Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro Charcoal Smoker Grill Review
Barrel-style grills have a strong following that holds just as true today as they did thirty years ago when people were cutting old oil barrels in half with a saws-all. Of course, modern grill manufacturers make it a point to develop these grills with a look that connects them to their improvised past, yet still infusing it with quality materials.
The Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro is made from heavy gauge steel with a heat resistant black powder coat exterior. The lid has a temperature gauge built-in. The base also has two wheels to help you move this 146-pound heavyweight grill. It also has a lower storage shelf for holding bags of charcoal, which also helps tie the legs together to give it a stable base.
Inside there are cast iron grill grates with a protective non-stick layer. It has three manual height adjustments, as well as a pull-out charcoal drawer.
There is also an offset smoker, which allows you to use the primary cooking chamber as a fully functional smoker. If you like the side firebox can also double as another grilling surface.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro is made from very durable thick grade steel, protected by a heat resistant black powder coat. This gives it a lot of long-term staying power. Just take note that like a lot of barrel grills with an offset smoker, the hinges on the smoker box lid aren’t always waterproof.
Heavy rain can let some small drips in, which could later lead to internal smoke and rust issues. Something as simple as keeping a shallow aluminum foil pan inside the smoker chamber will prevent water from direct access to the steel when it’s not in use.
When it comes to assembly the issue is weight, rather than complex techniques. If possible, try to recruit a friend or two to help hold the heavy barrel body in place while you secure the cart base. It is exactly the sort of thing you would pay $5 to a pair of teenagers to do!
The size of the Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro means that you can grill up a lot of food all at once. The offset smoker is just as much a secondary grill and warmer as it is a smoker box. This means you could grill up hot dogs for the kids, while roasting two whole chickens on the primary chamber, without having to worry about the two touching.
The grate height is adjustable to three settings. On the lowest height setting, the grates are right down by the burning charcoal for the maximum sear. This is just what you want for a medium-rare Steak or even some tasty beef kabobs. The medium height setting is more for your general-purpose grilling, and likely where you will leave it the majority of the time.
The highest height setting is more for bone-in things that need a long time to cook through, to the proper temperature, yet you don’t want to burn the exterior. This is where you would put it for a bone-in leg of lamb or a whole chicken.
The overall size and length of the primary grill grates also lend it to hybrid grilling. For example, you could set up a hot coal pile on the right side of the grill and a small fire on the left side. Whole chicken wings can then grill away on the left without burning the skin or causing massive flare-ups from the inevitable drippings.
When the bones are safely cooked through, you could put them on the right side to sear them off and crisp the skin. A sauce pot of hot wing sauce can then be placed over the left to lightly warm it and hold the wings once the skin is just right!
The height adjustment is essentially manual rack settings. There is no crank mechanism that you sometimes find on other adjustable grills. This setup works fine, it’s just a little bit of a hassle to adjust in the middle of a grilling session.
To convert it to a smoker, you simply shut down all the dampers on the primary chambers, while firing up the smoker box. The overall length of the Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro means that the highest heat will be close to the port that lets the smoke travel from the offset smoker into the primary chamber.
An infrared thermometer will help you get an accurate idea of the temperature range. In a higher heat smoking application, like a pork shoulder or whole chicken, you might want to start a small charcoal fire on the far end of the primary chamber.
The primary grill grate measure in at an impressive 580 square inches. The offset smoker provides another 250 square inches, for a grand total of 830.
The grate height adjustment is a nice touch that lets you influence the relationship between the meat and the heat. It’s just not easy to adjust in the middle of a grilling session.
The pull-out charcoal drawer also makes ash clean up easier. It also helps for long sessions where you might want to reload wood chips or charcoal.
Ease to Clean
The Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro is relatively easy to clean as far as charcoal grills go. The grates are treated with a non-stick coating. It’s best to use a nylon bristle grill brush to scrape them down. This will prevent scratches to the somewhat thin non-stick layer.
The removable charcoal drawer makes ash cleanup a breeze. Once the fire is completely extinguished, you simply pull it down and dump everything away into a metal bucket.
The Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro’s grill body and the lid have a 5-year warranty. The charcoal drawer and other parts only come with 1-year of coverage.
All things being equal this is a step or two better than other competitors in this price range.
If you want a durable charcoal grill that can occasionally double up as a smoker, the Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro ends up being a great value. It has pretty much everything you are looking for, with a few bells and whistles thrown in.
It’s just a little on the heavy side, and if you have any hopes of adjusting the grate height in the middle of a grilling session, you are going to need to invest in some welding gloves!
- Durable construction
- Can be used as a grill or smoker
- Good warranty coverage
- Charcoal drawer for easy cleanup
- Three adjustable grate height settings
- Heavy and awkward to assemble
- Grate height Is hard to adjust while grilling
- Hinges on offset smoker can leak