You prefer classic BBQ that requires skills and a lot of time to achieve great results?
An Offset Smoker offers huge possibilities but remember that it is not intended for amateurs who want to prepare delicious BBQ fast and easily.
It is a dedicated smoker, the least convenient and most difficult out of all types of smokers.
It is usually characterized by huge size and offers a large cooking area.
There are many types of offset smokers, they differ in structure and style.
In this guide you are going to learn my list of the best offset smokers as well as tips to keep in mind. I invite you to read the informational part of this article where you will find the answers to the most popular questions about offset smokers.
The Best Offset Smokers Reviewed
A high quality offset smoker is sadly a very huge expense, in most cases more than one thousand dollars. A price like this is a good way to scare away anyone who’d like to try their hand at cooking on a smoker of this type, which is why I have prepared several noteworthy options available at a much lower price.
First and foremost I’d like to present to you the vertical offset smoker. I believe that it is perfect for beginners due to several reasons, first of all, compared to other models, it is available at a pretty convenient price.
Usually most offset smokers cost much more which is an effective way to drive beginners away.
Another argument is size, 784 square inches is a whole lot but thanks to the vertical structure the whole smoker doesn’t take much space in the backyard.
Yet another argument is good quality for the money, this offset smoker is really well-built and durable.
An interesting solution compared to the classic offset smokers is using a 15,000 BTU burner that makes it possible to start the fire easily and conveniently.
I really like the big box located where the furnace is, on top of regular charcoal it allows to easily burn big chunks of wood. Right below it is an ash container that makes it significantly easier to clean the grill after each cooking.
Due to the price, the cooking area surface and quality of workmanship for the entire structure, I placed this model at the first place in my guide as the best offset smoker for this kind of money.
My next suggestion is actually going to be a typical classic structure that costs much more. Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker is inexpensive which makes many BBQ amateurs decide to buy it to try their hand with this type of smoker.
The next offset smoker is characterized by classic horizontal structure, the brand was founded in 1987 which is quite a long time ago. Besides this model, their offer also includes many other interesting options, but for the purposes of this guide I decided to pick the Oklahoma Joes Highland model.
619 square inches of cooking area is enough space to prepare larger quantities of food.
The entire structure was made of good quality steel which caused it to weight as much as about 200 pounds. It is a sign of decent quality of materials and suggests that this offset smoker won’t have any problems with losing heat.
Of course you can expect a lot of work space and even more storage space under the smoker. It’s hard to talk about mobility when it comes to smokers this heavy, but it also comes with huge wheels that make it possible to move it around.
Oklahoma Joes Highland is among classic heavy offset smokers at this point, which sadly can be seen from the price.
Despite the higher price, I still believe that it is one of the best models for beginners so if you’re interested in a classic offset smoker then it is a great choice to consider. It is no longer the cheapest option but it differs from them in quality of workmanship and style, which are worth paying extra.
The last suggestion is for those who want a decent classic offset smoker at the lowest possible price. Sadly, you need to take into account the much poorer quality of materials and of workmanship, but the price makes it a good choice to start with as something to learn on.
It is certainly not an offset smoker that will survive everything. It is also not a good choice if you wish to cook in difficult weather conditions, you are at risk of large temperature fluctuations and fast heat losses.
However, if you simply want to practice on a smoker for a small price or don’t cook too much then it’s not a problem.
The size allows to prepare a large amount of food, but if you expect less or more, check out other sizes of this model from the manufacturer.
It is much lighter than a high quality offset smoker made of thicker materials. It is an advantage in terms of mobility, combined with the wheels it causes no problems being moved around.
As I have already mentioned, it is not a solidly made or massive offset smoker. Char-Griller Smokin Pro is an option for those with low requirements and with a very limited budget because the truth is that a solid offset smoker is going to cost at least several times that much.
Tips for buying a new offset smoker
Budget – Plan your budget to make looking for a new offset smoker easier. You need to know that it is one of the more expensive types of smokers so you’re going to need quite a large budget for a regular entry-level offset smoker.
Size – Most models are large but if you don’t need that much space, look for something smaller, that way you will also save a lot of money. Analyze how many people you are going to cook for and how much as well as whether you are going to cook large chunks of meat, a bigger grill makes it more convenient.
Weather – Take into account what climate you live in and how big are the temperature changes throughout the year. Is the location of your smoker largely protected from wind and rain? The worse the weather conditions, the higher quality offset smoker you need. Cheap models are made of thinner materials which results in poor insulation, which in turn leads to problems with maintaining a fixed temperature.
Type of Structure – Classic models have a horizontal structure, although they also make vertical offset smokers these days. They are just as great as horizontal ones, but their huge advantage is occupying a much smaller area.
Quality of workmanship – The higher the quality of workmanship and of materials, the better the insulation which is very important in this type of smoker. Sadly, expecting high quality means having to prepare a large sum of money. Thicker walls are better at holding heat inside and make temperature control easier, but all of that costs a lot.
The pros and cons of offset smoker
Flavor – Charcoal gives the food a unique taste, it also allows to achieve a much better bark and smoke ring. In every discussion of this type, charcoal has always been an uncontested winner when it comes to the characteristic and intense smoky flavor.
Large capacity – Most models offer a very large cooking area. The capacity is big enough to allow to even cook the biggest chunks of meat without having to cut it in half.
Fun – It’s a type of smoker you always have to look after, control it and adjust everything in order to maintain perfect conditions. Temperature control isn’t among the easiest, especially in the cheaper, much less airtight models. I know that it is great news for someone who loves BBQ as it’s a bbq smoker that requires skills and time, and results depend 100% on you and nobody else.
Very difficult for beginners – You need to take care of everything by yourself, there are no support systems here. Temperature control isn’t among the easiest tasks, especially in bad weather conditions. Adjusting the air vents, the amount of fuel, stabilizing the temperature and many other things are difficult tasks for a beginner. On the other hand, if you properly master this type of smoker, you will easily handle any other type in the future ( for example every charcoal smoker or wood pellet grill ).
Requires constant attention – It is definitely not a set & forget style smoker, it is actually quite the opposite. You need to take care of everything and everything depends on you, sadly it takes a lot of time which to many people will be a significant argument in favor of forgetting about an offset smoker.
Costs a lot – It is usually a smoker with huge structure so the price also has to be higher. For a truly high-quality offset smoker you will have to pay way above $1,000 which compared to other types of smokers is really, really a lot.
It takes a lot of space –A huge structure of a horizontal offset smoker requires a lot of free space in the backyard, if you have a limited space then you may have problems especially if you already have a few other grills and smokers.