If you are a seasoned pitmaster or a newcomer to the game, smokers give you the ability to create some of the most mouth-watering, delectable foods that you’ll ever eat. An offset smoker is the real deal smoker. They require constant monitoring so you need to have the time to do this. The fire needs to be tended to every 15-20 minutes to make sure you are getting the proper heat and smoke output. This isn’t for the faint of heart but for the person that has a true passion for doing things the original way. A great video that really shows what is required to manage the fire in an offset is done by T-ROY Cooks channel here. The natural flavor and tenderness that offset smoking provides gives your mouth more than just delicious food — it’s an experience that can’t be described in so few words. With an offset you will get the real smoke ring on your food and the smoke flavor is better than any pellet grill out there. There’s no better time than the present to buy a new smoker and get in on it. So the question is — what is the best offset smoker on the market?
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks :
|Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker||CHECK PRICE|
|Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn Smoker Combo||CHECK PRICE|
|Oklahoma Joe's Highland Smoker||CHECK PRICE|
|Dyna-Glo Signature Series||CHECK PRICE|
|Broil King Offset Smoker||CHECK PRICE|
How To Choose the Best Offset Smoker?
Deciding on the best offset smoker is not the simple task of just looking at the price or focusing only on one specific feature. If there is a particular feature that you know you want, by all means make sure it is part of the smoker that you end up getting However, don’t let that be the only deciding factor!
In terms of price, just like everything else you can buy, don’t blindly purchase the cheapest option or the most expensive. If you shell out a bunch of money for the most expensive option available, you could probably get all the bells and whistles and have every feature you could imagine on your smoker. But how often, if ever, will you really use all of those extra features you spent the money on? Also, how much extra did you pay just for a certain brand name?
Conversely, don’t buy the cheapest option either. This is true in almost all walks of life — the cheapest option is usually the cheapest for a reason. It’s more than likely that your new smoker will be severely lacking quality if you just try to spend as little as possible. There should be a wide range of prices between the cheapest and most expensive options; where some real gems can be found.
When it comes to choosing the best offset smoker, you’ll want to take a look at several different things that only you know the answer too. Things like how often you will use it, what features does it have that make it more functional, what types of food you’re going to want to cook in it, etc. Once you have the answers to these questions in mind, start looking for options while keeping them in mind.
What Makes Offset Smokers Unique?
Offset smokers are the most common type of smoker for residential, use as well as competition. They are the mainstays of smokers, and typically what a person will imagine when they think of a smoker. Offset smokers get their name from their design, in which the firebox is mounted to the side or back of the main chamber — it is offset from the main cooking chamber.
Compare this to other types of grills and even smokers where the charcoal or wood is placed directly in the bottom of the main cooking chamber rather than a dedicated offset firebox. This unique mounting position of the offset smoker allows for the heat and smoke from the firebox to slowly pass through the main cooking chamber and out through the chimney or stack.
This process allows the meat to cook slowly and give it that melt-in-your-mouth-tenderness that we all love. Offset smokers also give you the option to run on an all-wood fire or a combination of charcoal and wood — whatever you want to do to get the best smokey flavor that you so desire.
Safety When Using an Offset Smoker
When you’re using a smoker or really any type of grill, safety should be the single biggest priority in your mind at all times. With an open flame and very high temperatures, injuries can happen in an instant. You should take all the necessary precautions when using a smoker. Start by always reading the product-specific owner’s manual to make sure you’ve taken all the necessary safety precautions.
The two biggest safety hazards that come with smoking or grilling are burns and fires. Whenever the grill is in use, make sure animals and children are kept away from the grill and be sure you’re using the correct utensils to avoid burns as well. Fires are fairly safe when kept under control within the smoker or grill; where they are designed to be. While they are preventable most of the time, always be prepared for those just in case scenarios.
The best way to handle a fire; if it does happen, is by having a fire extinguisher nearby. Make sure it is somewhere you can quickly grab and spray to put out a fire if need be. If you keep the extinguisher in the garage and you spend 30 seconds running over there, grabbing it, and coming back, the fire could have spread and already be out of control. One final time: safety should be the number one priority any time you use a smoker or grill.
What To Look For In Offset Smokers
Offset smokers are the quintessential BBQs that people think about when they imagine a smoker. Whether; it’s horizontal or vertical; whether it uses charcoal or wood; or whether it costs $200 or $2,000 — offset smokers are a huge player in the smoker industry and for good reason. The food you can make with one is to die for. While most will allow you to make delicious food, not all offset smokers are created equally. Some have more features, some have better pricing, some have more quality — there are all sorts of different things to keep in mind when shopping for a new smoker. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re looking into a new offset smoker:
Available Cooking Space
This refers to both the square inches of surface area that the smoker enables you to cook on, as well as, the vertical height that you have. It’s important to keep both in mind. For example, a vertical smoker with lots of layers of cooking grates can offer you 1,500+ square inches of cooking space, but there may not be enough room to cook anything tall.
The ideal offset smoker will enable you to adjust dampers on the smokestacks to allow variable amounts of smoke inside the cooking chamber. The ability to vary the smoke in the cooking chamber means that you can control the temperature and also adjust how deep the smoke flavor gets within the food. Making it easier to get the exact flavor that you want every time.
You want to make sure that your smoker can distribute (or diffuse) the smoke evenly over everything inside. This is typically done with baffles or diffuser trays that make sure everything in the smoker gets roughly the same amount of smoke. This ensures even, delicious taste throughout.
One area that sets inexpensive smokers from expensive smokers is typically the gauge of steel that is used on the smoker. This is an area to keep in mind. The thicker gauge steel will overall be stronger, retain heat better and provide a much longer life expectancy. This gauge steel can also burn out quicker. Keep this in mind. There are cons to having a really heavy gauge steel smoker such as weight which can make mobility a concern.
Best Offset Smokers on the Market
- Over 1,000 square inches of cooking space — this is made up of 751 square inches of primary cooking space and 309 square inches of secondary cooking space. There is more than enough space to smoke whatever you’re wanting to cook.
- Pre-installed baffles offer evenly distributed heat and smoke in the cooking chamber to ensure everything is cooked correctly.
- Optional smokestack options allow you to go back and forth between regular offset smoking and reverse flow smoking.
- Plenty of additional shelving space of the front and bottom of the grill allows for storage of utensils, charcoal, wood, and more.
- Cool to touch handles keep the heat away so that you can open the smoker up without fear of burning your hands.
- Paint is known to peel off the bottom of the firebox, a common issue among Oklahoma Joe’s smokers for some reason. This can lead to premature rusting.
When all aspects of the perfect offset smoker are considered — price, cooking space, functionality, safety, and additional features — the Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Smoker and Grill comes out on top as the best offset smoker on the market today. With its price point and versatility, the Longhorn Reverse Smoker should be on everyone’s shortlist that is in the market for a new smoker.
Starting with where it gets its name, the Longhorn Reverse Smoker gives you the option to smoke your food with traditional offset smoking, which provides delicious results without a doubt. But by quickly and easily swapping the smokestacks, this smoker also allows you to use reverse flowing technology to smoke your food. This method of smoking offers increased heat and more even smoking, which can make the food even better. Reverse flow offset smokers is really the only way to go if you want even/consistent heat and smoke.
With over 1,000 square inches of cooking space available (1,060 to be exact), this smoker gives you more than enough room to cook whatever you want and still have room left over. So no matter if you’re cooking something for yourself or the whole family. Underneath the cooking surface sits the four pre-installed baffles to allow for even heat and smoke distribution.
Combining all of the above with extra shelving for storage, large wheels for easy movement, side access into the firebox for easier stroking, a firebox warming area, built-in thermometer in the lid, and cool to touch handles makes this grill the real deal. Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or you’re just starting to get into it, this is the perfect option for you. A great price point and a smoker with all sorts of features and options make the Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Smoker the full package.
The longhorn series are built heavy and strong to aid in good heat retention and long life expectancy.
Best Under $1000 : Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal/LP Gas Smoker Combo
- It offers the options to use as a smoker, as a grill, or both at a time. The versatility of this smoker is unmatched.
- Over 1,000 square inches of cooking space plus an additional side burner for even more surface area to cook on.
- There are multiple dampers located around the smoker to allow for exact and optimal control of the smoke so you can get the flavor you want every time.
- Cool to touch handles keep the heat away so that you can open the smoker up without fear of burning your hands.
- Since it offers separate cooking chambers for the smoker side and grill side, the room inside each is less than what you would typically find with a dedicated smoker or a dedicated grill.
Probably not surprising to those that have been smoking for a while, Oklahoma Joe’s makes a second appearance in the top five. The Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo is an amazing smoker and the best you can get for under the $1,000 price point — other than the Longhorn Reverse Smoker we have ranked just above! This smoker/grill combo provides separate cooking chambers — one for smoking and one for grilling, offering you endless options to cook with.
Coming in with the same attractive price point as the Longhorn Reverse, this smoker is not only under $1,000, it’s WAY under $1,000. So if your budget is $1,000 rest assured knowing that you will have plenty of money left over to buy all the meat you want to put the smoker to good use right away!
This smoker offers the same 1,060 square inches of cooking space as the top-rated unit, offering you more than enough room to cook everything you want. The separate cooking chambers are divided into equal spaces allowing you to smoke and grill simultaneously without running out of cooking space. There is also an additional side burner off to the right that increases the available cooking space even more. You won’t have to worry about running out of room with this smoker.
With many of the same features as the Longhorn Reverse, this smoker/grill combination is undoubtedly one of the best choices available. The biggest downside to this option is that the separate grilling and smoking cooking sections decrease the total amount of available cooking space when compared to a dedicated smoker or grill. So instead of having 1,000+ square inches of smoking space or grilling space, you are limited to around 500 square inches of both.
Typically the average buyer that is interested in an offset smoker already has several grilling and smoking devices so the versatility of a an offset smoker that acts as a grill and smoker is not of much value. Though some people still might be interested in having a smoker/grill that can do it all.
Best Under $500 : Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker
- Priced well enough to entice anyone interested in smoking while still offering a high-quality product.
- 900 square inches of cooking space — 619 square inches of primary cooking space and 281 square inches of secondary space. For the price, you’d be hard-pressed to find more available cooking space!
- Adjustable dampers that allow you to modulate the smoke so that you can get the exact levels that you want.
- Easy to clean grates and cool to touch handles are some of the great quality of life features that will make your smoking experience even better.
- Known issue with paint peeling on the underside of the firebox and bottom of the smoking chamber.
- Lid thermometer can read some 60 degrees or more cooler than what’s actually happening at the grill level. Be sure you have a high-quality meat thermometer!
So far Oklahoma Joe’s is three for three in claiming their spots in the list of the five best options for offset smokers on the market today. Coming in as the best offset smoker for under $500 is the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker. With the quality and history that comes with Oklahoma Joe’s products, the Highland Offset Smoker is a phenomenal product for the price.
At a price point like this, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that you still have access to 900 square inches of cooking space, with ample space available for both primary and secondary cooking. This is the type of cooking space you’d expect for more expensive options, but Oklahoma Joe’s comes through again with this budget-friendly smoker.
This grill is heavy-duty, constructed of heavy-gauge steel to offer unprecedented durability. This smoker can stand up to the elements and you don’t have to worry about it lasting. The cooking grates are also porcelain-coated to offer increased durability as well as far easier cleaning than typical grates. The construction of the Highland Offset Smoker is top-notch and should not be overlooked.
With everything above combined with an easy-access door on the firebox, front and bottom shelving for storage, firebox warming area, multiple dampers that you can adjust to get the perfect levels of smoke, a built-in temperature gauge and more, the Highland Offset Smoker is easily the best option on the market. The biggest drawback with this smoker is a known issue with paint peeling off the firebox and the bottom of the grill. This can be an issue as the paint not only looks great, but it also prevents rust.
Best Vertical : Dyna-Glo Signature Series
- Five levels of grates offer a whopping 1,382 square inches of total cooking space. This smoker can cook enough to feed the whole neighborhood.
- The heavy-gauge steel construction makes this smoker incredibly durable and resistant to adverse effects of the elements.
- The built-in temperature gauge has a “smoke zone” that lets you know when the temperature is at the perfect level to start infusing the smoke flavor — resulting in some of the best tasting smoked foods you can ask for.
- Cool to touch grips and oversized wheels make handling and maneuvering this smoker a breeze.
- Although there is a lot of total surface area to cook on, you won’t be able to fit as much big stuff as you can with horizontal smokers.
- There isn’t a great ash removal mechanism, and doing so whale smoking can be difficult.
Dyna-Glo is one of the biggest names in the industry when it comes to vertical smokers, and for good reason: they offer high-quality products at an affordable price. Coming in at a modest price point, the Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D is the best offset vertical smoker on the market today.
That long part number might look confusing, but the “1382” tells you a lot about the smoker. That is a reference to the available cooking space in this smoker — that’s right, it has 1,382 square inches of cooking space available among all five levels of cooking grates. This is by far the most available space on this list, but do keep in mind the food-size limitations faced with a vertical smoker compared to a regular, horizontal smoker.
This smoker is the perfect option for someone looking to grill or smoke enough food to feed the block party, with ample space to cook up enough hamburgers, hot dogs, and kebabs that you could ever hope for. If you’re wanting to toss whole chickens in you might want to go with a horizontal smoker, but if you’re looking for a vertical smoker this is the one for you.
The main reason I prefer a vertical smoker is to smoke meats that can hang like sausage. If you’ve ever made your own sausage and smoked it, you know it works best when you can wrap long coils of sausage on a hook and let it hang. That’s how the professional butcher shops smoke their sausage, in large vertical smoke chambers with the sausage hanging in coils. Taste of Artisan’s website shows you how it’s done.
With the inclusion of their informative temperature gauge, Dyna-Glo lets you know when the temperature level inside the smoker has reached the “smoke zone”, the optimal temperature range to infuse the smoke flavor you love. It will also let you know when the temperature is in the “grill zone” so you can grill up your favorite foods.
Best New Entry : Broil King Offset Smoker
- Adjustable dampers allow you to control the smoke and temperature levels to make sure your meat is cooked exactly how you want it every time.
- Dual-purpose stainless steel charcoal trays also act as smoke diffusers to help evenly distribute the smoke throughout the chamber to improve the flavor throughout the meat.
- There’s a built-in bottle opener to open up a cold beer or soft drink with ease.
- With Broil King Quality comes the Broil King Price.
- Some complaints of paint peeling.
As a relative newcomer to the smoking scene, the Broil King Smoke XL Offset Smoker is the best new smoker on the market. Although it is a newer smoker than the others on this list, don’t think that it can’t hold its own as one of the best options available. Although it may be a bit pricey, don’t rule the Broil King unit out just yet, it has a lot of good things going for it!
The Broil King Smoke XL Smoker is built with 14 gauge steel and offers you 625 square inches of cooking space and 330 square inches in secondary cooking surface area. The cooking grates are made of heavy-duty cast iron to offer evening heat and cooking throughout the meat as it rests on the grates. With the cast iron cooking grates, feel free to load it up with your favorite foods without fear of a flimsy cooking grate giving out under the weight of that delicious food!
The Broil King Smoke XL offers full adjustable dampers with their proprietary Roto-Draft technology to ensure that you can adjust the smoke levels to exactly what you want to get the best results every time. This smoker also comes with dual-purpose smoke diffusing charcoal trays in each cooking chamber as well as removable ashtrays to make cleanup a breeze.
Last but certainly not least, top everything else off, Broil King installed a built-in bottle opener to pop open an ice-cold beer or soft drink and relax while you’re getting dinner ready. What could be better than that? The only real downside to the Broil King option here is the cost. For less money you could get one of the Oklahoma Joe’s models listed, with more cooking space and a bit more features. With everything it offers, we wouldn’t be surprised if this smoker gained popularity as time goes on and it becomes more well known.
First and foremost, all five options presented in this review are incredible offset smokers. When everything is considered that you should keep in mind when looking for the best offset smoker — price, cooking space, functionality, safety, and additional features — the winner is the Oklahoma Joe’s Reverse Longhorn Smoker. This smoker offers over 1,000 square inches of available cooking space, the ability to use it as a traditional offset smoker or a reverse flow smoker, and all the added features for usability and safety make the Reverse Longhorn Smoker an incredible deal that you can find typically under $500.
Sure you could pay less and get a quality product, but you’d be sacrificing some of the great features that the Reverse Longhorn Smoker offers. On the flip side, you could very easily spend two, three, four times this price on a top-tier smoker. You may even get a few more features or additional cooking space. But chances are you’ll be paying for features you don’t necessarily need or overpaying for the same features you could get with the Reverse Longhorn.
No matter what you’re looking to spend or what type of smoker you’re hoping to find, rest assured knowing that any of the options on this list will leave you satisfied with your purchase. Happy smoking!