M Grills M1 Charcoal Grill and Smoker Review

Large black boxy charcoal grill with lid up showing shiny steel cooking grates. Shiny steel shelves are attached to each side. I fire box door with latch is on the lower left side. A hand crank is on the right side.
M1 Charcoal Grill and Smoker

M Grill's M1 charcoal/wood cooker plants a reverse flow smoker and charcoal grill under one lid. Weighing in at 350 pounds of thick 10 gauge coated steel and high quality 304 stainless steel, this versatile, heavy metal machine should hold temperature stabile and remain in service for many years. There are two choices for fuel placement: the firebox for smoking, and a separate adjustable height charcoal cooking grate for grilling. Two intake dampers and one exhaust damper control air. The primary cook surface is two 13" x 18.5" 1/4 inch thick 304 stainless steel rod grates for a total of 481 square inches.

This M Grills video shows the adjustable charcoal grate and firebox.

Fully welded with no fasteners save those affixing the 16 gauge stainless side shelves, M1's sealed design allows few opportunities for uncontrolled air to enter or leave, enabling effective air/heat management. On the down side, when grilling there is no easy access to the charcoal grate and no removable ash pan, so one needs to take off food and grates to tend the fire and clean up. Two grate lifter tools are included for this purpose. M Grills recommends laying a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil under the charcoal tray, on the heat baffle above the firebox before grilling. When finished, knock down the ash into the gunky foil, roll it up and dispose.

Use the Firebox for Reverse Flow Smoking

Graphic rendering of n unusual charcoal and wood burner hybrid grill and smoker with parts labeled and arrows showing the air flow pattern.

Located bottom left, the firebox is double walled with about a half inch of air insulation. A slide out charcoal/wood basket can be accessed via the 1/4 inch thick firebox door featuring a large sliding air intake damper. As the fire draws air through the damper, picking up heat and smoke, it flows from left to right and immediately hits a slanted "Heat Channel" that directs the flow upward. An adjustable exhaust damper located at the top left side of the lid pulls the flow back from right to left where it exits directly above the fire in a backward C-shaped pattern, hence the term, "reverse flow". BBQ proponents of reverse flow smoker designs believe they create a more even heat pattern in the smoke box than traditional offset smokers where air flows from one side to the other, pulling heat through the hot firebox, then exiting out the chimney on the opposite end.

Flavor and aroma of wood smoked foods are hard to beat, but you'll need to learn a few tricks for holding low, smoking temps without letting the wood smolder and create bitter, dirty smoke. Click here to learn more about Stickburning.

Use the Charcoal Grate for Grilling

The adjustable height charcoal grate lets you drop the fire down low for roasting, or use a hand crank to bring it up right under the cook surface for super searing. This design is reminiscent of the classic Hasty-Bakes that have been smoking and grilling across the USA since the 1948. M1 places a second adjustable air intake damper under the right side shelf to control fire in the charcoal grate when grilling. Leave this damper closed when smoking. See below.

Black box with shiny steel shelf attached. Under the shelf is an adjustable dial air damper. Next to the damper is a hand crank.

The large rectangular charcoal grate can easily be set for 2-zone cooking by loading fuel on one side to create distinct direct and indirect heat zones. We believe this is an essential technique for grilling. Click here to learn more about 2-Zone Cooking.

Black steel box with shiny cooking grates. One down low and the other up high.

The adjustable charcoal grate is made of the same 1/4 inch stainless steel rods as the cooking grate and can be scraped down to double as a secondary cook surface when smoking with the firebox. An optional extender grate that rests on the primary cook surface is available to further increase capacity.

M1 straddles the territory between a rugged traditional Texas wood burning smoker and an attractive charcoal grill that fits right in on any patio without taking up a lot of space. Even with a relatively modest footprint, (about 26" x 26" not counting the side shelves), the primary cooking grates can hold two 12 to 15 pound briskets and smoking capacity can be easily extended by using the 328 square inch stainless steel charcoal grate as a secondary cook surface. Furthermore, this 2 in 1 device eliminates the need for a separate grill and dedicated smoker.

M Grills offers a non-transferable, Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: 
Primary Function: 
Combination Grill & Smoker
Primary Capacity: 
481 square inches
Secondary Capacity: 
328 square inches
Made in the USA: 
Review Method:

Looked Closely At It

We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer,  owners, and other reliable sources.

M Grills

M Grills is an offshoot of MaGee Machine & Manufacturing, a family owned metal fabrication business operating in Mesquite, TX since 1986. Like all Texans, the MaGees love BBQ and started making some fun looking cookers in the shape of the Lone Star State (see below). 

N Grills Texas Grill

In 2015 they came up with a new concept for a combination reverse flow smoker and grill with an adjustable height charcoal grate and M Grills' M1 was born.

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*Based on 4" raw burger with 1/2" space on all sides

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