Oklahoma Joe Bronco Review [Drum Smoker]


Drum smokers don’t have to be cheap. Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco offers excellent heat retention and airflow control, all within a compact drum cooker.

oklahoma joe bronco barbecue smoker review
Photo: Oklahoma Joe

Oklahoma Joe Bronco is a 2-in-1 drum smoker that is used for both grilling and smoking. It is the best smoker as it is made up of highly durable materials, removable grates, a sealed lid, and has a charcoal tray. It manages to control heat and contain heat for an extended time. Below is a more detailed review of the smoker grill, its pros and cons as well as some tips for you to put to good use and keep it safe.

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Char-Broil Oklahoma Joes Bronco Barrel Drum Smoker...
  • Precision Airflow Control: Innovative airflow system and sealed lid deliver precise control...
  • Ample Cooking Space: With 630 square inches of cooking surface spread across 2 porcelain-coated...
  • Durable Construction: Crafted from porcelain-coated steel, this smoker is built to withstand...

Airflow Control System

The smoker has a unique airflow control system. Its quality and function are beyond doubt as it delivers what you want. It is suitable for both beginners and experts when it comes to grilling and smoking meat. The airflow is controlled by the side damper that determines the amount of air that comes into the gadget.  You either increase or decrease the airflow to your desired amount that is good enough for your food. Adequate ventilation controls how your food cooks. More vents mean more heat and the charcoal starts burning faster. The type of charcoal also determines how much heat you are going to get.

oklahoma joe bronco drum smoker cooking grates

Sealed Lid

The primary purpose of this lid is to control both heat and smoke in a more precise manner. Not only does the sealed lid help in temperature management, but it helps in keeping the original flavors of the meat as well as the added flavors. Your food does not lose that authentic taste which is good for grilled and smoked food. That smokey aroma and flavor is what makes the gadget gain popularity and attracts a lot of users. The sealed lid traps heat inside so that your food cooks perfectly from all sides of the grill. What makes you put the cover or not is determined by the size of the meat you are grilling or smoking. Massive cuts require more heat and the sealed lid on and closed tightly.

Movable Grate and Large Wheels

The grate can be moved so that you position it the way you want. It gives you room to customize the whole setup in a personal manner. The wheels are enormous, and they come in wagon-like wheels that allow the smoker to be quite mobile. You can take it anywhere you want depending on your mood, occasion and preference. What makes it versatile is the fact that it converts easily to a charcoal grill and this is made possible by the wagon wheels.  In some cases, there might be colder or hotter places, and you need to move the grate so as to make sure that every part of your food is exposed to the same heat.

oklahoma joe bronco smoker with lid open and barbecue meat

Meat Hangers

The meat hangers allow you to layout your meat the way you want. There is enough space for the meat to get enough heat without some other parts unexposed to the heat. In some cases whereby you do not want to mix up different types of meat, you can easily set up divisions. It doesn’t come with any hooks to allow you to hang any kind of meat. Not only does it come with meat hangers, but it also comes with a cooking grate. When you choose to use the cooking grate, you can neatly and efficiently hang your meat hangers onto the sidebar. You can continuously move them when you are checking your food.

Oversized Charcoal Basket

The basket is spacious enough to hold enough fuel for the whole day. You are not limited to charcoal only when you are ready to use it. You have the chance to choose any type of fuel that is easily accessible to you, such as wood or lump charcoal. A bigger charcoal basket is capable of bringing out tender and flavourful food that has been covered in smoke for a long time.  It is also capable of having a great carrying capacity of good charcoal that can last up to ten or more hours. It keeps the walls of the griller neat, gives an indirect heat to the food that will allow food to be cooked evenly without getting burnt.

Temperature Gauge

The temperature gauge makes sure that you have enough heat for your meat. It advises you if the heat gets too much to maintain so that you take immediate measures. The sealed lid also manages the temperature. These two work hand in glove as they determine the overall temperature.  During the dark, it has a particular way of glowing, which is kind of stylish. It is consistent and reliable in the manner it keeps heat for a long time. There is no room for inconvenience since you will be able to smoke and grill your meat till you are done, and it remains hot.

Easy to Clean

It is effortless to clean since you can easily remove the ash pan. You can as well quickly throw out the mess after your grill. The components are coated with porcelain which is also another advantage when it comes to cleaning. The chances of getting rust on the parts are meager because of the coating. During the process of grilling and smoking, there is a lot of mess that takes place. All those excess fats and food that falls from the grate has to be cleaned after. In this case, you do not have to struggle taking out the ash pan, the movable grate, and meat hangers. That has to be done with ease so that you do not leave out some dirty particles inside.


Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco is made up of heavy-gauge steel that is quite durable. As much as it weighs heavy, the steel built makes the smoker stay longer than expected. The built-in also makes one easily monitor temperature as there are glowing accents when it is during the night. This material is used to make the gauge for temperature for easy control. Because there is going to be a lot of heating and cooling, the griller is at high risk of getting worn out in no time. However, this can be avoided by using steel that works well with heat. Heat can be destructive if it is too much to sustain, but this smoker endures the heat as well as rains just in case it stays outside.

Handle Grip

The handle grip is made up of rubber. It is straightforward to hold, and it is non-slip. You might be wondering how you are going to keep the handle due to the heat. This has been sorted already. It does not get the heat as it stays cold. One might just think of using towels if the handle could have been able to take up the heat. Towels can be easily burnt, which means that you are also burnt. Burns are quite frustrating when you can easily avoid them. Your hands and fingers should stay safe. Otherwise, you will not be able to grill and smoke for the next few weeks or more.  The cooling system is a necessity, not a luxury.

Quick Tips

  • You can have a cover so that your smoker stays clean and dry
  • Some straps will be useful for securing the griller
  • A triple grate allows you to prepare a wide range of food at the same time
  • A grater lifter will be great for easy removal of the grate
  • Skewers are quite flexible and allow you to have the best experience in grilling and smoking food


You need to take the grease cap from the hole in the bottom of the smoker, remove the cup, and get rid of the mess. After a certain period, you might decide to clean the pit. You use a hose to wash it. Do not worry about the water as it will run out the bottom without any hustle.

Final Verdict

Choosing the Oklahoma Joe Bronco is the best decision you can ever make as it is made up of the best features that give out an impressive performance. I highly recommend it as you can have it for a more extended period. The flavors in your food are highly maintained whether you grill or smoke your food. Although it is heavy, it is for a good cause. Of course, you need to reload charcoal after ten hours because heat fades away with time if you are not yet done, which usually happens when you have a lot of food to prepare.

Char-Broil Oklahoma Joes Bronco Barrel Drum Smoker...
  • Precision Airflow Control: Innovative airflow system and sealed lid deliver precise control...
  • Ample Cooking Space: With 630 square inches of cooking surface spread across 2 porcelain-coated...
  • Durable Construction: Crafted from porcelain-coated steel, this smoker is built to withstand...

Last update on 2024-06-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.

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