Smokenator 1000: Review of Smoker Adapter for Charcoal Grill

Do you have a Weber Grill and wish you had a Smoker?  My wife and I were married recently and got a gas grill as a gift.  We already had a Weber kettle grill and my wife put the kibosh on a smoker so it was on her to find a suitable replacement 🙂 Boy did she find a great product in the Smokenator. The Smokenator is absolutely perfect for someone who wants to learn the basics of ‘low and slow’ smoking. In addition, you’ll learn how to take care and monitor your smoking because you do need to get really good at temperature management with the Smokenator. There are a few essential items you’ll need, Weber grill, Smokenator, thermometer, and I highly recommend the Competition BBQ Book, it’s full of recipes and techniques for cooking and smoking award winning BBQ. I have other books but there isn’t one that is equal to what this book provides in terms of techniques, the rub recipes are A+ as well. Trust me, if you buy a Smokenator 1000 you won’t be disappointed. My system for rubs is to make different batches of rub and store them in re-used spice bottles that have holes in the top for easy application. I also keep Bad Byron’s Butt Rub Barbecue Seasoning on hand because this is hands down, the best rub on the market today. I’ve used it on ribs, whole chickens, chicken wings, catfish, vegetables, you name it! If you are serious about grilling and smoking, grab your self a bottle today and you will thank me later!

Smokenator: Two Grills in One!

In Arizona, our house has space limitations and for our wedding we received a large gas grill as a present and I already had a Weber charcoal grill which we used for BBQ on the weekends when we had more time to prepare our food. I really wanted a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker but my wife came up with a better idea, Bam!  She decided to buy a Smokenator 1000.  It has been a great substitute, and hopefully a stepping stool to a full-fledged smoker.  One weekend I fired up the Weber and smoked some fantastic ribs with the Smokenator.  I recommend starting with some ribs as they seem to be the easiest meat to smoke and to be honest, if things don’t go as planned, you can always throw the ribs on the gas grill or in the oven. A whole chicken is a little more cumbersome to deal with only half-cooked. So I recommend going down to your local meat market and grab a rack of ribs.  Ribs aren’t the only meat that you can smoke with the Smokenator. Over the last few years using the Smokenator and my Weber Grill, I’ve successfully smoked Chicken Quarters, a Whole Chicken, Pork Shoulder, Beef Brisket, a Whole Ham, and obviously many, many racks of ribs.

 

 

Setting up the Smokenator: How to Guide

The basics of a how to guide for the Smokenator is to practice and do dry runs until you master the temperature levels. Always be consistent with the tools you use (thermometer, charcoal, etc.) and always make sure to record the steps you take so you can easily replicate for the next time. The key to getting the right smoke and taste is to use lump charcoal, make sure you get lump instead of Kingsford if you can help it.  I live in the Phoenix area and I was able to buy a 20 lb bag of lump charcoal for $6 at my local Fry’s grocery store. The lump charcoal gives you a longer more consistent burn and a little bit different taste too. I’ve also found that if you live in a city with an Amazon warehouse (like Phoenix), you can typically get a good deal on charcoal with Amazon and it arrives quickly and in pretty good shape. Too many travel days will cause the charcoal to get broken up or pulverized.

My recommended rubs:

The key to the whole system is temperature, make sure you get a smoker thermometer, instead of the recommended meat thermometer and a clip.  The smoker thermometer is slightly larger than the hole in the Weber lid.  It does fit nicely at angle or using the locking nut to hold it in place.  This is one of those exercises where you DO need to read the Smokenator Manual fully before starting.  Make sure you understand the process of controlling the temperature.

I’ve used the Smokenator twice now and I really like it as an alternative or temporary solution to having a smoker.  The main thing I need to work on is controlling temperature.  I think the area for improvement is in keeping the coals consistently hot and keeping a good flow through the entire 4 hour smoke. Another item you might want if you’re cooking multiple racks of ribs is the Hovergrill for the Smokenator.

If you follow the directions that were provided in the manual, then you’ll have no problem. The biggest thing it to make sure you know your Weber grill through and through. It’ll be very hard to maintain the minimum temperature if you’ve got a leaky kettle. The Smokenator 1000 will only be as good as your kettle grill, and of course the leading brand is Weber. As I mentioned before, I highly recommend buying up the Competition BBQ book, lots of great BBQ instruction and tips as well as recipes for rubs and sauces.

Video of the Smokenator in Action:

Here’s a great You Tube Video about the dry run which is very important, you need to do the test run, I cannot stress it enough!! I did two dry runs before smoking anything. Every Grill has areas that may be imperfect and it’s possible it will leak because of a poor seal between the top and the bottom pieces of the grill. It’s just important to understand how your grill heats up and also holds the heat as well.

Here is a video of the late Smokenator creator, Don Thompson (RIP) explaining the features of the Smokenator and also Cooking Low and Slow with the Smokenator:

 

Click here to download the Smokenator 1000 Manual in PDF.

 

Disclosure: If there is a product that I like and it has an affiliate program, then I might link to that product using an affiliate link. By using an affiliate link it means that I might earn a commission on a product if you buy something through that link. This doesn’t cost you anything but I just wanted you to be aware.

12 thoughts on “Smokenator 1000: Review of Smoker Adapter for Charcoal Grill

  1. I appreciate your concise write-up of the Smokenator. My wife also purchased one for me and at first I was a little leery. I have since smoked ribs, a full chicken, and also some brisket. The Smokenator is a great option!!

  2. I have to tell you that I purchased a Smokenator last summer and I’ve used it three times with awesome results. If you’re unsure of purchasing a full-on smoker, start out with the Smokenator and hone your skills.

  3. I also have to give my kudos on a nice write-up. I recently purchased a Smokenator after reading your review and I’m very excited to start smoking some ribs!

  4. Didn’t work well for me coals fell out the bottom when trying to fill. The coal support grill moves around causing the smokenator to move spilling water

  5. Did you make sure that the tabs on the ‘short side’ of the smokenator fit right into the tabs within the grill? That can help hold it in place. I have had the same problem before and the tabs helped keep the smokenator unit in place. Also I make sure everything is securely in place before adding the hot coals, and once it is in place I really try not to touch it because it will move.

  6. I find the Smokenator to be nearly useless – it doesn’t do anything you cant do with coals on each side of your Weber grill and a pan of water below the meat you’re smoking and careful monitoring of your vent openings. Expensive piece of sheet metal in my opinion.

  7. I have used my Smokenator half a dozen times or so with mixed feelings. The food has been excellent but it feels like it takes quite a bit of “babysitting” to maintain temps. I use a Maverick remote thermostat to monitor temps. I installed a stove gasket around the lid and I use binder clips to hold the lid tight so I can control airflow with the vents. It still requires adjustments every half hour or so to keep a 225-275 temp. Maybe this is typical of what I should expect but I sure wouldn’t attempt a brisket or butt, I would be worn out! I would consider the Smokenator a cheap temporary alternative to a real smoker but definitely not a replacement. It just makes me dream of the real thing.

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