There are few things Americans love more than grilling. There’s no better way to perfect your next hamburger or brisket, than with charcoal.
If you’re into throwing big parties with your family and friends, then an offset smoker is exactly what you need to redeem yourself. With the amount of food that you’ll be able to serve, you’ll definitely be the winner of the day.
Thought more and more advanced barbeque tools have emerged over the last decade, there is nothing better than an offset charcoal smoker. If you’re in the market for your first or your next offset smoker, then we have the seven best products for you to choose from.
Keep on reading for our 7 best offset smokers and a buying guide at the end to help you in your researching journey.
Top Offset Smokers for the Money
Dyna-Glo D Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
21 x 43.3 x 50.2 inches
Charcoal - Vertical
Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill
45.3 x 26.8 x 48 in
Charcoal - Drum
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
33.5 x 57 x 53 in
Char-Broil American Gourmet
48.03W x 17.5D x 44.6H in
Wood - Drum
Dyna-Glo Signature Series D-Barrel Charcoal Grill & Side Firebox
52 x 33.9 x 59.8 inches
Charcoal - Drum
Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn
45.3 x 25.6 x 25.6 inches
Charcoal - Drum
Landmann Vista Barbecue Grill
54 x 25.5 x 47.5 inches
Charcoal - Drum
Reviews of The Best Offset Smoker
1. Dyna-Glo D Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced charcoal smoker, then this grill is the best option for you. It’s made from a durable powder coated, heavy-duty steel.
With the well-positioning and adjustability of the grates, it ensures an even distribution of heat to all the grates. This is one of the best-ranked Dyno-Glo vertical offset smokers.
The wide and large cooking area can cook around 150 lbs. of meat at once with each grate holding 25 lbs.
It has two doors to ensure the minimum amount of heat loss while you add more wood. The burner is made of heavy cast iron, which will last you a long time. The vertical cooking design makes it easy to use since you only need to place the meat on the racks and slide it in.
2. Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker
If you’re in the market for a two in one product, then this offset smoker by Royal Gourmet, which also works as a grill. It’s an excellent option for those that want to use a grill and smoker, but don’t want to spend tons of money trying to buy two separate products. The grill/smoker uses charcoal and is free standing.
The grill and handles features iron and steel with the cooking area being roughly 420 sq. inches and the offset warming area being around 180 sq. inches.
The revolutionary design prevents the paint from flaking, even under higher temperatures. To ensure longevity, the cooking area is made from porcelain steel. It also has a heating surface, which is great for roasting corn and veggies from the family.
3. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
This smoker offers you three very important things, a good heat control design, an easy fueling system, and a decent cooking area. There is not much better than a reverse flow offset smoker for smoking food.
The reverse mechanism guides the heat and smoke through a duct system to the main chamber, which the food benefits from.
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Smoker features four baffles make it more efficient to guide the heat and smoke to the main chamber.
In addition to that, the baffles are removable which means that you can customize them in any way that you like. The large cooking surface (900 sq. inches) means that this space is large enough for a huge family.
4. Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker
If you’re looking for a smoker that is great for a small to medium-sized family. The door features a simple design, which gives you easy access for removing ash.
The easily accessible drawers make the replenishment of wood and water a simple process. The smoker is quite robust and stable through its steel made square legs.
The Char-Broil American Gourmet is welded to lock the smoke and heat inside the box before letting it escape through the chimney. This also helps the meat to soak in the most amount of flavor.
The adjustable heat control helps to manage the heat levels easily. On top of that, the adjustable chimney vent also helps to manage the smoke levels easily.
If you’re going to be moving your smoker from time to time, then this Char-Broil is one of the best Offset Smoker options for you. It comes with handles and wheels to allow for easy movement and relocation.
5. Dyna-Glo Signature Series D-Barrel Charcoal Grill & Side Firebox Offset Smoker
Though this grill may be small in stature, it more than makes up for it by its ability to make great tasting smoked meat. The firebox features a grill for vegetables, sausages, and burgers even on its smaller size. It has two burners, with one in the firebox and another in the main cooking area. The temperature gauge is placed on the cooking chamber lid to allow you to easily monitor the inner temperature.
The Dyna-Glo Signature Series D-Barrel Charcoal and Side Firebox is made from powder coated, heavy-duty steel to allow it to withstand higher temperatures. Even further, the porcelain-coated racks ensure rust resistance and easy cleaning.
6. Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Offset Smoker and Charcoal Grill
If you’re a serious ‘smoker’ and are looking for one with a reverse flow pit, then the Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Offset Smoker and Charcoal Grill is the best option for you and under $1000.
It’s made with heavy-duty steel construction and includes multiple baffles. All in all, it will ensure you years of use. The smart and durable design of the Longhorn is sure to please even the pickiest of pit masters.
Aside from its construction design, the reverse flow design gives you complete control over the smoke and the heat.
It includes optional smokestack locations and removable baffles to provide you with the ability to truly customize your setup. The grill gives users complete and easy access to the firebox chamber, while still allowing plenty of cooking space for all your needs.
7. Landmann Vista Barbecue Grill With Offset Smoker Box
If you’ve got a small patio or a compact cooking space, then this grill is the ideal choice for you. It features a foldable side shelf along with a pair of huge wheels, which makes it easy to move around. If you’re into picnics or camping, then this grill will be an excellent companion for you. The chimney contains a damper, which allows you to adjust and control the heat levels easily.
It has 363 sq. inch primary cooking area that’s made of porcelain coated cast iron grates. The charcoal tray features a crank handle that allows you to effortlessly adjust the position. The large front panel gives you easy access to the coals for extinguishing, ignition, filling, etc.
How To Choose For Your Needs
There’s not a lot that is better than a piece of tender meat that has been cooked low and slow over the barbeque. Thanks to the rising availability, you can now purchase home offset barbeques to get the experience of smoked meats in the comfort of your own home.
Before you go grilling and smoking away, you might need to know some essential pieces of information to help you get the best product for your money.
Keep on reading for our buying guide that’s filled with all the information you could possibly need.
What Is An Offset Smoker? And How Do They Work?
Offset smokers are also known as cookers, pipe smokers, horizontal smokers, side firebox, or barrel. Most just think of them as a traditional type of smokers. They are capable of producing high-quality smoked meats.
The most common type has two different sized sealed boxes or cylinders. The smaller box is often referred to as a firebox.
It holds wood or charcoal fire and is generally offset lower than the larger container. The deliberately lower position forces the rising smoke to go upwards and into the larger box, more often referred to as the cooking space.
From there, the smoke moves around the cooking space, cooking the meat, and escaping out through a chimney.
Some models feature additional vertical cooking chambers that allow the smoke to pass through before passing out, which increases the cooking capacity.
In order to control an offset the smoker’s temperature, you simply have to adjust the exhaust vents and air intake. When the vents are open wider, there is an increased amount of oxygen that burns the fire hotter and faster.
Offset smokers are great for cooking traditional slow and low meats. These include larger pieces of meat, pork butt, ribs, and brisket. However, they are good for just about any type of meat, including chicken and sausages.
The Different Types
There are two main types, which are traditional offset smokers and reverse flow offset smokers.
In this type, the part of the cooking chamber that is the nearest to the firebox is the hottest part. This often results in imbalanced cooking, which means that you need to turn the food more frequently. It might also require you to position the meat very carefully to avoid certain parts cooking faster than others. In this type, it generally meant that the larger the equipment was, the higher the heat disparity became.
This type is excellent if you’re looking for a smoker that has a lower the number of turnings. It also has a special addition, the steel baffle plate, which safeguards the meat from direct heat. It functions as a sink that provides uniform temperature, which moves around slowly, ensuring the meat with even heat and flavor.
If you’re unsure regarding which model is which type, there is a clear telltale to help you, which is the position of the chimney. On a traditional offset smoker, you’ll find the chimney positioned a little far-off of the firebox. While on the reverse flow offset smoker, the chimney is closer to the firebox. This is because, in the reverse flow model, the smoke is pushed backwards and forward through the chamber being it is expelled.
Aside from the main type of categorization, the smokers can also be divided into two categories that are dependent on their quality. These categories are Cheap and Expensive. The price of an expensive smoker can be upwards of $800 USD, while the cheaper models can be below $400 USD.
S/N: Some can act as a barbecue grill by simply cooking on top of a grate and placing charcoal in the oven space.
Advantages and Disadvantages
In addition to just cooking the smokiest, richest meats, offset smokers are great because:
- A quality-offset smoker (with the right maintenance) can last you a lifetime.
- They are versatile – you can grill on them as well.
- They have a relatively inexpensive upkeep
- You can easily add more wood chips and/or fuel without having to open the cooking chamber – avoids disrupting the smoke levels and the temperature.
- It’s ideal for cooking tons of food at once.
Although there are lots to love about offset smokers, they do have a few downsides.
- They can be difficult to move, as they are quite heavy.
- Most tend to be on the larger side so they can take up a fair bit of room.
- Long-lasting, good quality smokers can be expensive.
- Poorer quality (cheaper) smokers often don’t last and don’t produce quality food.
- Wet and/or cold climates can affect the cooking.
- It does have a learning curve for new users.
- The slow and low style means that cooking often takes hours.
- It can take a bit of time to start the fire and heat it up.
Problems That Cheaper Models Might Present
As smoking at home becomes more and more popular, the market has been flooded with entry level, inexpensive offset smokers. If you have a smaller budget, then these options will be fine, but be wary that you might experience some problems. These include:
- Uneven Smoke And Heat Distribution – Heat and smoke naturally move upwards instead of sideways. Some cheaper smokers are not designed with that in mind. This can cause the side of the firebox that’s the closest to the firebox to be very hot. This, in turn, means that you would have to rotate the meat often to ensure thoroughly smoked meat.
- Flaking Paint – Cheaper barbecues are often finished with poorer quality paint. This type of paint isn’t suited for high heat and/or for longevity purposes. The dangerous part comes when the paint flakes off into the food. However, it’s also very likely that once the outer seal wears off, rust is prone to settle.
- Made From Thin Metal – Though thin metal is fine for cooking, it does not retain heat well. It requires more fuel in order to maintain an even temperature, which can make it difficult when using it in rainy or cooler climates.
- Poor Seals – if the dampeners, doors, and joins don’t seal properly, smoke and heat will escape. This will make it harder to control the temperature, resulting in an uneven temperature. It will also end in you spending more on fuel in order to create a more stable environment.
Features To Look At
Regardless of the fanciness, shape, or size, if you’re looking to buy an offset smoker, then you should keep an eye out for certain features.
- Temperature Gauges – It’s essential for creating perfectly smoked meats to be able to measure the internal temperature of the offset smoker. It’s also essential for that gauge to be present without needing to open the lid. So, you should look for quality brands that give you accurate readings to give greater control. It might be useful to have two thermometers at the grate level so you can see the temperature difference.
- Heavy Gauge Metal – For a more even cooking environment and greater heat retention, it’s recommended that you choose a thicker metal. The gold standard is generally considered to be ¼ inch for offset smokers. That standard is chosen as the ¼ inch is not as affected by adverse weather conditions nor is it likely to warp.
- Sturdiness – How strong are the wheels and the legs? Does it have strong latches and hinges? It is important for your new smoker to be durable so that it is built to handle the normal wear and tear.
- Quality Dampers And Seals – quality seals are essential for reducing fuel usage, improving smoke retention, and greater temperature control. You should inspect the seals to ensure there are no gaps. The dampers should seal well but still be easy to open and close.
- Cover – Does it come with a cover? If no, is there one available as an optional extra? If you do not have adequate space to store your offset smokers under a cover, it’s important for you to purchase a waterproof cover to prevent rust and keep it dry.
- Warranty – With proper care, a good quality one should last you a lifetime. However, you should buy an offset smoker that comes with a warranty, as it’ll give you a slight peace of mind from manufacturer faults.
Considerations To Keep In Mind
There can be a lot of information mentioned in the product description and the comments that might be difficult for first-time buyers to understand. Here are a few of the key considerations you should think about.
Cooking Chamber Size – Buying the best offset smoker grill often means that you’re making an investment that you want to last for years. So, it’s not ideal to suddenly have a need for an upgrade due to a lack of space. So, you should carefully consider the space that you might need for cooking. Selecting one with plenty of space, hooks and/or racks that allows you to cook a feasible amount of food at a time. Adjustable racks also allow you additional flexibility.
Firebox Size – Whether you’re using charcoal with split wood, logs, or wood chips, you should ensure that the firebox is large enough to fit the fuel source chosen.
Portability – Will you ever have a need to move your barbeque? If so, consider its weight and whether it has wheels and/or handles that could help in moving it.
Ease of Cleaning – Does the grill feature removable cooking plates for easy cleaning? Is there a plug or drain that allows you to hose down the inside? Does it come with a tool to help clean out the ash? It’s likely that you won’t want to move around the barbeque, so it’s essential for it to have features that make it easier to clean it.
Footprint – How much room might it take up? Keep in mind that you’ll need extra room around the grill for ventilation.
Accessories – Does it come with any accessories? If so, what is available for you? You might look into purchasing extra tools, rib hooks, racks, or a weather guard.
How To Choose?
So, after all that information, it just comes down to one question. How Do I Choose? With the countless number of options that are available on the market today, it can be hard for anyone to narrow down the choices to one. So, below, we’ll be going through some options that will help you choose the best option for you.
- Consider Your Cooking Requirements – What quantity of food are you likely to cook at one time? Ideally, your barbeque should be large enough for parties, but not too big that you’re wasting fuel.
- Determine Your Budget – Purchasing a good quality often means having to spend quite a bit of cash, however, you should keep in mind the amount that you’re willing and able to spend on the purchase.
- Decide On The Necessary Features – Take a look at your list of features that an offset smoker has and decide which ones out of those are necessary for you and your needs. With that in mind, you’ll be able to narrow down your list.
- Keep A Place In Mind Of Where To Place – Having a place in mind for your new smoker can be essential when researching products. It helps you have a rough guideline on how big or small you want your smoker to be, which condenses the list quite a bit. You will also need to think about your need for a cover or extra insulation if you live in an area with a colder climate.
Smoked food is a delicacy enjoyed by many cultures. It’s cooked on low heat; therefore, it’s able to retain most of its nutrients. So, in terms of the health, it is one of the best types of food.
Our list of the seven best is sure to get you started on the right path of smoked meats. In addition to that, our buying guide will help guide you through the masses of products that are currently on the market. Regardless of what product you choose, you’ll definitely be enjoying some good smoked meat. Why not check out our guide on how best to use your new offset smoker here.