The Best Offset Smokers

Smoking meat is a great way to tenderize tough cuts and infuse them with a delicious smoky flavor. If you’re looking to add a new dimension of flavor to your cooking, smoking meat in an offset smoker is a great place to start.

The Best Offset Smokers
The Best Offset Smokers

The Best Offset Smokers

Offset Smokers are a type of grill that is designed for slow cooking at low temperatures. The offset smoker gets its name from the offset firebox, which is offset to one side of the main chamber. This offset design allows for indirect heat, meaning that the food is cooked indirectly by the smoke and heat from the fire.

Typically, offset smokers use lump charcoal as the primary fuel source, because it burns slowly and evenly, creating plenty of smoke. This smoke is then drawn through the offset smoker and over the meat, infusing it with a delicious smoky flavor.

Offset smokers are also capable of reaching very high temperatures, which helps to create a crispy exterior on meats while keeping them juicy and succulent on the inside. If you’re looking for a grill that can give your food a delicious smoky flavor, then an offset smoker is a great option.


Quick Overview


Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Offset Smoker [Editors Pick]

Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Offset Smoker
Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Offset Smoker
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The Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Offset Smoker is a great vertical offset smoker for a great price. It measures nearly 5 feet tall and has a whopping 1,382 square inches of cooking space spread across its five chrome-plated cooking grates. Plus, built-in sausage hooks give you even more flexibility in the large cooking chamber.

The entire body is made of heavy gauge steel, making it extremely durable with excellent heat retention. On the body you’ll find an analog temperature gauge indicating a smoke zone and a grill zone, so you can keep a close eye on the internal temperature while maintaining full control.

The best part? This offset smoker doubles as both a smoker and a grill. The offset firebox doubles as a grill with a porcelain-coated cooking grate just above the charcoal pan for searing.

PROS

  • Heavy duty smoker
  • Dual-action smoker and grill
  • Temperature gauges
  • Large cooking surface area

CONS

  • Smoke and heat leakage through the door
  • Vertical smoker design may disrupt even heat distribution

Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Offset Smoker [Best Overall Offset Smoker]

Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe's Highland Reverse Flow Offset Smoker
Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Offset Smoker
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Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Offset Smoker might be the best offset smoker on the market. With 619 square inches of cooking space in the main chamber and 281 square inches in the firebox chamber, this smoker has enough cooking space to feed the whole family.

What’s special about this unit is that it has reverse flow technology. Reverse-flow smokers use a baffle system that pulls the smoke under the cooking chamber and then over the meat once more before it exits the chimney above on the same side as the firebox. Grill masters swear by the “over and under” method of the reverse flow smoker, claiming that it creates a more flavorful and tender finished product.

A heavy gauge steel body and adjustable dampers make temperature control a breeze with this quality offset smoker. Plus, the large charcoal basket with a convenient firebox lid and side door makes tending the fire and cleaning out ashes a breeze.

PROS

  • Reverse-flow smokers create tender and flavorful meat
  • Switch between reverse-flow or traditional offset smoker
  • Large cooking chamber
  • Front and bottom shelves

CONS

  • Prone to rust if not stored properly
  • Smoke leakage

Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill & Offset Smoker [Best Small Budget]

Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill & Offset Smoker
Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill & Offset Smoker
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The Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill & Offset Smoker is a great, budget-friendly charcoal smoker. There are 811 square inches of cooking space spread across the primary cooking area, warming rack, and offset firebox grill grate. The adjustable charcoal tray allows you to control the distance between charcoal and the food you’re preparing, giving you direct heat for grilling or indirect heat for slow and slow smoking.

When it comes to cheap offset smokers, Royal Gourmet Offset Smokers blow their competition out of the water. An easy-to-open cooking chamber door and firebox door allow for easy access to food, effortless stoking of the fire, and quick cleanup. Bonus features include a lid-mounted thermometer for keeping an eye on the grill’s internal temperature, and side and bottom shelves for storing grilling accessories and seasonings.

PROS

  • Budget-friendly
  • Adjustable charcoal tray
  • Accurate temperature gauges

CONS

  • Assembly takes time

Broil King Crown Pellet Grill [Best Luxury]

Broil King Crown Pellet Grill
Broil King Crown Pellet Grill
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The Broil King Crown Pellet Grill is the ultimate offset smoker, using wood pellets instead of charcoal and packed with every bonus feature you could dream of. The digital control panel allows you to set your ideal temperature, from low and slow smoking to high heat grilling up to 600°F. WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity give you complete control using your smartphone. This smart feature allows you to control the temperature, set timers, and view the internal temperature of your smoked meat using the two built-in temperature probes.

The entire unit is built to last and the extra thick cast iron cooking grates provide unmatchable heat retention and distribution. The offset pellet hopper can hold up to 18 lbs. of wood pellets, more than enough to get you through a long smoke. Plus, an easy access grease and ash tray make cleaning up a breeze. If you’re looking for a luxury pellet smoker than will level up your grilling experience, this is it.

PROS

  • Digital controls with smartphone connectivity
  • Large steel pellet hopper holds up to 18 lbs. of pellets
  • Grease management system

CONS

  • Hefty price tag

Char-Griller Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box [Best for Beginners]

Char-Griller Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box
Char-Griller Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box
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The Char-Griller Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill is a great option for beginners looking to smoke meat for the first time, or those who don’t need the fancy features that most offset smokers with a higher price tag offer. This charcoal grill with a side fire box attachment is a great backyard smoker with 830 square inches of total cooking space across the primary cooking chamber and firebox cooking chamber.

Made of heavy gauge powder-coated steel for durability and complete with cast iron grill grates for ultimate heat retention. Despite its heavy-duty construction, this offset smoker weighs just 113 lbs. and has wheels for easy mobility. Convenient features like side tables with hooks for cooking utensils, a bottom storage rack, and heat-resistant handles make this a quality offset smoker for any user.

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Durable construction
  • Large cooking chamber
  • Side tables with hooks

CONS

  • Prone to rust and peeling if not cared for properly
  • Inaccurate temperature gauge

The Verdict

Well, there you have it, our list of the best offset smokers to elevate your outdoor cooking experience. Here’s a recap.


Things to consider when buying an Offset Smoker

There are a few things to consider before you buy an offset smoker. Pay close attention to the type of offset smoker, the ability to control the temperature easily, and hassle-free cleanup.

Type of Offset Smokers

There are various types of offset smokers that you must consider. First, there are vertical offset smokers like the Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Offset Smoker, where the heat rises up the smoker and the cooking grates are stacked vertically. Next, there are horizontal offset smokers, which is the traditional offset smoker style, where the firebox is attached next to the cooking chamber which will typically have one large cooking grate.

Within the horizontal offset smoker category, you will also see reverse flow smokers like the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Offset Smoker, where a baffle system pulls the smoke under the cooking chamber and then over the meat once more before it exits the chimney above on the same side as the firebox. This method is said to create smoked meat that is more tender and flavorful.

Temperature Control

Temperature control is an important factor to consider when choosing the right offset smoker for you. Accurate temperature gauges will tell you what the internal temperature of your grill is and with adjustable dampers you can control the amount of oxygen entering the grill. More oxygen will result in a higher temperature.

However, offset smokers that aren’t sealed properly will leak smoke and heat, making it difficult to maintain temperature within the cooking chamber.

Portability

If portability is important to you, it would be beneficial to find a small, lightweight smoker or one with large wagon-style wheels. With a portable offset smoker, you can bring the smoky flavor to all of your outdoor events like tailgate parties and backyard BBQs.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Having an offset smoker that is easy to maintain and clean is a bonus. Properly caring for your new offset smoker will ensure that it lasts for years without rusting, peeling, or breaking down completely. Look for easily-removable ash catchers and grease trays that keep the mess of grilling localized for easy cleanup.

BBQ Hero Tip: Check the temperature of your meat often. Over-smoked meat will have a bitter taste that isn’t ideal. If you’re unsure of which temperature to aim for, check out our guide on meat temperatures.

Features to consider when choosing an Offset Smoker

There are a few more features to consider while searching for the best charcoal grill.

Construction Material

The best construction material for an offset smoker is heavy gauge steel. Having a thick and durable smoker body will ensure that your grill retains heat, making temperature control effortless. Equally important in terms of construction, is the welding quality. When smokers are made, the pieces are typically welded together to create tight seams with no air gaps. If the welding was not done properly, your smoker could be susceptible to heat and smoke loss, making fire management difficult.

Dimensions

The size of your offset smoker is an important factor to consider. You will want to ensure you have enough space outdoors to use your smoker without it being too close to your home or other structures. Since smokers give off a lot of heat and smoke, having it far enough away from your home is a safety precaution not to be taken lightly.

You will also need to ensure the main cooking chamber has a total cooking space big enough to cook the amount of food necessary to feed your friends and family. If you typically only cook for two, it won’t be hard to find an offset smoker with adequate cooking space. However, if this smoker will be the primary smoker for large gatherings and parties, you will want to find one with a large cooking space.

Warranty

When you make a big purchase like this one, it’s important to consider what kind of warranty you’re protected by. Sometimes things go wrong and you have no control over the outcome. There may be faulty parts, or maybe you’re just not happy with your decision.

This is where a warranty comes in handy. Also, when a company offers a free lifetime warranty you know it’s a good product that the company trusts will do its job.


Safety Tips for Offset Smokers

Grills of any kind should be handled with care and caution, whether it’s an offset smoker or charcoal grill. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when handling your new smoker.

Open Lid Slowly

When it’s time to check on your food in the smoker, it’s important to open it slowly to avoid burning your hands and face when the smoke escapes. The best way to safely open your smoker lid is to open it just a crack for a few seconds then continue slowly opening it, keeping your face clear of the outflux of smoke.

Use Long Handle Cooking Utensils

Smokers can give off a ton of heat and it’s important to protect your hands when flipping or checking on your meat. Cooking utensils with long handles are the best way to protect yourself against burns.

Wait For The Smoker To Cool

Cleaning your offset smoker is an essential part of maintenance that should be done before and after every cook. However, cleaning a hot smoker is dangerous and can result in burns and other accidents. Wait until your smoker has cooled completely before cleaning.

BBQ Hero Tip: Add a few flavored wood chunks to your charcoal pan to infuse an irresistible smoky flavor and WOW your guests!

Offset Smoker FAQs

How does an offset smoker work?

Offset smokers, also known as stick burners or barrel smokers, smoke meat or other foods inside the main cooking chamber that is connected to a smaller chamber called the firebox. Inside the firebox, charcoal or wood is ignited and produces smoke that flows through the main cooking chamber, which cooks and adds a smoky flavor to whatever is inside.


What can I cook in an offset smoker?

The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking with a smoker. Our favorites are smoked brisket, pork ribs or pulled pork, and salmon, but you can also make various vegetable dishes and even smoked mac and cheese!


Are reverse flow offset smokers better?

Reverse flow offset smokers allow for the smoke to be used twice as it circulates in the smoking chamber. Having more smoke around your meat is said to create a more flavorful and tender piece of meat.


Should I buy a cover for my offset smoker?

If you want your offset smoker to last for years, it’s important to properly care for it. Part of caring for it includes protecting it against the elements! A cover that fits your smoker will protect it against heavy rain, sweltering sun, and any other external elements that might cause damage.