So you have decided to say yes to an offset smoker? Good Decision.
I know you have been grilling on a standard grill and are not satisfied with the results. Then you saw your neighbor prepare a yummy barbeque on a shiny offset smoker and were star-struck immediately. Oh, that smell! Brings back so many memories.
You are right. You need one too. But purchasing an offset smoker is not that easy. There are so many options to choose from and you are thoroughly confused. How do I know that? I know that because you are reading this! You came to me because you are not able to decide on the best offset smoker for yourself.
Here I will help you go through all the points so that you can tally them with your requirements and make an informed decision. A lot of features does not always mean good. Sometimes, many features hinder your cooking. I will discuss it all in this article:
My Top 5 Choices for a Perfect Offset Smoker
These are not only the best ones available in the market, but they also offer value for money, are super-efficient and highly recommended by numerous users across the USA.
Oklahoma Joe has been making award-winning smokers since 1987. That is reason enough to trust this brand. The Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker produces the heat in a different compartment or a side box so that you can smoke your meat for a long time even after the fire is out. Or keep on adding the fuel and elongate the cooking process.
Longhorn Smoker is built to last for decades. It has been made of heavy-duty steel and is the most durable a smoker can be. The cooking grates are porcelain coated to make their cleaning and maintenance very easy. The coating also increases the lifespan of the grates, making them rust-proof.
A lot of thought has been put into the making the smoker. There is a grill below the handle of the front shelf lid to transfer the food you have cooked. There is also a storage shelf at the bottom which can accommodate all the raw materials easily. The handles of the main chamber, as well as the fire chamber, are stay-cool. You don’t have to worry about burning your hand while checking up on your food or re-fuelling.
The fire chamber has an all-steel fire-basket which makes it as durable as the rest of the smoker. For convenience, the chamber has a top lid for refilling the fuel and a side door for removal of ash and cleaning. You can also tend to the fire and adjust your smoke through the side door. The side chamber also has a provision of grilling just in case you suffer from lack of space.
There are 2 wheels which makes moving the smoker around your yard very easy. The lid of the main chamber has a built-in temperature gauge so that you can cook your food to perfection.
It’s like they have thought of everything.
Reverse Flow System
This is a specially made smoker with the reverse flow smoking system. But what is that exactly?
It means that you have complete control over the heat and smoke. The smoker is constructed in such a way that the smoke is guided into the main chamber through 4 baffles. These baffles absorb heat which helps n smoking the meat to perfection. They help in controlling the heat and maintain the flow of smoke so that complete combustion is guaranteed.
If you want to flavor your meat, you can also fill these baffles with water or juice. Oh, and the baffles are removable. So you can customize according to your requirement. There are also dampers at multiple places to control the heat and fire.
Don’t want to burn the food, do we?
This smoker is a beast. It has the cooking space enough for feeding an entire army! You get a total cooking space of 1060 square inches.
Yes, you read it right!
There are 751 square inches available in the main chamber and 309 square inches of grilling space in the firebox chamber. 1060 in total.
So, that does mean the beast has to be parked in your yard for a lifetime. I mean everything said and done, this is not something you would want to take from one place to another. The smokebox and lower stand do come apart but it is still impossible to dismantle and move. Your yard is as far as the wheels would go. And that has to be enough.
Plus, it weighs about 226 pounds so you will need two people to lift it up. Even if you dismantle the smoker completely, there is no way it gets into a small car. You will need a truck.
Putting it together
Good smokers are always heavy. And it cannot be lifted by one person. So you will definitely need some help in assembly. As such, there is not much to put together. The grill comes pretty structured as it is. It only takes a few minutes. You will need a screwdriver to attach the wheels, side chamber and lower base of the smoker. Once the chamber is attached, it becomes sealed. You will also find that all latches close properly.
The only help you will need is for unboxing it and putting it up while fixing the bolts. A helping hand and you are done in minutes.
What I Think
This is one sturdy beast. And it can cook for up to 20 people at a time without any problem. It holds the temperature nicely and provides for even heat and consistent cooking. It does its part well.
If you are looking for the ideal vertical offset smoker, then this is it. The Dyna-GloDGO1890BDC-D is the best one ever made. Don’t believe me?
Well, hundreds of happy customer reviews will confirm that for you. All the users are satisfied and have been using this beauty for years.
The smoker is beautiful to look at. And because it is a vertical design, it takes up lesser space in your backyard. Your neighbors are going to be jealous of this black beauty. The entire unit is made of powder coated steel which is thin, lightweight and high-temperature.
The thin walls do create a problem when it’s windy. It performs well in winter even, but the temperature fluctuates when the winds are too fast.
The firebox has a powder coated steel box for setting up charcoal, wood pellets or any fuel of your choice. This versatile smoker has a steel rod grate on an ashtray for easy cleaning and proper combustion. There is a rotary smoke damper attached to the smoke cabinet which ensures consistent heat distribution.
The cooking area in this smoker is a whopping 1890 square inches. Go host a big party.
The cooking area has 6 adjustable cooking racks which are chrome plated. Each cooking rack can hold up to 25 lbs. of meat. That’s a lot! There is also a damper chimney at the top of the cooking area which can be adjusted according to the airflow requirement. Both the doors, on the firebox and on the smokebox have to stay cool handles and latch pretty tightly. There is no scope of smoke leaking through the doors.
There is also a steel thermometer built in the smoke zone which keeps indicating the temperature inside. You can keep a track of your meat without having to open it all the time. But the thermometer is not always accurate. It has been known to show the wrong temperature. I would suggest getting a reliable digital one instead.
How Does it Work?
Vertical smoker is best for slow, indirect cooking. You put in the meat, light the fuel and let the smoke what it’s meant to do. Go up.
Because you can stack the meat in 6 long and narrow grates, you get to put in more meat than a horizontal surface. Occasionally, you can rotate the meat for even cooking but not too much. The airflow in the firebox and the damper chimney make sure there is even heat distribution and all the meat pieces get smoked with equal flavor.
The smoker is a lightweight one. It only weighs 83 pounds. But that does not mean you can stack it inside your car and take it to a campsite for the weekend. It can be moved here and there in your yard but it will more or less remain a centerpiece of your backyard only.
Putting it Together
Assembling this smoker is very easy. The users have said that it comes with a lot of screws loose. You will have to check all the parts and tighten whatever falls apart. Other than that, the process should not take more than 15 minutes.
You will need to attach the legs, the door latches, side handles, door handles, and the temperature gauge. That’s it. You’re done.
All you will need is a screwdriver. Dyna-Glo will send you all the required nuts and screws.
The performance of any smoker you use will be better if it’s maintained properly. Please make sure the smoker is completely cold before you touch it. Ash disposal is very easy because the ashtray is removable. The insides of the smoker should be just wiped away with a soft cloth. Do not use water. If you want to clean it like that, then use a damp cloth at max. and let it dry completely. The moisture should be out.
The cooking grates can be cleaned by washing it with mild soap and hot water. Spray some cooking oil on the dry grates for maintenance. Also, the smoker is known to rust in changing the weather. So it is advisable to keep it covered with the rust-proof cover when you are not using it.
What We Think
A few glitches here and there, but this smoker is a definite value for money. Vertical smokers are preferred by many for a reason. And if you also have a small backyard with limited open space, then this will take your grilling sessions to the professional level without interfering with the space issue.
A successor of the award-winning Big Easy, the Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill has more functions and more capabilities. From an asparagus to a turkey, it cooks everything to perfection. I love this grill.
The smoker is big and sturdy. It is not the prettiest one available. In fact, if you are a fashionista and want a centerpiece for your backyard, you will be disappointed with the looks. But the food though!
It is not beautiful but solidly built. The cooking racks, smoker basket, and drum are all made of stainless steel. But unfortunately, all the parts catch rust after a few months of usage. You can make them rust-proof by spraying some cooking oil after every cleaning session.
The smoker is huge. You can fit a 25-pound turkey or double stack the smaller food easily in the smoker. The grilling space available is 180 square inches. More than enough if you ask me.
The smoker basket is supposed to hold chips that last till 45 minutes. But unfortunately, the basket is too small and does not hold many wood chips. So it stops smoking after some 20 minutes and definitely does not last until 45 minutes. The biggest downside to that after that you have to cook without smoke. Because for re-fuelling you have to take out the cooking racks, empty the ash pan and then put in fresh wood chips. That is not possible while the smoker is hot. So can either cook without the smoke or use aluminum foil. That’s my hack. Putting woodchips in aluminum fil will give you an hour of smoke.
The Big Easy TRU generates 9000 to 18,000 BTUs which is a huge temperature range. Any kind of food can be cooked to perfection in this easily. also, it is very efficient and the temperature changes are quick. There is no thermometer built-in the smoker so it is difficult to regulate the temperature. You have to use an external thermostat. Still, it heats up really fast and when you turn down the temp, it goes down equally fast.
The Infrared Heating
Infrared technology seems too futuristic where you cook with absolutely no oil and perfectly even heat distribution. But the concept is really easy to understand. Traditional grills use airflow to produce heat and maintain the temperature. But the infrared smoker heats up the cooking surface by limiting the hot airflow. Because of this natural, radiant heat, the metal on the inside is heated up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit which cooks the food.
Because the food is not cooked by direct heat, it does not dry the meat. The indirect, natural heat seals in the flavor, makes the skin crispy and keeps the meat moist and tender from inside. Because the entire metal inside the smoker is heated at a consistent temperature, there are no chances of hot or cold spots. The heat penetrated inside the meat and cooks it to the core.
The smoke from the wood chips or pellets gives the flavor of your choice.
As I said, the smoker is sturdy and solidly built. It weighs a good 63 pounds. It is not light. Of course, it is movable by one person but with difficulty. It is not as if you won’t be able to handle it if you have no help. I was able to shift it from one place to another but obviously, I felt the weight in my arms. I wouldn’t recommend moving it frequently.
Putting it Together
It is a big one so obviously, it comes in parts and you have to assemble the pieces yourself. Though it is not a difficult task the set of instructions are pretty clear and if you follow them properly, you can get the entire smoker up and running in about an hour. Then you do the primary oiling of the surfaces and in less than 2 hours, you will be ready to cook your first set of meat in the new smoker.
Oh, this one is easy!
It is easier to clean than a roasting oven pan. You just treat it like a cast-iron appliance. The insides of the lid and bottom need to be scrubbed with a grill brush or washed with a soap and water solution if there is an accumulation of grease. Dry it completely if you wash it. The plastic parts, as well as the painted surfaces, can be wiped with mild soapy water. The cooking surfaces should be cleaned using a bristle brush.
What I Think
A lot of sophisticated technology goes into making this smoker. And when you will use it, you will be able to appreciate it fully. It saves a lot of time and electricity, of course. But it is also a healthier life choice. There are some issues but they can be fixed.
Did I mention it before? Joe is an actual person who is from Oklahoma and makes a grill. Isn’t that cool?
He started the company back in 1987 and has been the king of reverse flow smoker since then. His knowledge is incomparable and should be taken advantage of by everyone who loves smoking (the food of course! Don’t you dare think anything else).
The highland is real steel!
I am no kidding. This heavy-duty big guy is made of all steel. every single part from top to bottom is made of heavy gauge stainless steel. And what’s more? The cooking grates are all porcelain coated. It will last for a lot of time and because it is steel, there are no chances of rusting.
The cooking area is a total of 900 square inches. The main chamber has a space of 619 square inches for cooking while the firebox chamber provides 281 square inches.
Basically, the smoker is a smaller version of the Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker. So you know there’s only positivity in the review that will follow.
The build is the same, there is a lower shelf where you can store your raw materials and ancillary goods. The front rack will help you keep the food you take out from the grill and plate it conveniently. Then there are 2 easy and freewheels which do their work awesomely.
The handles are all stay-cool so you are not going to burn yourself for sure. The firebox has 2 doors in this one too. The top and the side door so that when you are tending to your fire, you don’t have to disturb your food.
On the side of the firebox, there is a built-in thermometer. So you will know what is the temperature at the hottest spot. And on the opposite end, there is a provision to insert another thermometer.
What a great idea!
Reverse Flow System
You already know how that works.
But for your sake, let’s revise it again. It forces the smoke to flow over the meat, so you get even smoking and heating. The logic is pretty simple. In an ordinary smoker, the heat is generated from the firebox and so the smoke enters the cooking are from the left, rises up and moves out of the chimney on the right. But in a reverse flow smoker, the smoke enters from the left, circulates around the baffles which heat up and provide consistent temperature, and exits from the chimney on the RIGHT side. So it has to circulate over all the cooking area before rising out of the smoker.
Well, the black beauty weighs a whopping 178 pounds. That’s like a good lot of weight. Yes, it has wheels and can be moved around. But if you think you will take this one to the outing with you, you are dead wrong.
Sorry, not possible.
It stays in your yard. Period.
Putting it Together
Assembly is a breeze. If you follow instruction properly, it’s not a work of even an hour. But don’t try it alone. The unit heavy and you won’t be able to lift it alone and do it so breezily. Trust me.
You will need to attach the wheels to the axle, fix the legs, put on the bottom shelf and bolt everything tightly. Now you can roll the smoker in a standing position. After that, you can proceed with attaching the lid, the firebox, the grates, the chimney and the handles. You will find everything latches perfectly and the doors are sealed.
Because the grates and insides are porcelain coated, cleaning is not tough. You just have to wipe the insides with a non-abrasive cloth. Empty the ashtray and wash the fuel tray with water and let it air dry. Coating the surfaces with cooking oil will increase the life of your smoker.
What I Think
If you don’t need to cook so much and Longhorn is too big for you, then you can always go for the Highland Reverse Flow Smoker. It does all the good work and will be able to match your cooking quantity.
Starting out with heaters, this company has come a long way. The DGO1176BDC-D is a low-cost, good quality vertical offset smoker. It does it work commendably and offers a lot of cooking space. Is this good for you? Well, that only you can decide.
The 2-door vertical offset smoker is made of stainless steel which they say is heavy-duty and durable. But the steel is too thin and won’t hold up in cold weather. The walls are not all-weather, though it is powder coated. I would suggest putting on a high-temperature paint which will help maintain the heat inside. Also, when you are not cooking, keep it under the rust-proof cover. The smoker is of no use if it starts rusting. And it will. The metal is too thin to be durable.
It provides 784 square inches cooking space which is a lot according to me. It means you can cook up to 100 lbs. at a time. Not bad. Not bad at all!
The ignition is quick and it provides 15,000 BTUs. That is a good amount of heat to cook the meat nice and juicy. The re-fuelling process does not hamper the smoking of food and that is a must in a good smoker.
There is a thermometer on the door which I doubt is not much accurate. Also, both the doors will leak smoke after assembly. So, you will have to do something about it like gluing a gasket on both the doors or getting a high-temperature caulk.
How Does It Work?
Vertical smokers are very popular for their indirect heat and cook the meat perfectly. It uses the natural phenomena of the smoke to rise up in the best possible way. It lets it rise up. The smoke is created in the firebox and the smoke keeps rising from left to right and out of the chimney, thus cooking the meat in the process.
The 6 cooking grates will let you put in a lot of meat and you can occasionally turn it to get the perfect sear marks.
The smoker weighs around 70 pounds. It’s not too much but considering the quality of the metal, it is suggested you don’t move it around much.
Putting it Together
The assembly is not a big task if you follow the instructions properly. First, attach the legs so that you stand it up for attaching other parts. Now fix doors, handles, chimney and the cooking grates. You know the problem with doors as well as the solution. It is better to order them with the smoker itself.
Also, some users found the legs were bent when they received the grill. Because of the thin metal, it is an expected issue. Just hammer it to straighten the dents and bents.
You can clean the cooking grates with hot soapy water. But be sure to dry them completely and spray with cooking oil before storage. The inside and outside of the body should be wiped with a cloth. No water. The moisture can affect the performance of the smoker.
As it is it rusts, so you know. Beware!
What I Think
This vertical smoker can cook up a lot of food at a time. you can open a small restaurant of your own. But in my recommendation, don’t do it with this particular smoker. It is bound to pose problems for you.