What is an Offset Smoker?
There are many reasons people choose to purchase a smoker. Maybe you love the taste of smoked red meat, maybe you adore the tenderness of brisket, perhaps you appreciate the art of food preservation, or maybe you just want to eat a bit healthier. No matter the reason, we know it can be difficult to find the perfect unit for your needs. That’s where we come in.
With an offset smoker, there are a couple of perks, when compared to other styles. The first is that they also function as grills, and often have a huge area for cooking. Secondly, you can smoke a whole lot of meat at once. You will be the one the relatives call when the family reunion is coming up. Be sure to stock up on brats, cheddar burgers, and some steaks.
Finding the Perfect Offset Smoker
There are a few things to consider when choosing a new offset smoker. Many of the smokers of this type are large and cumbersome and can be expensive. However, there are still some things to consider to get the best option for your needs.
Reverse Flow vs. Traditional Offset
Reverse flow smokers are a new phenomenon, but they are easy to pick out. These units have the smoke stack and the firebox on the same end of the smoker. This type of smoker tends to improve the balance of heat and smoke, as smoke travels back across the entire cooking area and then out the stack. Traditional smokers may not do as well with this, but can often come at a discount.
Portable or Fixed
Some smokers are massive and unlikely to be moved after the initial setup, while others can travel more easily. If you plan to travel somewhere, whether camping or on a road trip, with your grill, choosing a more lightweight option might be best. However, if you’re going to smoke in the same area each time, getting a more durable and heavy one can be an excellent option.
Vertical vs. Horizontal
A vertical smoker has the heat and smoke coming from below the cooking area. The heat source is typically near or in the chamber the food is in. Because of this, it can cook foods faster. This may be a positive thing or a negative thing, based on what you like to cook.
The horizontal, on the other hand, has a chamber mounted to the side of the cooking area, often a bit lower than the food. The temperature stays lower with this type of smoker, allowing for the slow-smoked barbecue with a great smoky flavor that many love. This is often the preferred form for many professional smokers.
1. Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker
Char-broil is a well-known manufacturer of grills and smokers and often offers similar units to Weber and others but at a highly discounted price. The American Gourmet is no different as it is inexpensive and easy to use for a beginner or a seasoned professional.
There are 315 square inches of primary cooking space with a rack space of 670 square inches. This is more than enough to cook a bunch of meat for the next family dinner. It also offers a warming rack, firebox, and lid-mounted temperature gauge.
This thing is large, but not heavy like some competitors. However, the thinness can result in some amount of heat and smoke loss, which needs to be compensated for. However, for the price, you aren’t likely to find a better option, so the American Gourmet remains a favorite.
2. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Smoker
Dyna-Glo offers several reasonably priced grills and smokers. They are a widely distributed brand, so getting a first-hand look at one isn’t as big a problem as some of the smaller manufacturers’ products.
Unlike a lot of other offset smokers, this model has a vertical offset. This type of smoker pulls heat and smoke where it needs to be, out of the chimney. This brand offers a low cost, moderate-performance option for those who prefer vertical over horizontal.
The firebox on this smoker is a charcoal setup that is made of powder-coated steel with a rod grate and a slide-out ashtray. The smokebox offers an adjustable damper, along with six different chrome-plated racks which can each hold up to 25 pounds.
3. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker
Another great offset smoker to consider is the Highland by Oklahoma Joe’s. It is billed as a combination smoker and grill with space to cook for large groups of people. It provides full control to the chef by use of access doors, a pit for wood chips, and air dampers. It has 619 square inches of cooking room, along with three different grates. This will easily cook for six or eight people at once.
The Highland has a large storage area under the smoker where you can put your grilling accessories when not in use. There is also a side door on the firebox to make it easy to get rid of ashes without making a mess. Another cool feature, literally, lies in the chrome-plated handles, which stay cool even when smoking or grilling. No more accidents resulting in burned hands and bruised egos.
For those who want to grill, you can use the porcelain-coated adjustable-height wire to do so. The included temperature gauge allows you to control the heat while cooking. There is also a work shelf in front of the grill for keeping spatulas and other tools nearby.
4. Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill
This offering from Char-Griller is an interesting one because while it does offer grilling and smoking capabilities, it is sometimes sold without a firebox. Be certain yours comes with one or the smoking capabilities will be sunk. That said, with or without the box, this unit comes at an attractive price point.
It provides a large cooking surface of 830 square inches, along with heavy-duty cooking grates made from iron. There is a tray in front that can be utilized as a work table, along with an adjustable coal grate for more precise temperature while cooking.
This grill does well at both smoking and grilling, which might give it a leg up if you like to enjoy both methods of cooking. The only thing that isn’t perfect with it is the temperature control which can be a little finicky, but that’s small potatoes when all is considered.
5. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reserve Flow Smoker
Our second contender from Oklahoma Joe’s is the Highland Reverse Flow. This smoker offers a whopping 879 square inches of cooking area, along with a warming tray that is perfect for heating a pot of beans or some sauce to cover your ribs. You get a total of five grates, which is enough for a ton of burgers to cook at once.
This model has a vertical smokestack along with dampers you can adjust to get the right heat and smoke levels for your taste. You can also switch between traditional offset smoking and reverse flow, giving you more options to take advantage of. It also offers a space at the bottom of the unit to keep your charcoal or cooking tools nearby.
The charcoal basket for this model is quite large, and you likely won’t run out of fuel while cooking, which is a nice perk. Once cooking is complete, you can easily remove ash through the door by the firebox, making cleanup a breeze.
6. Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker
The Longhorn Reverse Flow offers a great smoking experience with even smoke and heat. This is partially due to four baffles which are locked under the grate and smoke channel. The addition of a large charcoal basket also makes this unit convenient, as you don’t have to stop and fill things up midway through.
If you want copious space to do your smoking, this is an excellent option. It offers a total of 1060 inches of cooking space to utilize. Needless to say, you can cook a huge amount of meat on that size of smoker so you might as well have a big party; you can certainly cater it.
This model allows you to switch between typical and reverse flow smoking with optional locations for the smokestack so more precise cooking. Other great features include the bottom shelf for storage, warming tray for side dishes, and easy access to the firebox for cleaning out ashes.
7. RiverGrille SC2162901-RG Rancher’s Grill
First things first, the Rancher’s Grill is a monstrous smoker option. The cooking space offers 1343 square inches, enough to cook more than 50 cheeseburgers all at once. The unit is about 80 inches in width, with a height of about 57 inches. There is also a huge wood chip box to get a great smoky taste from your meat.
You can expect durability as the components of this unit are high-quality. The grates are coated with a double layer of porcelain, and the lid is also double constructed to avoid heat loss as much as possible. In addition to that, the single piece firebox holds heat in well and offers plenty of space for wood or charcoal, depending on preference.
Other features worth being aware of include the addition of two professional level thermometers, along with front tables of mesh steel, and a storage area at the bottom of the smoker. You can also purchase a grill cover if you intend to store it outside, but that is an additional cost.
8. Outdoor Leisure SH36208 Smoke Hollow
The Smoke Hollow by Outdoor Leisure is constructed of heavy gauge steel and utilizes a welded construction. It is capable of both charcoal grilling and smoking via a horizontal offset chimney. It also includes a side fire box for easier cleaning when the cooking is over.
The size is nice on this model, offering 720 square feet of cooking space. This is plenty of room for making over 25 hamburgers at a time. The cooking grids are heavy duty and coated in porcelain for long life. You can add in wood chips for a bigger smoky flavor, if you like.
This item is a barrel-style grill and smoker which will appeal to those who like the traditional cooking ways. It harkens back to earlier times with the pitch black barrel and chimney, but lovely to look at all the same.
9. Dyna-Glo SE DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Offset Smoker
Interested in both smoking and grilling? The Dyna-Glo Signature Series may be an excellent match for you. You can easily convert into a grill and then back to an offset smoker, depending on your needs at the time. It comes with accessories including a charcoal grate and ash pan, allowing for quick cleanup.
The Signature Series comes with five cooking grates, with a total of 1382 square inches of cooking space, with 1098 inches of primary space and 284 in the offset area. There are also some chrome plated sausage hooks, for specialty cooking. A professional grade temperature gauge is there to help with determining the proper cooking temperature for smoke flavor.
The construction of this smoker is stable, using heavy-gauge steel for the body. It has a heat-resistant door, as well as a heat-resistant offset lid handle in order to provide an extra level of safety and security when cooking.
10. Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker
Our final smoker is another that doubles as a grill, making it perfect for someone who wants to utilize both styles of cooking and would prefer to save some money, as well. It is a free-standing barrel smoker that uses charcoal as fuel. This grill is made from steel and iron and offers stainless steel spring handles.
To keep organized, you can use the mesh front shelf for accessories you aren’t using. There is also an offset smoker, which is perfect for making a side dish or warming up marinade for your cooking meats. The traditional cooking area offers 420 square inches, with another 180 inches of offset warming.
No matter which of these smokers you choose to go with, they all have our seal of approval. You can expect great flavor, durable construction, and plenty of space for whatever you like to smoke or barbecue. Just remember to figure out exactly what you need from your new cooker so you can be sure to be happy when it comes home with you.