If you have ever gone to an authentic barbecue restaurant or attended a county fair offering barbecue fare (no pun intended), then you have probably seen an offset smoker. Offset smokers are used by purists who want real smoked flavor from their favorite woods or charcoal.
And while there is a bit of a learning curve with offset smokers, they offer a lot of advantages. First of all, offset smokers are fed by a separate burning chamber which means you can stoke the fire and add wood chips without opening the cooking chamber and letting the smoke out.
Withstanding smokers, you typically have to open the main cooking chamber to control the fire. Offset smokers tend to have a large cooking chamber too which makes them ideal if you regularly smoke a lot of food.
And of course, the biggest advantage of all is that you don’t get that classic smoked barbecue taste as you do with offset smokers with any other kind of smoker. In other words, it doesn’t get more authentic or tasty than an offset smoker.
But buying the right offset smoker can be tricky – especially if you are buying your first ever smoker. They tend to be larger and not everyone knows what to look for when shopping for one. But if you are looking to purchase your very own offset smoker, you are in luck.
Today I will be highlighting some of the best offset smokers available and giving you the details of each one. I want to help you choose the best offset smoker for your needs so let’s get started.
Which is the Best Overall?
Without getting into too much detail, the best offset smoker on my list is the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker. It offers the convenience of a vertical smoker with the classic flavoring of an offset smoker.
It comes at a very reasonable price for a smoker that is likely to last you for decades. There’s plenty of cooking space and we think that most first-time smokers will get the hang of using the Dyna-Glo smoker faster than the other smokers on our list.
Top 6 Offset Smokers Comparison Table
1. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker – Editor’s Choice
So now, let’s get into the juicy details. The Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker has everything you need to start smoking immediately. It has a built-in thermometer, so you know exactly when your meats are done.
The front-mounted analog temperature gauge is almost fool-proof when used in tandem with the adjustable flues. The gauge is shaded in the middle to indicate the ideal temperature for smoking. Then you can keep it in that optimal “smoke zone” by adjusting the fuel and the flues.
When deciding what to put in the charcoal chamber, I recommend using a mixture of lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes. The smoker burns hotter and longer with the lump charcoal. The charcoal briquettes help to keep the smoker at a consistent temperature.
That’s why we said this offset smoker is very easy for smoking newbies to get the hang of. But apart from the intuitive features, this offset grill is also very easy to clean with the ash catcher that slides right out of the firebox.
2. Royal Gourmet 30″ BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker
The Royal Gourmet 30″ BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker is one of the most affordable offset smokers on our list, and it performed very well for the price. The cool thing about this smoker is its versatility.
You can grill food over a small fire in the smokebox on the side. Then, of course, at the same time, you can smoke your meats in the main cooking chamber. This offset smoker is lightweight, and the wheels make it easy to transport as needed.
There are more convenient features too. The charcoal tray slides out from underneath the firebox, so you can add fresh charcoal and dump ash as needed.
This offset smoker works best when you start with a base of lump charcoal and then top it with wood chips or small logs of chopped wood.
3. Char-Broil 12201570-A1 American Gourmet Offset Smoker
This is a very good smoker for those who want to keep things basic. The Char-Broil 12201570-A1 American Gourmet Offset Smoker is a no-nonsense smoker that can be used as a charcoal smoker and grill.
It features a collapsible side tray for plates and other accessories, a side vent for airflow control, and dampers to help you control smoke and heat levels. The cooking grates are lined with porcelain, so they are sure to last for years of smoking and grilling.
4. Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
At 1,382 square inches of cooking space, the Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill is easily the smoker that gives you the most cooking capacity on our list.
This is a great grill if you prefer the precision and smoke efficiency of vertical smokers but still need to feed a small army. And like the first entry on our list of the best offset smokers, this one indicates which temperatures are optimal for infusing smoke flavor.
It features five racks and a convenient grease trap at the bottom of the vertical cooking chamber for easy cleaning. The firebox also has a slide-out ash catcher.
The Dyna-Glo Charcoal Smoker & Grill can be used with charcoal or wood and there are even sausage hooks at the top of the vertical chamber to maximize cooking space and smoke your favorite brats.
5. Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill Smoker
The Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill Smoker was also designed with smoking neophytes in mind. The digital temperature controls separate this offset smoker from all the others on our list. You can program the temperature you want, and this smoker will take care of the rest.
You can control the temperature in the main cooking chamber between 180 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s very versatile – you can smoke the way you want, whether you prefer slow and low or quick-cooking.
There are 2 cooking racks in the main chamber, and the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill Smoker runs on wood pellets. It uses pellets pretty efficiently, too – 10 pounds of pellets typically lasts around 10 hours. There is also an auto-start ignition feature to make it even easier for beginners.
6. Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker
Our last entry from Oklahoma Joe’s is one of the more attractively designed offset smokers on our list. It bears the rugged looks of a mountain smoker and sports the stylized “Oklahoma Joe’s” logo on the handsome front emblem.
And you can feel the quality of the Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker as soon as you open up the lid. The heavy-gauge steel construction makes it apparent that this was built to last. The heavy steel is also very effective for sealing in all of your smoke.
There is a single cooking rack in the main chamber and another in the firebox chamber. In case you don’t have enough space in the main chamber, there is an additional 309 square inches of cooking space in the firebox chamber.
And in keeping with the durable design of this offset smoker, both racks are porcelain-coated – making them both durable and easy to clean.
Frequently Asked Questions About Offset Smokers
Is An Offset Smoker Worth It?
If you’re wondering whether an offset smoker is worth it, the answer depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re just starting smoking meat, an offset smoker is better than no smoked meat. However, if you’re looking for a high-quality smoking experience, you may be disappointed with a base-level offset smoker.
Poor seals are one of the most common problems with offset smokers, which can lead to heat and smoke escaping from your barbecue. In addition, offset smokers can be difficult to control, making it challenging to produce consistent results.
However, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to learn how to use an offset smoker, you can produce some delicious smoked meats. Just be prepared for some trial and error along the way.
Is An Offset Smoker Good For Beginners?
Whether you’re just getting started with backyard BBQ or a seasoned pro, an offset smoker is a great option for anyone who loves the classic smokehouse flavor. The Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker is a large, fairly solidly built smoker that is effective in its cooking and relatively affordable.
It is a great option for beginners who want to get that classic smokehouse flavor without breaking the bank. This smoker will get you the flavor you’re craving without all the hassle. So if you’re looking for a beginner and budget-friendly offset smoker, the Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker is the way to go.
How Do You Clean An Offset Smoker?
Modern offset smokers typically come with an ash catcher in the firebox. In most cases, you have to slide the tray out and dump the ash in an appropriate receptacle.
You can also use a shop vac if you want to clean any residual ash that made it into the main cook chamber.
Are Offset Smokers Better?
Offset smokers present some unique advantages compared to gas or electric grills and smokers. For one thing, offset smokers hold a power advantage over electric smokers. You won’t need to draw electricity from your house to use it.
Another advantage offset smokers have over other types of smokers is that you can grill food in a separate firebox in most cases.
How Often Do You Have To Add Wood To Offset Smoker?
Maintaining the temperature in an offset smoker can be tricky, but it’s important to keep an eye on the thermometer and add wood as needed. The general rule of thumb is to check the temperature every 15 minutes and add new logs every 45 minutes, depending on how hot you want the fire to be.
If you’re smoking meat, you’ll need to maintain a temperature of around 225 degrees Fahrenheit, so keeping the fire burning is important. Adding too much wood at once can cause the temperature to spike, so it’s important to add new logs gradually. With a little practice, you’ll be able to master the art of smoking meat with an offset smoker.
Can I Use My Offset Smoker As A Grill?
Many smokers are designed with grilling in mind. An offset smoker is one such type of smoker. An offset smoker is a type of smoker that uses charcoal or wood to generate smoke. The fire is offset from the cooking chamber, which allows indirect heat to cook the food. And because the fire is offset, it also allows for more airflow, which helps to regulate the temperature.
So, can you use an offset smoker as a grill? Yes, you can! You can cook on an offset cooker in three ways:
- Direct method: This is done by building a charcoal fire below the cooking grates and grilling directly over the coals.
- Indirect method: This involves building a fire in the firebox and then closing the damper so that only smoke enters the cooking chamber.
- Direct and indirect heat: This involves grilling over the coals for part of the time and then moving the food to the indirect side to finish cooking.
Whichever method you choose, an offset smoker is a great option for grilling up delicious food!
Smoking your meats and foods can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. With offset smokers, you will have to go through a learning process since they rely on analog fuel sources and manual temperature control.
But many of the entries on my list of the best offset smokers were designed to help flatten the learning curve a little. And once you get it down, you may never want to use any other kind of smoker.
But my list also features smokers designed for the experienced pitmasters out there. As always, it all depends on your level of comfort and your individual needs. Overall, you would do well with any of the smokers on my list.
And if you have never bought a smoker in your life before, my list would be a great starting point in your research. Be sure to keep your needs and desires in mind, referencing my list of the best offset smokers, and you will find the perfect one for you.