6 Best Offset Smokers of 2023


If you’re a fan of smoking meat, you’ll know there’s nothing quite like the flavor and texture you can get from a well-made smoker. One particularly popular type of smoker is the offset smoker, which uses a separate firebox to heat the main cooking chamber.

This setup allows for more precise temperature control and even heat distribution, resulting in perfectly cooked meat every time.

In this article, I will look at some of the best offset smokers on the market. Whether you’re an experienced pitmaster or just starting, you’ll want to choose a smoker that’s reliable, efficient, and easy to use.

To help you make an informed decision, I’ll discuss some key factors to consider when choosing an offset smoker and review five of the available top models.

So, let’s get started and find the perfect offset smoker for your next backyard BBQ.

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 and will likely last you for decades. There’s plenty of cooking space, and we think 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

PictureProductSmoking Capacity (sq in)Weight (lbs)Best FeatureRating (1-5)
Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker1,17657The smokestack has an adjustable flue for precise flavoring.4.5
Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker80054The hybrid grill allows for smoking and traditional charcoal grilling.4.4
Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker290 (main chamber), 140 (firebox chamber)47It can smoke in both the main cooking chamber and the smaller firebox chamber.4.2
Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill1,382124It can be used as a wood smoker and charcoal grill.4.6
Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Grill Smoker45084It has digital auto-sensor temperature controls.4.3
Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker1,060226It has additional cooking space in the firebox.4.5

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 with 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 combining 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.

  • It can be used with charcoal briquettes
  • The vertical design allows for efficient use of smoke
  • Comes with 6 racks for multi-level flavoring
  • Sturdy steel design
  • Doesn’t have a water bowl
  • Not the best for sealing in smoke

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.

  • Includes main cooking rack and warming rack inside the main chamber
  • The height of the charcoal pan is adjustable
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Doesn’t come with a cover
  • A bit difficult to maintain a steady temperature

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 to last years of smoking and grilling.

  • This is the lightest smoker on my list
  • Very affordable
  • Can be used with wood too
  • If you do use wood, expect compromised efficiency (burns wood quickly)
  • Small cooking chamber

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 vertical smokers’ precision and smoke efficiency 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.

  • Very sturdy, heavy steel design
  • Can be used with both charcoal and wood
  • Seals in smoke very well
  • It’s heavy
  • Even with the wheels, it’s not the most portable offset smoker

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; 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 efficiently, too – 10 pounds typically lasts around 10 hours. There is also an auto-start ignition feature to make it even easier for beginners.

  • The hopper can hold up to 15 lbs
  • There is a side-mounted accessory tray
  • Puts out an impressive 25,000 BTUs of heat per hour
  • It is one of the more expensive smokers on my list
  • It can’t be used with charcoal briquettes

6. Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker

Our last entry from Oklahoma Joe’s is one of our list’s more attractively designed offset smokers. 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 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 all your smoke.

There is a single cooking rack in the main chamber and another in the firebox chamber. If 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.

  • This is likely the last smoker you will need to buy
  • Features a warming shelf near the bottom for keeping food warm
  • The outside of this smoker cleans up very easily
  • The grate in the large cooking chamber can’t be removed which makes cleaning a bit of a challenge
  • Not the best smoker if you want a large traditional grilling area

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Offset Smoker

When it comes to choosing an offset smoker, there are several factors you’ll want to consider. These include:

  1. Cooking Space: The size of the cooking chamber is an important consideration, especially if you plan on cooking for large groups of people. Choose a smoker with enough cooking space to accommodate your needs.
  2. Material Quality: The quality of the materials used in the smoker’s construction can greatly impact its performance and durability. Look for smokers made from high-quality steel thick enough to retain heat and resist rust.
  3. Airflow and Temperature Control: Proper airflow is crucial for maintaining consistent temperatures and preventing flare-ups. Look for smokers with adjustable vents and dampers that allow you to control the amount of air flowing through the smoker.
  4. Size and Portability: If you plan on taking your smoker on the go, you’ll want to choose a lightweight and portable model. However, remember that smaller smokers may not have as much cooking space or be as efficient as larger models.
  5. Price: Offset smokers can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, so it’s important to set a budget and choose a smoker with the features and performance you need within your price range.

Considering these factors, you can choose an offset smoker that meets your needs and delivers delicious, perfectly cooked meat every time.

How to Properly Use an Offset Smoker

Using an offset smoker can be intimidating initially, but with some practice and patience, you can master the art of smoking delicious meat. Here are some steps to follow to ensure you’re using your offset smoker correctly:

  1. Preheat the smoker: Before cooking, you must preheat the smoker to the desired temperature. Use a chimney or an electric starter to light the charcoal or wood in the firebox, and let the smoker heat up for at least 20-30 minutes.
  2. Add wood chips or chunks: To infuse your meat with smoky flavor, you’ll need to add wood chips or chunks to the firebox. Soak them in water for at least 30 minutes beforehand to prevent them from burning too quickly.
  3. Maintain the temperature: One of the most important aspects of smoking is maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process. Use the vents and dampers to adjust the airflow and temperature as needed, and avoid opening the lid too frequently, as this can cause fluctuations in temperature.
  4. Monitor the meat: Use a meat thermometer to check the meat’s internal temperature and ensure it’s cooked to your desired level of doneness. Different meat and cuts will require different cooking times, so research beforehand.
  5. Rest the meat: Once cooked to perfection, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures that your meat is tender and flavorful.

Following these steps ensures that your offset smoker is being used correctly and that your meat always comes out perfectly. With some practice and experimentation, you can master the art of smoking and impress your friends and family with your delicious BBQ.

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 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!

Final Thoughts

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 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 smokers on my list. 

And if you have never bought a smoker, my list would be a great starting point in your research. Remember your needs and desires, referencing my list of the best offset smokers, and you will find the perfect one for you.

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 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 spend time and effort learning 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 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 crave 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 must slide the tray out and dump the ash in an appropriate receptacle.

You can also use a shop vac to clean any residual ash that made it into the main cook chamber. 

Are Offset Smokers Better?

Offset smokers present 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 keeping an eye on the thermometer and adding wood as needed is important. 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 essential. Adding too much wood at once can cause the temperature to spike, so it’s important to add new logs gradually. With some practice, you can master the art of smoking meat with an offset smoker.

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.