The Best Offset Smokers of 2021

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

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 pretty much everything you need to start smoking right away. It comes with 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 what temperature is ideal 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.

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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 actually 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 convenience 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 then top it with wood chips or small logs of chopped wood.

Pros
  • Includes main cooking rack and warming rack inside the main chamber
  • The height of the charcoal pan is adjustable
  • Adjustable airflow
Cons
  • 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 of you 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.

Pros
  • This is the lightest smoker on my list
  • Very affordable
  • Can be used with wood too
Cons
  • 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 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.

Pros
  • Very sturdy, heavy steel design
  • Can be used with both charcoal and wood
  • Seals in smoke very well
Cons
  • 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. What separates this offset smoker from all the others on our list is the digital temperature controls. You can literally program the temperature that 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 for around 10 hours. There is also an auto-start ignition feature to make it even easier for beginners.

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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 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 thing 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. Just 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.

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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

Frequently Asked Questions About Offset Smokers

How Do You Use An Offset Smoker?

Offset smokers were designed to contain the actual wood or charcoal fire in a separate smaller chamber, usually mounted on the side. So the food goes in the large main chamber while the fuel is burnt in the side chamber or firebox and the smoke from the firebox is fed to the main cooking chamber where the food is smoked/cooked. 

How Do You Clean An Offset Smoker?

Modern offset smokers typically come with an ash catcher in the firebox. In most cases, all you have to do is 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 in comparison 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 that offset smokers have over other types of smokers is that in most cases, you can also grill food in a separate firebox.

Final Thoughts

Smoking your meats and foods can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. With offset smokers, there is certainly a bit of a learning process you will have to go through 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 that were designed for the experienced pitmasters out there. As always, it all depends on your level of comfort and your individual needs. Overall though, 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 are sure to find the perfect one for you.