Offset Smokers make it possible to prepare great BBQ while participating in the whole meat smoking process from the beginning till the end. Remember! The classic, traditional BBQ requires a lot of skills and patience, this is not an easy thing for beginners.
You love being responsible for the entire smoking process? An offset Smoker depends entirely on you, what results you’re going to get depends mostly on yourself and your skills.
First you have to focus on getting the charcoal/wood burning, then on stabilizing the temperature. Among your tasks will be first and foremost constantly controlling the temperature and amount of charcoal/wood.
But before you start doing anything, you need to have a solid offset smoker. We have conducted extensive research and chosen several models that we believe did great in our tests.
You will find a lot of very expensive models at stores, but in this guide we focused on the best offset smokers for beginners.
Our guide is mostly directed towards people who want to start their journey with smoking meat on this type of smoker at low cost. You don’t need a fortune to spend on a top-quality equipment, you can even start when having a limited budget.
We have decided not to place top-quality models here for a simple reason, they cost so much that most beginners won’t decide to spend that much.
By now the offset smokers have evolved a little and there are two different types of this smoker available at stores ( vertical and horizontal ). We have discussed the upsides of each of them below so we invite you to check our tips below the reviews.
The 3 Best Offset Smokers Reviewed
1. Best Overall Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker
Very well thought-out construction, low price, good quality of workmanship and large smoking area. All those advantages are in favor of this model taking the first place in our ranking.
We like the whole design as well as how little space this smoker occupies compared to the horizontal type. After opening the front door we will see whole 784 square inches of cooking area complete with six grates.
When it comes to the second part of the smoker which is the firebox, you will find one big box there where you can burn charcoal or wood. On top of that, the second part was constructed in a way that makes ash removal very easy and convenient.
Tests have shown only a small smoke leakage but we have to point out that in this price range, every model has this sort of problems. If you have time and will, we recommend sealing the spots where you notice smoke coming out by yourself. There is nothing difficult about that, and such procedure allows to get your smoker air-tight fast and effectively so that it is 100% perfect.
This model is not perfect in every regard, but it is definitely perfect for beginners. At this price, it is really difficult to find anything built this well and giving results this good.
When deciding to get an offset smoker for this kind of money, you need to take into account certain imperfections. Also keep in mind that a high quality air-tight offset smoker costs up to 10x more.
What matters the most is the results of cooking and durability, and both of those matters have passed our tests very well taking into account this price range and the competitive models.
2. Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow
This time it is an offset smoker from the middle price range, much more expensive than the previous suggestions and significantly bigger and heavier. It looks much better and was much better made compared to other competitive models that were involved in our tests.
A pretty large cooking area ( 751 square inches ), with four grates and few dividers that can be configured as you please.
Despite this model standing out with much better quality of materials, few smoke leaks can still be noticed here. As always, we remind that you can solve this problem fast and easily by yourself. We recommend watching numerous videos on the topic available online if you don’t know how to do this.
When it comes to the temperature control and final cooking results, on the other hand, we are very pleased with what we were able to achieve during our tests.
One downside that plenty of people complain about is the paint peeling off on the surface of the firebox. Sadly, in a lower class offset smokers such occurrence is common and the only solution is to simply buy a good quality paint and paint the elements where paint peels off by yourself.
When it comes to durability, we are sure that this model will last for definitely longer than competitive models on our list, especially when you take proper care of it.
3. Char-Griller Smokin Pro
For those slightly more interested in the horizontal type of smokers, we have prepared this suggestion. Definitely smaller than most of standard smokers and also more lightweight. The construction is simple, efficient and pretty well-made. One upside of this model is its versatility, what does it mean?
Char-Griller Smokin Pro consists of the main barrel that was designed not only with smoking in mind but grilling as well ( the area of 580 square inches ). Located next to the barrel, on the other hand, is the side firebox, which allows to convert this grill into a traditional offset smoker.
When smoking meat, we noticed small smoke leaks, but we can understand this kind of flaw at this price. You can always improve this smoker by making your own effective insulation cheap. Still, we didn’t have bigger problems maintaining the right temperature, and the food results were very good.
The construction as a whole performed well, but there is nothing to write home about when it comes to the quality, you have to remember, though, that this is a model suggested for beginners. Such people are usually interested in something to start from that doesn’t cost a lot and will allow them to simply find out what the offset smoker is.
Despite the “pro” in the name, it is not a top model, due to the quality of materials it is not an investment for years, either. We recommend this model as a start or for those with a limited budget, it should live up to the expectations of an average BBQ enthusiast.
An Offset Smoker is a great way to feel what the real BBQ just like back in the days is. There’s a plenty of set& forget style smokers today that are pretty much maintenance-free and give great results.
We admit that we have plenty of such models and use them very often, mostly due to the convenience and time saving ( everyone has times when they don’t feel like controlling the smoking process while still wanting to have something from a grill ).
However, sometimes we get the desire to conduct the whole smoking process as it is in an offset smoker. For those who love BBQ, the ability to participate in the entire cooking process is something very cool.
Getting the charcoal or wood burning, stabilizing the temperature, air/smoke flow control, temperature control, charcoal amount control etc.
An Offset Smoker forces you to do a lot of tasks, and you need to take care of everything on your own and that’s what is the main advantage of this type of smoker. Of course it requires a lot of skills, it is easier when you have a high quality offset smoker, but these are sadly very expensive.
That’s why we focused on beginners and with them in mind, this guide was made.
We invite you to check all the tips below, especially if you’re a beginner. Our goal is to make choosing a new offset smoker easier for you, which is why, besides the reviews, we have also prepared a lot of information that might help you with that.
What to pay attention to before buying an Offset Smoker
Type – There are currently two types of offset smokers, vertical and horizontal.
Both are brilliant and when it comes to results of smoking, there isn’t much difference here.
One major difference is how much space a horizontal offset smoker takes compared to a vertical one. The latter allows to save a lot of space around the backyard.
Size – Despite the offset smoker overall being famous for its large size, think about how much you cook and for how many people.
The bigger the smoker the more it’s going to cost, more time it will take to clean it, more time it will take it to reach the right temperature and more fuel it will burn.
Why an Offset Smoker?
Flavor – Everyone knows that nothing can beat the heavily characteristic charcoal/wood smoky flavor. Such meat tastes completely different and every connoisseur can appreciate that. An offset smoker makes it possible to smoke with this exact type of fuel, which gives the best results.
Fun – One has to admit that it is not a set&forget style smoker, if you expect convenience then forget it. An offset smoker requires you to participate in the smoking process for the majority of it. Among your tasks will be things like getting the charcoal/wood burning, adjusting the air vents, stabilizing and controlling the temperature and refilling the fuel and water container if your smoker has one. Plenty of people refer to all of that as the “real BBQ” and it’s hard not to agree with that sentiment.
Wood or Charcoal – You can use whatever type of fuel you please, or mix them. For example, you can use charcoal while putting two large pieces of the right type of wood on top of it. That way the smoke generated by the wood will enrich the food’s flavor significantly ( of course you have to know what type of wood to use for a particular type of meat ).
Cooking area – An Offset Smoker has a much bigger construction than any other type of smoker or grill. Over 1000 square inches of meat smoking area is not a problem. If you prepare very large quantities of meat often, an offset smoker will live up to your expectations in this regard.
How did we test?
It wasn’t an easy task, a high class offset smoker costs much more, which is why we shouldn’t expect miracles from models adapted for those with a limited budget or for beginners. We have to be aware that these models have several common flaws that can be easily fixed on our own ( paint peeling off and small smoke leaks ).
We started our work with analyzing all the models available at stores. That way we created a long list that we gradually eliminated most models from until there were just few of them.
Then we conducted tests that allowed us to choose the few best offset smokers. During the analysis, we mostly took into account what a beginner expects which is the price, size, decent quality and most of all, the final results.
What exactly were the practical tests like? First we start with the assembly, which contrary to a popular belief takes a lot of time when we take into account the number of smokers involved in the tests. Then we moved on to the next stage, the purpose of which was to get the charcoal/wood burning and to reach a stable temperature.
As we know, it is very important when smoking meat for the temperature to be maintained all the time. Most beginners have a huge problem with that, which is why we especially paid attention to this aspect. We thoroughly checked how the air flow was in each smoker and how much the air vents responded.
The moment the temperature is already right, we started smoking different pieces of meat. As you may guess, the whole process was long and required a lot of attention from us in order not to get lost in all of that.
Many hours later, the last pieces of meat were finally ready, but that’s not the end yet. After each cooking it is necessary to clean up, so we also tested whether it wasn’t too cumbersome and what solutions the manufacturer came up with in order to make this process easier.
We cleaned up after cooking and moved on to the last task. Analyzing all the results and writing this here guide. We try to always add something more from ourselves which is why we also prepared few tips that we suggest taking into account when choosing a new offset smoker.
Why trust us?
We are just like you – we love BBQ and keep expanding our knowledge on the topic. There’s many of us, we form a group the purpose of which is not only to spend time in a good company but also to share our own experience and provide help to others.
For many years now, we’ve been enthusiasts of BBQ and have created a place where we can finally share our knowledge and most of all, our tests.
Every once in a while, there are new products coming out in the world of BBQ that are supposed to “revolutionize the market” – our favorite task is to test such products and very often dispel the myths related to them.
On top of product reviews, we also focus on creating many different guides that will be useful not only for beginners but also for those much more advanced. The topic of BBQ is so vast that it is truly difficult to know everything on it all. By visiting websites like ours for example, you will always discover something new.
We won’t deny that tests are our favorite thing to do, who doesn’t like to test new grills or smokers ?
That’s the greatest advantage of our activity, we get to test the latest equipment that we will later write objective reviews for based on our experience. Each of us has many types of grills or smokers in their backyard, but there’s nothing preventing us from expanding that collection.
Back to the topic of offset smokers, we like them a lot for all the fun they provide us with. Each of us owns a high quality offset smoker in their backyard, but in this case we decided to present much cheaper models.
We believe that high quality offset smokers are only for decided people who have a lot of experience. Beginners, on the other hand, usually look for much cheaper models, which is exactly why our list of suggestions looks the way it does.