Are you on the hunt for the best offset smoker? If so, then this guide is perfect for you!
Trust me, I was in the same predicament two years ago. Most of my friends like barbecues and tailgate parties, and I always join their gatherings because it is fun. But when it was my turn to host a weekend barbecue party, I didn’t have a food smoker!
I was about to get an electric one when my uncle, who was a Pitmaster, advised me to get an offset smoker instead. According to him, they are great for homemade barbecues. “An electric smoker is good“, he said, “but an offset smoker works like magic“. And you know what, he was so right!
If you are you interested in experiencing the same magic, then it’s the time to consider investing in an offset. I can guarantee that you will never regret having this tool in your yard. To help you, I have listed some of the finest offset smokers you can find today. Check them out below!
Image from Amazon.com
With a total of 900 square inches of cooking space, it is impossible to ignore the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker. It is a perfect amenity for putting on barbecues at large events and gatherings, as its full-sized design enables you to serve a crowd of hungry tummies. Specifically, the main smoking chamber is 619 square inches and the fire chamber is a superb 281 square inches, so you can utilize a lot of space here.
The Oklahoma Joe’s Highland is a type of reverse flow smoker that uses a set of four baffles to regulate the smoke and heat in the main cooking chamber. This feature enhances the flavor and texture of the food, especially meat. The baffles are removable, too. You can also customize the setup by modifying the location of the smokestack. These features alone indicate that this unit is one of the best reverse flow smokers on the market today.
Despite its price, the construction is impressive. The firebox chamber has a rugged, stain-resistant design that is immune to corrosion, rust, and cracks, even when its exposed to high temperatures. There is also a fuel basket made from stainless steel in the chamber that minimizes the clean-up process. In addition, the chamber door has an ergonomic design that provides a large opening to speed up ash removal.
The entire offset smoker is crafted from stainless steel and the cooking grates are porcelain grated, which gives it maximum heat resistance and durability. The numerous dampers ensure that the smoke control and heat distribution of this device is excellent. I own a piece of this machine, so I am sure that what all I have mentioned here is true. Learning how to use the Oklahoma Joe smoker is easy, too.
- Excellent heat control and distribution.
- Chambers are easy to access and clean.
- Its impervious to rust and corrosion.
- Rugged and outdoor-worthy design.
- Large cooking space.
Image from Amazon.com
Should you get a traditional offset smoker? The answer is a big yes, but make sure that you get something you can work ergonomically. This device is specifically designed for Texas-style barbecuing. The grill and firebox are brimming with old-school appeal. However, these devices never really go out of fashion.
Both the firebox and grill barrel have been crafted from heavy-duty stainless steel. This construction ensures that it’s durable and can withstand extreme temperatures and harsh elements. The entire smoker has been covered with a powder coating that protects it from rust and corrosion.
The cooking grates are made from cast-iron, which allows the optimized and equal distribution of heat throughout the entire grill. The grates are non-stick, so even the stickiest of ingredients will never cling to the grates, making it easy to clean the smoker.
I also love the accessibility of the charcoal chamber. You can remove the drawers to easily add charcoal during the smoking process. This eliminates the need for you to expose your hands to the burning heat. The same feature also enables you to dump the residue and ashes cleanly. It also offers a large cooking space and a storage system for your tools and ingredients.
- Comes with heavy-duty caster wheels for easy transport.
- Offers long-term durability.
- The charcoal chamber is easy to access.
- Enables the equal distribution of heat.
- Features a temperature gauge.
- The temperature gauge doesn’t operate accurately when the temperatures are cold.
- The assembly instructions are vague.
Image from Amazon.com
If you are looking for a compact offset smoker, let me to introduce you to Landmann Vista Charcoal Grill. Technically, this is a charcoal grill, but it has a small offset smoker chamber. Therefore, aside from being compact, this device is also versatile. You can use it to prepare a variety of outdoor treats and delicacies. It is made for those who lack space at home, but still want to savor the authentic taste of a homemade barbecue.
Its portability and compact design are the two major selling points of the Landmann Vista Barbecue Grill. The body features a set of large wheels for easier transport, so you can still bring this grill along even when you’re cooking on the most challenging of terrains. The side shelves of this device are foldable, so you can collapse them to get them in your vehicle.
Meanwhile, the charcoal pan is adjustable and can be turned into a variety of positions through the use of a crank handle. The chimney comes with an adjustable damper which gives improved heat control. Meanwhile, the front panel is noticeably large. This allows you to access the charcoal container easily. The ashtray is also big, encompassing the entire bottom part of the grill, so that you can benefit from a hassle free clean-up.
As it is a compact grill, the cooking surface is not as huge as the other smokers here. You can only utilize about 360 square inches of the cast iron grates, but that is not bad if you ask me. Furthermore, the smoker has 169 square inches of cooking space, which you can use for simultaneous smoking and grilling.
- Its compact design allows for easier transport and storage.
- Rugged and durable design.
- Unique combination of grill and smoker.
- Accessible charcoal chamber.
- Provides efficient residue and control management.
- It’s not for large parties and cookouts.
Image from Amazon.com
Choosing a vertical offset smoker is a brilliant option if you want to save space. It is quite natural for people to pick this device as the design is easy to store. The Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker is one of the best choices for a vertical smoker. It has a solid construction with a functional set of ergonomics that allows you to maximize its cooking efficiency.
The Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker has a unique design that ensures effective implementation of indirect heat. which makes it efficient at slow burning. As a result, even the food placed at the bottom of the smoker won’t burn quickly. Furthermore, it has cooking grates that can be adjusted to six different heights, which gives you the versatility to cook even the largest of ingredients.
The maximum cooking space is 1176 square inches, so you will always be able to cope with large parties or food servings. The entire charcoal container is porcelain-enameled, which means it can handle extreme temperatures while handling your briquettes cleanly and properly. The double door design ensures that heat won’t be able to escape, so you can always get the most out of the food that you cook.
The offset smoker also features a stainless steel thermometer, which allows you to both monitor and keep track of the internal temperature. Furthermore, the “Smoke Zone” provides the user with the appropriate temperature required to induce a smoky flavor to your food. Meanwhile, the smokestack component produces more flavor while you are smoking.
- The charcoal chamber ensures the stacking of briquettes for better burning.
- Provides cleaner residue and ash management.
- Lessens the chance of heat escape.
- Induces an authentic flavor.
- Rugged and durable construction.
- The firebox damper is difficult to close.
- Its assembly is quite quirky.
Image from Amazon.com
It is quite difficult to find an inexpensive yet high-quality offset smoker, as most entry-level units don’t come with decent features. Fortunately, grills like the Royal Gourmet still exist. Specifically, this unit has a similar design to the Landmann Vista. It is a grill that features an offset smoker for enhanced cooking versatility, so you can always create a myriad of dishes.
This entry-level value has a simple design and operation, and it’s not difficult to assemble. High temperatures cannot burn the coating of its burn box. Moreover, the 782 square inches of cooking space means you will have a lot of room to utilize. The grill is 440 square inches while the chromed warming rack is a solid 180 square inches. The offset smoker is 182 square inches, which is not too big, but fairly decent.
Luckily, the offset smoker features some functional ergonomics. It has an air vent that provides sufficient airflow throughout the smoking process. There is also a side door that allows you to add as much charcoal as you need without burning your hands.
Despite its cost, the Royal Gourmet offers some professional perks for you. The thermometer is highly accurate at monitoring the internal temperature, and the spring handle’s cool-touch mechanism means you can enjoy a safer, ouch-free operation. In addition, the full-size, adjustable damper regulates and optimizes the grill’s air flow, while the overall construction is not shabby at all.
- Durable wheel casters for easier transport.
- Charcoal pan has a large capacity.
- Efficient air flow.
- High resistance to extreme heat.
- Easy to use and assemble.
- The offset smoker is small.
- It can rust.
Investing in a smoker means you have a great interest in the process of smoking. Well, I congratulate you. After all, this cooking method is one of the finest and tastiest ways to prepare meat and other applicable ingredients.
However, you should realize that having a food smoker is not enough. You can never achieve perfection if you solely depend on the equipment. It is essential that you are knowledgable about food smoking, so that you can get the most out of your cooking.
I have written a plethora of guides to teach amateurs about the ins and outs of smoking. You can always refer to them if you think you are still not yet ready to put your barbecuing skills to the test. Here they are:
There are other variants of food smokers apart from traditional offset smokers. If you want to delve into them a little bit, check out these guides that I have written:
Blackstone is a special brand that offers a gamut of grill and griddles you can use to smoke food. You can consider some of their units here:
- The Best Of Blackstone: Grills And Griddles Reviews
These resources should help you to learn the ropes of smoking and provide information about food smokers in general. You can always refer to them if there are some things that baffle you.
Before anything else, I have to discuss the difference between a reverse flow smoker and traditional offset smoker. These two terms often confuse people, even in the grilling community. Although they have different mechanisms, these two are related smokers. You could say that a reverse flow smoker is the advanced form of an offset smoker.
However, if you want a technical explanation of this, just read on.
The standard or traditional offset smoker is not that good at providing balanced heat distribution. Typically, the heat chamber of an offset has hot spots that can burn some parts of the food while the rest is undercooked. This has put some Pitmasters off, while others consider it as a “blessing in disguise” because it allows them to cook different ingredients at varying temperatures.
On the other hand, a reverse flow smoker’s cooking chamber has a steel plate construction, which enables the heat to travel through the surface at the hottest temperature, and then go down into the food with a regulated and curbed heat. Because of this mechanism, reverse flow smokers are capable of distributing heat equally throughout the chamber. Aside from the steel plate, the smoker also has a chimney, which optimizes the air flow and heat control of the device. Reverse flow smokers are the best choice when it comes to slow cooking huge chunks of meat.
But on the downside, using a reverse flow smoker is time-consuming. The absence of hot spots will test your patience, especially if you are dealing with large ingredients.
Not all offset smokers are created equal. Therefore, it is essential that you pick the right one that fits your requirements and budget. But how do you determine the quality and functionality of a smoker?
Since offset smokers are created by different manufacturers, they don’t follow the same design, features, or construction. Fortunately, they possess similar qualities that we can use as a baseline in the selection process. In the meantime, you will need to understand these things first before you can head out to the store.
The efficiency of heat retention and distribution of an offset smoker depends on the gauge or the thickness of the metal sheet that’s used in the cooking chamber. Take note that the higher the gauge, the better control the device has. You cannot expect thin sheets of metal to offer excellent heat retention.
Manufacturers usually use 1/4-inch gauge sheets when constructing their smokers. This is a standard in the community that provides durability and weather-proofing without a high price. Of course, the thicker the metal, the costlier it will be. This is something that you should ponder about.
The dampers and seals of an offset smoker are crucial to its performance. Without these components, you cannot expect the food to be tasty and smoky. High-quality dampers and seals reduce the chances of the heat escaping, which will curb your fuel costs. Properly installed dampers are important as they can optimize smoke retention.
It is essential for the damper to be accessible, too. You should be able to open and close it easily. The damper’s smoothness and ruggedness will indicate whether the offset smoker is made for outdoor use and extensive applications.
Aside from these features, the offset smoker should allow you to monitor the internal temperature of the device. This is necessary if you are going to make bacon or beef jerky. Knowing the temperature of the cooking chamber without opening it is a huge bonus that prevents the escape of precious heat and smoke and ensures the food will be cooked at your desired temperature level.
Two temperature gauges are a good idea, with each installed on opposite sides of the cooking chamber, as it will enable you to configure the internal temperature accurately if you spot a difference in some of the zones. Although temperature gauges can increase the price an offset smoker, they are definitely something that you should look for.
An offset smoker is made for the outdoors. It doesn’t matter if it is your backyard or the open woods. Therefore, this device will be exposed to every harsh element out there. If the construction is flimsy, it won’t survive for very long, so it needs be able to withstand dust, debris, and rain.
Corrosion and rust are always a threat, so your device must have a powder coating to protect it against damage. It is also important that the smoker has good resistance to high temperatures. After all, we are talking about smokers here.
Meanwhile, the base and legs should be rugged so that they will remain stable, regardless of the terrain. It would also be great if the offset smoker had caster wheels, so that you could take it anywhere you wanted to.
There’s no correct choice when it comes to the size of the cooking surface. The only thing that you should consider here is your needs and preferences. If you have a large family or host large parties or cookouts, it is necessary to look for large or full-sized units.
Compact units are better for people who cook for small amount of people. They are also advantageous because of their portability, easy storage and price, as they are a cheaper option, too.
The price is always a determinant of the quality of all food smokers. It is a common notion that entry-level units can never compete with restaurant-grade and premium smokers. Even though it is a bitter pill to swallow, it is a fact that you have to accept.
You should spend as much as you can, If possible, as the difference between cheap offset smokers and high-end smokers is big. You can always save up for your dream unit. There’s no need to rush out and buy it.
But don’t let this distract you from the fact that there are entry-level offset smokers with decent features and performance. Expensive smokers are great, but they should not be your only choice. Just always consider your needs and resources. If things are a little tough for you at the moment, just get an entry-level offset smoker that is able to do the job effectively.
The best offset smoker are always a good option for camping and outdoor cookouts, as they are durable, provide efficient heat distribution and can regulate their temperature so that you will always attain the best results. All I can say is that investing in this equipment is something you will never regret.
The choice is not limited, which is why I have picked out only the most notable offset models here. The ones that I have chosen all have good features and qualities, and are moderately priced. Therefore, you can acquire any one of them with confidence. Even the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker will not rip a hole in your bank account.
I hope that you will find the appropriate smoker for you after reading this guide. If you have any questions or other things that you want clarifying, just ask me in the comments section below.