purchase; I will never buy a char-broil product again -- not even one of their gas grilles -- after my positively awful experience with this grille ***
Before I moved halfway across the country, I had a basic Weber charcoal grill which I absolutely loved and did a wonderful job of cooking my food. I had that grille for over 8 years and when I moved, I gave it to a friend and the grill still looked pretty new despite heavy use; no rust, nice paint, etc.
Since I moved into a much bigger house and planned on entertaining, I wanted a new grill that had much more real-estate to cook food for more people at once. I also in the last couple of years had gotten into slow cooking with indirect heat and this grill seemed like an ideal solution. Here is a recount of my experience with it so far:
Unpacking and Setup:
The box was so heavy that my wife couldn't even move it into the garage. Fortunately, it wasn't raining outside and the weight seemed rather reassuring to me. I like heavy stuff for cooking because it usually means good things for even heat distribution and retention. It took me about an hour to setup the grill with some hand tools and a power drill. The instructions are very tricky and you have to pay attention to the types of bolts being called for in each step. Some of the descriptions are very similar and you can accidentally use the wrong bolt and then have to take half the stuff apart in order to get the right bolts in the right place. Overall, the setup wasn't too tricky although I tend to be on the "handy" side of the curve when it comes to projects. It would definitely be faster with a second person helping out; particularly with the lid.
I was surprised to see that there is absolutely no insulation anywhere on this grille. For it's size, this didn't bode well particularly considering that the smoke box is offset so much. I had trouble imagining how you could effectively cook meat on the right side of the grille with indirect heat in the smoker... turns out I was right... but more on that later. The lack of insulation around the seams of the assembly left big gaps all around the side of the grille. The wheels were flimsy and didn't feel very sturdy when rolling the rather heavy grill over gravel and uneven surfaces.
The first time I fired up the grille, I cooked three 5lb pork butts on indirect heat for about 6 hours. I used applewood chunks in the smoker box along with lump charcoal which I was periodically refreshing to keep the heat up. The chimney on this thing is relatively useless as the entire grill leaks heat/smoke like a sieve. Smoke was pouring out from under the lid, the back seam, and even the place where the smoker bolts to the main grill assembly. This made it very hard to keep a good temperature in the grill; if I opened up the air intake more, it would get too hot but if I tried to choke out the fire a little and take down the temperature, it would either drop too low or suck in air through all the gaps in the sides. The heat was also very uneven and at times I measured a 100 degree gradient from the left side of the grille to the right. After two hours on the grille, the left-most butt was cooking too fast and the right one was still largely raw. In the end, I was able to salvage it by putting more coals in the main grill area and keeping a close eye on the heat. The thermometer built into the grill is functionally useless.
As many other reviews have noted, after just my first use all the paint bubbled and peeled off the bottom half of the smoker box and a few weeks later, there is already noticeable rust. The grate in the smoker also deformed significantly from the heat. After subsequent uses with direct heat, the grate that holds the charcoal has also deformed in the main grille. The adjustable tray that lets you raise and lower the charcoal in the main grill assembly is a nice idea but poorly implemented. It allows a large number of coals to fall off the sides and under the tray and also doesn't provide for good air flow. I was able to get much higher cooking temperatures on my simple Weber grill. As an example, I used to stir fry food on my weber in a hammered steel wok because I could get much higher temps than my stove and didn't have to worry about the smoke. I was not able to do so on this grill because the temperature was too low and all my food came out soggy because of the lack of heat.
Some people might look at this grill and think it looks like a great value because of its low price, cheap (or free) shipping, and relatively large cooking area. It is not a value; there is no bargain to be had here. You are getting exactly what you paid for, a bargain basement grill for a bargain basement price. Either get a smaller Weber style grill for about the same price or alternately, spend more money and get something that will perform better and hold up to the elements longer.
Off-set smokers being what they are - i.e. simple technology - I decided to give this basic, inexpensive version a try. I had some trepidation after reading some troubling reviews, mainly regarding the quality of the metal, and the overall seal of the smoker. Still, I took the plunge anyways; if it turned out to be awful, I wasn't out that much money.
First things first - assembly. It arrived in a giant box with lots of screws and parts. Assembly took about an hour, and was pretty easy. The whole process, however, did not increase my confidence in the product, and more than once I found myself regretting my purchase. The material is not the highest quality. Mind you, I was used to my old, reliable, solid steel NB smoker. Pretty sure I could crawl into that thing, rust and all, and survive a nuclear attack. Plus that have metal of the NB had a nice, satisfying 'slamming' sound whenever I closed the lid or fire box door. Made me feel like I was working in a foundry or on a steam engine. This smoker is made of much flimsier stuff, but once assembled seemed pretty solid.
Onto the actual smoking. I decided to start small and smoke a salmon. Lower heat than some other meats, shorter cooking time, overall good for a test run. As soon as I lit my fire, the seal issue became readily apparent. This thing leaks a lot of smoke, however, it should be mentioned that it primarily leaks from the smoke chamber, not the fire box. This is a good thing. Whenever I checked the meat, the smoke chamber was full of smoke, and most of it was billowing out of the chimney (which coincidentally was screwed on, not welded on so a little more smoke loss there).
The next day, I decided to try out a smoked pork shoulder and ribs. Higher temperature, and longer cooking times. Some reviews mentioned the finish peeling away after the first use, but I didn't have a problem with that. Made me wonder if people are using this at much higher temperatures perhaps? Either way, had the same smoke seal issues, but otherwise turned out flavorful, smokey meat. No real difference than my old NB smoker.
I've only used it twice thus far, and am curious to see how it stands up to a summer of regular bbq, but so far so good. There are only two real cons that I would give it: one, the door in the smoke box is kind of small, making it harder to feed wood or clear out ash. And two: the smoke chamber lead is just that - one giant lid. Unlike higher quality smokers with a single smoke chamber, this has the lower chamber, to which the upper part of the chamber( aka the lid), is attached, so when you open the lid to spritz or check your meat, the whole top pivots open. Still, nice big chamber, and came with nice, porcelain coated grill racks.
All in all, you get what you pay for. Not the highest quality, but for the price, it does exactly what you need it to - fire + smoke + meat = delicious.