The summer is here and what can be a better time for barbecue parties or a family gathering with grilling summer vegetables, steaks, and sausages in your own backyard? Although backyard barbecues can be the most enjoyable occasions filled with good food and quality time with our favorite people, the lack of proper equipment can turn your barbecue party into an utter disappointment and put you into an embarrassing situation.
So today we are going to look at one of the most important equipment for becoming a pit master who can grill and pit perfectly, and this equipment is called an offset smoker. An offset smoker has a long, usually horizontal chamber with a separate compartment called a firebox attached to its side. The horizontal chamber is the space where the food is smoked, a process where food is exposed to smoke which adds a gorgeous brown layer to the food and also adds mouth-watering flavors to the food.
The smoke comes from the wood and the charcoal that is burnt in the compartment beside the smoking chamber, and depending on what kind of wood you use, your food will have different kinds of flavors which makes a great culinary experience. The offset smoker is a great way to this smoking process because of its design and construction.
That being said, there are many different kinds of offset smokers out on the market, and the number of varieties can make your head go smoky and hence we have selected only the best offset smokers along with their pros and cons so that once you are done reading this article you will be equipped with enough information for choosing the right offset smoker for your next backyard barbecue event.
This Three-in-one offset smoker is our best pick due to the superior flexibility it gives you in how you want to do your barbecue. You can not only smoke different kinds of meat using wood and charcoal but you can also grill using gas fuel if you want to.
Offset smokers can be quite expensive and if you are looking for an offset smoker that comes at a budget price but also offers you an excellent performance along with top-notch quality, then you have to look at our budget pick offset smoker. This smoker gives a vertical cooking chamber with a high capacity and a firebox made with the top quality materials.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Offset Smokers
- 1. Oklahoma Joe's Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo
- 2. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker
- 3. Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker
- 4. Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn Offset Smoker
- 5. Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro
- 6. Z Grills ZPG-450A Grill & Smoker
- 7. Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
- 8. Royal Gourmet Grill with Offset Smoker
- Things you need to know before buying best offset smoker
Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Offset Smokers
Since offset smoker involves technical specifications, it is best to have a clear idea of what each offset smoker is good at and the individual pros and cons of each of the smokers, so that you can make an informed decision on which one would be the best for you. The next section of our article will give you an in-depth look at some of the top offset smokers that are available on the market.
1. Oklahoma Joe's Charcoal/LP Gas/Smoker Combo
This is a great smoker for anyone who is looking for multiple options for outdoor cooking. It offers you a superior level of versatility by allowing you to smoke, charcoal grill, and gas grill your food. This powerful yet stylish smoker has three separate compartments to give you a total cooking space of 1060 sq. inches.
The main compartment is for smoking your food, with a side chamber for grilling. There are two separate chambers, one for your charcoal and wood fuel, and another one for a gas burner. This means that you can not only choose how you want to cook, but also choose what fuel you want to use, depending on factors like how fast you want the cooking to be done and how flavorful you want your dish to be.
The cooking chambers come with their own thermometers, while the gas burner comes with dial controls which would help you to smoothly and easily control the temperature and the smoke. The lids on the compartments also help you to keep the smoke and heat trapped inside to increase the efficiency of the cooking process.
2. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker
For many of us, smoking meat might be a hobby, for enjoying a great meal with the family, or simply for the love of food, but for those who are in the meat business or someone who is a professional camp chef, smoking meat is serious business and if you are one of them you would want to take a look into this offset smoker from Dyna-Glo which can give you professional grade results if you can use it to its full potential.
Even just by looking at the tall vertical smoking chamber of this smoker that comes in an elegant black color and heavy duty steel construction that has been powder-coated, you would realize that this is a smoker that is of a premium quality, a smoker that you would want as a centerpiece in any outdoor party or event.
The smoking chamber of this smoker has been designed to give you a superior efficiency when it comes to heat and smoke control. It features a heavy duty burner with a BTU of 15000 and an electronic pulse ignition system that makes sure that igniting the burner is quick and hassle-free. The firebox has a porcelain-enameled steel chamber which keeps the charcoal briquettes tightly packed together which increases the fuel efficiency, which means it is easier to reach your desired temperature.
To monitor the temperature, the built-in thermometer on the smoking chamber shows the correct temperature along with a smoke-zone indicator which shows you the optimal temperatures for smoking the meat. So that you can entirely focus on the cooking process rather than cleaning and maintenance, the chamber has been equipped with a charcoal and ash management system along with a removable ashtray which has a high capacity for holding ash enabling you to smoke for hours without becoming overloaded.
The smoking chamber has been designed in a vertical style, which lets the flavors in the smoke to slowly infuse into the meat, which helps you to achieve excellent results from the slow cooking process. The smoking chamber and the firebox both have a double-door design which makes sure that the heat and smokes do not escape through the doors. The vertical smoking chamber has six grates with a 25 pounds capacity each, where you can accommodate your smoking items such as pork shoulders, briskets, and racks of ribs.
This compartment gives you a total cooking capacity of 1176 sq. inches, which is quite big compared to other smokers, making it a great choice for anyone who wants to use the smoker for big barbecue events or making smoked meat for commercial purposes. Moreover, if you have to handle large portions of meat, you can adjust the height of the grates to fit in those pieces. At the top of the smoking chamber, there is a smokestack with an adjustable flue, which allows you to control the amount of smoke and heat you want to trap inside the chamber.
3. Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker
Coming from America’s favorite grill brand, the Char-Broil American Gourmet off-set smoker is a more compact model, giving you a total of 605 sq. inches of cooking space. As this also comes with three charcoal grates, you can use this as a BBQ grill as well as a smoker.
With the main cooking surface measuring 30 inches by 20 inches, this is more than large enough to smoke or grill around 16 burgers.
Built with quality construction from steel with a black finish, this offset smoker is designed for reliability and durability. The three piece offset smoke chamber allows temperature control through the reduction in air draft and there is also an adjustable top damper. You can easily monitor temperature while smoking as there is an easy-read temperature gauge mounted in the smoker lid.
The cooking grates are coated in porcelain to prevent rusting and also allow easier cleaning. The firebox has an ash door to give you easy access for ash removal after cooking is complete. This offset smoker sits on a trolley which has two 8" wheels for easy moving and it also has a bottom wire mesh which is ideal for smoking pellet or charcoal storage and the side shelf makes a useful space for storing your utensils, or even as space for preparing food for smoking or grilling.
4. Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn Offset Smoker
This is a very spacious smoker that would cover all your smoking and grilling even if you are serving a large family. The cooking space for smoking is 751 sq. inches and the grilling area is 309 sq. inches, which makes a total cooking space of 1060 sq. inches when they are being used together.
This means that you can smoke and grill at the same time, or individually, and that makes this offset smoker a very useful thing to have for any family. The smoker’s body is made of heavy-duty steel that is durable and the wire grating has been coated with porcelain to make it corrosion and rust resistant.
One of the most common things that the users complain about when it comes to offset smokers is the thermometer, and so this smoker uses a professional grade thermometer to ensure that it shows you the correct temperature at all times. By reading the temperature on the thermometer, you can use the damper at the side of the firebox to control how much smoke and heat you want to keep inside the firebox, which will regulate the cooking temperature so that the meat turns out tender, juicy, and flavorful every time.
The firebox has a side door which can be opened for cleanup of the ashes that collect in the firebox which is a good news for anyone who knows how tiresome it can be to clean a firebox after the barbecue session is over. The smoker has handles that are made of chrome-plated spring, which will not become hot even when the smoker is being used so that your hands are safe from burns.
Moreover, there is a mesh table at the front of the cooking chamber and a mesh wire shelf at the bottom of the smoker which serves as perfect places for lining up serving plates and keeping your grilling accessories so that they are always within your easy access.
5. Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro
When you put out a thing as big as a smoker in your patio or garden where your guests can watch you perform barbecue techniques, you want the smoker to not only work well but also to look great.
Keeping that in mind, this smoker has been designed with wooden accents which makes it a uniquely elegant piece of art that you would feel proud to display in any of your outdoor cooking events. The smoker comes in a smooth, black powder-coated steel body with wooden tables at the side and front of the cooking chamber, and a wooden handle for the firebox.
The tables not only serve a beautification purpose but is also a serves as a useful space where you can place your plates while you remove the cooked meat from the cooking chamber. The powder-coating of the steel makes the body of the smoker resistant to chipping, cracking, corrosion, and chemical damage, ensuring that the smoker will be a useful asset to have for a very long time without looking old.
The cooking grates of this smoker have been made of cast iron so it is very good at retaining heat, giving you that mouth-watering searing sound when the meat touches the hot grate, as well as the signature grill marks on your meat. Since the grate is made of cast-iron, it is also non-stick and will help you to remove the cooked meat easily from the cooking grate.
The firebox of this smoker has been made with powerful features to give you a true experience of gourmet barbecue. The firebox provides you with a space that is 250 sq. inches big to house sufficient amount of charcoal or wood, and it also lets you add more fuel to the chamber through a door without having to open the whole firebox. The firebox has a vent through which you can control the amount of air that flows into the firebox.
The hood of the cooking chamber has a heat gauge which will show you the cooking temperature, and you can adjust the heat grate at the firebox accordingly to maintain the desired temperature for your cooking. If you wish to grill some side items such as corncobs, you can do so on the firebox grate, expanding the variety of ways you can cook using this smoker.
Once you are done using the smoker, you can remove the ash-tray from the firebox to empty it, which means you do not have to go through the tedious process of having to remove the ashes from the compartments using your hands.
6. Z Grills ZPG-450A Grill & Smoker
The Z Grills ZPG-450A Grill & Smoker is a 6 in 1 with auto temperature control and an electronic auto-start ignition. This has a wide temperature range of between 180°F and 450°F meaning that you can smoke, grill, BBQ, sear, roast or braise. Most of the time this will stay within 10 degrees of your set temperature – whatever the temperature is outside of the grill & smoker.
This grill & smoker gives you 450 sq. inches of grilling area with the main cooking area being 324 sq. inches.
The LED display provides you with easy to read control and real-time temperatures and the auto temperature control will automatically add pellets to the smoker as needed to regulate its temperature. Because this smoker & grill uses convection heat distribution technology, it means your meat will get cooked evenly and as the pellet hopper holds 15 lbs. of pellets, around 15 hours of cooking time, it means you can leave it to get on with longer smokes without needing to worry too much about pellets running out.Made from stainless steel to resist corrosion with a bronze and black finish, this stylish grill & smoker will suit any style of garden or yard. The side shelf of the smoker is a great space for storing your utensils when cooking, or when not in use, you can just fold it away. The two wheels on the smoker are heavy duty and all terrain, making moving it around less of a struggle. Just in case the weather does get bad during winter, it also comes with a black cover.
7. Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
From Dyna-Glo’s Signature Series comes this powerful smoker which can be converted into a charcoal grill whenever you need it. The vertical tower of cooking chamber houses 5 grates that offer you an offset cooking space of 284 sq. inches where you can smoke your favorite meat and even hang sausages to add a mouth-watering smoky flavor to them.
The grates are made of chrome-plated steel which eliminates the worries regarding rusting and corrosion, whereas the body of the smoker is made of steel that has a heavy-gauge, which means it retains heat and maintains the internal temperature of the smoker with a high efficiency.
The horizontal chamber beside the tower gives you the flexible option to charcoal grill your favorite grilling items. The charcoal grate can be easily removed so that you can add or remove charcoal while you are grilling. The thermometer at the front gives you the correct temperature readings and helps you to control the smoking and grilling temperatures according to your needs.
One thing that is a major cause of headaches when it comes to smoking is the post-barbecue clean-up, but this equipment makes it a breeze since the ashtray and the charcoal grate can be removed. You can remove the ash-tray, empty it, and clean it before you put it back again. The doors of the smoker come with handles and the bottom of the body has rollers and stands, which makes it a stable and portable smoker that even novice users can handle smoothly.
8. Royal Gourmet Grill with Offset Smoker
Designed as a traditional charcoal grill with an offset smoker so you can grill and smoke at the same time. The offset smoker can also be used as a small grill if required.
This grill with smoker is a 30" grill that provides a total of 800 sq. inches of cooking space; 438 sq. inches of this being in the main chamber. The side box has a 183 sq. inches capacity for smoking or charcoal grilling and there is another 179 sq. inches of swing-away rack.
This has an in-built thermometer in the lid of the main chamber so you can keep an eye on the temperature and the handles are a stay cool design. Both dampers are adjustable, and you can also alter the height of the firepan for better temperature control when grilling.
The cooking grates are porcelain coated for corrosion and rust resistance as well as them being able to retain heat evenly during cooking. You can add quickly add charcoal through the side access door, and this also has an ash pan for easy cleaning after use.With wheels for easy transporting as well as a wire mesh shelf on the bottom where you can store your charcoal and pellets, it also has a handy side shelf where you can prepare foods and some hanging hooks to keep utensils tidy during cooking.
Once you have gone through all the offset smokers that we have chosen for you, you might have found the one that you think deserves a place on your patio or backyard. However, it is best to read through the next section of our article which will give you all the information regarding offset smokers and the factors to be aware of before you go out to buy one.
Things you need to know before buying best offset smoker
Why offset smokers?
The question that probably many of you might be asking is that why you need offset smokers when you can easily grill using a griddle. Although grilling is a fast and easy way to cook during your barbecue sessions, it would not be able to give you the flavors and textures you would get from smoking your meat in a dedicated smoker. Whereas grilling is fast and convenient, smoking is a slow cooking process that gives you results that are worth the wait and the patience. An offset smoker further enhances the flavors by making the heat and the smoker indirect, as the firebox is not directly under the meat.
This indirect heat and smoke make the flavors seep into the meat slowly. Moreover, you can choose different kinds of wood chippings to feed the smoke, such as alder, hickory, applewood, pecan, etc. and the meat will have a different flavor depending on the wood you use in the smoking process. Other than home barbecue parties, offset smokers are used for commercial camping events, and also by professional pit masters who compete in barbecue competitions, which means the use of offset smokers are very versatile and widespread.
Vertical or Horizontal?
When it comes to offset smokers, the main cooking chamber is the smoking chamber which can be vertical or horizontal. The vertical ones give you multiple racks for accommodating different types of meat and is good for slow cooking as the smoke rises naturally. However, they also tend to be more expensive since the horizontal ones are more commonly available.
Grilling on an offset smoker
When you cook for a barbecue, you would not want only meat, meat, and more meat. Everyone wants some good sides such as corn on the cob, grilled summer vegetables, etc. And hence it is a great feature when an offset smoker gives you the option to also grill on the side when you are slow cooking the main meat dishes. Some smokers would even allow you the option to use gas as a fuel instead of charcoal which is very useful especially for people who want the option to do quick barbecues after work or when they do not have the patience and energy to do a whole slow smoking session.
Temperature and smoke control
Mastering the flow of smoke and adjusting the temperature during the cooking process is key to achieve great results when smoking your meat. This is why offset smokers must have a good thermometer which is appropriately positioned to tell you the temperature inside the smoking chamber accurately. By monitoring this temperature, you have to remove or add fuel to the firebox of the smoker to increase or lower the cooking temperature. Two other important features that a good offset smoker should have are dampers and a smokestack. The dampers are vents which helps you to control the amount of smoke and heat by keeping them open or by closing them. The smokestack is a chimney that can be small or long depending on the design of the smoker, and some of them come with an adjustable flue which is very helpful in controlling the amount of smoke.
Ashtray and door to the firebox
The firebox is usually attached beside the smoking chamber, and this is the place where the fuel burns whether it be charcoal or the smoking wood. Hence, this is a very crucial component of a smoker that should be well-constructed and must have the necessary features for the smoker to perform in a reliable way. The firebox should have a door through which you can have an easy access to the fuel, and also an ashtray, which will hold the ashes from the burning process so that you can clean the firebox easily by emptying the ashtray.
An offset smoker is a valuable and useful asset to have for any family who shares the love for a good barbecue and for people who loves flavorful cooked meat. If you are planning to buy an offset smoker today, make sure you have a clear idea of what purpose you are going to use it for, and also to choose the best offset smoker that would fit your family size, your cooking preferences, and personal taste. Once you have your own offset smoker by your side, it's time for you to master the art of smoking the most delicious ribs and briskets at your own backyard with your family and friends!