The Bottom Line
Despite the almost single-minded focus on infrared technology, Char-Broil has kept their feet in the smoker business, a holdover from their purchase of New Braunfels Smokers a decade ago. This horizontal offset smoker is one of their halfhearted attempts at an old school smoker. Large in every way except usable smoking space, this is a thin metal and poorly constructed smoker that has only one positive feature, its low price.
- Inexpensive for the size
- Lightweight construction
- Limited temperature control
- Uneven heating
- Cheap porcelain coated cooking grates
- 315 square inches of primary cooking area with a total rack space of 670 square inches
- Standard horizontal offset smoker airflow with vented stack
- Porcelain coated steel wire cooking grates primary with chrome plated warming rack
- Warming rack attached to lid to swing out of the way
- Five-foot length and 104 pounds
- Firebox door for ash cleanout
- Enamel sheet metal construction with tubular steel legs
- Large diamond gap front workspace
- Center lid mounted temperature gauge
- Made in China by Char-Broil
Guide Review - Char-Broil American Gourmet Deluxe Offset
The horizontal offset smoker has been browbeaten in recent years because they are perceived to be unreliable and difficult to control. Of course this isn't always true, but with the number of thin metal, poor quality offset smokers on the market these days I can see why someone would get this impression.
The problem is that you used to be able to buy an offset smoker made from steel pipe, with heavy gauge steel and good temperature control for a cheap price. Of course you can still buy these types of smokers with excellent quality, but you are going to pay for it, pay a lot for it.
The Char-Broil American Gourmet Deluxe Offset Smoker is a perfect example of the problem.
Nearly five feet from end to end yet only 100 pounds, this isn't a heavy or solidly built. What this gives you is a smoker that leaks heat and smoke around every door. This makes it more difficult to develop a good draw or control the temperature. It also means that the smoker will run much hotter near the firebox than it does under the smoke stack.
In years, past proficient smokers knew how to deal with the unique habits of an offset smoker and modification plans could be found all over the internet. This Char-Broil smoker raises the problems to a point that it just isn't worth bothering with.