|Best Vertical Offset Smokers
|Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
|Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker
|Best Horizontal Offset Smokers
|Oklahoma Joe's Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
|Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker
|Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro 830 Square Inch Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box
|Best Small Offset Smoker
|Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS730CBO-D Barrel Charcoal Grill & Side Firebox
|Best Multi-Purpose Offset Smoker
|Oklahoma Joe's Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo
|Best Drum Smoker
|18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
Table of Contents
- Top 7 Best Offset Smoker Reviews
- 1. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker
- 2. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
- 3. Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo
- 4. Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker
- 5. Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box
- 6. Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
- 7. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
- Offset Smoker Purchasing Guide
- What is a Reverse Flow Offset Smoker?
- Offset Smoker: Pros and Cons
- Key Points: Choosing the Best Offset Smoker
- Problems You May Encounter with Cheap Offset Smokers
- How to Buy the Best Offset Smoker for the Money
- Maximizing the Value of an Offset Smoker
For those wanting to serve some old-fashioned barbecue, the offset smoker is the way to go. With this unique cooker, you can feel like a master chef and serve up some food that tastes great. Don’t just be lured in by what we say though…take a look at the information about these smokers and make your own decision. We will also inform you what to consider when choosing the best offset smoker.
Top 7 Best Offset Smoker Reviews
1. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker
This vertical offset charcoal smoker is constructed of heavy steel that has been powder coated. The Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D smoker can handle about 150 pounds of food per grilling session. The smoker’s unique vertical style draws the smoke into the cooking area and allows it to flow evenly around all the cooking racks. This style removes the hindrance of uneven cooking caused by cheaper models. The smoker seals off tightly and allows very little smoke to escape. It has a solid feel and features durable handles to allow you to maneuver it easily.
- The total cooking space is 1176 sq. in. so you have room to cook for a crowd.
- Accurate temperature readings are given through thermometers that are built into the smoker.
- Firebox made from steel that has been coated in porcelain allows for the retention of heat and a resulting delicious smoky taste.
- Heat escape is minimized by using the 2nd door for the charcoal and ashes. Also, clean-up is simple – after opening the door, remove the pan of ashes, and discard.
- The flue can be adjusted so you have better control of the temperature.
- The cooking grates can be set to six different heights allowing you the flexibility for any items you might want to cook.
The Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D smoker’s most noticeable drawback is that it requires time to assemble it and it allows some smoke to leak out. Assembly is quite time-consuming. Some parts require adjusting after assembly as they do not fit together well. Perhaps we are just not expert assemblers, but it took us a little while to get the job done. Perhaps due to the assembly issues, the smoker allows the smoke to leak out. While the leakage was not a huge amount, it is noticeable. When comparing the amount of smoke leaking from this smoker to the amount that leaks from a higher-end model, it is significant.
However, the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D is a good vertical offset smoker for those who are watching their money closely. You will have the ability to cook delicious food on a smoker that is easy to clean. Its size accommodates just the family or the whole neighborhood. For this price point, you will have a hard time finding a better deal.
2. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
Because this horizontal smoker features 4 baffles that guide the heat and smoke directly into the smoker box, the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland earns the title as the best reverse flow offset smoker. With the baffles, you are able to cook delicious foods very quickly. The removable baffles can be arranged in any way you want to achieve the results you desire. The smoker provides 900 square inches of cooking, so you can feed the family or cater a party.
This reverse flow offset smoker makes quick work of clean up because it has an easy open door that makes it simple to empty ashes and clean the smoker. The stainless steel charcoal basket is extra-large to make it easy to add fuel.
The porcelain coated cooking grates and smoker body constructed from sturdy steel increases heat retention and makes this a cooker that will last a lifetime. The smoker features more than one damper so controlling heat and smoke is a breeze.
Mobility is a breeze with 10” wheels included by the Highland model made by Oklahoma Joe’s.
- Adequate cooking space totaling 900 sq. in. – The main chamber is 619 sq. in. The firebox is 281 sq. in.
- This smoker features four baffles that channel smoke and heat up to and through the cooking chamber to deliver delicious, evenly cooked food.
- This smoker can be customized to meet your needs because it has 4 baffles that can be removed and variable locations for the smokestack.
- The smoker includes a durable basket made from stainless steel with an easy open door for easy access to the ashes when cleaning out.
- The smoker’s construction of heavy-duty steel and cooking grates coated with porcelain along with more than one damper all help control heat and smoke.
3. Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo
The Oklahoma Joe smoker line made by Char-Broil started in 1998. For many years they have built a reputation for building quality at home smokers that are durable and sturdy. The newest addition to the line is the Oklahoma Joe’s combo grill. This smoker fits right in with their impressive line. The barrel is made of heavy-duty steel making it useful as a conventional smoker or a barbecue grill. Also, you can use it to sear steaks for dinner. You might want to try your hand at reverse searing for an entirely different taste.
This Oklahoma Joe’s 3 in 1 grill features two separate cooking chambers, one for smoking and one for gas grilling, plus an offset firebox and a gas side burner. You have 375 square inches to use as a smoker, 375 square inches to use as a gas grill, 310 square inches cooking surface in firebox chamber. Its gas grilling chamber has 3 x 12,000 BTU Burners (36,000 BTU’s total).
The Oklahoma Joe’s gas charcoal smoker combo is the perfect solution for the person who wants all the extras. You will enjoy the racks that are coated with porcelain, the multiple temperature gauges, the dampers that adjust easily and the large space for storage.
- Multi-Use Smoker – may be used as a charcoal grill, a gas grill, or a smoker.
- Provides adequate cooking space.
- Made from durable steel that will not rust or warp easily.
- Grates are porcelain coated to resist rust and last for a long time.
- Includes two thermometers to allow for proper heat monitoring.
- Easy to control and stoke the fire in the spacious firebox.
- Storage rack included.
- Maneuvering is easy because of the durable wheels.
- Handles are heat resistant.
- Firebox is cleaned easily.
- Provides a lifetime warranty.
4. Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker
When Oklahoma Joe’s added reverse flow to this offset smoker, they made it an even sweeter deal!
The Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn features 1,060 total sq. inches cooking surface – 751 sq. inches in the main chamber, 309 sq. inches the firebox chamber.
By adding the ability to manipulate the baffle, you can create an environment for more even cooking temperatures. Also, this horizontal smoker can double as just a regular grill. Just take out the plates and adjust the smoke stack so it is in the alternate port and you are ready to grill. Whether using this as a smoker or a grill, you will find it very simple to adjust the temperature and level of smoke due to the extra dampers and built-in thermometer.
Add two shelves for storing accessories, durable steel construction that provides for even cooking and no warping, and large ten-inch wheels and you have an exceptional smoker. The Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn reverse flow smoker is an exceptional value for the money spent.
- This smoker’s set up for reverse flow causes evenly distributed heat and smoke.
- Ability to control heat due to more than one damper.
- Increased room for cooking.
- Made from steel that is less like to warp or rust.
- Grates that are porcelain coated to resist rust and provide easy cleanup.
- Accessible storage on two racks.
- Large, durable wheels allow for easy maneuverability.
- Handles are heat resistant.
- Fire handling is simple with a larger fuel basket made for durable stainless steel.
- Cleaning out ashes is easy with the access provided by a bigger door.
- Heat monitoring is fast and accurate with thermometers that are built in.
5. Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box
The Char-Griller Smokin Pro is a great alternative to the Dyna-Glo. This offset smoker has a more traditional style and features a drum that lies horizontally in the main cooking area. The fire box on the side of the smoker is removable and can be used as a grill on your table top. The 830 sq. in. cooking surface is made of high-quality steel that has been powder coated. You have 580 sq. in. of primary cooking area and 250 sq. in. side fire box. The charcoal drawers can be removed to make it easy to clean out ashes and to put in more charcoal. This extra feature makes it easier and faster to cook and clean.
- Fire grates are adjustable to provide another way to control temperature. This is a minimal feature, but it is still an extra for the barbecue.
- The thermometers that are added to the barbecue provide an adequate reading of the temperature inside the cooker.
- Set up the grill in multiple ways with the two included shelves.
Even though this smoker is a fairly good smoker for a beginner, it does seem like a cheap smoker. Because it lacks the reverse flow design means that it also lacks a cooking area that provides even cooking. Food cooked on the left side of the grill will not cook as fast as the items placed on the right side of the cooking area.
6. Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
Perhaps you want the versatility of changer from a grill to a smoker at any time. If that is what you enjoy doing, the Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D will fit your needs perfectly.
If you prefer to change up your grilling, you will enjoy the fact that the smoking and grilling areas are separated.
When you decide to grill for the whole neighborhood, this charcoal smoker can meet your needs. It has over 1380 square inches of cooking area so you are set up to make sure no one leaves hungry!
- Cooking space that is 1382 square inches.
- Body made from durable steel.
- Grilling area that includes 284 square inches.
- Grates and ash pan that can be taken out for cleaning.
- 5 Steel cooking grates that are chrome plated.
- An ashtray and charcoal grate that will come out.
The chrome plated steel cooking grates are useful for maintaining heat for a long period of time. In turn, they evenly distribute the heat onto your food.
By making the smoker out of heavy duty steel, the manufacturer set it up to hold heat very well while using less fuel. This provides a way to reduce the expense of fuel.
This Dyna-Glo offset smoker provides an easy way to control heat and smoke. It is a great buy for someone who prefers using vertical smokers.
The removable ash pan and charcoal grate give you a way for quick access to the fuel as well as a great way to get to and dispose of ashes effortlessly.
7. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
Even though the PBC cooker is not really an offset smoker, it uses some of the same cooking methods as the offset smoker. The method used is much the same – heat and smoke are made, forced into the grill, and then rise.
Since its release to the public, the Pit Barrel Cooker has received great reviews. The PBC cooker took the Ugly Dum Smoker concept and tweaked it into a product that looks and works great. This easy to operate smoker really is just a “set it and forget it” kind of appliance. Strength and durability are enhanced by the top-notch steel and porcelain enamel coating.
- The basic package features some accessories. In the basic packages are eight hooks and hanging rods.
- Starting a fire and cleaning up afterward is so easy with a removable grate.
- Because the Pit Barrel smoker is lightweight and portable, carrying it with you is very easy.
- The temperature and smoke are easy to regulate.
Once you try it, you will agree that this drum smoker is one of the best on the market today. The Pit Barrell smoker has a decent price, is easy to use, and cooks some most outstanding food. The Pit Barrel Cooker is highly recommended unless you are planning to spend a lot of money on a higher-end model.
Offset Smoker Purchasing Guide
What is an Offset Smoker?
If you’ve heard people talk about barrel smokers, pipe smokers, horizontal smokers or side fire boxes, they are talking about offset smokers. All these names refer to the same device. They are considered the traditional smoker and can produce high quality meats much like you’d taste a cooking competition.
Commonly offset smokers feature two sealed, connected boxes or cylinder – one small and one large. The smaller box is usually referred to as a fire box. This box contains a fire made with wood or charcoal. The fire in this box is offset a bit further down than the larger sized box. The fire’s position forces the smoke to rise from the fire upward and then flow into the bigger box. This bigger box is sometimes called the cooking space or oven. After the smoke reaches the larger area, it helps to cook the meat and then escapes through the chimney.
With some offset smoker models, another vertical chamber for cooking is added. The smoke goes through this chamber as well before it escapes through the chimney. This increases the smoker’s cooking capacity.
In order to maintain a steady, controlled temperature in this type smoker, just adjust the vents and air intake. Open vents increase the oxygen which makes the fire burn at a higher temperature and more quickly.
Offset Smoker Types
The most traditional type of offset smoker positions the chamber for cooking the food nearest the firebox so that it is also closer to the hottest fire. Doing this may result in unevenly cooked foods. Rotating the food from time to time or placing it on the cooking area to allow for even cooking will be necessary. With a bigger smoker, you will notice an even greater temperature difference.
A reverse flow offset smoker reduces the number of times the meat will need to be rotated during cooking. While you may find several options to achieve this goal, one thing you can do is add a baffle plate made of steel. When using this plate, you shield your meat from the heat directly. This plate provides a way for the smoke to circulate around the BBQ slowly and bathe the meat in heat while adding delicious flavor.
Often you can determine if the smoker is traditional or reverse flow by taking a quick look at the position of the chimney. With a traditional smoker, the chimney will be position farther away from the fire box. With a reverse flow, the chimney will be positioned closer to the fire box. This indicates that smoke is being channeled back into the cooking area before going out through the chimney.
With some smokers, you can also utilize it as a BBQ grill. Just place some charcoal in the oven area and cook directly on the grate.
What is a Reverse Flow Offset Smoker?
Smokers that use reverse flow are often touted as the grander one when compared to a regular offset smoker. With the better distribution of heat and a more complete flow of smoke, they really are an excellent tool for smoking delicious meats.
Simply stated, a smoker that uses reverse flow is just a traditional offset smoker that has an added plate made of metal. This metal plate protects the meat from the intense temperatures and simultaneously directs the smokes all around the meat before it escapes via the chimney.
The diagram below illustrates an offset smoker. The picture shows how the heat and smoke from the firebox make its way into the cooking chamber and then flows out the chimney on the other side.
Conversely, with a smoker that has reverse flow, the smoke and heat leave the firebox and go into the cooking area beneath the metal plate. Then the smoke is forced to cross the bottom portion of the cooking area and then goes upward reversing the flow back across the meat and exits via the chimney.
The steel plate does more than just direct the smoke’s flow, it also:
- Prevents heat from directly reaching the meat nearest the firebox and causing it to overcook.
- Helps maintain a consistent cooking temperature and creates a useful heat sink.
- Can also be used as a pan to collect grease or water.
Advantages of Reverse Flow Design
When you decide to use a reverse flow smoker, you will see the following advantages:
- Smoke distribution that contributes to a smoky flavor all through the meat.
- Reduction in the number of times that meat has to be rotated due to better heat distribution.
- Fewer spikes in cooking temperature after building up the fire by adding fuel.
- Quicker recovery of heat following the opening of the door to the cooking chamber.
- More moisture and better flavor as the fat cooks from the meat, as it is seared on the griddle and then goes into the chamber.
- Does away with the need for an additional grease tray and water tray.
Disadvantages of Reverse Flow Design
The biggest disadvantage to a reverse flow smoker is that fact that it is so easy. Your friends and family may just be starting out with smoking and may be able to cook a meal that is as good as yours – even though you have a good bit of experience.
Yet, that’s not really a bad deal either. The more people who can cook good food means there will be more delicious meals to enjoy.
Offset Smoker: Pros and Cons
In addition to being a nice looking product and cooking some of the tastiest smoked meats around, offset smokers offer these perks too:
- They are useful for cooking many foods at the same time.
- Wood chips and fuel can be added easily without altering the cooking temperature and level of smoke because you do not have to open the chamber.
- Offset smokers can be run at a low cost.
- They can double as a grill.
- Higher end smokers will last a lifetime if they are maintained properly.
Even though there is a lot to love when using an offset smoker, some downsides may be noted:
- Starting the fire and waiting for it to heat up make take a while.
- Because the food cooks slowly at a very low temperature, cooking an entire meal may take a few hours.
- With offset smoking, practice makes perfect.
- The outside temperature such as cold, wet days may affect the process and the result.
- You get what you pay for. Offset smokers that are poorly constructed from low-quality materials will not last and will not produce the delicious meal you hope for.
- Conversely, those offset smokers made from high-quality materials may last a lifetime.
- Storing an offset smoker may require some creativity because they are very large.
- Some smokers are large, heavy, and hard to maneuver.
Key Points: Choosing the Best Offset Smoker
There are some features to look for before buying an offset smoker:
- High-quality metal – Thicker metal produces a better environment for cooking evenly and helps you retain heat more easily. The industry standard seems to be ¼ inch for offset smokers. This thickness does not warp and stands up well to inclement weather.
- Superior dampers and seals – Install high-quality seals to ensure adequate temperature control, retain smoke inside the smoker, and cut down on the amount of fuel needed. Seals should be inspected to be sure no gaps are left. The dampers should seal easily but must be able to close and open by sliding.
- Gauges to accurately measure temperature – Measuring the temperature inside your offset cooker while the lid remains closed is essential for preparing a delicious meal. A quality offset smoker will give an accurate temperature so you can control the cooking temperature. If you want to be very precise with your smoking, purchase a smoker that features temperature gauge at both ends of the cooker. This way you can assess any temperature differences and make adjustments as needed.
- Size of the chamber – To keep you from having to upgrade the smoker soon due to not having enough space, be sure to buy a smoker that is adequate to begin with. Think about how much you will use your offset smoker before making an initial purchase. Buy a smoker that has enough accessories and space to last you for a long time. If you want to have lots of flexibility when cooking, add adjustable racks as well.
- Size of the firebox – It does not matter if you are planning to use charcoal along with split wood, wood chips, or logs, your firebox must have adequate space for your fuel.
- Room to store – When you are comparing smokers, be sure to consider the smoker’s overall size. Consider that you must leave some space on all sides for ventilation when cooking as well.
- Easy to clean up – Look at the offset smoker you are considering and ask yourself – how easy will it be to clean this? Can I remove the cooking plates? Are drains or plugs included so I can easily wash the smoker with the water hose? Is there an easy way to clean out the ashes? Because you may want to leave your smoker in the same place, easy cleaning features are a must.
- Easy to move – Do you think you will want to move your smoker from place to place? If you do, you need to consider the weight? Also, are there handles or other features like wheels that will make moving it easier?
- Durability – How strong do the wheels and legs seem to be? Are the latches and hinges durable? A new smoker should be long lasting so you can use it heavily for quite a while.
- Extras – Are accessories available for purchase with the smoker? If so, what extras can you buy? Consider things such as a guard for the smoker to protect it from inclement weather, additional cooking racks, hooks to ribs, and other special tools.
- Cover – If the smoker you select does not come with a cover, see if one can be purchased as an extra. This is needed even more if you don’t have a place to store your smoker that is out of the elements.
- Warranty – With just a bit of care and maintenance, you should be able to use a smoker for a long time. However, a warranty provides some comfort knowing that if there are any faults in the material or workmanship, the manufacturer will stand behind their product.
Problems You May Encounter with Cheap Offset Smokers
Because the demand for smokers has been high, many lower-end offset smokers are hit the market recently. If you can’t afford to purchase a higher end, a less expensive smoker is better than no smoker! Just be prepared for some common issues you may encounter with lower-end offset smokers.
- Constructed from thinner metal – Some lower-end smokers are made from thin metal. This thinner metal does not hold the heat in thus you have lower temperatures. You will be able to cook food on this smoker, but it will require more fuel to maintain a steady heat. You may find this particularly troublesome on rainy days or days with very cold temperatures.
- Loose seals – The heat and smoke needed to cook delicious meat may escape if the dampers, doors, and joints fail to seal correctly. When the seals are not tight, you may find it difficult to control the temperature in the smoker. This results in unevenly cooked foods. Also, you will use more fuel trying to maintain a stable cooking temperature.
- Poor distribution of heat and smoke – Because heat and smoke tend to go up rather than to the side, you may notice that the less expensive smokers are not efficient at redirecting the flow. This may result in the firebox becoming hotter on one side than the other. To remedy this situation, you will have to rotate the meat more often to help with even cooking.
- Paint that flakes – Flaky paint is often noticed on barbecues that are less expensive. The low-quality paint used in the finishing process is known to flake due to intense heat over a period of time. This causes two problems (1) your smoker will start to rust more quickly and (2) there’s the chance that the paint flakes can fall into the food you’re cooking.
How to Buy the Best Offset Smoker for the Money
In order to select the best offset smoker for you, follow these simple guidelines:
- Outline a budget – While dedicating a bit more money to your smoker will allow you to have more durable and longer lasting item, you have to decide if you can afford an upper-end model.
- Look at your cooking needs – Ask yourself this question, “How much food will I cook and how often?” You want to select an ideal smoker size. Your smoker needs to be great for when you are just cooking for the family yet large enough to accommodate a crowd.
- Determine which accessories you need – Look at the features included with your smoker and decide if it has all the “bells and whistles” that you need. If not, go ahead and shop for the accessories you need to make it just right for you.
- Assess your storage space – Think about where you will store your new smoker when you are not using it. This lets you know the size smoker that you should purchase. Also, if your storage area is outside, you will want to consider purchasing a cover.
Maximizing the Value of an Offset Smoker
1) Make a few dry runs to calibrate your smoker. When you have your smoker assembled correctly, the first thing you need to do is use it a few times without adding food. In other words, make a few dry runs! Any grease from the manufacturing process will be burned off. This also lets you have a chance to see how much it heats up and how to control the temperature. Most smoker recipes ask for temperatures ranging from 325 degrees F down to 225 degrees F.
2) Use charcoal rather than wood. Managing a wood fire in an offset smoker is a big job. The smoke, soot, and ash produced by wood can easily spoil your food.
3) Always heat the cooker first. Starting the fire with charcoal and allowing the cooking chamber to heat up before adding the meat is essential. This prevents the formation of creosote.
4) Use coals that are lit. Before you begin to cook, put your coals in a chimney to start them. When the temperature starts to go down and the coals are going out, put in more coals that are hot and ready from the chimney.
5) Avoid using wood chunks or chips that are wet. When water is added to wood, the wood absorbs about 5% of its mass. When you add wet wood to the coals, all it does is cool them. When you use wood chips that have been soaked, you are contributing to uneven temperatures.
6) Watch the weather. Keep in mind that the local climate affects your cooking. Wind, precipitation, and outside temperature cause changes in the cooking temperature.
7) Be sure a good thermometer is placed on each end of the cooker. Heat located close to the firebox can be up to 50 degrees F greater that heat near the flue. In order to adequately monitor and control the temperature, drill a hole in each door. Place a digital thermometer in each hole to let you keep watch on the temperature on both ends of the smoker.
8) Avoid opening the lid. When you open the lid to your firebox or cooking chamber, you are upsetting the way the coals are using the oxygen in the cooking chamber.
9) Always utilize a pan of water. When smoking, place the cooking grate over the coals. Then, place a pan of water on the cooking grate. The smoke produced using this method is more humid so it moistens and flavors the meat. There is no need to place pans of water underneath your meat. Also, investing is apple juice to use instead of water is unnecessary.
10) Take care of your smoker. Bottom line: Your metal smoker can rust! If you are not using the smoker, put it in your garage or cover it with an appropriate material. If you notice rust, take time out to sand the rust off and repaint the area. Always be careful to use paint that is heat resistant. Then, allow time for thorough drying before you cook on the smoker. Paint fumes are usually poisonous!