Best Charcoal Grill Side Fire Box Under $400 (& Smoking Step-by-step Guide)


Grilling makes meat taste finger licking good. Smoking brisket takes cooking meat to the next level & can be done with grills and equipment cheaper than you think. We show you how to start, what you must have, what you can skip, and how to cook it.

You can get restaurant-like grilled foods at your home just by having the best charcoal grill along with the side fire box. Read on to know more about the charcoal grill side fire box.

You will Learn & get:

  • What is Charcoal Grill Side Fire Box
  • why it is considered the best type
  • What is the best version
  • Accessories you must have to smoke a kickass brisket
  • Step-by-step recipe on smoking it – including what not to do.

What Is Charcoal Grill Side Fire Box? Any why do I need one?

You can grill on any grill but the meat will only taste pretty good. If yo want to take your taste buds for a ride they will never forget then – smoke your meat. Yes, get a smoker. Your family and friends will love you for it.

The charcoal grill that comes with a side firebox are the most convenient smokers for beginners. Don’t spend $600 on the best smoker you can get. You don’t need to drop huge cash for smoking unless you plan on doing it all the time.

Charcoal Grill side fire boxes produce the best heat.

Besides having a grilling space, these grills come with a smoker too. The side fire box can be attached to the existing griller barrel for better and easier smoke control. In order to build a clean-burning fire, you need it to reach 1200 or so degrees so you can produce clean smoke. Cooler fires with less oxygen burn white or dark smoke and produce a bad-tasting smoke.

You can enjoy the new style of grilling with this side fire box as it offers an additional grilling space. This side fire box or the smoker can be used for smoking meats to give it an extra flavor and texture.

Why Is It The Best Type Of Smoker?

The side fire box is the best of smoker if you are looking for a mid range smoker with a lot of room on the grill.

Pros:

  • Huge grill area
  • Great firebox
  • Versatile smoke chamber
  • Easily cooks Hot & Fast or Low and Slow
  • Very affordable
  • Great grill for beginners

Cons:

  • Thinner but manageable metal (compared to $1000 model grills).
  • Thermometer is not 100% accurate (supplement with a digital version)

The side firebox is surely the best type of smoker because it is ideal for cooking meat at a stable temperature which is usually 225 degrees or 375 Fahrenheit.

Which One Is The Best?

There are many such grills and smokers available in the market. But if you are search for the best and the most efficient charcoal grill side fire box, then you need to buy the Char-Griller Smokin’ Champ Charcoal Grill Horizontal Smoker.

  • This is a heavy-duty griller with super sturdy construction.
  • It is built to last for a long time and it comes with an attached horizontal side fire box for indirect smoking.
  • It offers a larger area for grilling where the cooking grates are made up of high-quality authentic cast iron.

Features that make this grill the best are:

  • Ample grilling space: It offers a huge grilling space. The total grilling area is of 1238 square inches with the grates made up of cast iron. This can help to heat evenly and lock all the flavors in your food. The main grill barrel is about 675 square inches and the side firebox is about 256 square inches which is used for smoking meats. The warming rack is of 307 square inches.
  • Easy to clean ash box: It comes with the ash box attached with it. You can easily clean the ash box whenever you want. The ash box is made up of heavy duty steel just like the whole body. Even you can adjust the ash pan according to your convenience and needs. This allows you to alter the heat intensity and remove the coal easily.
  • In-built heat gauge: You can also control the temperature of the grill and smoker easily. It offers your precise regulation of the temperature of the grilling area as it comes with a heat gauge. This in-built heat gauge allows you to regulate the temperature and set the exact temperature needed for the grilling. As we know different types of meat require different temperature to grill. This is the best feature to cook a perfectly restaurant-like grilled food.
  • Other attached accessories: Besides all these, this charcoal grill comes with an airtight flanged hood for covering the food while grilling. It also comes with two metal shelves. The warming rack can turn the breads into golden brown which looks quite attractive and it keeps the cooked food tasty too.
  • Easy to port: It also comes with wheels which allow you to port the grill from one place to another. So, whether you have the grill party at your terrace or in the lawn/backyard, you can easily carry the grill from one place to another.

Assembly & Maintenance

Is It Preassembled?

No, the Char-Griller Smokin’ Champ Charcoal grill with horizontal smoker doesn’t come as preassembled. You have to do it after getting the charcoal grill side fire box delivered to your home.

How To Assemble?

Though it requires assembling, it is very easy to do it. It takes hardly few minutes to assemble the entire grill. You will get a complete manual about the assembling. The instructions are easy to read and you can follow that to get it all assembled within few minutes. Start from the bottom while assembling.

Pro tip: Buy some high heat silicone sealant and put a thick bead on the smoker lid. This will prevent smoke from escaping. Unless you spend over $1000 for your smoker with one of the high end ones, you will have smoke leakage. The sealant will keep the smoke and heat inside.

How To Clean?

Cleaning the grill, as mentioned above, is very easy. As the ash tray is removable in nature, you can clean it perfectly and smoothly. You can even remove the cooking grates and the warming rack easily to clean them. As they are made up of metal or steel, you can use mild dishwashing soap and running water to clean them after every use.

Make sure to dry them properly before attaching them. As this is not an electric grill, no part is made up of electric circuits. So, you can clean the entire body by wiping a wet cotton cloth. But make sure to avoid contact of water with the heat gauge.

Get Smoking!

How To Setup The 1st Grill, Smoke?

You have to assemble the grill first. Then season your grill properly and add charcoal to the fire box and light it. Add the grates over the charcoal and brush some oil on it. Adjust the temperature as per needed.

Choose your smoking method

Low and Slow

The ideal smoking temperature ranges from 225 to 275 degree Fahrenheit. Add the food or meats that you want to grill and you are good to go. If needed, you can add more fuel and keep on flipping the food for a more even cooking or grilling.

Hot and fast

Your firebox will be a little hotter as you will need a slightly bigger fire. Keep the grill at 325 degrees.

Both methods make for great brisket. The key is how much time do you have?

Essential Tools & Equipment Needed for Smoking Perfect Brisket or Ribs Every Time

What you are going to need to make the most amazing brisket.

Contains affiliate links where I will receive a commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.

You can try to grill the Brisket first.

It is a breast section of the beef which is the ideal part for smoking. If smoked properly it has a perfectly juicy texture loaded with flavors. It can yield a great result when it is slow-cooked using the smoker. Follow these steps to get the perfect result:

  • Smoker / Charcoal & wood smoker grill. Mid-range bbq offset firebox smoker is ideal for beginners. This is what I use and I am just getting into BBQ…but catching up to Aaron Franklin quickly!
    • Provides authentic bbq experience
    • Smokes a great brisket and rib, turkey, wings…any meat.
    • Affordable compared to other mid-range models
    • Provides much more room on the grill for a water pan, smoking other meat or veggies,
    • Easy to maneuver
  • Use a digital thermometer. This pair will allow you to sit back and focus on the fire management instead of waiting for the meat temperature. It will save you hours of watching the grill thermostat – & will FREE UP YOUR DAY!
  • Food grade spray bottles. You will need to spray your ribs or brisket occasionally to keep it moist. You need to use food-grade spray bottles (BPA free), not the cheap dollar store ones which may be toxic.
  • Brisket. Costco has some of the best tasting Brisket for the money. We picked up a 16lb brisket for $45. It is USDA Choice Beef Brisket and tastes damn good!
  • Hickery wood. You want a good hardwood that is not too wet so it will burn well and produce the optimum smoke. You should be able to find some from a neighbor or online. Home Depot actually has a great selection of firewood and charcoal. It is usually on the bottom shelf below the grills. Make sure the wood is not too dry.
  • Butcher paper. This will make your brisket cook faster in the last 2 hours. It will also make it juicier – while it preserves the bark.

Preparation

Step 1: Chill and trim

Freshly unwrapped…pre trim
  • Remove the brisket from your fridge and the plastic wrapper. You don’t have to let it warm up before you cut off the fat.
  • Place it on butcher paper and trim the excess fat off the meat. Use a sharp knife like this one to remove the heavy white fat that won’t render down during the smoking.

Step 2: Prepare the fire

  • Use charcoal to initially start the fire
  • After you have a good base of coals start adding the Hickery wood.
  • You have to place the brisket with the fatty side up on the grill grates. It is better to cover the grill. This will allow the meat to get smoked.

Smoke: Hurry up and wait!

  • Add the beef!
  • Use a digital thermometer. This pair will allow you to sit back and focus on the fire management instead of waiting for the meat temperature. It is at least 25 degrees more accurate than the thermometer on the grill lid. The cool thing about these pair (which I own and use) is that you can take the larger thermometer inside since it actually pairs with the primary one on the grill. This way you can watch the temperature from inside while you take a break from the smoker.
  • For Low and Slow – Keep the temperature steady between 225 degrees and 250 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the width of the pieces. Do not open the lid unless and until it is very much essential.
  • For Hot and Fast – Keep the temperature around 375 degrees and keep the meat closer to the fire box (to the right of center on the grill).
    • Tend the fire. Keep it hot.
    • Keep the fire box flute open all the way so it gets plenty of oxygen.
    • Control the temperature by closing the smoke stack. This is a better way of regulating temperature than using the inlet which will choke your fire.

Wrap the Brisket

At 160 degrees you should remove the brisket from the grill and wrap it in the butcher paper.

  • The butcher paper is better than aluminum foil since it breaths so excess moisture will escape and it will not leave your bark soggy on the outside.
  • It will also assist in cooking your brisket faster to get through the Texas Clutch where it sits around 150-160 for hours. This helps speed up the process

Rest the Brisket

Remove it from the grill and put it in a cooler or oven to rest for 2 hours. This will give the meat time to continue cooking for a bit and then cool off. It will also assist in the breaking down of the tough muscle a the very end.

Cut Up and Enjoy!

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dhahn07

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

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