If you’re tired of your standard charcoal grill, then it’s time to upgrade. The Royal Gourmet charcoal grill and offset smoker is a model that has it all. It can handle pretty much any type of grilling and comes equipped with an offset smoker, so you can try your hand at smoking a brisket or quickly grilling up some chicken breasts or burgers, in a matter of minutes.
Overview and Features
This is a dual style barbeque that works as both an offset smoker and a traditional charcoal grill. However, the smoker can also be used as a small grill. The inside of the grill is just as impressive as the outside, with the large porcelain-coated cooking grates which do an excellent job of retaining heat and promoting even grilling.
Inside, you’ll have a total of eight hundred square inches of cooking space, one hundred and eighty-three square inches of space in the box for smoking, four hundred and thirty-eight square inches total, for the main chamber, and one hundred and seventy-nine square inches for the swing-away rack.
The offset smoker is securely attached and comes equipped with independent damper controls. The smoker will allow you to start a small wood chip and charcoal fire, without having to fire up the main grill. This simple design will save on charcoal costs.
Since you’re not starting a fire in the main grilling chamber, you’ll need to create enough smoke to fill the main chamber, after which the smoke will exit through a large vent, working to efficiently slowly smoke the meat. However, if you make a big fire in the smoker, it can easily overheat, which is a big drawback for some potential buyers. Additionally, because the hinges on the offset smoker are not deemed one hundred percent waterproof, you cannot leave the grill outdoors in inclement weather. Because of this, I recommend either storing the grill in the garage when not in use or investing in a waterproof grill cover.
The grill is equipped with a durable cart that comes complete with an expandable bottom shelf that’s made out of stainless steel. The cart itself is well-built and sturdy and will not wobble or rock when transported. The metal shelf is welded securely on the front and is perfect for holding prep plates and serving plates.
The large main grill has been coated with a nonstick porcelain and is designed to retain heat while promoting even heat distribution. The included warming rack is modest in size and will hold over food that’s cooked early. There’s also a charcoal pan that’s highly adjustable and allows you to turn the heat up high, which is perfect for when you’re searing meat. You can also adjust the heat to low, once you’re done searing, for indirect heating. To learn more about starting a fire in your new grill, read my guide on how to start a charcoal grill without light fluid.
This model does an excellent job as a direct heat charcoal grill. When you adjust the charcoal pan to the highest setting option, it provides a steakhouse quality sear to chops, steaks, burgers, and more. When the charcoal pan has been adjusted to the lowest setting, the grill can easily cook up chicken, or handle in-bone cuts of meat.
If you adjust the pan and place it to one side of the grill, it works well to handle slow cooking your meats using indirect heat, after you’ve finished searing them. The adjustable pan is a great feature, however, as you may have already guessed, adjusting it during a grilling session can be difficult. However, if you need to cook your meat using indirect heat after searing, then you’ll need to wear some welding quality gloves to avoid burns.
For some, the smoker will be somewhat of a disappointment. It’s not large enough to handle bigger cuts of meat. Basically, it’s too small for the main chamber. While you’ll be tempted to build a larger fire in the box to compensate for its lack of heating power, since the box is made out of a thinner metal, this can cause the box to warp. But if you build a smaller fire, it isn’t able to pass enough smoke through the main chamber to efficiently smoke larger cuts of meat such as a pork shoulder or a big brisket. However, a low, small fire will create the right amount of smoke for chicken and fish. When adjusted just right, it can also handle smoking ribs. If you want to smoke chicken breasts with bone, you’ll need to use wood chunks, not chips, which will last longer.
Cleaning and Maintenance
A charcoal grill is always more challenging to clean compared to a gas grill. Fortunately, the design makes it easier to remove the charcoal pan, so you can easily pull out the used embers.
The smoker box can be tricky to clean since you’ll have to reach deep down in order to remove the ash out of the small chamber.
For grill maintenance, all you have to do is scrape down the porcelain grates. If you’re having trouble removing stuck-on food, you can easily remove the grates and soak them in warm soapy water.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Porcelain-coated grates
- Easy to clean
- Highly portable
- Low price
- Includes smoker
- Large grilling surface
- The smoker is too small to create enough smoke to cook larger cuts of meat
- Smoker box is difficult to clean out
Royal Gourmet Versus Char-Griller E1515 Charcoal Grill
This competing model by Char-Griller offers just two hundred and fifty square inches of cooking space and comes equipped with cast-iron cooking grates and a large side drawer. This is definitely a compact grill, however, it can easily handle cooking up a whole chicken, or several burgers at once. The adjustable dampers will allow you to cook your food to perfection, using precise temperature control, which is exactly what you need in a charcoal grill.
However, it doesn’t come with a smoker box, so you’ll be limited in regard to what types of meals you can cook. But if you’re looking for the ultimate portable model, then this is it. Weighing in at just fifty pounds and equipped with large caster wheels, this model is easy to move, transport, and store. It’s a better choice for the smaller family who is looking for a compact, more affordable grill they can use year-round. It obviously can’t compete with the type of cooking space the Royal Gourmet model offers, but if you’re not looking for a model that can handle hosting a large family barbeque, then this compact model is a great alternative.
Conclusion and Rating
This is one of the best portable charcoal grills by Royal Gourmet. It features a sturdy base, and enough space to grill up food for the whole family. It also comes with an offset smoker box, however, the box cannot produce enough smoke for a large cut of meat, such as a brisket.
If you build a higher fire to attempt to increase the smoke level, this can cause the box to warp. However, the smoker works well for small cuts of meat such as chicken or ribs. The adjustable charcoal pan will allow you to quickly sear meats, then you can lower it, and cook your food using indirect heat. While this model isn’t perfect, it can easily outperform other models in this price bracket. I gave it a rating of four and a half out of five stars.