Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset Smoker

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The Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset Smoker

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

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Oh the burdens we bear when we own a quality smoker. You invite some friends over to drink a few beers and watch some football and suddenly they’re unloading chunks of chicken and slabs of meat from their cars. They don’t even say anything, not a peep pops out of their mouths. They just raise their eyebrows, shrug their shoulders and delicately place their offerings into a cooler before heading over to the couch.

Check out my guide to charcoal grilling if you are looking for more information.

Needless to say, more than a few friends have been made since purchasing Dyna-Glo’s Charcoal Offset Smoker. I’ve met a few turkey lovers, some rib eaters, one or two pork butt fanatics and about a half a dozen smoked chicken enthusiasts. They all start out as pals, minor acquaintances, and then, the next thing you know, they’re over every weekend with a tray of ribs or some sausage to smoke, even in the offseason.

But who wouldn’t want it that way? Honestly. Chicken. Pork. Beef. Even fish. It’s hard to complain when it all comes out tasting so darn good.

As I’ve discovered, you’ll find that cooking with a smoker is fun and produces some of the most amazing meat you will ever taste. Many of my pals and I even try our own experiments with a wide variety of different cold and hot smoked food recipes.

Smokers can be ideal for the winter season.  I’ve cooked cold smoked dishes such as cheese and nuts in my smoker. 

Whatever reason we have for using our smokers, we always make sure that our outdoor smokers are fired up, ready to make our family gatherings or celebrations something special.

Check out my overview on charcoal grilling if you are looking for more information.

There are many different types of outdoor smokers being offered on the market today. The brands and models of smokers all have different features, price points and available functions. 

The traditional model of smoker is typically fueled by charcoal or wood, but many modern brands are electrically and digitally controlled, and can be operated by just pressing a few simple buttons. You can choose which of the two types of smoker you want to have for your home, depending on your needs and preferences.

Because there are many brands and types of smokers being offered on the market, you may need to consider a few things before purchasing the right smoker for your individual needs. 

You need to choose a smoker that will fit in your budget. Usually, electric smokers are more expensive than charcoal smokers due to their added features and functions. Though charcoal smokers are less expensive, you might need to make a little extra effort in terms of temperature control and initial preparation time.

You should also consider the unit’s durability and features.

But don’t take the word of a man who’s been palling around with a bunch of bums:  check it out for yourself.

The Review

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

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Design

A smoker’s design says a lot about how it smokes. One look at the Dyna-Glo and two things stand out. First, it’s an offset. Offset means that the heating element is positioned on the side — in this case the right side — of the smoking cabinet.

This allows for the heating process to take place away from the food so that the heat of the smoke and its delicious aromas are all that come into contact with it — perfect for that slow, flavor-infusing roast.

The firebox also comes affixed with its very own door. You can open it up, add additional charcoal or throw in a handful of wood chips, all without compromising the atmosphere inside the cabinet.

This brand of charcoal offset smoker is constructed using heavy duty steel, which is intended for longer durability. It includes a heavy-duty porcelain enameled steel wood chip and charcoal tray. This cooking device is designed with dual doors, which aim to minimize heat lost while adding wood chips on the tray. The offset charcoal and firebox of the cooking device is designed to accommodate large amounts of charcoal and wood chips, and channel smoke flavor into the food as well.

The second item that most people notice about the Dyna-Glo, upon first glance, is its taller-than-wide design. Heat rises. So does smoke. Horizontal offset “barrel” smokers often have trouble distributing smoke evenly across their edibles.

The vertical design of the Dyna-Glo however, allows for smoke to do what it does naturally, rise and envelop. Surrounded by smoke, your meat, cheese and vegetables will stay at a uniform temperature without the need of constant rotation.

NOTE: Machines being what they are (unreliable), sometimes humans have to get involved and make some changes. And anyone with experience using offset smokers can attest that, even though their design is ideal for that slow perfect smoke, there’s a chance that horizontal offset “barrel” smokers often have trouble.  To prevent such an event, you can add a bit of sealant around the areas where they meet up. (Or, if you’re bold enough, and skilled enough with a drill, you can add one or two extra screws at your own risk.)

SIZE

Size matters when it comes to smokers. Sure, the inside is what’s important, but you have to make sure that your new favorite cooker has plenty of room to breathe.

Horizontal offset “barrel” smokers often have trouble, safety concerns and can prevent the smoker from cooking at uniform temperatures. Without the right amount of airspace, a smoker could ruin dinner, damage furniture, kill a few trees and even blacken the outside of your home.

Luckily for you and the Dyna-Glo, this model fits rather spaciously in most backyards. It’s 47 inches tall, 34.5 inches wide and it holds a depth of 20.20 inches. (That’s around 4 x 3 x 1.6 if you’re talking feet.) All put together, it weighs around 57 pounds, so ask a friend for help if you ever need to move it.

DURABILITY

Heat hugs steel like children do their parents. And just like parents, good solid steel often hugs right back, evenly absorbing the heat and then redistributing it across its exterior — in this case, the inside of the smoker.

Steel. Steel. Steel. In addition to the body and its overall finish, the smoker’s various moving parts are quite formidable as well. Its charcoal tray is made from heavy-gauge, porcelain-enameled steel and its wire racks are built from chrome-plated steel wire.

And then, to top it all off, the smoke stack is constructed from an iron-carbon alloy — which is a fancy way of saying that it’s also made out of steel.

NOTE: Upon first glance, and eventual use, you may find that the gauge of steel used to construct the Dyna-Glo is somewhat thinner than other smokers. While this may be less than ideal for those of you smoking in frigid temperatures, it’s important to note that the opposite is true for those of you smoking in warmer weather. In short, the Dyna-Glo wears a jacket, not a coat. Keep that in mind.

HEATING ELEMENT

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

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As its name suggests, the Dyna-Glo runs off of charcoal. Charcoal means control: just ask any practiced barbecuer.

Electronic models often promise precision when it comes to temperature control and overall consistency, but most pale in comparison to the taste of the foods produced.

You choose the charcoal. You choose the wood chips. It’s the difference between buying a package of ground beef and a package of pre-seasoned hamburger patties. If you want complete control over the taste of your food, the Dyna-Glo, with its conveniently removable charcoal tray, is just the kind of smoker to allow for that freedom of flavor.

This Dyna-Glo Smoker can be fueled with your preferred brand of wood chips or charcoal and because this is a traditional model of smoker, all the cooking processes are set manually.

For easier fire setting, you may use one of the fire chimney starters available for purchase separately. You may want check your food from time to time to make sure that it has enough charcoal and wood chips, along with a stable temperature level. Making a small extra effort will ensure you produce high quality smoked food using this smoker.

This brand of smoker is designed to efficiently burn charcoal and wood chips, which means a longer lasting cook on a smaller amount of fuel. One chimney of charcoal is enough for 15 hours of smoking time 1 lbs. of wood chips will smoke your favorite food for 15 hours.

Charcoal and wood chips are very economical to purchase in large quantities, so the running cost for long cookouts is very reasonable.

For easy reading of temperature, this cooking device includes a thermometer. This allows you to check and make sure that your favorite dish is set at your desired level of temperature. The temperature of the cooking device can be easily controlled using the vents on each side of the unit.

Though this charcoal offset smoker is not originally made in the U.S., you can rest assured that it will last for a long time and produce high quality smoked meat.

PRO TIP: For the best results, use lump charcoal or Kingsford Competition briquettes. They burn hotter and last longer. Also, be sure to keep the charcoal tray full for longer smokes, as it’s much harder to reheat a smoker than it is to keep it hot. Keep an eye on the temperature and don’t be afraid to experiment.

CAPACITY

Whether smoking for too-many friends or a sizable family, capacity is key. Barbecuers and bakers, eaters and freeloaders alike know what happens to the vibe of an otherwise fun get-together when good food goes gone.

Fortunately, the Dyna-Glo holds a rather respectable amount of food for its stature and size. With an overall smoking capacity of 1,176 square feet and a maximum load size of around 150 pounds, you can smoke to your heart’s content. (As a point of reference, the heaviest turkey ever raised was around 86 pounds. So, hypothetically speaking, you could smoke both the all-time biggest and the all-time second biggest turkeys in one sitting.)

The six wire racks each measure at around 14 inches wide by 13 inches deep, ideal for briskets, hams, whole chickens, pork shoulders and small-to-medium sized slabs of baby back ribs. The racks are also adjustable — they can be moved up, down and out — just in case you need that extra space for hanging some sausage.

PRO TIP: Although it’s nice to have six fully adjustable racks at your disposal, unless smoking a plethora of small meats, vegetables and fine cheeses, it might be best to remove a few, especially if you’re not using them.

COOK-ABILITY

What good is a smoker if it doesn’t get the job done?

Smoking meats, vegetables and cheeses doesn’t always require as much heat as, say, a grill or an oven does — slow and steady is often the game here — but you don’t want to waste your time on something that hardly gets hot, or takes forever to do so.

The Dyna-Glo fires up in three simple steps.

(1) Fill the removable charcoal tray with your favorite lump charcoal.

(2) Douse it with your favorite lighter fluid.

(3) Light it up and let it burn. (For ideal results, allow 25 to 30 minutes for the charcoal to burn and for the insides to prime before cooking or adding wood chips.)

As long as the charcoal tray is filled with the ample amount of charcoal, you can crank this cooker up to 300 degrees and beyond without much effort.

And, with the assistance of the smoke stack and the vent on the right side of the firebox, the temperature is easily controlled and simply managed via the gauge — positioned just below eye level — above the logo on the outside.

(Coincidentally, this near-eye-level area also signifies the “sweet spot” inside the smoker. Other areas work just as well but this one takes the cake — or smokes the shoulder, whichever metaphor you prefer.)

The temperature of this cooking device can be easily controlled using the vents on each side and it also includes a smoker thermometer for easy temperature reading and monitoring. This smoker is capable of cooking at a high temperature of 300 degrees; all you need to do is check and adjust the temperature from time to time to make sure that your food is cooked according to your desired tenderness, texture and taste.

The Dyna-Glo is intended for outdoor use only and is ideal for long cooks in large quantities. For your family lunch or dinner party, you might try smoking 12 lbs. of pork ribs or 10 lbs. of pork belly, and believe me, after 7 to 10 hours of smoking, you will have delicious and tender grilled pork.

For larger families or special events, why not fire up your smoker and cook 6 whole chickens or 2 whole turkeys in this smoker? This smoker will easily cook enough food dishes for your Thanksgiving celebration or parties with a large group of friends. If you prefer less fatty foods and a healthier menu, your favorite fish can also be cooked using this smoker. Just buy your favorite fresh fish at the market and create a wonderful meal full of flavor for your next dinner or social gathering. The large capacity and adjustable height cooking grates of the smoker enable you to cook your favorite foods in almost any size and any quantity.

Try our great recipe for smoked salmon.

PRO TIP:   For above-average results, it’s often best to season your smoker before use and after cleaning. It seals the paint and seasons the steel which aids in durability, enhances flavor control and increases performance.

For more information on how to properly season your smoker, instructions are provided in the rather informative manual that comes shipped with the Dyna-Glo. (A manual that also goes above and beyond in providing the names, food pairings and flavor profiles of the various wood chips you can buy to enhance your meats. Very convenient.)

CLEAN-ABILITY

You cook. You eat. You clean. That’s the way it goes. Because nobody wants to return to a sludge-filled smoker caked in charred pieces of chicken and bits of last week’s dinner.

Looking at the Dyna-Glo, you’ll be happy to know that nothing is tied down — as I’m sure you’ll see when you put it all together. The six wire racks, the charcoal tray: they’re all easily removed. Easily removed means easily cleaned. Pull them out, scrub them with soap and warm water, and you’re good to go.

As for the insides, once you season your smoker before use and after cleaning, it’s as easy as wiping it down with a damp cloth. (Aluminum foil is also very valuable. If you’re going to be using an array of sauces and/or marinades, use it to line the bottom of the smoking cabinet for a quick and easy clean up.)

For your convenience, The Dyna-Glo also comes equipped with a grease cup — just below the smoking cabinet. Pull it out and dump it. Easy. Greasy. Simple as that.

The smoker includes specific instructions for assembly. The instructions are quite easy to follow, but you might need to spend a little extra time compared to some other models of smokers.

This unit includes a grease management system for easy clean up. This system collects all the oil, fat and other types of waste that is created throughout the cooking process. This feature allows you to minimize creating a large mess while cooking and minimize your efforts in cleaning up afterwards. You just need to clean the grease catcher by brushing it thoroughly, and rinsing it with soap and water.

You should also clean up the fire box and cooking area of the unit after every use. There is no special cleaning device included in the package, but there are many types of cleaning brushes and soap offered at reasonable prices. You can buy these cleaning tools in the price range of $10.00 USD to $20.00 USD.

We highly recommend the cooking device be cleaned as frequently as possible. This will avoid a big cleaning job later on down the road and will ensure that the smoker continues to work properly providing excellent results.

Though this unit is not as easy to clean compared to other smokers, all the instructions for cleaning and the assembly process are explained clearly in the user manual of the product. Cleaning and handling your device with proper care is the main key for its long use and durability.

PRO TIP:  After each cleaning, it’s recommended that you add a light coating of cooking oil or cooking spray to the wire racks and to the inside of the smoker. It helps keep things clean and, depending on the oil used, it can even add a bit of extra flavor.

PRO TIP #2:  Foil can be a friend when smoking with wood chips as well. Just wrap up a handful of your favorite brand in some tinfoil, poke a few holes in the outside and voila:  you don’t have to worry about all that extra ash.

ASSEMBLY

Full assembly is required for the Dyna-Glo. Twelve simple steps is all it takes however. Grab a friend, a pair of pliers, a Phillips head screwdriver and an adjustable wrench, and you can knock it out in under an hour.

Most of your time will probably be devoted to properly securing each part of the unit, especially the smoking chamber, firebox and cooking grates.

You also need to spend some extra time seasoning the unit before its first use. We recommend you put a little bit of cooking oil on each cooking grate for easier and a more convenient cooking process.

The maximum time for assembling this unit is approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour.

ACCESSORIES

Just like any other brand of smoker, there are many different types of accessories that can go along with the Dyna-Glo Smoker.

Some of these accessories aim to add extra flavors into your favorite foods, while some accessories are intended to customize the specific features of the cooking device and cook your smoked food in a more convenient way. Let us take a look at the list of accessories that can go along with your charcoal offset smoker.

We firmly believe that having extra smoked flavors and sweet aromas will add extra richness to your favorite foods. For this reason, you may want to try putting some Weber’s wood chips and wood chunks in the fire box of your cooking device. These wood chunks and wood chips can be bought in different flavors such as apple, cherry, pecan, hickory and many others. These smoke flavored chunks are offered at a price of around $6.00 USD to $8.00 USD for a 3 lbs. bag. You can buy any flavor you want base on your desired flavor of smoked food.

For easy fire startup, you might be interested in the Weber’s Fire Chimney Starter. This fire starter is very portable and easy to use, and it can start a fire in less than a minute. You can buy these items at local stores or online at a price of around 10.00 USD.

This brand of smoker includes a thermometer for easy temperature reading, but just in case you need to have one on stand-by, there are many different types of thermometers offered for sale. One of them is the Weber’s Instant Read Thermometer. This digital thermometer is very accurate, and sold at a very affordable price of around 10.00 USD.

WARRANTY

The Dyna-Glo comes with a one-year limited warranty on everything but the paint and the charcoal tray. The charcoal tray comes with a 90-day warrantee for defects alone and the paint comes with a 90-day warrantee for defects except in the occurrence of rust, which may appear after repeated use. It does not cover damages or issues related to abuse, neglect or modifications.

IN CONCLUSION

Often found on the lower end of the price line, the Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset Smoker is a bang-for-your-buck type of appliance. It’s not the biggest one you’ll ever see. And there aren’t too many bells or whistles that come attached to its exterior.

But, if you’re looking for a quality smoker that gets the job done for a fraction of the price, then the Dyna-Glo is the way to go. As long as you don’t mind making a few new friends.

This Dyna-Glo smoker is an excellent value and offers the full smoking experience. The charcoal or wood chip fuel gives the smoker that “traditional” feeling that we all get when cooking outdoors and grilling or smoking our favorite meat.

The large capacity makes this smoker ideal if you like to have large groups of friends over to your house for social gatherings or you have a large family that enjoys the smoked flavor. 

The design of this smoker is durable and it offers a full range of features that open up almost limitless possibilities of creating excellent smoked meat and other smoked food items.

In our opinion, this smoker gives you a good “bang for the buck” in comparison to many other similar products on the market.

We also like that the smoker comes with a full one year warranty as it gives you some peace of mind that you can rely on the quality of the product and expect results as advertised.

It is always a good idea to do your research and look at several models, but we think you would be making a solid choice buying this smoker. If you are new to smoking this smoker is easy to use.

If you are experienced, you will be getting a product that has excellent capacity and is fully capable of a wide range of cooks.

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