If you love barbecue and cookouts, you may have been wanting to get an offset smoker. An offset smoker is a great equipment because they generally have their own advantages over other smokers. One of many is that they add a distinct smoky taste to your meal!
As of today, the market has too many selections of offset smokers you can choose from. At face value, they may all look the same and it can get overwhelming. In this article, we’re drafting a shortlist for you of the best offset smoker in 2020.
We’re going over each of their features, including their limitations so you can have an easier time picking out which one’s best for you.
Top 4 Best Offset Smoker
1. Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker Deluxe – Most Beginner-Friendly Offset Smoker
When you’re still learning the ropes on how to smoke your food, it’s best to limit the functions first and just focus on serving the best smoked meal for you and your family. That’s exactly how this smoker works.
It doesn’t allow for direct grilling from the main chamber because the firebox is separated. While this could be limiting for some, this lessens your chances of burning food or uneven cooking. Instead, your only concern would be the heat coming from the smoke.
With only 288 sq. in. of working space in the main chamber, this smoker is just good enough to cook for around 6 people at a maximum. On the other hand, it’s generous enough to give a decent space for storing your tools and raw food!
The Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker Deluxe has a built in temperature gauge. However, most users reported that maintaining the heat is difficult. This is probably caused by the separation between the firebox and cooking chambers. Plus the fact that it has small gaps around the body where smoke can seep through.
Another issue faced by its users is that this smoker is not the easiest to ash clean – even with the side door access. What you can do is sweep the ash from the top door then move it all the way to the side where you can collect them. The grates are removable so that one is a lot easier to clean.
|+ Temperature gauge
+ Storage shelves
+ Chimney vent
+ Porcelain-coated grates
|– Difficult to control temperature
– Not easy to clean
– Lightweight construction
2. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker – Most Durable Offset Smoker
Most veterans have grown to trust Oklahoma Joe in the barbecue industry. This Highland Offset Smoker lives up to that standard as it has clear advantages over the others and one of those is the baffle system which we’ll discuss further in a bit.
To start, this smoker has a 619 sq. in. of cooking space which is decent to feed enough people at a house party. It also has a large storage space where you can conveniently store your tools and food. Plus, it has a visibly larger firebox which means it’s fit for an extended period of cooking.
This smoker also has a temperature gauge and it comes with multiple dampers. One of the dampers is located on top of the chimney so it allows you to adjust how much smoke can actually come out. Overall, the dampers give you fuller control of the internal temperature.
Design wise, this smoker may look just like the other smokers. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that it’s made of heavy-duty steel which makes it rust and corrosion resistant. Built for longevity. Plus, its main difference from the other smokers lies in its performance.
As mentioned earlier, it has a baffle system which gives it a reverse flow design. With 4 adjustable heat baffles, you have greater control of how smoke moves around the chambers. Basically, what the reverse flow covers your food with smoke before fully exiting. This gives you tastier meals every single time.
When it comes to Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker, it’s difficult to identify any issues aside from user reports that heat can escape if you fail to close the lid properly. That’s just one thing to keep in mind when using this smoker. Otherwise, it’s a sound choice.
|+ Large working area
+ Baffle system
+ Multiple dampers
+ Reverse flow design
+ Chimney vent
+ Temperature gauge
+ Heavy-Duty steel construction
|– Heat can escape|
3. Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Offset Smoker – Most Spacious Offset Smoker
The next on our list is another smoker from Oklahoma Joe. Among the rest of the smokers on this list, the Longhorn offset smoker is the most generous when it comes to the cooking area.
Apart from boasting a total of 1,060 sq. in. of working space, it also has a large firebox so you can keep cooking for hours. When it comes to temperature, it does have a temperature gauge as well. What’s great about this smoker is that we haven’t seen any user complaints about problems in maintaining heat.
Another notable feature about the Longhorn is that it also has multiple dampers – with one located on top of the chimney. Meaning to say, you’ll have more control over the internal temperature, allowing you to cook your meals just the way you like them. Even better, this doubles as a grill too which gives you versatility on how you want to cook your food!
When it comes to performance, there isn’t really anything negative to say about the Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Offset Smoker. However, the only issue reported by users is that it can take a while to assemble and it usually needs at least 2 people. Apart from that, this smoker is a lot heavier compared to similar models but in return, you get a durable unit because it’s made of Solid Steel construction. That’s a very nice trade-off.
|+ Large working space
+ Multiple dampers
+ Temperature gauge
+ Chimney vent
+ Solid Steel Construction
|– Difficult to assemble
– Heavier compared to others
4. Broil King 958050 Offset Smoker – Most Portable Offset Smoker
The Broil King 958050 Offset Smoker is a good choice if you’re looking for a smoker that you can bring with you without compromising food quality. Among its other features is the built-in bottle opener. Now that is great especially if you love to drink some alcohol along with your barbecue!
When you’re outdoors, you’re not sure about the level of the ground you’re going to be in and that can be troublesome if you have other smokers. However, that’s not a problem for you as this smoker has adjustable legs. Just rotate each foot to match the level of the ground.
What makes this smoker great is that it has reversible grates. One side has high edges to give you the classic grill marks while the other side has smooth edges to allow the meat to absorb as much juice as possible. This gives you enough versatility to cook your food based on how you’d like it!
Another great feature of this smoker is that it has sliding ashtrays. This makes it a lot easier to clean compared to the other smokers. You can also put in a charcoal tray on the main chambers if you’d like to do direct grilling.
The only main issue we found with this grill is that most users have reported that it displays an inaccurate reading of the internal temperature. To work around this, what you’d like to do is to have a digital thermometer on hand so you can monitor the heat more accurately.
|+ With bottle opener
+ Reversible grates
+ Sliding Ashtray
+ Multiple Dampers
+ Chimney Vent
+ Durable Steel construction
+ Adjustable feet
|– Limited to charcoal as fuel
– Inaccurate thermometer
What can you cook with an offset smoker?
Offset smokers are a traditional equipment in the barbecue industry. They’re built to cook low and slow meats such as briskets, ribs, pork butts, and other larger chunks of meat. At the same time, you can also cook sausage and chicken using it.
Why should you use an offset smoker?
An advantage of using an offset smoker is that they generally have larger cooking space which means you can cook large chunks of meat easily or if you’re cooking smaller meats, you can serve large quantities at a time.
How do offset smokers work?
An offset smoker has a separate firebox which allows you to refill wood or charcoal without having to open the main chamber. When you light up the firebox, the heat and smoke travels to the main chamber and cooks your food. With an offset smoker, your food will usually end up juicier and more flavorful.
Do I flip meat on an offset smoker?
Another advantage of having an offset smoker is that when it’s done cooking, it’s done. Plus, it’s not advised to open the smoker once you start it. They’re designed to cook meat indirectly and evenly.
What color should the smoke be?
Generally, there are three stages of smoke that you should watch out for. When you start smoking, expect the smoke to be in the shade of gray. Eventually, it should turn white as fire builds up. Then it will turn to blue which is the color you should maintain while cooking.
Things to Consider
Although offset smokers generally have a large cooking area, you might want to check out the size of the offset smoker you’re about to buy. The larger the size, the more you can stuff larger meats comfortably.
This is one of the most important factors you should consider before getting an offset smoker. As much as possible, your offset smoker should have removable grates so that you can remove dried food particles better. At the same time, it should also have an ash clean out tool. This avoids the need to vacuum the interior of the smoker just so you can clean it thoroughly.
Another thing you should put into consideration is the capacity of the firebox. The bigger the better because you really wouldn’t want to worry of running out of fuel. More importantly, having a big firebox allows the smoker to maintain the right temperature longer.
Offset smokers are considered to be an investment. When you get one, you wouldn’t expect to replace it after a few months or uses. Therefore, in order to enjoy your offset smoker longer, you need to make sure it’s built with quality materials.
First, you’re most probably going to place this in your backyard. As much as possible, you’d want to have an offset smoker that’s built to withstand rain or at least be rust and corrosion resistant. Another thing is that the material should be to withstand heat. Otherwise, you’d end up having a deformed box or chipped paint.
Choosing among the available offset smokers can be a task. They may all look the same, with each of them having only slight variations. So, how does one really choose among offset smokers? If you’re one who trusts a brand for their quality, your safe choice is Oklahoma Joe. They’ve been releasing offset smokers and other units that are tested and proven by veteran smokers.
However, if you’d like to make a bang for your buck, you can go with Broil King 958050. It doesn’t have the most spacious cooking area but it offers a lot of other features that easily make up for the lack of space. Its highlight would be the reversible grates and the sliding ashtray. Among the other offset smokers in this list, this was the one that really stood out and differed.
In case you want to build up your own list or would like to see the offset smokers for yourself, we’ve laid out a Buyer’s Guide so you go to the stores as an informed buyer. By considering the factors we’ve listed, you’re sure to get a good deal for your money.
- Top 4 Best Offset Smoker
- Buyer’s Guide
- Things to Consider
- Wrapping Up