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Whether you adore the appetizing taste of red meat, or you love the rawness of brisket, then you can’t look past offset smokers due to their incredible versatility. In fact, anybody looking to take a leap from being a mere barbeque enthusiast to a professional pit master will be hard-pressed to find a better approach than buying the best offset smoker. While offset smokers, due to their ordinary design, are often regarded as traditional smokers, there is actually nothing ordinary about the incredible quality of food produced by them.
Offset smokers are a perfect option if you are looking for a good-looking barbecue that is capable of producing large amounts of mouthwatering meats. If that sounds like you, then you have come to the right page. Before you take a plunge and make your purchase, you need to understand that all offset smokers aren’t created equally. We are fully aware of this, and that is why we considered several important factors, such as cooking area, temperature range, hopper capacity, dimensions and weight of the different smokers we studied.
In this guide, we have included a detailed table comparing our top ten picks. The table is followed by a comprehensive review of each offset smoker along with its pros and cons. In addition to that, we have included a buying guide that contains numerous handy tips and useful information to help you choose the best offset smoker for your needs. And finally, we have also included an FAQ section that answers the different questions barbeque enthusiasts are continually facing with.
If you are in search of an affordable offset smoker, then this model might be an ideal choice for you. Made from a sturdy powder-coated, heavy-duty steel, the construction of this unit it totally matchless. With the adjustability and well-positioning of the grates, it guarantees an even heat distribution. This model is actually one of the top-rated vertical offset smokers from Dyno-Glo, and it’s not hard to see why. It features a wide cooking chamber that can cook about 150 pounds of food at once. There’re two doors to guarantee the least volume of heat loss when you put more wood.
Furthermore, this offset smoker comes with an ash and charcoal management system, removable steel ash pan, grate, and sliding. It is capable of handling large amounts volume of ash for several hours of maintenance-free cooking. Since this unit is a vertical model, it naturally increases the heat so that improved smoke flavor and greater efficiency can be achieved. This offset smoker from Dyna Glo will protect the food from direct heat so your food can be slow cooked for perfect taste.
Additionally, the burner of the cooker is also produced using heavy cast iron, which means it will serve you for many years. In general, this vertical offset smoker from Dyna Glo is an excellent beginner offset smoker for individuals who are new and inexperienced in meat smoking. While it does come with its own drawbacks, if you don’t really mind making a couple of adjustments, you can easily get this unit up and running in no time at all.
Why are we impressed?
Has a very large chamber
Works with the combination of charcoal and wood chips
This pellet grill from Traeger is so versatile that it could be used for multiple applications such as smoking, grilling, baking, barbecuing, and roasting. This unit has a heavy-duty construction, and for greater aesthetic and appearance, it’s construction is coated with a bronze finish. It includes a 418-square non-stick porcelain grate, which could fill out varieties of foods from hot dogs and burgers to smoked ribs and chicken as required.
Also, this smoker comes with four long legs, a sturdy cover for preventing the smoke from escaping, and triangular smoke exhaust. For better controls, the appliance comes with a digital controller that has an in-built LED display and a rotating dial. Nonetheless, you could utilize and manage the temperature from 180 to 450 degrees. The interface includes easily flipping and pressing the power button to on/off the device as required.
The smoker is easy to utilize upon filling wood pellets into the hopper. Since the unit is an electrically-powered model, the wood pellets will be used as fuel only. It takes a minimum of five minutes to light up depending on the number of wood pellets you use.
What do we love it for?
LED digital thermostat
Wide grilling space
Leaves little ash residue
What were we disappointed with?
Coating peels off rather fast
Some customers experienced digital controller malfunction
While Cuisinart is a well-known company in the production of kitchen gadgets and stand mixers, many people are unaware that they are in the smoker industry as well. In fact, the company has a relatively solid presence in this market. The Cuisinart CPG-4000, offering a solid cooking experience without many bells and whistles, is an indication of the quality level provided by the manufacturer. While this pellet smoker can’t be considered as an excellent unit, it is somewhat a model of what a pellet smoker ought to do.
The unit features a very wide cooking area, which makes this a perfect option for large family gatherings or big parties. Besides, it comes with a 15-pound holler which enables you to cook for a long time without needing to think about filling up new pellets. In addition to that, the pellet smoker comes with a wheeled base, thereby allowing you to be able to move your equipment easily whenever the need arises.
The wood chips of this appliance have no direct contact with the flame. This enables the chips to burn and smoke slowly at an even temperature. Moreover, the two separate doors also make it easier to check the flame and add wood chips without having to open the main door. This helps keep the temperature of the offset smoker very steady and stable.
In all honesty though, this pallet smoker would have been better with a couple of fancy extra features. In a period where Wi-Fi-controlled temperature and easy cleaning are becoming more and more prevalent, it can be a little disappointing to find a grill without those cool features. However, if you are only looking for a cooker that will provide you with enough space for large cooking, then you will enjoy this offset smoker.
One of the most significant advantages of the Z Grills smoker is that it is incredibly versatile. It comes with several features that indicate how easy getting an excellent performance out of an offset smoker is, all without needing to be a professional cook or even be experienced with these appliances.
The Z Grill ZPG-7002 Smoker is an 8-in-1 model, meaning that it can be used for a wide range of applications from grilling to baking. Besides, this smoker comes with some extraordinary technology that enables the grill to maintain a constant heat. The smoker also features a smart technology that allows you to do other things while cooking. Just set it up and go about your other businesses – you will be notified when your food is done. The unit also comes with a free cover, which only tops off an already great unit.
The sub-par customer service is the only drawback of this unit. While the company will definitely respect its warranty and help its customers out, it is only if you can find their contact information. Sending them a mail is the only dependable way of contacting the company, so keep in mind that you might not be able to have your issues with the grill solved quickly should you encounter any.
Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Smoker is a heavy-duty unit, which is designed for larger events. But this doesn’t mean you can’t use it for small gatherings as well. Measuring 45.5 x 24.9 x 58.8 inches and weighing 124.3 pounds, this equipment is large and weighty enough to handle various kinds of foods in different sizes and shapes. This offset smoker has a total cooking space of 1382 square inches and 284-square inch offset grill, which are sufficient for you to cook your favorite meal easily.
The smoker has a simple, but great design. When it, however, comes to the overall construction of this smoker, it’s totally striking. It features wide individual doors which allow you to access your food easily. For more convenience and comfort, there are well-placed racks inside this appliance. Another great thing about this unit is its unbelievable quality. The incorporated five chrome-plated racks speak superior performance that matches the quality of the external materials.
This sort of high-quality material makes you confident that it’ll remain sturdy and rust-resistant. As long as the user takes care of the unit, its quality will never fail you. The appliance also comes with an average-sized temperature gauge, making the entire process a lot simpler since you can observe the temperature easily. While the temperature gauge is only a little component of a smoker, it has a significant contribution to the general performance of the appliance.
If you want the days of you making bad barbeque behind you, then you need to take a look at this smoker. The Camp Chef Woodwind Classic is the perfect smoker to roast, bake, and cook favorites for your family, neighbors, friends, and loved ones. Almost every part of the appliance is made of stainless steel, which assures you of premium quality. Featuring an inbuilt temperature range of 160 °F to 500 °F, it enables you to both smoke and slow cook. However, the sear box reaches more than 900 degrees, which helps you to achieve the food taste required. In addition, it features a bottom shelf which offers more space for storage.
While the Camp Chef Woodwind comes with several notable features, the electric autostart ignition is the most attention-grabbing. It enables you to leave your cooker burning regardless of where you are, by regulating the settings. The unit also features dual LED temperature readout which helps make sure you can always monitor the temperature and adjust it accordingly. It is also easy to handle the settings on the smoker that a beginner will have a smooth sail using it. Further, it comes with the famous Camp Chef ash cleanout system, which helps in storing the ashes in the ash holder under the grill.
Apart from the extra features such as two meat probes, a bottle opener, and a hopper cleanout mechanism, the unit also features mobility-enhancing four-caster-wheeled legs. Upon unboxing, you’ll find that the smoker comes with a recipe booklet and a dip tray. Finally, the smoker is backed up by a three-year warranty, which directly speaks volume on how confident they are on the grill.
What makes it special?
Large cooking space
Hopper cleanout mechanism
Large hopper capacity
Two meat probes
What cons did we find?
Steel parts are stain-prone, so extra care is needed
With its heavy-gauge powder-coated steel construction, the Char-Griller 1224 Smoking Pro comfortably makes our list of the top 10 offset smokers. It comes with a huge cooking area, which means it is suitable for large family gatherings and get-togethers. Apart from that, this equipment gives great smoke flavors to your meat and food, which is a plus considering some smokers usually end up polluting food taste with their excessive smoke.
The Char-Griller 1224 features a grill of a non-sticky construction with cast iron, also preventing warping. You can control the heat with a temperature gauge at the top that shows you the current temperature rate. If you are looking for an offset smoker with a pan for ash dumping, the Char-Griller 1224 is your ideal option. In addition to that, it is also effortless to clean after use.
Furthermore, the Char-griller comes with cooking racks that can be slid out to enable you to add charcoal while cooking your food without removing the grates. The smoker’s hood is airtight, thereby preventing leaking. The extra features of the unit include base wheels for enhanced mobility, a rotisserie kit, a shelf for warming, a propane igniter and also a few barbecue recipes. The appliance is very affordable and comes with a 1-year manufacturing warranty.
Pellet grills usually come with a very high level of technology and there is no exception with the Z Grills ZPG-7002. This is not your regular equipment that just uses pellets to produce heat, it does a lot more than that. It’s an advanced appliance that can help make sure that your meat is cooked at an ideal temperature regardless of if you are monitoring the grill or not. If you are looking for a perfect offset smoker that has the perfect blend of stellar technology and traditional cooking, then you need to take a look at this model.
The highlight of this offset smoker is the incorporated Smart Smoke technology. With this technology, the unit can maintain the temperature you choose within a range of around 20 degrees all the time, thereby allowing for even heating all through the food. The equipment is also adequately large to handle a neighborhood party or a large family gathering, with the grill area being enough to cook about ten hamburgers at once. Coupled with a great lifetime warranty, this smoker is the perfect option if you need a smoker for serious cooking.
Nothing is ever without flaws, and this grill also comes with a few negligible drawbacks. The most significant one is that it doesn’t come with a pellet removal system. While an average home cook wouldn’t mind the lack of this feature, a true grill master might mind it. Asides from that, there have been few reports of the grill’s electrical parts burning out. If you can put up with these minor imperfections, you will realize that the ZPG-550B is actually a fantastic purchase.
Whether you have unannounced guests or your teenager comes home with the whole school soccer team for supper, you will have nothing to worry about when you have the Traeger TFB29PLB since you can instantly start it and cook up to four whole chickens, 18 hot dogs, 12 hamburgers, or three racks of yummy smoked ribs. This great family sized smoker and grill in one enables you to smoke, bake, grill, braise, BBQ, or roast easily.
The Traeger TFB29PLB features an auto start ignition which allows you to leave your grill burning while you are away, knowing that the smoker will provide consistent temperatures and heat. It comes with saw-horse designed legs which make it stable and steady, and the integrated locking wheels enable you to move it easily to wherever you want in your yard. Every Traeger grills usually come with porcelain grill grates and this model is not an exception. This feature makes clean up incredibly easy.
This high-quality appliance is produced using sturdy steel for long-lasting construction. The Traeger TFB29PLB will last for several years, and it works well in all seasons. Regardless of whether it is snowy, rainy, or stormy, no weather condition can stop you from making masterwork of grilled, roasted, barbecued, or smoked meats, fish, and poultry.
If you are looking for an ideal smoker to create lip-smacking smoked meat, don’t look away from this smoker from Oklahoma Joe. It is the only tube smoker that is capable of delivering matchless performance. The design of the smoker features four baffles and reverse flow feature providing stunning results. Since this smoker comes with smokestack locations and removable baffles, you can easily customize it according to your desires.
The smoker also performs outstandingly when it comes to ash removal. Its design includes a large charcoal basket and an easy-to-access door to allow for easy ash removal. With heavy-gauge steel construction and porcelain grill grates, regulating smoke and heat is very easy. The large charcoal basket, in particular, makes it very convenient to use, as you can refill it while still cooking.
Furthermore, this model enables you to switch quickly between regular and reverse flow smoking, which results in more accurate cooking. Other excellent features that come with the unit include a warming tray for side dishes, a bottom shelf for storing items, and an easy access to the firebox.
What are its best features?
Reverse flow heating
Sturdy heavy gauge steel
What could be improved?
Users complain of paint peeling from the firebox
Hard to clean
Things to Consider
Since offset smokers are produced by various manufacturers, they don’t usually follow the same construction, features, or design. Nevertheless, they have similar characteristics that can be used as a model in the process for selection. In the interim, you’ll have to understand the things below first before heading out to buy your best offset smoker.
What advantages do offset smokers have?
It is great for large quantity cooking – If you are having a party with friends and family or just a get-together of people who you plan to feed with your delicious meal, then your gas cookers, electric cookers, and conventional stoves might not be enough. The offset smoker, however, will get the job done quickly and perfectly.
It has no mechanical components to get spoilt – Offset cookers, unlike electric ones, operate manually and are very simple to use.
Easy to refuel – While gas cookers usually require being carried to a fuel station to be refilled, the case is totally different with offset smokers. You can refill your offset smoker instantly or even while still cooking.
Readily accessible accessories – Most offset smokers come with an extensive variety of useful accessories to ease your cooking. Most manufacturers of these smokers have included handy accessories to provide you with more options. These accessories include a bottom shelve that protects your food from heat.
Retains the customary taste in foods – Offset smokers are also known for being able to provide a classic flavor and feel that is lacking in other cookers. Such a flavor could help kindle childhood memories or even arouse a fascinating atmosphere ideal for family reunions.
Features to consider while choosing an offset smoker
Offset smokers aren’t your everyday equipment, so they need to be treated accordingly. When shopping for the right offset smoker for your needs, below are the key features you need to take into consideration.
There are two primary types of offset smokers: traditional offset smokers and reverse flow offset smokers.
Traditional Offset Smokers – In traditional offset smokers, the hottest part is the closest to the cooking chamber. This usually leads to imbalanced cooking, meaning that you have to be turning your food more often. This might also need you to carefully place the meal to avoid some parts of the food cooking quicker than the rest.
Reverse Flow Offset Smokers – Reverse flow offset smokers are great if you are looking for a lower number of turnings. It also comes with the steel baffle plate, which is a special addition. The steel baffle plate shields the meat or food from direct heat. It operates like a sink providing uniform temperature, which moves slowly around, thereby making sure the meat has uniform flavor and heat.
Speaking about the type, there are also barrel and vertical offset smokers. The difference is basically in their appearance, keep in mind though, that barrel ones are usually bulkier while vertical smokers often provide you with more cooking space and less room needed for their storage.
Total cooking area
There is really no right choice as regards the size of the cooking area. You only need to take your needs and preferences into consideration. If your family is large or you are hosting cookouts and large parties, then you have to find a big unit like the Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC.
Compact offset smokers ideally fit individuals who cook for only a few people. Compact models are also better due to their portability, compactness, easy storage, and affordability.
Seals and dampers
You must also consider the dampers and seals of an offset smoker as they are very vital to how well or poor it performs. You can’t expect the meat to be smoky and tasty without these important components. Premium dampers and seals disallow the heat from escaping, thereby saving you money on fuel. Well-installed dampers are vital as they are capable of optimizing smoke retention.
Also, the damper needs to be accessible. The ruggedness and smoothness of the damper will show whether the smoker is built for extensive applications and outdoor use.
The best thing for smoking is to be low and slow, so you need to manage your cooking temperatures carefully. Most times, operating your offset smoker anywhere from 225 degrees to 275 degrees should be enough. This is actually the standard or normal range of temperature to find. If you are, however, interested in other types of smoking, you may require some leeway as regards the temperature range.
For example, cold smoking is a kind of smoking that preserves and cures meat like salmon. Cold smoking requires you to expose the meat to smoke with minimal heat. So you will require a smoker that is capable of lower than 200 degrees temperatures and if possible closer to the range of 100 degrees. When choosing the best offset smoker for your needs, ensure you choose one that comes with a temperature range to cater for all your needs.
Also, you need to be able to observe the internal temperature of your offset smoker. This is important if you will be making beef jerky or bacon. Being aware of the internal temperature of your smoker’s cooking chamber without needing to open it is very important as you wouldn’t need to risk allowing precious smoke and heat to escape.
It’s always better if you choose a smoker with two temperature gauges, with each one installed on each side of the chamber. This will allow you to accurately configure the temperature if you detect a difference in the regions. While temperature gauges can actually mean you pay more money for an offset smoker, we assure you that they are actually worth it.
You need to also consider some extra features such as warranty, materials, and a basket for ashes included. While with adequate care, a high-quality offset smoker should serve you for a lifetime, you should still consider choosing a smoker backed up by a good warranty.
Also, pay attention to the materials used in the construction of your offset smoker, so as to ensure that it is durable and won’t be worn out easily by heat.
This depends on a number of factors. While wood pellets are easier to use, charcoals are more affordable. When it comes to the taste, however, a lot of people claim wood pellets are better as they are more suited to low and slow cooking.
While many of the offset smokers reviewed in this guide are compact, the most compact model is the Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D Vertical Offset Smoker. Measuring 21 x 43.3 x 50.2 inches in dimensions, you won’t have much problem storing it in a tight corner in your garage.
Yes, you can. The procedure is not that difficult. Just the same way you do on any other grill. Start a charcoal fire and put the food over it. However, some people believe it is not entirely a great idea to grill in an offset smoker as putting coals inside the main chamber will burn off all that lovely seasoning that has taken time to build up inside.
The winner of this round is the Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D. Featuring a vast cooking area that can handle cooking for large gatherings, this unit also comes with two doors to ensure minimal heat loss while putting more wood. The smoker also has a charcoal and ash management system, grate and slinging, and a removable steel ash pan. Despite boasting of so many features, the unit is surprisingly very affordable.
Apart from being our pick for the best offset barrel smoker, the Traeger TFB42LZBC is also our runner-up. Asides from the versatility and sturdy construction of this unit, it also comes with fancy features such as an inbuilt LED display and a rotating dial, amongst a host of handy features.
Our third pick is the Cuisinart CPG-4000. With its two separate doors, you can check the flame and add wood chips without opening the main door, which helps maintain a consistent temperature. Not only that, but this unit also easy to assemble, features a wheeled base, and has four removable stacks.