Char Griller has been stepping up their game and really impressing me lately! My first surprise was with the Char Griller Akorn kamado grills that are making kamado grilling affordable for everyone. The next surprise was the Char Griller Smokin Outlaw. This is an offset smoker that is accidentally better than it should be!
I saw the Smoking Outlaw at my local Wal Mart and was expecting it to be the standard piece of junk cheap smoker that you find at all of the big box stores. While this smoker does have some obvious problems like thin metal and lots of gaps for air leaks it does have three great features.
- This thing is CHEAP. The MSRP on this smoker is $209 and you should be able to find it in a Big Box store for a lot less.
- The smoker is HUGE. The main smoking chamber offers 725 square inches of cooking space spread over five different cast iron grate modules.
- The main chamber comes with an adjustable charcoal tray that runs the length of the cooker.
The height adjustable charcoal tray with its “easy dump ash catcher” is what really caught my attention.
It turns out that you can flip the ash catcher over and use it as a baffle to forces a more even heat distribution. The best offset smokers all have some mechanism to even out the heat and Char Grill accidentally included one with their ash tray!
There are quite a few modifications that you will need to make to this smoker to really make it sing but they are all pretty cheap and easy. Here is a video walk through of how to do some of the more common modifications. The video uses the Pro Smoker but the mods work for the Outlaw, Champ and other Char Griller models.
You can head over to YouTube and do a search for “Char Grill Smoker Mods” and will find plenty of other ideas not included in the video above. Here is a rundown of the mods that you will want to make on this smoker.
- Use felt gasket material and some high heat silicone to seal up the air gaps.
- Build a proper firebox out of expanded sheet metal.
- Install a real thermometer at grate level.
- Flip over the ash pan and use it as a baffle.
- Run a vent extension from the base of the smoke stack down to grate level.
- Paint the entire smoker with a spray can of Rust-Oleum High Temperature Grill Paint to slow down rusting.
All of these mods are pretty easy and when you are done you will have a decent smoker on your hands with some serious capacity.
I never thought I would be saying this but if you are in the market for a cheap offset smoker then you ought to take a look at Char Griller. These aren’t as nice as an Oklahoma Joe Highland or Longhorn but for the price you might be getting more bang for your buck.