Everyone wants to grill like the masters on television, and it’s possible to do that. Others may want to earn prizes at barbecue competitions. Regardless of your dreams, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. Instead of gas grills, you need the best offset smoker to smoke and grill meat to perfection.
Buying an offset smoker isn’t easy, though. It could even be risky. There are plenty of cheap offset smokers out there, and they leak and are completely unreliable. Expensive offset smokers are the best choice, but the price is a deterrent for most people.
We’ve spent plenty of time researching some of the best offset smokers out there. This list is suitable for various budgets and experience levels.
Short on Time? Here Are Our Top 3!
Oklahoma Joes Highland Reverse Flow Smoker Best Overall
Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS Best Runner Up
Broil-King Smoke Offset Charcoal Smoker Best Large Grill
The smokers’ best friend is the equipment, meaning you must determine the best smokers on the market. To do that, you need to know what features to consider so that you can get the best grill possible.
Build Quality, Insulation
You don’t want to buy a low-quality offset smoker. They’re made using thin metal instead of stainless steel. This means you have less control over oxygen, smoke, and heat within the cooking chamber. That is primarily where the smoke gets distributed.
Buying an offset smoker means you want it to be made of thick stainless steel. There should be well-designed cooking chamber doors and vents. Unfortunately, this has a price.
Reverse Flow Considerations
Offset smokers with regular flow draw the smoke and heat away from the firebox and over the meat one time while it exits out of the chimney.
Reverse flow offset smokers use the baffle system, which draws the heat and smoke underneath the cooking chamber before it goes over the meat again and out through the chimney. Generally, this top vent is mounted on the same side as its firebox.
Such a system uses the smoke and heat twice. Enthusiasts of this design believe that using the over-under method allows the meat to be more flavorful and tender.
Though you shouldn’t use cost as the only factor, it can help you determine if an offset smoker is best for you. You’ve got to consider your budget, but the lowest-priced offset smoker is sure to be poorly made. Entry-level models are usually between $800 to $1,000 to be well-constructed. That’s not cheap, but it’s important to spend enough to get the best option for you.
If you’re not sure an offset smoker is right for you, a cheaper option might be suitable. You can get to know it and learn on it while saving up to get a top-end offset smoker.
Offset smokers are typically bigger than your average gas grills. Before you go out to buy an offset smoker, make sure you measure the location where it’s going to sit.
They’re called offset smokers because the firebox is separated. It’s sure to protrude to the back or side of its main cooking chamber, so this must be taken into account.
The offset smoker and grill you choose isn’t going to be easy to transport. It’s best to install it where you want it to sit all the time. Many times, manufacturers make the charcoal grill with wheels, so it is possible to move it. However, it’s challenging to do yourself.
The cooking chamber is likely right above the storage area. This is often a stainless steel mesh-style shelf that sits underneath. You can put ingredients, spices, and cooking utensils on it while you grill. All offset smokers don’t include this feature, so watch for that if you want extra space.
The offset charcoal grill and smoker may also have side tables for more storage. However, this shouldn’t affect the cooking area.
It’s important that the cooking grates are easy to clean. Generally, you must scrape it with a wire brush and let the old bits of food fall to the bottom.
You should also focus on the firebox of the grill. It is going to have to be cleaned out periodically to avoid having too much ash inside.
Typically, the offset smoker has a temperature gauge at the top. This tells you what the temperature is inside without having to open it up and test the meat. When you open the lid frequently, it lets out all the smoke and heat. With a temperature gauge, you know the meat is cooking at the right temperature. You can add more fuel to the firebox for temperature control.back to menu ↑
|Offset Smokers||Cooking Space||Fuel type||Type||Dimensions||Review|
|Oklahoma Joe Highland Reverse Flow||900 square inches||Charcoal||Drum||39×20.9×23 inches||Check Price|
|Dyna-Glo Signature Series Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker||1,382 square inches||Charcoal||Vertical||45.5×24.9×58.8 inches||Check Price|
|Broil-King 958050 Offset Charcoal Grill and Smoker||625 square inches||Charcoal||Drum||52.5x26x60 inches||Check Price|
|Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill and Smoker||800 square inches||Charcoal||Drum||45.3×26.8×48 inches||Check Price|
|Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker||1,060 square inches||Charcoal||Drum||64.25×35.5×55.5 inches||Check Price|
|Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker||670 square inches||Charcoal||Drum||48.03×17.5×44.6 inches||Check Price|
|Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro||830 square inches||Charcoal||Drum||62x29x50 inches||Check Price|
|Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC D Charcoal Offset Smoker||784 square inches||Charcoal||Vertical||20.2×34.5-47 inches||Check Price|
|Landmann 560212 Vista Offset Smoker||734 square inches||Charcoal||Drum||54×25.5×47.5 inches||Check Price|
The 9 Best Offset Smokers on the Market for 2020
The Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker is the best overall offset smoker. For most people, it’s impossible to drop large amounts of money to get an offset smoker, and we don’t think you should have to. Unlike some of the other low-cost models, this brand uses steel construction for all its parts to get better stability and heat retention.
With the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Offset Smoker, you get grill grates that are coated with porcelain. Plus, this offset smoker has tons of cooking space in its main chamber. The smoking chamber is also large, so you can add plenty of fuel and cook slowly.
Since you are sure to have to add more fuel at some point, you’re going to appreciate the cool-touch handles from this reverse flow offset smoker from Oklahoma Joe. However, you don’t have to use it in reverse and can utilize it as a traditional smoker.
You’re going to appreciate the heat and smoke control you get from this smoker. Since it’s reversed or traditional, you’ve got many ways to cook your food.
Though we don’t recommend it, you can modify this smoker to get a better performance. To do that, you can seal up the heat box and cooking chamber. It’s possible to buy a temperature gasket kit to make this work. However, it’s not necessary to purchase extra accessories to use this offset smoker.
At a glance
- Doubles as a grill
- Four baffles available for better heat distribution
- Temps vary less with this smoker
- Traditional style and look
- Bottom shelf for extra storage
- Large, wagon-style wheels
- Can leak smoke and ash without sealant
- Non-perfect heat distribution
2. Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker – Best Runner Up
If you prefer a vertical offset smoker, the Dyna-Glo Signature Series Offset Smoker might be the best choice for you. We think it’s actually the top runner up to the Oklahoma Joe brand from earlier.
This smoker features five different cooking grates, and they’re all chrome-plated for your protection. Since the Dyna-Glo Signature Series Offset Smoker is vertical, it stands taller. This can make it easier to store. For example, it can go in a corner, as long as there’s room for the firebox.
It’s important to note that the firebox sits quite low, so the smoke travels upward in the chamber before it goes out of the chimney. This sits right in the middle of the top of the smoker.
You’re going to appreciate the heavy-gauge steel body of this smoker. The entire thing is durable and doesn’t rust. You can buy the smoker with the cover or purchase it separately. This helps you protect the smoker when you’re not using it.
We like the temperature gauge, which is located on the swing-out door of the smoker. Most people don’t have to bend over much to check the temperature within the smoker. Plus, it’s easy to read because the background is white.
With the cool-touch handle, you can access the food and fuel safely. This works well when you’re adding more wood to the smoker or when you’re opening the smoker to pull out the cooked food.
There are also oversized wheels at the bottom under the firebox. This means you can move the smoker as needed.
At a glance
- Five grates
- Steel body
- Easy-to-read temperature gauge
- Sausage hooks pre-installed
- No ash clearing tool included
- Must seal welds and doors before using
If you want an extra-large smoker, then the Broil-King brand might be for you. However, it doesn’t provide as much cooking space as some of the others, but it has a larger footprint. We think it works well for those who are dedicated to smoking but aren’t professionals.
This smoker is big enough to cook for large gatherings. Whether you want to have a BBQ for the entire neighborhood or a family reunion, you can grill all the food at once. It doesn’t break the budget, either. Though it’s large, it isn’t going to be hard to find a place to put this smoker.
We like that the Broil-King brand is constructed with high-quality materials. In fact, it could be the best mid-price smoker for the size and cost. Since it’s made entirely of stainless steel, it’s sturdy and thick. Plus, the grids are cast-iron, so you get more heat retention. There’s also better heat distribution because each grate is quite large.
You’re going to appreciate the dampers because they’re easy to use and durable. Those who grill often are sure to be familiar with these vents. The smoker also provides a thermometer, which is built into the lid. It’s highly accurate and can help you determine what temperature your smoker is at and when it needs to get adjusted. Plus, you’ve got the large heating chamber or firebox, which is set to the right side of the smoker.
At a glance
- Easy-to-use dampers
- Easy-to-access fire chamber
- Built-in thermometer
- Sturdy construction
- Thick cooking grids
- Spacious cooking area
- Wheels could fall apart or break
- No advanced features
The Royal Gourmet brand is an excellent smoker with a large cooking surface. The best news is that it’s low-cost and still high-quality. You’re going to think this is the best grill out there, and you are right!
You get a decent amount of space for cooking. Though it claims that you get 800 sq. in. of space, this also includes the warming rack. Still, this is an excellent feature to have, and many other smoker options don’t include it.
The side box is quite large, too, which means you can fit plenty of wood and charcoal inside it. For regular smoking needs, you may not have to refill it during the process. However, be prepared to add more when you’re cooking low and slow.
We also like the construction of the smoker. The entire smoker is made of stainless steel for durability. Though the body is quite sturdy, we wonder about the longevity of the legs. For one, the wheels seem flimsy and small for the overall size of the smoker. Plus, the front legs seem to wobble a bit.
This shouldn’t be a concern, but you may find yourself replacing the smoker within a few years. However, you’re going to appreciate the storage space underneath the smoker from the grate shelf. Store your ingredients, utensils, and other things out of the way and still have easy access to them.
At a glance
- Budget-friendly for all price-points
- Spacious area for cooking
- Warming rack included
- Can be challenging to assemble
- Issues with durability on the legs/wheels
If you want the best offset smokers, you need to look at Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow. This smoker has plenty of space for cooking, so you don’t have to worry about grilling in batches. We like that the entire smoker is made using heavy-gauge steel. This means that it’s durable and long-lasting.
The Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker offers the best heat and smoke control out there because of the reverse flow mechanism. There are four baffles that guide the heat into the primary chamber and goes over the meat twice on its way out of the smokestack. That way, you get even heat distribution and more delicious results.
It’s important to focus on the cooking grates, and these are porcelain-coated. That means the food doesn’t stick, and you can easily remove it as the meat gets done cooking.
The good news is you can remove the baffles to create a more traditional smoker. You can also change the smokestack’s location to make it a true offset smoker instead of a reverse-flow one.
If that weren’t enough, the firebox has a very large, heavy-duty steel fuel basket. It’s going to hold all the charcoal and wood you could ever need for the perfect smoky flavor. We also like that it has a clean-out door at the bottom to easily remove the ashes after you’re done. Just ensure that you let it cool off first so that you don’t get hot ash on your skin.
At a glance
- Easy to assemble
- Suitable for novices
- Ideal for big gatherings of people
- Might need to recoat the heating compartment
- Odd temperature gauge placement; can get broken off with time
The Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker is a grill and smoker. We like that it’s a simple smoker, and it features the black powder-coating we’ve come to appreciate from many other brands. You’re going to enjoy that you can grill, BBQ, and smoke your food. Therefore, it can be used in all situations throughout the year.
We like that there’s a little side table to the right so that you can set down your seasonings, a plate, or your grilling utensils. However, it’s not large enough to get in the way.
The firebox is on the left side of the smoker. We like that there’s an adjustable-height heavy-duty steel fire grate, as well. You can put it higher to get more smoke flavor on the meat or set it lower to be out of the way. Since it’s fully separate of the main area, you can open the firebox’s lid to add more charcoal or wood without losing the heat from the primary chamber.
You’re going to appreciate the temperature gauge, which is built into the lid of the primary compartment. It sits flush with the cover, so there’s no worry about knocking it off or damaging it with time.
Though it’s quite large, we like the slim profile. The legs are the same width as the compartment, so you don’t need any extra space in the location where you want to put it.
We also like that there’s a clean-out door on the side of the firebox. This means you can easily remove the ash, even if you’re still smoking. This doubles as a damper to help with temperature regulation, as well.
At a glance
- Works as offset smoker or grill
- Easy to clean
- Ideal for entry-level smokers
- Features adjustable grates
- Might not be as heavy-duty as other smoker options
- Must be resealed for best results
If you’re hoping to find a traditional charcoal grill with a smoker setting, then the Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro is the right choice for you. We like that it works well for Texas-style barbecue flavors.
You’re going to appreciate that the Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro is made of powder-coated steel. Both the firebox and grill barrel have this feature, so it’s going to withstand the many different weather conditions you may have. Plus, there is the cast-iron cooking surface, which provides even heating.
The charcoal drawer inside the firebox can be removed. That way, you can dump the ashes after you smoke without any problems. It’s also easier to add your lit charcoal to the drawer when you start cooking.
With the Char-Griller brand, you are going to find that the grill and firebox are joined and designed to be sealed. However, we believe that it might require some resealing after a while to ensure that the smokiness is at your preferred level.
You can surely appreciate the heat and smoke regulation from the Char-Griller brand. The chimney includes a damper on top, which can be opened or closed to meet your specific needs. Then, the firebox has a separate damper that can be opened/closed as necessary to control the temperature.
We like that there are many additional features included for a low price. For example, you get a temperature gauge that’s built into the lid. Though it’s small, it’s easy to ensure that the temp is at the right setting for the meat you’re smoking.
What impressed us most was the wooden handles on the main chamber and firebox. There are also storage tables at the front and side of the smoker, meaning there’s plenty of storage space. In fact, there’s also a shelf at the bottom, which means you can have all of the tools with you to prepare a delicious meal.
At a glance
- Works as a grill or smoker
- Budget-friendly option
- Sturdy design
- Paint might peel quickly
- Low-quality thermometer that’s too small
- Can leak smoke and heat without modifications
If you’re hoping for a durable smoker with a steel construction, the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC Charcoal Offset Smoker and Grill might be the best choice. The powder-coating on it ensures that it can be used at high temperatures. Plus, that protects it from the elements, so you can leave it outside all year long.
We like that this is a vertical offset smoker. That means it stands tall and doesn’t take up as much space. However, you do have to measure height where you want to place it. There should be plenty of room from the top of the chimney to the bottom of whatever it sits under. This ensures that you’ve got enough airflow.
The Dyna-Glo Offset Smoker and Grill features plenty of cooking space. If you know how to manage the area inside it, you can cook enough to feed the entire neighborhood.
You’re going to appreciate the cast-iron grates. There are six different grates, and you can remove some for large cuts of meat or use them all to cook much more food. Each grate holds about 25 pounds of meat.
Since it is offset, the charcoal goes in the side. We like that the briquettes of charcoal stay stacked for better efficiency. There’s also a wood tray area, which ensures that you can add the smoky flavor you want to the meat. Pick from different woods to get subtle flavor changes.
The thermometer is built into the door at the front of the smoker. That way, you’ve got temperature control options without having to open the door and test the meat. This prevents heat from escaping and keeps the temperature consistent throughout the cooking process. Keep in mind, though, that the thermometer is quite small, so it could be difficult to read.
At a glance
- Adjustable ash tray
- Excellent for novices
- Large capacity
- Adjustable grates (allows you to cook bigger meats)
- Can leak smoke
- Loose firebox
The Landmann grill with offset smoker is something of a marvel. We like the charcoal-gray color it provides because it’s unique and different from the other models. However, appearances aren’t the only thing to consider here.
It offers a large grilling capacity, and you’re sure to appreciate the porcelain-coated grates. They’re made of cast-iron, so they’re heavy, durable, and are going to sit in place regardless of what you do. The porcelain coating just makes it to where the food doesn’t stick and ensures that cleanup is easy.
We like that the charcoal pan or firebox can be adjusted to sit at different positions. If you want a more smoky flavor, make sure it sits higher. For less smoke flavor, place it lower next to the main chamber.
Inside, there’s a warming rack included. It’s chrome-plated and durable. That way, you can keep everything warm so that all the food can be served at once. Though it’s not easy to cook on it, you can do so if you want to take a bit longer to get the job done.
You’re going to be impressed with the large ash tray at the bottom of the firebox. It can be removed completely, making cleanup a breeze.
Every smoker needs a temperature gauge, and you’re sure to like this one. Though it’s analog, it’s easy to read. There are white markings on a black and red background.
Plus, we really like the heavy-gauge steel handles. They’re coated with rubber to be easy to hold. However, they aren’t going to melt or transfer heat to your hand, making them safer to use. You’ve also got a small storage tray on the opposite side of the firebox. Underneath, you’ve got a shelf, meaning you can have all the tools needed to make the process simple.
At a glance
- Large grill capacity
- Removable ash tray
- Pan for charcoal adjusts for multiple positions
- Warps with time
- Takes a long time to assemble
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using an Offset Smoker?
It’s important to make sure you know the advantages/disadvantages of offset smokers. That way, you can determine if it’s the best choice for you.
- The large main chamber makes it ideal to cook larger portions of food.
- Since the firebox isn’t part of the cooking area, you can add more fuel anytime you want without letting out any smoke or heat during the smoke process.
- The best offset smokers tend to work better when fueled with charcoal and wood. When you use a combination, you get the smoke flavor without the issue of using so much wood. This also reduces the creosote, soot, and ash, which could ruin your meat.
- Some offset smokers come with the grill grate fitted over its firebox. That way, you can grill directly and smoke as needed.
- An offset smoker is not portable and is quite heavy. It’s possible to maneuver them, but it is quite impractical. Many are made of heavy-duty steel and may include porcelain-coated cast-iron grates. Though they have wheels, it’s still a challenge for most people.
- Traditionally, the offset smoker is quite large. If you don’t have plenty of space to store it, you may want a compact grill and smoker.
- Cooking using an offset smoker isn’t quick. They take a long time to pre-heat and are designed for low-and-slow cooking styles.
- You’ve also got to consider your climate. The best offset smokers don’t function well in cold weather. Performance can suffer in heavy rain and high winds unless you choose a well-built model. These are often expensive, but they are better.
- It’s going to take patience and practice to get the best results from offset smokers. Most people find it to be an art form, which adds to the appeal.
How Do Offset Smokers Work?
Offset smokers feature a large main chamber and a smaller smoking chamber. The big chamber is where the food goes to get cooked, and the firebox is smaller where charcoal and wood are burned. It can be attached to the back, side, or below the cooking area.
The fire is built into the firebox to create smoke and heat to flavor your food and cook it using indirect heat.
There is often a chimney at the top of the offset smoker, and it’s usually positioned opposite to the firebox. This controls the smoke and heat within the central chamber. On the firebox, there’s a vent, as well.
You can open the chimney and vent as needed for temperature control. Generally, the primary chamber of the offset smoker looks similar to an oil drum. However, you can find vertical options that can appear more modern.
Who Should Buy an Offset Smoker?
Every pitmaster wants to own the best offset smoker. They’re iconic and provide an image of a traditional smoking mechanism. Plus, they’re large enough to smoke meat for the whole neighborhood if you want. We also think they look great and could be the best grill out there.
However, just as with other cooking equipment, you’ve got to choose an offset smoker that meets your needs. They aren’t for everyone, but if you like to smoke meat, it’s ideal to select one of these over gas grills.
How Do You Use an Offset Smoker?
We think it’s best to know how to use the offset smoker. They’re not considered easy to use because it takes skill and patience to learn what to do. If you choose the right one, you can also grill on it traditionally. That means the cooking grates sit right over the charcoal. However, the cooking surface can be separate from the firebox for indirect grilling.
- Use Wood and Charcoal – It’s not best to use wood only in the offset smoker. When you use a combination of both, you get more smoke flavor from the wood, and temperature control is easier because of the charcoal. To get it started, you have to fill up the firebox with your fully lit coals. Use a chimney starter and add wood periodically to ensure the temperature stays steady.
- Use a Digital Thermometer – Temperatures in the offset grill can vary by about 75 degrees Fahrenheit from one end of your cooking surface to the other. To ensure that the meat cooks evenly, check the temp at both ends of your offset smoker every 20 minutes or so. It’s best to use a digital thermometer; stick it into the holes on the sides of the cooking area.
- Don’t Use too Much Smoke – If you’re using both charcoal and wood (and you should), you should use the ‘less is more’ method for the smoke amount you generate for the cooking area. You don’t have to soak the wood chunks. Instead, add about 4 ounces of the smoke flavor at roughly 10-minute intervals. Only do that when the temperature reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where offset smokers are concerned, there are many things to focus on. We think that they could be better than gas grills, but they take some time to learn and use. If you want a grill that works as a smoker, the Oklahoma Joe brand might be the best on the market. There are multiple styles out there, and the smoker/grill combination works well for many people. Whether you want the Longhorn or the Highland, you’re going to get the best product out there. In fact, we think this could be the top brand when it comes to a smoker. Oklahoma Joe is well-known for its high-quality products.
However, we’ve also got to mention the Dyna-Glo brand. With this brand, you get a quality offset smoker, though it can’t be used as a grill because of the vertical nature.
We think that these two brands are the best when you want an offset smoker. However, all of the products we include here are suitable. Some of them can also be a grill, and others are less expensive and still excellent.