Much of the discussion these days around electric smokers tend to focus on Masterbuilt models. But Char-Broil has been busy behind the scenes releasing high quality affordable electric smokers that deserve your attention.
Today, I’m going to review the Char-Broil Deluxe Electric Smoker, measuring in with a 725 square inch smoking chamber it fits nicely in the value for your money side of the market.
As an aside, this model was also featured in our round-up of the best electric smokers this year.
Overview of the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
When you first look at this Char-Broil, you can’t help but notice the large signature glass window. This is something Char-Broil has done across their entire electric smoker product line.
Having a large glass window built into the door isn’t a bad thing; it allows you to look inside the smoker without having to open the door, letting all the smoke and heat out. But at the same time, there isn’t a lot to see while smoking, and this is something you’ll have to clean frequently. That said, in my testing when latched shut the door seal was perfect, I couldn’t find any evidence of smoke escaping through the seal.
As mentioned earlier, this electric smoker has a massive 725 sq inch interior cooking space, and four adjustable racks, this is significantly larger than most models. I’ve said it before, I’ve often seen people upgrade to a larger smoker, but never downsize.
So you will have no problem with small turkeys, hams or even multiple racks of ribs. You can smoke a lot of meat in something this big.
Out of the box, this electric smoker comes with few handy accessories, each of them are easily removed for cleaning:
To give you an idea of how much meat you can smoke at once, each rack is sturdy enough to handle 10Lbs of meat, now you may find with longer items like a full rack of ribs, you will have to cut several ribs off to fit them inside the smoker. But 40 pounds of meat is enough for almost any gathering.
Each rack is constructed of solid stainless steel wire and spaced out correctly to ensure all your meat is adequately supported and evenly smoked.
The wood chip box that comes with the Char-Broil Deluxe is quite large; you should be able to smoke for between 4 to 7 hours without needing to refill the wood chips. I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to go about your day without being tethered to the smoker.
The included water pan is quite large and easy to remove, thankfully it also has a helpful max marking too, but I should note that whenever you use the smoker, even if the water tray is empty, it should always be inside the smoker when you run it. As with any smoker, adding water ensures that your meat stays moist through the smoking process.
Specifications from the Manufacturer
Digital Controls and Features
The control panel is situated above the large front door to the cooking chamber; it is slightly inset on an angle, protecting it from accidental bumps while also being comfortable to access from a standing position. The only complaint I had was on a sunny day I had difficulty reading the digital display panel.
The control panel has seven clearly marked buttons:
- The power button for turning the unit on and off.
- Up and Down buttons for adjusting the temperature and time.
- Separate buttons for selecting Temperature and Time input
- Button for activating the meat probe input
- Button for turning the smoking chamber light on and off.
The Char-Broil Deluxe electric smoker also comes with a cool remote control, the controls and digital display match the commands available on the smoker itself exactly. This lets you keep tabs on your smoker from a distance. Unfortunately, this remote control suffers from connectivity issues.
I started losing connection after walking about 10’ from the smoker, which kind of defeats the purpose. The plastic construction didn’t leave me with a lot of confidence about its ability to withstand abuse.
The cooking chamber itself is wrapped in insulation and managed to keep the exterior walls from becoming uncomfortably hot to the touch, but do remember the same cannot be said for the glass window.
The manufacturer states that there is a one year warranty on this model, and Char-Broil is very good about making replacement parts available on the company website.
Some positive observations about the features:
- It was easy to startup
- Four large racks capable of holding up to 10lbs of meat each
- Included wired meat probe
- Large wood chip box and water tray
Some negative observations about the features:
- The digital display was hard to read while in direct sunlight.
- The remote has connectivity and build quality issues.
Design and Build Quality
The design is quite attractive to look at with rounded corners and well thought out placement of the door handle and digital controls, the dual-tone finish made of metallic and black colors feel modern. While the overall impression you get is that it’s been built tough.
The exterior of the Char-Broil Deluxe is built from stainless steel, which should hold up to the heat and wear and tear for many years to come. Hidden from sight, the insulation keeps the temperature exactly where you want it, in the cooking chamber, successfully. On the inside, the smoking chamber is constructed from aluminized steel.
The latch that secures the access door has an excellent seal and is made from stainless steel.
While the four included smoking racks are made of the typical chrome plated wire strands welded together.
Observations about build quality:
- Extensive use of stainless steel
- Dual-walled with excellent insulation
- Easy to use digital controls
- The front glass panel allows you to see inside but needs to be cleaned regularly.
Initial setup and ongoing use
After taking the Char-Broil Deluxe out of the box, be sure to season the smoker before you do your first smoke.
When your ready to cook some meat, you will want to start off by preheating the smoker, make sure you haven’t forgotten the water tray and smokebox.
Pre-heating is simple to do, just press the temp button and use the up and down buttons to find the “PH” selection, this initiates an automated pre-heat function that will run for 40 minutes. When the smoker is ready, it will beep and flash the display to alert you.
Cooking with your new smoker
The easy to adjust timer can run for up to 19 hours, at which point whether you are using the timer or not this smoker will automatically shut down at the 19-hour point. When the timer finishes counting down, it will automatically lower the temperature and beep loudly to let you know.
The included temperature probe can be activated to report back to your smoker, allowing the Char-Broil Deluxe to automatically lower the temperature once the ideal internal meat temperature is reached.
I have a bunch of handy tips for using an electric smoker over here as well.
I feel the Char-Broil Deluxe Electric smoker is ideal for someone just getting started in this hobby and comes with lots of room to grow.
The large wood chip box means your not chained to the smoker when guests are over, while the overall build quality is solid, and the electronics are just advanced enough to get the job done.
I wasn’t happy with the remote, so if you want something easily controlled at a distance, this is not the model for you. For everyone else, though, you really can’t go wrong.