What Is A Reverse Flow Smoker?

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Many people believe reverse flow smokers are superior versions and alternatives to ordinary smokers. They tend to be the product of choice for smokers among chefs and grill cooks because of their efficiency.

But what is a reverse flow smoker? This guide will cover the topic and answer: 

  • How does a reverse smoker work?
  • Is a reverse flow smoker better?
  • What is a stick burner grill?
  • Who makes the best reverse flow smoker?

How does a reverse smoker work?

A reverse smoker is nothing but a smoker with a variation in how the smoke inlet and outlet works. In simpler terms, it is an adaptation of the traditional smoker.

In reverse flow smoker, there is an additional metal plate underneath the grill top. This metal works like a baffle that pushes back the incoming hot smoke underneath the grill grates. 

The pushed smoke then heats the meat from underneath and reveres its flow pathway. It then finally passes through the smokestack that is present on the firebox side of the smoker.

This prime objective of reversing the smoke in a reverse smoker is to ensure uniform cooking/smoking of the meat. Besides, this step also establishes consistent incorporation of the smoky flavor in the meat portion.

The forced air allows for even distribution of incoming hot smoke air onto the meat.

Is a reverse flow smoker better?

The answer to this is entirely dependent on the kind and intensity of smoked meat you enjoy, as it depends entirely on the type of smoker you are using. 

As mentioned earlier, in reverse flow smoker, the best feature is that it allows for even temperature distribution.

A reverse smoker not only maintains uniform smoking, but the cooking temperature also remains the same throughout the cooking chamber. It allows for a consistent smoke flavor across the smoked food, meat, or poultry.

Because of the reverse flow of the smoke, the chances of excess heat accumulation are lesser. It ensures that to cook the meat evenly, you do not have to keep turning the meat portions now and then.

Not having to flip the meat frequently for even cooking saves both time and effort.

Therefore, it all scales down to this – do you want evenly infused smokey flavors while also saving time and effort? If that is the case, then reverse smoker is the better smoker option over other standard types of smoker.

What is a stick burner grill?

As the name suggests, a stick burner grill uses stick or log splits instead of using charcoal. 

A stick burner is an offset smoker with a firebox attached to the side. Here, fuel generation occurs by burning coal and wood. 

It involves a two-step process – placing a bed of coals of charcoal and placing either log splits/sticks /wood on top of it. The burning component can be a combination of wood and charcoal or simply using stick or coal individually.

Stick burner griller is a challenging task. In a stick burner grilling, all processes are manual. It requires keeping a check upon the temperature constantly. Typically, every 40-60 minutes, there needs to be new wood/sticks into the burning box.

Who makes the best reverse flow smoker?

Reverse flow smokers come in all kinds of budget and size. There is a perfect size and type of reverse flow smokers for backyard cook enthusiasts or commercial catering service professionals.

If you are looking to purchase a reverse flow smoker, it can be a tasking affair to choose from numerous manufacturers.

To help you shortlist, we have researched and reviewed some of the best, trusted, and professional BBQ smoker manufacturers. Here are the two best reverse flow smoker manufacturers:

Lang BBQ smokers

Lang BBQ smokers are among the best in the business for over 30 years and a series of best awards for best smoker models.

The reverse flow smokers are the offset type, where there is a separate firebox chamber on the side. Not only do they handcraft the parts and assemble them all by hand, but they also provide services for customization of your smoker according to your preferences.

Be it those compact and efficient backyard smokers, or competition smokers, or commercial foodservice cookers, they bring the best. Their smokers have great customer reviews and are often on the recommendation list by some of the best chefs in the world.

Meadow Creek welding

Meadow creek welding has started venturing into outdoor cooking equipment since 1980. They have brought some of the best reverse flow smokers, sinks, BBQ smokers, and grills to the market.

To manufacture smokers, they incorporate a mix of traditional handcrafting and industry-leading manufacturing methodology.

The one thing that makes Meadow Creek stand out among other competitors is that they provide smokers of excellent quality at the best possible value. There are no compromises when it comes to the durability of the smoker because of the use of thick metals for the body’s construction.

How do you clean a reverse flow smoker?

The key to maintaining a reverse flow smoker is to clean it every time after use. Over time, with the grease and sauce, there are chances of rust spot formation if you do not clean it properly.

Firstly, clean off any residual ash from the firebox to avoid future blockage in your airflow.

Secondly, clean the surface or grill top with a sponge or water-soaked in warm water. Wipe off all kinds of liquid, fat, sauces that might have dripped on it. You can also clean it by steaming process, using a handheld steamer cleaner.

You can use steel wool or a soft/stiff-bristle brush to scrub it for tougher stains and spots. After buffing it, you can use high-temperature cooking oil to re-season that area.

What are the advantages/benefits of reverse flow smoker?

  • The distribution of heat and smoke flow is even around the entire cooking chamber, resulting in a consistently cooked meat and evenly tasting smokey flavor.
  • It saves time and effort – not having to flip the meat constantly so that it cooks evenly from all sides.
  • Because of the reverse flow of the smoke, there is no excess heat accumulation around the firebox, which results in an even distribution of cooking heat.
  • There is no significant rise in temperature even if you add more fuel or wood to the firebox. Similarly, the opening of the cooking chamber does not result in a drastic temperature drop. Instead, the temperature remains almost constant.

About The Author

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James is a writer who is a self-confessed kitchenware and coffee nerd and a strong advocate of Sundays, good butter, and warm sourdough.