If smoking or grilling is your choice of cooking, then you should have your own smoker. But, finding the right one can be challenging knowing that there are many choices available in the market. Taking time to read the best offset smokers review will guide in making a smart decision.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is an Offset Smoker?
- 2 Top Six Offset Smoker
- 2.1 8 Factors to Consider When Buying an Offset Smoker
- 2.2 Advantages of Using an Offset Smoker
- 2.3 Disadvantages of Using an Offset Smoker
- 2.4 Safety Concern of an Offset Smoker
- 2.5 Conclusion & My Recommendation
What is an Offset Smoker?
There are many reasons why you should buy a smoker. Perhaps, you love the taste of smoked meat or you want to eat healthier and avoid cooking with oil. Regardless or your reason, buying a smoker is a good investment.
But, what is an offset smoker? This type of smoker is also known as side firebox, barrel, pipe or horizontal smokers. It is designed with metal frameworks that makes the food cooked over a transmitted heat through induction. Cooking in a smoker produces competition worthy and high quality smoked meats.
The good thing about an offset smoker is that you can control the temperature by adjusting the exhaust vents and air intake. Opening the vents wide increases the flow of air, thus making the fire burn faster and hotter.
There are different types of offset smoker such as the traditional offset smoker and the reverse flow offset smoker. Cooking in a traditional offset smoker requires rotating or proper positioning to make the food well done.
On the other hand, cooking meat in a reverse flow offset smoker need not rotate the meat while cooking. By using a steel baffle plate, the meat won’t burn from direct heat. The plate works as heat sink that facilitates the smoke to flow around slowly. Thus, you can expect for more flavorful and evenly cooked meat.
Top Six Offset Smoker
1. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Charcoal Offset Smoker
The Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D offset smoker is designed for larger area. It is built with smaller firebox on its side and vertical smoking chamber. It has substantial smoking area of about 1,175 square inches. This smoker can cook 150 lbs. of meat in just one smoking session.
- It features adjustable racks that allow any size of meat and at the same time choose the right location for the meat
- It is constructed ensuring high quality and is made from good quality cooking grates and steel
- The firebox has built-in removable drawer system for easy removal of charcoal
- Easy to setup and maintain as well as easy to clean
- Insufficient insulation that makes cooking a bit difficult at times
- It can’t accommodate big pork shoulders or brisket
- The heat may leak
2. Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker
This brand and model of offset smoker is perfect outdoor use such as in patio and lawn. The Char-Broil American Gourmet offset smoker is cheaper as compared to other brands. It is ideal for both beginners and seasoned professionals.
The primary cooking space is 315 square inches and 670 square inches’ rack space. Cooking a bunch of meat for family dinner is a lot easier if you will use this smoker. It features temperature gauge mounted on its lid, a firebox, and warming rack.
- Great value for your money
- Two cooking chambers
- Easy to clean
- Does not feature temperature control
- Leaks may appear on the seals
- Requires constant rotation of food for even cooking
- Frequent cleaning and maintenance is required
3. Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker
This brand of offset smoker also works as a grill. The Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill can be the best option if you want to use smoking and grilling, but save some money. It uses charcoal and is a free-standing barrel smoker.
It features steel and iron made grill and stainless steel handles. The cooking area is about 420 square inches and the offset warming area is 180 inches. This type of offset smoker comes with a professional thermometer and dampers that are adjustable. Thus, you can expect for better air flow and evenly smoked food.
- Perfect for warming up marinade or making side dish
- The front table allows you to work on roasting efficiently
- The lower steel shelf serves as storage for raw foods and ingredients
- It is flexible and portable making it suitable either in a garden or small balcony
- The paint of the smoker easily wears off
4. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker
The Oklahoma Joe’s Highland is a smoker that values your money because of its durable and sturdy construction. It offers an all new smoking experience as it features two cooking chambers for cooking and heating.
The total cooking space is about 900 square inches in which the smoker chamber measures 281 sq. inches and the grilling area is 619 sq. in. You can expect for a smoky flavored meat due to its grates made from cast iron.
- It features multiple Smokestack systems to control the heat
- The smoke is contained within the chamber, thus ensure optimal temperature
- Easy fire management without opening the cover of the main chamber
- Easy to clean
- The coal grate is not adjustable
- A little expensive than the other brands
- Heavy weight
5. Pit Barrel Classic Cooker
As compared to its competitors, the design of Pit Barrel Cooker is different. But, it can cook succulent, smokey meat easier. This type of smoker works similar to a convection oven. It can cook and smoke the hanging meat from top to bottom with its own juices.
The Pit Barrel Cooker can manage high temperature, while the external cooling can generate condensation inside the barrel for additional moisture. It comes with removable grill grate that can be used for grilling steaks, chicken pieces, veggies, or fish.
- The cooking capacity is maximized through the hook system. The meat is hang vertically, thus it can accommodate at least two pork butts or eight racks of ribs.
- You can expect for steady temperatures while smoking due to the air tight construction.
- It does not require regulating the temperature.
- Controlling the temperature is somewhat restricted that’s why it requires using a good quality wireless thermometer.
- If you will use it as a grill, make sure to have long barbecue tongs to reach out the grill grate.
6. Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill
The design of Camp Chef PG24 will take you to a higher level of grilling and smoking experience. There are several built-in features that allows easy grilling process. It has built-in thermometer that eliminates guesswork because the sensors help to maintain the stability of the temperature inside the chamber throughout the cooking process.
Aside from the accurate temperature control, it also features stainless steel probe that is used to measure the food temperature. The cooking area is 560 cubic inches and the side shelves measure 16” x 12”.
- Easy to assemble through the help of a video tutorial shown in the manufacturer’s website.
- It ensures accurate cooking as you can employ the necessary temperature required through the temperature control system.
- You can easily monitor the cooking process and determine if the food is well done. By using the temperature probe, you will know the exact temperature of the food.
- It requires high power usage when starting the unit through an electric auto start ignition.
- As it measures 128 pounds, it’s quiet heavy to move the smoker from one place to another.
8 Factors to Consider When Buying an Offset Smoker
Before you rush buying an offset smoker you need to do a well-thought research. The reviews of different types of offset smokers will help you narrow the options and gives you the chance to compare one from the other.
Here are some of the factors to consider:
- Heavy gauge metals
A thicker metal makes the cooking environment more even and provides greater heat retention. The ideal measurement of the metal is ¼ inch and it doesn’t warp easily as well as can withstand adverse weather conditions.
- Temperature gauges
Smoking food requires checking the internal temperature constantly. If the smoker has built-in temperature gauge, there’s no need to open the lid to check if the meat is perfectly smoked. With this, it’s important to look for a brand that gives accurate reading. There should be 2 thermometers at either end of the offset smoker so that you can determine the temperature difference and make the necessary adjustment.
- Quality seals and dampers
The seals play big role to control the temperature, reduce the fuel usage, and improve smoke retention. When you buy an offset smoker, you should check the seals and the dampers for any gaps, but should be easy to open and closed.
- Sturdy design
You should choose a smoker with sturdy design particularly the legs and wheels. The latches and hinges should also be strong so that it can handle moving the smoker from one place to another.
An important factor when you plan to buy a smoker is the warranty. No matter how the brand claims to be durable or of good quality, it should carry a warranty. This way, you’ll have peace of mind that you can bring a claim to the manufacturer or dealer in case of potential faults.
- Cooking chamber size
Before you purchase an offset smoker you should think first the quantity and frequency of cooking. It’s better to choose a smoker that enough space and additional hooks and racks to cook big quantity of food. For additional flexibility, you should choose a smoker with movable racks.
Check if there are counterweights on the chamber lids for additional functionality. Likewise, additional racks, front shelves and bottom shelves can be helpful.
- Firebox size
Regardless of the fuel source that you will use in your smoker, it is best to ensure that the firebox is spacious enough to accommodate the charcoal, split wood, logs or wood chips.
- Easy to clean
Aside from the ease of cooking, it is also important to select a smoker that is easy to clean. There should be a hose in which you can easily drain the barbecue. Likewise, check for features that would spare you from scrubbing the inner part of the smoker.
Advantages of Using an Offset Smoker
Aside from producing smokiest and richest meats, using an offset smoker offers several advantages such as the following:
- You can add wood chips, wood pellets, logs, or chunks into the firebox without opening the chamber.
- It can accommodate big quantity of food, thus cooking at a time is possible for big number of people.
- If the smoker comes with customized grill grates, it can be used for grilling making it more flexible.
- There’s no mechanical parts or electrical circuit that may burn out and require replacement.
- It is inexpensive to use and with proper maintenance you can expect that the offset smoker would last longer.
Disadvantages of Using an Offset Smoker
Just like any other smokers, the offset smoker has few downsides to expect:
- Starting the fire may take time as well as heating the smoker
- It is not suitable for after-work cooking because of its slow and low style of cooking
- The weather condition greatly affects the cooking process
- Maintaining a stable fire can be challenging that’s why it requires practice and patience
- If you have limited space, an offset smoker is not a good option
- Moving the smoker from one place to another is an issue because most models of smokers are heavy
Safety Concern of an Offset Smoker
Risks are apparent in almost everything. That’s why it’s important to know those risks in order to prevent them from transpiring. Regardless of the type of smoker you may be using, you should be prepared for any untoward incidents that may happen.
Obviously, when smoking, fire is the common destructive force. With this, it’s important to have a fire extinguisher within your reach. You need also to know how to control the fire and how to cut the fuel supplies.
Grills or smokers have particular range of operation. It’s important to read the manual and follow the safety restrictions. If the fuel source of the smoker is charcoal, you need to be extra careful in lighting it especially if you’re using a lighter. The lighter fluid can cause problems such as burns or worse fire.
Obviously, the downside of using a smoker or a grill is the fact that you will inhale the smoke that is dangerous to your health. The smoke contains Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons or PAH, carbon monoxide and other harmful substances. So, when smoking you should stay from a distance.
Conclusion & My Recommendation
Finding the right smoker or grill that suits your needs is quiet challenging. There are many different brands and models available in the market making it difficult to choose.
Considering the list and the reviews of the products mentioned above, it narrows your search of finding the best offset smokers.
Many customers have chosen the Pit Barrel Cooking package because of its ease of use and easy to setup. Although it’s not the cheapest, but it offers an amazing smoking and grilling experience. Likewise, the amount of space it requires and the self-regulatory temperature makes it stand out among its competitors.
This review and recommendation is just a guide and it’s up to you to decide which one will work best to your needs and budget.