The best overall offset smoker is the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker, which is a reliable model that can be used over and over again without the fear of rusting or decay. If you’re looking for a more economical offset smoker, consider the Smokin’ Champ Charcoal Offset Smoker in Black, which has a moderately sized cooking area.
How We Selected
To choose the products for this article, Megan sifted through customer reviews and manufacturer information on the scores of offset smokers available on the market. She kept several features in mind during her search: a heavy-gauge metal build, accurate temperature gauges on both the top and bottom of the smoker, ample cooking space, and well-fitted dampers and seals. She then interviewed grilling expert Executive Chef David Rose from Omaha Steaks, who draws from his culinary background as a classically trained and at the same time decidedly Southern chef, as well as being as his experience being a self-professed lifelong meat-lover.
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What to Look for When Buying Offset Smokers
The best offset smokers are made with heavy-gauge metal that’s at least 0.25 inches thick, which helps with smoke, heat retention, and overall durability, according to Rose. Cooking racks should be easily removable for cleaning and be made from cast iron for maximum heat retention.
Look for temperature gauges on the top and bottom of the smoker. This will give an accurate reading of the true temperature inside. “Make sure to inspect that the dampers and seals are well fitted and easy to open and close; there should be no gaps in the seals,” so the smoke stays inside the main cooking portion of the smoker, says Rose.
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This depends on what you’re going to be using the smoker for. Those looking for a backyard smoker to make meals for family and friends should stay in the 500 to 700 square inches of cooking space in the main chamber. Grill masters looking to level up their barbecue may want to be more in the range of 1,000 to 1,500 square inches of cooking space.
Ease of Cleaning
An offset smoker should be easy to clean up with removable grates that can be wiped clean, and a firebox with a door to sweep out ashes.
How do I use an offset smoker?
Offset smokers use indirect heat to cook a variety of foods. “Utilizing a horizontal cooking chamber, and tending to the firebox on the side, you smoke your protein, side, or vegetable using indirect heat as a method of cooking. Fire doesn’t come in direct contact with food. You continuously feed the firebox throughout the cook with charcoal and wood to maintain ideal smoking temperature,” explains Rose.
What can I cook on an offset smoker?
“Just about anything can be cooked on an offset smoker: from brisket, ribs, pulled pork, or steaks; to seafood or vegetables; to desserts or even smoked cocktails. Anything you want to give a smoky flavor to can be cooked on offset smokers,” says Rose.
Are offset smokers better than vertical ones?
It depends on what you’re cooking. “Offset smokers are a lot more versatile in usage than a vertical smoker. Adding fuel to the firebox won’t disturb the heat and smoking process in the cooking chamber,” says Rose. Offset smokers are easier to use for larger cuts of meat that you want to lay flat, like ribs or brisket, he says, because it’s easier to maintain temperature and rotate your meat. “It can double as a grill, too, with direct heat usage,” he adds.
What is the difference between an offset and a reverse flow smoker?
The main difference between offset and reverse flow smokers is the ability of the latter to maintain a more uniform and consistent temperature inside the cooking chamber. Offset smokers allow heat to enter the cooking chamber from a firebox and to a chimney opposite the firebox. Reverse flow smokers, on the other hand, push the heat under a sealed drip pan to the far end of the smoker before the air is reversed through the smoking chamber and exits through a stack on the firebox end of the smoker; this allows the heat to be distributed more evenly.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
This article was written by Megan duBois, who is a kitchen and lifestyle expert for Simply Recipes. Throughout her career, she has tested an endless amount of products, from TikTok-famous gadgets to chef-approved knife sets.
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