Today meat smokers include multiple gauges, digital control panels, and gadgets to ensure a perfect end result. But smoking meat is one of the oldest, most primitive forms of cooking, and many believe all these modern features take away from this age-old tradition. Today’s Oklahoma Joe Smoker Review takes a look at The Marshal Centerbox Smoker. This traditional wood-burning smoker replaces fancy gadgets with thoughtful construction to ensure a quality meal that even traditionalists can respect.
So let’s check out how well the Oklahoma Joe Marshal Centerbox Smoker works while striving for the perfect balance of “traditional and modern”.
Oklahoma Joe Smoker Review Guide
Check out more TIA Grilling & Smoking Reviews.
Oklahoma Joe Company History
The first Oklahoma Joe smokers were 12 smokers created by the Oklahoma Joe founder himself, Joe Davidson, in 1987. After saving up $2,000 he built the smokers by hand and sold them at the Oklahoma State Fair. All 12 orders sold and he received orders for over 100 more smokers. From there, Oklahoma Joe continued to grow.
Today the brand produces over 100,000 smokers each year. Joe Davidson has continued to impress people with his smokers and he has won over 300 competitions.
Check out Joe Davidson’s titles and learn more on Oklahoma Joe’s website.
Oklahoma Joe Smoker Review Overview
The Oklahoma Joe Marshal Centerbox Smoker (#23202164) utilizes a traditional barrel design with a centrally-mounted firebox to ensure even heat distribution. This Oklahoma Joe smoker uses a traditional wood-burning fuel source as well as charcoal.
Starting from the outside, this Oklahoma Joe Smoker is made from a durable, heavy-gauge steel. This material is resilient and this smoker is built to last a long time. The durability extends to the handle connected to the top lid of the smoker.
Dual Temperature Gauges
This smoker is not a set-it-and-forget-it smoker. Smoking and grilling is a very involved experience. The two temperature gauges on the front are your lifelines.
Side Shelves & Storage
A side shelf extends from each side of the smoker. Each side panel measures 10 in. wide x 18 in. long. Together they provide a fair amount of space to hold whatever you’re smoking before or after it goes in, or your tongs and whatever equipment you need.
A thin towel/accessory rack also extends from the front of the body underneath the lid.
Terrain & Castor Wheels
The base consists of two sets of wheels. One set of large terrain wheels allow the smoker to move where you need it to be. Two smaller locking castor wheels on the other side make the smoker stay put when in use.
A bottom shelf connects to the all four legs of the smoker. There isn’t a ton of space between the shelf and the charcoal box. I suppose you could store some things, but the shelf mostly stabilizes the smoker.
Oklahoma Joe Smoker Grill Grates
This model does include grill grates and doubles as a grill if you want to use it that way. The grill area is divided into a primary and secondary cooking area with all the grill grates made out of a thick cast iron.
The primary cooking area covers the the bottom portion of the smoker, measuring 30 in. wide x 17 in. deep for 544 sq. in. of primary cooking space. It appears to be one large grill grate, but it’s actually made up of four removeable racks.
The secondary cooking area is made up of two half shelves that fit in the upper portion of the smoker, and are a few inches apart from each other vertically. Each shelf measures 27 in. wide x 12 in. deep. Combined, these shelves equate to 660 sq. in. of secondary cooking space.
Altogether, the Oklahoma Joe Marshal Centerbox Smoker offers 1,200 sq. in. of total cooking space.
Oklahoma Joe Smoker Charcoal Box
The charcoal box sits at the base of this Oklahoma Joe Smoker. It’s obviously shut inside the smoker. On the front of the door is a damper. This is the metal piece on the bottom side of the door with a handle sticking out. The damper is for helping with temperature control.
Open the door by pulling on the notch on the left to expose the charcoal box. Very straightforward, the metal crate is the charcoal box and this is where you place your wood or charcoal. Pull out the black pan beneath it. This is the ash tray, which obviously collects your ash.
Oklahoma Joe Smoker Charcoal Grate
In addition to the charcoal box there is an adjustable charcoal grate beneath the primary cooking area. This allows you to cook directly in the chamber opposed to using the charcoal box.
Oklahoma Joe Smoker Temperature Control
The Oklahoma Joe Marshal Centerbox Smoker utilizes 360° Air Flow as its primary means for temperature control. What does that mean exactly? Well, you manage the smoker’s temperature by adjusting where and when air can enter or be released from the smoker.
Let’s go over some of the ways this Oklahoma Joe Smoker allows your to manage air flow.
Dual Smoke Stacks
There is a smoke stack placed on each end on the top of smoker. Each near a temperature gauge. The round lid on each of these smoke stacks swivel to either release heat or trap it in.
The dampers are located in a few place. There is one located just under the charcoal box on the charcoal box door. Then there is a damper on each side of the smoker, located under the side panels.
The dampers are a simple piece of metal with some holes in it to create a vent. A handle sticks out from one side of the metal, which rests on a slide. Just pull the handle to either trap or release air.
The fuser plate is located underneath the charcoal grate. It funnels out from the fire stack to evenly diffuse heat and prevent hot spots.
Oklahoma Joe Smoker Flex™ Accessories
The smoker is sold alone. However, the Oklahoma Joe Marshal Centerbox Smoker is compatible with all Oklahoma Joe Flex™ Accessories, such as…
- Oklahoma Joe Flex System Rib Rack
- Oklahoma Joe Flex System Drumstick & Pepper Rack
- Oklahoma Joe Flex System Multi-Purpose Rack
Oklahoma Joe also makes a few accessories specifically for this smoker.
Marshal Centerbox Smoker Accessories
Oklahoma Joe Smoker Results
Above all else, the degree of flavor transfer from the charcoal to the food was unlike anything I’ve experienced from something I’ve personally grilled or smoked. I understand if you do not like smokey flavors that this may be a turn-off…but you’re probably not interested in a smoker anyway.
For me, though? This was a definite success.
Value of Oklahoma Joe Smoker
You can purchase the Oklahoma Joe Marshal Centerbox Smoker for $699 from The Home Depot. We attempted to compare this smoker to others, but the Marshal Centerbox Smoker is unique, and we couldn’t find another smoker that hit all the same notes regarding size, fuel source, flavor impact, capacity, and design.
So, here is where we land. The Oklahoma Joe Marshal Centerbox Smoker is on the high side of average for smokers. Z Grills and Traeger had smokers of similar sizes for the same price or even cheaper. However, I have never managed to get the same degree of flavor from a pellet grill/smoker. I also could not find another barrel smoker that gave you the choice of using the centerbox or the chamber.
The design of the Oklahoma Joe Marshal Centerbox Smoker is what sets it apart. It promotes even cooking while also giving users versatility.
Yes, you can get a cheaper smoker. But with this you are getting a high-quality smoker that packs a significant flavor punch.
Oklahoma Joe Smoker Final Review
Cooking with the Oklahoma Joe Marshal Centerbox Smoker was a new experience for me. It was a very involved process and I really enjoyed it. If you are the kind of person who prefers to throw something in the smoker, set it, and then go to socialize or do something else, then this is not the smoker for you.
However, if you enjoy building your own fire, are an experienced griller/smoker, or like tasks that are very hands-on then you will really enjoy this smoker. It takes effort to work with, but the good kind. You feel accomplished when all is done and you have a delicious meal.