Whether you are a certified chef or a novice cook, one of the items you will want to include in your cooking arsenal is a smoker. There is always something about backyard cooking and outdoor grilling that never seems to go out of style, especially with family and friends around to celebrate good food over great conversations.
(Here is an overview to charcoal grilling if you are looking for more information.)
With the diverse versions of smoked and barbecue recipes available, it’s no secret it’s among the most well-loved dishes across the globe not only for their taste but also for the fun cooking experience. For this reason, purchasing a smoker makes perfect sense!
Factors to Consider When Buying a Smoker
When looking into buying a smoker, it is very important to check the quality of the model you are considering. Aside from the brand, you also need to take into account the type of materials used and the features it comes with. Given the fact that a smoker is specifically designed for outdoor use, durability is an important factor to consider. It is also helpful to take time and read online reviews to get firsthand feedback from buyers who have actually used the product.
Aside from the quality of the smoker, you need to consider your cooking preferences. If you are a very busy individual who constantly needs to multitask, then perhaps a digital smoker would best suit your needs and complement your lifestyle. If you prefer more of a “hands on” approach, then maybe using a more traditional type smoker presents a better fit. There are many different models and brands of smokers available and most of them offer a wide range of features and functions designed to make your cooking experience enjoyable, efficient and convenient.
The quantity of food that you frequently cook also needs to be taken into consideration. If you love hosting parties and frequently cook for a large number of people, you might want to consider buying a smoker with at least 6 cooking grates. When cooking for a crowd, certain features come handy such as a height adjustment option and the ability to cook up to 150 pounds of food in one go.
If you only cook for yourself or for small groups of people, there are smaller smokers and grilling equipment available that also deliver quality performance. These varieties usually feature 2 to 4 cooking grates.
Before you purchase your preferred brand and model of smoker, have a look at what we thought of the Medina River Outdoors Small Smoker/Grill Combo.
Detail of Construction
This Outdoor Smoker Grill Combo is manufactured by Medina River Outdoors, a leading kitchen appliance company based in the USA. Just like many models of smokers, the primary color of this product is black and has the following dimensions: 16” X 17” X 37”, which is designed to fit small or medium-sized patio. The total weight of the product is 85 lbs.
This brand of smoker is constructed using heavy duty materials and 14 gauge steel. This is thicker and stronger than the regular 16 gauge steel used to construct traditional smokers. This cooking equipment also includes a storage shelf, a working apron, heavy duty steel wheels and fold down handles.
For easy and accurate monitoring of temperature, this offset smoker includes a thermometer which is built into the smoker itself. This feature enables you to check and make sure that your food is set and remains at your desired temperature level. To ensure an easy cleaning process, this model of smoker also includes a grease catcher, which makes cleanup and maintenance easier even with frequent use. With its fantastic features and heavy duty construction, this smoker truly offers real value for money for serious grill aficionados and ordinary cooks alike.
This smoker is built with a smoking chamber and grilling box. The fire box and smoking chamber have separate grates for cooking and another compartment for charcoal. This feature makes it possible for you to cook in the fire box and grill in the smoking chamber at the same time.
The total cooking space of the fire box is 13 x 13 inches, while the total cooking area of the grilling chamber is 13 X 17 inches. This enables you to cook a good quantity of food enough to feed your small or medium-size family.
The smoker can be fueled using any source of charcoal or wood chunks, whichever you prefer. About 3 to 5 lbs. of charcoal briquettes would be enough for any long slow cooking session.
The smoker doesn’t come with any digital or electronic features. All the processes for preparing the fire, controlling the smoke and checking the cooking time are done manually. This means you will have to use the good old fashioned hands on approach with this unit.
Despite the fact that this smoker has a smaller capacity compared to other models, there are many recipes that will perfectly complement with the smoker. For lunch or dinner, you can try cooking special beef steak or pork steak. You may also want to try preparing roasted chicken wings or grilled chicken legs with barbecue sauce. If you don’t like to eat chicken or pork, maybe a roasted turkey or smoked turkey would be the right choice for you.
For fish dishes, grilled tuna would be a perfect choice for the grill. You just need to cook the fish in the smoking chamber for a couple of hours. If you want something different, why not try to cook roasted milkfish marinated with lemon and soy sauce? Your options are endless! For fresh ideas, you can also check out a number of recipes available online or purchase a cookbook for smoking and grilling food.
Cleaning and Assembly Process
The smoker includes specific instructions for assembly and cleaning processes. You may need to spend some extra time and effort for assembling the equipment, but all the instructions are explained clearly. Some of the parts that you need to assemble are the legs, storage shelf, steel wheels, handles, fire box, grilling chamber, cooking grates, charcoal grates and grease catcher. All these can be easily assembled in an hour or less.
For easy clean up, this brand of smoker includes a grease catcher which is about the size of a soup can. You simply need to remove the grease catcher from the unit after cooking, throw away the grease, rinse the grease catcher with soap and water, and dry it with a hand towel before putting it back in the unit. The grease catcher is designed to allow easy and convenient cleanup after every cooking session.
For cleaning the other parts of the smoker, you can simply use an ordinary cleaning brush to thoroughly remove all the accumulated grease and dirt. The package does not include a cleaning brush, so you need to purchase one. You can buy heavy duty and good quality cleaning brushes in very affordable prices.
We highly advise to regularly clean your smoker and store it in a dry and clean place when not in use to prolong its lifespan. All the instructions for assembling, cleaning and proper handling of the unit are detailed in the user manual. If you have questions regarding the product, Medina River Outdoors has a 24 hour customer service hotline you can contact for your queries.
There are some accessories that can go along with the Medina Smoker/Grill Combo. The purpose of the accessories is to customize the features of the unit, or present a more convenient way of cooking your favorite dishes. Let’s have a closer look at some of these accessories.
For easier grilling of your favorite dishes, Cuisinart offers a deluxe grill. This grill set includes chef spatula, grill tongs, corn holder and grilling box. This particular accessory will enable you to use your smoker and cook your favorite dish easily and conveniently.
To preserve the beauty of your smoker and enhance its durability, it is highly recommended to invest in an accessory that is designed to protect the unit from dirt and the harsh elements. One of the solutions to this problem is the Char Broil Smoker Cover. This smoker cover features heavy-duty construction and is specifically designed to complement most brands of smokers available in the market. You can buy this smoker cover at local stores or online shops.
You must also keep your cooking device clean by using a high quality and heavy duty cleaning brush. One of the cleaning brushes that we highly recommend is the 12-inch 3-sided grill brush available at Weber’s. This cleaning brush can easily clean your smoker, including hard to reach corners and tight spaces. The bristles are made with stainless steel material to ensure prolonged durability. You can buy this cleaning brush either at local stores or online.
Since the smoker is constructed with a manual fire system, a fire starter presents a practical accessory to easily start the fire and speed up the cooking process. There are many brands of fire starters available which can be bought at very reasonable prices. One of them is the Weber’s Rapid Fire Chimney Starter. This particular brand of fire starter is simple and easy-to-use, allowing you to fire up the grill in less than a minute.
The Medina smoker comes with a one year full warranty. If in case the unit has a certain defect or damage, you will need to bring the unit to the particular store where it was bought with the receipt. Within the one year warranty period, the manufacturer is required to provide replacement for the unit in case of serious damages. The warranty also covers repair for minor damages, as long as it is repairable.
Since this brand of smoker is made in the USA, some local and online stores might offer warranty extension plans for this product. At Walmart, they provide additional one year warranty for selected list of products, like Medina River Outdoors units. You just have to make sure that the unit was purchased from the said store, and register online for their warranty extension plan.
Though this smoker/grill combo is slightly more expensive compared to other brand of smokers, it comes with a number of fantastic features that makes it an ideal investment for every homeowner.
This smoker is easy-to-use and has a full range of features and accessories available. Based upon many of the reviews from owners of this smoker grill combo the unit is well made and is very durable even when used frequently over a long period of time. It has an attractive, sleek appearance, which makes it fit nicely into any backyard or outdoor setting for your gatherings and social events.
You can depend on the Medina combo to produce high quality smoked meat and roasted products with the right skill, patience and enthusiasm. This is definitely a perfect investment piece to prepare hearty meals and organize those fun weekend barbeque get-togethers with family and friends.
In our opinion you won’t be disappointed with your purchase of this excellent product from Medina and it will provide you with hours of fun and delicious smoked meat and smoked food. If you are looking for a good value in terms quality, functionality and ease of use, then this smoker grill combo should be on your list of top considerations when you are making your final purchasing decision.