Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker Review
Smoked meat and barbecue have become incredibly popular in recent years. Some people have even gone so far as to improvise their own backyard smokers from metal barrels or old oil drums. Unfortunately, the seals on these largely scrap metal units tend to leak and thermal efficiency is poor.
To provide supply to the increasing demand for smokers and offset grills at the retail level, Dyna-Glo offers their Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker.
This unit essentially takes the concept of the ever-popular barrel grill with an offset smoker and turns it on its head. In this case, the offset smoker acts like a side grill if you want to hear something off, while also serving as the primary heat supply and source of smoke for the tall, vertical smoking chamber.
The Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Charcoal Smoker features five chrome-plated grates in the “Smoke Zone” chamber. It also has pre-installed chrome plated sausage hooks in the top section. The door has a thermostat built into it and also features a cool touch handle with spring lid grip.
The offset smoker box is a lot more versatile than it might seem at first glance. While it is intended to be used primarily as the heat and smoke source, it can also double as a searing grill. To that end, Dyna-Glo provides a special porcelain glazed non-stick grill grate. The firebox also has a side pullout tray that allows you to reload it with fresh charcoal, wood chips, or wood chunks. It is also removable, which makes cleanup a little bit easier.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
One knock on the Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Charcoal Smoker is the thickness of the metal used in the vertical Smoke Zone chamber. It’s a little bit on the thin side, which probably helps keep the unit in such a reasonable price range. At the same time, it also means that you will likely have issues with heat retention. Especially if you are smoking something that requires you to open the door a lot.
The large steel wheels and the stout stable legs help with moving the smoker around, while also ensuring that it sits firmly in place. Just keep in mind that the primary handle can potentially get a little hot during the course of a long smoking session. If you do need to move or adjust it, use some oven mitts or a welding glove.
Assembly is relatively easy, and the instructions aren’t hard to read. With a screwdriver, pliers, a ratchet, and some basic mechanical skills, you should be able to put it together in a little over two hours.
The Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Charcoal Smoker has some strengths and some weaknesses in its performance. While they designed the grill to let you grill while you smoke, it’s not ideal. Anytime you open the firebox chamber to grill, you are losing heat intended for the Smoke Zone, vertical chamber. Which of course is a factor, when you consider the heat retention problems in cold weather, due to the thin metal.
There are a few ways to work around the heat retention issue. When you first start the firebox place two rated fire bricks over the porcelain coated grates. Let them absorb a lot of heat. While they are doing this, fill a secondary water pan or drip pan with hot or even boiling water. Put the water pan on the lowest rack and place the preheated fire bricks below them. The water and the bricks will absorb the initial and secondary heat to keep it consistent throughout the vertical chamber. Just use a stout pair of tongs or a welding glove to move the bricks.
With the heat retention issue in hand, the vertical Smoke Zone chamber does a great job of smoking just about anything. If you need to smoke something that’s relatively tall, you can simply pull out one of the racks.
This kind of set up is also nice if you want to smoke your own bacon, just rotate the racks from top to bottom at least once during the smoking sessions. If you like the make and smoke your own sausages the hooks at the top are really nice for holding a series of links.
The offset firebox does a nice job of doubling as a hibachi type grill. If you’ve got a relatively long smoking session ahead of you, and you want a little snack, you can grill up lunch, while you’re building the fire to smoke supper. The pull-out lower coal box slides out, which allows you to reload charcoal and wood chips without letting out a lot of heat through the main door.
All told with all five of the Smoke Zone grill grates in, the Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Charcoal Smoker provides 1382 square inches of cooking space. This doesn’t account for the vertical sausage hooks installed in the top of the vertical chamber.
The slide out charcoal box is really nice for reloading charcoal, wood chips, or even cut-down wood chunks. The sausage hooks are also a nice touch if you like making your own homemade link sausage.
Ease to Clean
The drippings in the vertical smoking chamber can be a problem if they manage to get past or overfill the water/dripping pan. Careful placement of the meat in the center of each rack will help reduce your chances of this happening.
The pull-out charcoal pan in the firebox is removable. This really helps with ash disposal.
The Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Charcoal Smoker comes with a 1-year warranty on all parts to be free of manufacturer defects. The paint is warranted for 90 days.
Being able to smoke meat in your own backyard is really nice, and the Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Charcoal Smoker can certainly produce a large amount of nearly competition level barbecue. It also allows you to do things like smoke your own linked sausage or even create your own bacon from whole, cured pork bellies.
The thin metal of the vertical Smoke Zone chamber can lead to some heat retention issues. Especially in cold or windy weather. Rated fire bricks and water pans help with this, which makes it well worth the price compared to other smokers with thick metal, or insulated walls and astronomical prices!
- Large capacity smoker
- Pull out coal ash pan
- Easy to clean
- Pre-installed sausage hooks
- Only one small side shelf
- Thin metal construction on smoker chamber
- Heat retention problems in windy or cold conditions