If you’re a barbecue enthusiast, then the best offset smoker is an absolute must-have.
The perfect alchemy of smoke and heat will give you the most succulent and mouth-watering meats almost every time.
In this article, we will also talk about:
- Which is better, offset or reverse flow smoker?
- How to choose the best offset smoker?
- What are the best fuels to use in offset smokers?
The offset smoker has a separate firebox and cooking chamber, making it easy to add fuel without losing heat or smoke. Plus, you can cook small portions, large amounts, or poultry with it.
The question is, how to tell a good offset smoker from a bad one without using it?
In order to answer your question and make your search easier, we put together a list of some of the premiere offset smokers in the market.
Our Top Picks
Below is a summary of the top picks from our SummerBaron.com team. To help you understand where each pick ranked, we have included “badges” next to each pick’s key findings. “Best Overall” is a combination of price and value. “Best Budget” is great for summer lovers who want a top-quality product but are on a tighter budget. “High End” is for people who just want the best, and price is no object.
Folds compactly for storage and offers three different height adjustments
Easy to clean with a cup holder for baby
Reviews of Each Pick
Are you just starting your smoking food journey? Don’t worry my young novice, i’ve got you covered. This is the list of the top electric smokers for people starting out.
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
It is easy to maintain an even temperature across the cooking chamber.
It has a versatile firebox that doubles as a warming rack or grill.
It is well built, practical, and the large wheels allow easy mobility.
It is easy to clean and durable.
It is susceptible to some smoke leakage.
Heat distribution is good but not perfect– food closest to the firebox tends to cook faster.
At the top of our list is the all-rounder Highland Reverse Flow Smoker from Oklahoma Joe’s. This heavy-gauge steel unit is an excellent mix of quality, features, and price.
This Oklahoma Joe’s unit is our top pick because it allows you to choose between reverse flow smoking and traditional offset smoking.
It also offers 900 square inches of cooking space divided between the main chamber and the firebox. And the 4-baffle ventilation system in this model gives you easy smoke and heat control.
Other great features include a sizeable stainless steel fuel basket and clean-out door for easy ash removal.
If you’re looking for a quality offset smoker that is easy to use, get the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland now!
Which is better, offset or reverse flow smoker?
Regular offset smokers draw heat and smoke from the firebox over the meat on its way out of the chimney.
But in reverse flow offset smokers, the baffle system essentially uses the heat and smoke twice. It draws heat and smoke under the cooking chamber before pulling it back over the meat on its way out of a chimney.
While many enthusiasts claim that reverse flow smokers produce more tender and flavourful meats, others beg to differ.
You can learn more about the differences between the two smoker types here.
How to choose the best offset smoker?
Choosing the best offset smoker for yourself depends mostly on your skill, preferred cooking method, and the foods you want to cook.
However, here are a few key features you need to look at before you buy an offset smoker:
- Select a model that has plenty of cooking space. And do make sure the firebox is large enough to fit the type of fuel you’re using.
- Ensure that the model you’re looking at is built with heavy gauge metal. By and large, ¼ inch is considered the gold standard as it is less likely to warp and least affected by weather conditions.
- Good quality seals are vital for temperature control, smoke retention and reducing fuel usage. Be sure to inspect the seals for gaps.
- Look for a model that allows you to measure the internal temperature without having to open the lid. And remember, the more accurate the temperature reading, the better the results.
- Do a check on the unit’s sturdiness—inspect the welds, legs and wheels and the hinges and latches as well.
- Get a warranty. Most high-end units come with a lifetime warranty when it comes to potential manufacturer faults.
Best fuels to use in offset smokers
Most seasoned pitmasters will agree that charcoal and wood are the best fuels for cooking in an offset smoker.
While most offset smoker models are charcoal and wood-powered, liquid propane models are also available.
Propane-powered offset smokers give you the advantage of controlling how much gas gets burned, which means you have more direct control over temperature. However, you don’t get the classic crisp, smoky flavor expected from a smoker. That is why most manufacturers offer an additional option to burn wood.
For the full-on traditional taste, charcoal and wood-fired smokers are your safest best. It may provide unstable heat at first, but once you get the hang of it, the smoky flavor will always be there.
There is no definite answer on which fuel type is the best for offset smokers. It all boils down to what you prefer.
If you don’t want to deal with a lot of coal dirt, choose liquid propane. And if you prefer more robust flavors with more smoke, pick charcoal or wood.
No matter what fuel you choose, here’s a video to help you make the best use of your smoker.
30” BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker by Royal Gourmet
Inaccurate inbuilt thermometer.
This dual-style unit offers 800 square inches of cooking surface, which gives you a hassle-free experience. Its most attractive feature is the large divided cooking surface is ideal for multiple cooking purposes.
SQ36 BBQ Offset Smoker by Meadow Creek
Even smoke distribution
No extra shelf space
No grill space in the firebox
This model is the best option if you don’t want to spend on a reverse flow smoker but still want quality results.
The T304 stainless steel cooking grate is spacious. It comes with a 4.5 oz can of touch-up paint, just in case the paintwork begins to flake.
Yoder Smokers’ Loaded Wichita
Huge cooking surface
Very durable and sturdy
Not easy to clean
This big barrel smoker comes loaded with popular Yoder options like a cooking door counterweight, 2nd level slide-out shelf for additional capacity, a firebox-mounted pot warmer, and a heat management plate.
It boasts over 1600 square inches of total cooking surface and a dual-damper draft control system.