Cooking meat slowly and in low heat is one of the best ways to give it a fuller flavor that will tickle the taste buds. The smokiness is sure to make you want more after every bite. But, how exactly can this be achieved? One of the best things to do is to invest in the best offset smoker.
Looking for an offset smoker? Read this guide and we got you covered! We’ll list down the top options that should be on your radar as well as some of the most important considerations when buying.
What Exactly is an Offset Smoker?
Before we start rounding up our recommended brands and models, let us first have a look at how an offset smoker is different.
Basically, an offset smoker is known for its classic barrel-like design. It has two important parts – the smoke chamber and the firebox. The chamber is where the food is smoked while the firebox is the one that holds the heat source to provide the smoke.
There are two main types of an offset smoker. With a traditional offset smoker, you need to occasionally turn the food to avoid being overcooked. On the other hand, with the more modern reverse offset smoker, the heat and flavor will be more even without the risk of being over-cooked.
Aside from the way they work, offset smokers can also be classified based on their design.
Vertical Offset Smoker: It sits upright, making it the perfect choice if you are after space-efficiency. It is also affordable. This smoker has three distinct sections. At the top is the cooking grate. There is a water shelf in the bottom, which helps to add moisture. The bottom, on the other hand, is where the charcoal will be placed.
Horizontal Offset Smoker: This is the conventional design of an offset smoker. It has a horizontal barrel, which makes it require a huge space.
Cabinet Offset Smoker: Like a cabinet, it sits upright and has several racks to increase the cooking area. It is expensive, but it usually comes with an automatic temperature control for ease of use.
Drum Offset Smoker: As the name implies, the main part of this smoker is the drum. This is popular because it is budget-friendly. Nonetheless, you will be left with limited options in terms of control.
Our Top Picks for the Best Offset Smoker
Below are some of the products that should be included in your list of choices:
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker
Get serious with outdoor cooking using this powerful offset smoker. The power rating is 15,000 BTU, which allows it to deliver performance that is hard to rival.
The construction is exceptional. It is comparable to the higher-end models. Among others, it is well-loved for being spacious. It has a total of 1,176 of cooking space. The total area for smoking, however, is only 784 square inches. The chamber comes with multiple grates and each grate has a maximum capacity of 25 pounds.
There are also several features to ensure the smart functionality of the smoker. For instance, it comes with a built-in stainless steel thermometer. This makes it effortless to monitor the temperature of the meat. There is no more need for guessing. You also won’t have to open the door occasionally and use a meat probe to check the temperature.
You will have excellent control when using this product. This is possible because of the smoke stack, allowing users to control the temperature and the flavor.
With the dual door design, meanwhile, the smoke will be trapped inside the unit, making sure that the smoked meat will be more flavorful. This allows you to refill the wood chips without opening the main door.
Lastly, with the electronic pulse ignition system, using the smoker is fairly straightforward. The same thing can be said when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.
- User-friendly controls
- Comes with a spacious chamber
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Can be quite heavy for some users
- Steel coating is quite thin
Pit Barrel Cooker Co. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker
The simplicity of this smoker sets it apart from most of its competitors. It is technically not an offset smoker, but the quality of the meats produced will be almost the same, so we have included this in our list.
With top-quality construction, you can expect that this smoker will withstand the test of time. It comes with a 30-gallon drum that is made of solid steel. The package is also inclusive of eight stainless steel hooks, two steel hanging rods, one charcoal basket, one standard grill grate, and one wooden hook remover.
Even if you are new to smokers, you won’t have a hard time using this product. It has a straightforward design. The most challenging part would be having it lit. After this, however, all that you have to do is to wait before it is done smoking. Nonetheless, unlike the offset smokers mentioned in this short guide, with this product, you will have limited control.
The stated cooking surface of the drum is 240 square inches. It comes with two metal bars, which will make it easy to hang meats as they are cooked.
Again, take note that this is not marketed as an offset smoker. Rather, the manufacturer refers to it as a cooker.
- Simple design
- Excellent build quality
- No need for assembly right out of the box
- Users lack control over the smoker
- Designed to be used for a specific charcoal brand
Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box
If you are looking for a traditional charcoal offset smoker, make sure that this is on your list. The heavy-duty construction is one of its best assets, although there are some people who complained about how the paint can easily peel. Steel is the main material used and it is powder-coated to make it less prone to damages caused by external elements. The cast iron grill is also great for making the smoked meats more flavorful.
This is not the largest offset smoker, but the size is pretty much decent if you are hosting a party for a large group. The main cooking area is 580 square inches. Meanwhile, there is a 250-square-inch firebox for generous loading of charcoal. It will take a long time before there is a need for a refill.
Cleaning the smoker after every use will also be almost effortless. There is a strategically positioned pan that makes it easy to collect ash.
You will also have good control over the use of this product. For instance, the grate can be adjusted depending on the space or heat that is needed.
- An ideal option for beginners
- Has a built-in temperature gauge
- Removable charcoal drawers
- Paint can easily chip
- Assembly can be tricky
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker
To achieve the best quality of whatever it is that you are smoking, it is important to have complete control of the process. With that, this product is great because of the multiple dampers, which will allow you to control the smoke and the heat.
Using this offset smoker will allow you to enjoy 619 square inches of cooking space. Even better, there is a metal shelf that will provide the perfect place to keep your extra charcoal and your utensils.
The heavy-duty steel used in the smoker gives it unmatched durability. While the steel is painted, there are some users who noted that the paint can be prone to chipping. Rust can also be a problem, so it is highly recommended that you store the offset smoker properly. If possible, keep it covered when not in use.
Like most of the top-rated offset smokers, it also comes with a built-in thermometer for ease of monitoring the temperature. This eliminates the need to open the door every now and then. The result is that the meat will have a fuller smoked flavor.
- Grates are easy to clean
- Handle stays cool to the touch
- Multiple dampers for heat control
- Smoke can leak at times
- Steel can be easily prone to rust
Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker
The best thing about this product is perhaps its size. If you are hosting dinner for large groups and if you need a smoker with a high capacity, this is for you! To be exact, the cooking surface is 1,060 square inches.
Its firebox chamber is made of an all-steel fuel basket. This positively impacts the quality of the smoke that is produced by the smoker, which will also result in a cleaner flavor. The firebox has a built-in side door for easy emptying of the ash. The top lid, on the other hand, makes it straightforward to have it refilled.
The versatility of this product is also worth noting. It can be used both as a traditional offset smoker and as a reverse offset smoker.
There are some people who noted that the smoker is quite heavy. This, however, should not be a problem as it comes with sturdy wheels that will make it easy to move around. The reason why it is heavy is the construction since it is made of durable steel.
When you receive the unit, it is unassembled. The assembly can be quite tricky for some, even if there is already a manual that is included.
- Comes with a large cooking area
- Heavy-duty steel construction
- Sturdy wheels
- Paint can easily peel
- Hard to assemble
Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 LP Gas Charcoal Smoker
The price may be steep, but if budget is not an issue, it is justifiable. With the commercial-grade construction of this product, it will be a great investment for businesses.
This is a beast not only in terms of size but when it comes to its performance as well. It has a total of 1,100 square inches of cooking space, making it one of the largest from the products that are listed in this post. However, it is quite bulky, and you will need a large space for the smoker. There are four stainless steel burners, which will allow you to do more within a short span of time. There is also a sear burner, which is perfect if you are cooking steaks.
Meanwhile, with the push-button ignition, there is no need to manually start a fire. All that you need is to push a single button and the unit will be ready in an instant.
The entire unit comes with a porcelain enamel coating. Aside from offering protection from the external elements that could speed up wear, the coating also makes it effortless to clean and maintain.
- Commercial-grade construction
- Huge cooking area
- Requires a lot of space
Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker
Among others, this product is well-loved because of its versatility. Aside from being an offset smoker, this is a multi-use equipment, which can also be used as a barbeque and charcoal grill. Despite being versatile, it is affordable!
Using the smoker is also fairly easy. No experience necessary to make the most out of its functions! There is also a clean-out door, which will make cleaning the unit straightforward.
Most of its users were also happy with the durability of the smoker. It is made using premium materials that can withstand wear and tear.
There is also an adjustable cooking grate, allowing it to accommodate meats of different sizes. The grates are also coated, which makes it durable.
The size is quite small compared to most of the products that have been mentioned above. The main cooking chamber is only 290 square inches while the firebox chamber is 140 square inches.
- Small cooking area
- Set-up takes quite a while
How to Choose an Offset Smoker
To easily narrow down the possibilities, below are some of the most important considerations:
Construction: For durability and value for money, choose an offset smoker using thick materials. They may be heavy and expensive, but they are capable of withstanding the test of time. To add, choose a product that is not easily prone to rust and corrosion. The paint should not easily peel.
Portability: Most offset smokers are usually moved from one place to another. For instance, you have to keep it in a shaded area when it is raining. With this, choose one that is lightweight or a model that comes with wheels.
Size: Choose a large offset smoker if you love hosting dinner parties at home for a large group. Take note of the size of the main cooking chamber and the firebox.
Ease of Use: One feature that makes an offset smoker user-friendly is the built-in temperature gauge, making it easy to monitor the heat inside the unit. A clean out pan will also be good for an easy collection of ash and to prevent a mess. Cleaning and maintenance should also be effortless.
Versatility: You will also benefit from choosing an offset smoker that offers versatile functions, such as for grilling.
Vents: The vent is important because it controls the smoke and temperature inside the cooking chamber, which will have a direct impact on the quality of the outcomes.
Tips when Using Offset Smokers
To use an offset smoker like a pro, below are some of the things to keep in mind:
Right out of the box, season the smoker before its first use. There are some models that are already pre-seasoned, so you can ignore this tip. Seasoning can be done by washing the unit using warm water and soap.
When using the smoker, make sure that the vents are open. Their purpose is to allow air to come in and smoke to come out. If not, the meat can end up with an unpleasant aftertaste.
Pay attention to the quality of the smoke that comes out of the chimney or the chamber. If it is blackish, this can be an indication that the offset smoker needs cleaning.
Keep an eye on the fire. It should not completely go out at any point during the process of smoking. If possible, you have to check it once every 15 minutes.
The correct meat placement will also matter. Make sure that they are positioned properly for even smoking.
If you have the option, choose charcoal over wood. You will be able to easily control charcoal as against wood.
The most important is to maintain a consistent temperature. Smoking should be done low and slow. You need to pack a lot of patience. For sure, the wait will be worth it!
If you like smoked meats, invest in the best offset smoker, including those mentioned in this post. They present an easy way to prepare smoked treats while making sure that it will have full flavor and aroma! They can be a true lifesaver!