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Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker Review

Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker Review

The tender meat of a brisket or Boston butt barbecue is something that most people only get to taste occasionally because this kind of smokey barbecue takes time and practice. Additionally, for those who live in apartment complexes and condos with strict fire regulation rules, smoking can also be restricted without a good electric smoker.

The Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker is an entry-level model that works well for beginners. It has a simple, straightforward vertical design without any complicated features to distract you from the fundamental principles of smoking. You can use it for weekend barbecues with your family as well as for parties. Coming in at fifty pounds and slightly larger than its competitors, you should have enough space to feed up to ten people. Although it is for beginners, more experienced barbecuers may be interested in this model because it is entirely electric, which means that it can be used in residential areas that have strict fire restricts. Unfortunately, however, this same feature does exclude it from being an option for tailgating or camping.


BarbecueLogic Rating:

Pros

  • Electric
  • 3 Racks for over 500 square inches of smoking space
  • Built-in grease tray makes it easy to clean

Cons

  • Door seals with a magnetic strip which is not the best type of seal
  • Can be difficult to get consistent smoke; wood chips must not be soaked prior to use
  • Finish may start to bubble and peel relatively early on

Key Features of the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker

Electric: As smoking becomes a much more popular past time,electric smokers are becoming much more of a staple. While getting a good smokey flavor can be more difficult with electric models without a real flame to provide some of the smoke in the chamber, this can be useful if you want to minimize the time that you spend checking on and maintaining a constant temperature throughout the day. Being electric, this smoker can also be good for those who live with fire restrictions, no matter their experience with smoking.

Vertical Body with Three Chrome Racks: The shape of a smoker can help determine how much food you can fit inside the smoker's main chamber, and it can also determine how well that food is cooked throughout the day. The vertical-shape of this mode is useful because it allows you to space out the meat inside your smoker,which can you to ensure that no part of your barbecue is being exposed to more smoke than another part. Additionally, having removable racks like these allows you to further adjust the space inside your smoker's chamber. For a larger cut of meat, like a whole turkey, you'll be able to remove all but one rack, whereas for smaller cuts of meat, like ribs, you can put the racks back in so that you have more than one rack cooking at one time.

Damper on the Back of the Smoker: Dampers are important for smokers for two reasons: they allow you to directly control the amount of smoke that builds up inside the chamber of the smoker, and they also allow you to inadvertently control the interior temperature. To have a more smokey flavor and a hotter temperature inside your smoker, you'll be able to close the damper. Conversely, to have slightly less of the smokey flavor and a cooler temperature, you can open the damper up more. This kind of control can allow you to perfect the flavor of your barbecue to suit your personal taste.

Temperature Gauge on the Exterior of the Body: Finally, the key difference between smoking and barbecuing is that to properly smoke your barbecue, you must maintain a constant and relatively low temperature. This can be difficult to do if you need to open the chamber of the smoker frequently to monitor the internal temperature. However, this shouldn't be an issue with the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker because this model features an exterior temperature gauge that is easily visible on the door of the smoker.


Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker Detailed Review

Design and Build Quality​ - 3.5/5

The Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker has an incredibly basic, intuitive design. It features a tall, vertical body made of painted steel with three chrome grates inside. Weighing at fifty pounds, this smoker is hardy enough that maintaining the desired 250°F interior temperature should not be too much of a problem. Above all, aside from being electric, there are no specific features that stand out with this smoker, and so beginners will not have to worry about being confused with a gamut of extra features.

Nonetheless, the quality of this smoker is also rather basic. The front of the smoker closes with a magnetic strip, but many users have had a problem with this seal not being tight enough to properly close the smoker. As a result, many of these users have had issues with losing too much heat and smoke to achieve their desired barbecue. Some of these users chose to deal with this issue by using rope to tie the smoker shut whereas others have installed a new latch to keep the door in place.

Other issues with this grill have been the overall quality of the metal. After as little as six months of use, some users have had the paint coating on the exterior bubble and chip. Rust has also been a problem for some users with prolonged use of this smoker.

Ease of Assembly - 4/5

The majority of users have had very minimal issues while assembling the Char-Broil vertical electric smoker. It comes with a total of twelve pieces, and the instructions are very detailed with illustrations. The twelve-step process to complete the assembly of this Char-Broil smoker tend to take about half an hour.

Ease of Use - 4.5/5

The Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker is, for the most part, very easy to use. You will be able to set the temperature for your barbecue by changing the temperature on a dial on the exterior of the smoker, and the wood chip tray inside the smoker is easy to reach and refill. The only real issue that users have had with this smoker is that it can be difficult to get the wood chips smoking. Char-Broil recommends that you preheat this smoker to the maximum 300°F temperature and that you avoid pre-soaking your wood chips before barbecuing. Once the internal temperature is sufficient, you will be able to dial the temperature back down to 225-250°F to cook your meat.

Quality of the Cook - 4/5

Despite being an electric smoker, this smoker does produce and excellent barbecue. It does not have too many issues maintaining the constant low temperature, which means that you should be able to achieve the tell-tale bark associated with smoked meats. You can also choose to vary the flavor of the smoke by changing the flavor of your wood chips, as this smoker is compatible with just about any brand.

Ease of Cleanup - 4.5/5

You will likely not have many issues with cleaning this smoker. The interior is not too deep, so you should be able to reach all corners of the smoker to wipe it down between uses. One interesting feature of this smoker is that it has a built-in grease tray. This is useful because instead of having the grease build up in the base of your smoker, you can easily remove and dispose of it between uses. This also can help you extend the life of your smoker, as the grease contributes to rust build-up over time.

Price - 4/5

The Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker is an excellent beginner's smoker. It has a straightforward, unfussy design that can help you to acclimate to the smoking process before investing in a higher-quality smoker. For intermediate and experienced barbecuers, the quality of this model may be disappointing. Aside from minor design flaws, including the difficulty keeping the door closed, the quality of the materials is as to be expected for an entry-level smoker. That is, the smoker is not made to last for more than a couple of barbecuing seasons. Nonetheless, this smoker is an excellent value if all you need is an electric smoker that you intend to replace a couple of years down the line.



How Does it Compare?

Let's take a look at some of the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker's competition:

Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker

A simple design that cranks out awesome barbecue, the Smokey Mountain has the quality and warranty you expect from Weber in an affordable package. 

Check out our review here

Bradley Smokers Original Smoker

​The Bradley Original Smoker is a great option for those living in an apartment or condo with fire restrictions or those that want a simple and automated smoking process.

Check out our review here

Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker

​For those on a smaller budget looking for a very simple smoker, the Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker may be right for you.

Check out our review here

Masterbuilt 30" Vertical Propane Smoker

For those looking to cook for a large group of people and like the ease of cooking with propane, the Masterbuilt 30" Vertical Propane Smoker may be right for you.

Check out our review here

Masterbuilt 40" Digital Electric Smoker

For those who want a show-stopper piece that can cook enough food for a huge party, the Masterbuilt 40 Digital Electric Smoker might be a good option for you.

Check out our review here

Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker

For those who want to smoke without much of the work as well as for people who want to delve into the practice of cold smoking, this is a great smoker.

Check out our review here

Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker

An alternative to the Masterbuilt 40 Digital Electric Smoker, the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker also offers a ton of cooking space along with a remote control for simple hands-off smoking.

Check out our review here


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About the Author David Johnson

Hi there, I'm David and I'm the creator and editor of this site. I have been grilling and smoking for the past 7 years and my goal is to share my knowledge and experience with you.

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