Best Offset Smoker Reviews of 2020
Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
Best vertical offset smoker
A smoker-grill combo designed for large parties and unrivaled versatility.
1 Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Review
When you throw big backyard parties and need an awesome offset smoker to impress your guests, you can’t go wrong with the Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D. This is the best offset smoker you can get if you want to both smoke and grill a lot of flavorful meat.
You’ll get 1,382 square inches of smoking space, pre-installed sausage hooks, and five chrome-plated offset cooking grates for maximum searing and perfect slow cooking.
When hungry crowds can’t make it anymore, or you just want to barbecue delicious burgers, you’ll only have to tame the flame and enjoy the 284 square inches of the attached grill zone.
A stainless steel temperature gauge with smoke zone and grill zone indicators deliver more control, letting you know when you’ve reached the right temp for infusing your meat with smoke flavor.
Other nice perks include oversized wheels for mobility, easy maintenance and cleaning, and the possibility to pair it with a cover to keep it protected from elements.
Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
Best cabinet offset smoker
A truly impressive cooking surface helps you feed big groups or the whole family.
2 Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D Review
If you couldn’t care less about a grill but want a really big smoker, the Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D could be just perfect.
It boasts an outstanding cooking area of 1,890 square inches and comes with six height-adjustable cooking grates designed to accommodate different types and size of food. Whether you want to smoke some ribs or make delicious beef jerky, it’s all possible thanks to the precise temperature control given by the adjustable flue.
This smoker also includes a charcoal chamber, charcoal grate, and removable ash pan, for easy cleaning and fuel management.
Designed to smoke your meat to perfection and greatly priced for its size, this offset smoker truly knows how to deliver exceptional value for money.
Char-Broil Deluxe Offset Smoker
Best horizontal offset smoker
Smaller but mighty offset smoker has a traditional grill design and double functionality.
3 Char-Broil Deluxe Review
Ideal for most homeowners who value versatility, this horizontal offset smoker doubles as a backyard grill. It has a generous cooking area of 739 square inches as a primary surface, and an additional 275 square inches in the secondary cooking surface.
Porcelain-coated cooking grates are really easy to clean and maintain, and the smoker even comes with three charcoal grates that allow you to use both the main and the secondary compartment to barbecue rather than slow cook your meat.
We like its three-piece smoking chamber that enhances temperature control and eliminates air loss. Furthermore, the firebox features an easy-cleaning ash drawer.
Besides versatile cooking, this offset smoker also has plenty of storage space and a generous front shelf. It is ideal for all your cooking needs and even fits seamlessly in your backyard or porch.
Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker
Best budget offset smoker
Compact and inexpensive offset smoker ideal for small families or anyone else shopping on a budget.
4 Royal Gourmet CC1830F Review
Small but versatile, the Royal Gourmet CC1830F is the last offset smoker on this list and also the least expensive. It has the right size to fit seamlessly in a tiny backyard, yet it boasts a generous cooking surface.
The main chamber can hold around 20 burgers thanks to its 438 square inches, while the chrome warming rack provides an additional space of 179 square inches.
This combination offset smoker will let you cook many delicious meals, whether you want to smoke or grill meat. It comes with a professional thermometer, heavy-duty lid, and a cool-touch spring handle that will make handling a breeze.
It also has a big charcoal pan that can hold 5 pounds of charcoal at once and a steel mesh front table and bottom shelf that provide working and storage space; all at a more than competitive price.
Types of offset smokers
If you’re scouring the market in search of the best offset smoker, the first thing to decide is what type you want. You can essentially choose from:
- Traditional offset smoker: Consists of a firebox and an attached cooking chamber. Heat is transferred from the firebox to the cooking chamber directly, meaning that the side of the cooking chamber that is closer to the firebox is hotter than the rest of the cooking space. These models are the cheapest, but you will have to rotate meat constantly to ensure even cooking.
- Reverse flow offset smoker: Is very similar to the traditional one from an aesthetic point of view, but it utilizes technologies that prevent one side of the cooking chamber to overheat, by providing indirect heat. It also circulates the air inside the cooking chamber, ensuring not only better cooking but also producing more flavorful smoked meats.
- Offset smoker grill: This combo offset smoker allows you to either smoke or grill meat, depending on the temperature you set. Most models have separate cooking areas, although some of them allow you to use the main cooking surface for both grilling and smoking. They are ideal for homeowners who have little space but want to enjoy the benefits of both types of equipment.
Offset smoker styles
Another thing you have to decide, besides the actual type, is what style of offset smoker you want. This equipment comes in three styles:
- Vertical offset smokers: Usually have a cylinder cooking chamber, although there are also models with rectangular vertical chambers. Due to the disposition of the cooking racks on tiers, these smokers have a smaller footprint than the other two styles.
- Cabinet offset smokers: Perhaps the most popular, these offset smokers offer the most generous cooking surfaces. They also have cooking grates positioned on various levels, but the wider rectangular shape maximizes capacity. At the same time, they have a fairly compact footprint.
- Horizontal offset smokers: Looking like traditional backyard grills, horizontal offset smokers usually have only one cooking level, which means less cooking space. They also have the largest footprint; however, these smokers usually double as grills and are very popular.
Which offset smoker is the right one for me?
What type and style work best for you will ultimately depend on your purpose and available space.
If you already have a grill, a reverse flow offset smoker, either vertical or cabinet style, will bring the most benefits due to its smaller footprint and large cooking surface. The vertical style is also ideal if you want to smoke sausages, ribs, or whole pigs.
If you don’t have a grill already and want to save some bucks, a combo offset smoker is a wise choice.
Regardless of what type or style you like, we recommend to steer clear from the traditional offset smokers. They are cheap, but you’ll have to rotate the meat constantly to ensure even cooking. Depending on how often and how much meat you smoke, this task could be daunting.
A crucial thing to check before buying any offset smoker is the build quality. One thing you want to minimize as much as possible is heat loss through thin walls; it is recommended to invest in a heavy-duty offset smoker made of at least ¼-inch steel.
Also, check the paint, and ideally test it immediately after buying, heating up the smoker at maximum temperature. Poor quality paint that chips off will leave the metal exposed, which could soon translate into a rusted smoker.
Besides, you should also check the overall build quality, including the quality of the joints, wheels, and handles.
Smoker cooking grates
Special consideration goes to the cooking grates. You can usually choose from chromed and porcelain-plated.
- Chromed grates: Are thinner than porcelain and ensure a faster distribution of heat. They are also resistant and fairly easy to clean, but meat may tend to stick on them. Also, the heat distribution may be fast, but this doesn’t mean it’s even.
- Porcelain-plated grates: Are usually made of cast iron or steel coated in a thin layer of porcelain. They may heat up slowly but provide a better heat distribution. Their non-stick surface is also easier to clean and maintain.
Offset smoker temperature control
Perhaps the best thing about offset smokers – and charcoal or wood smokers in general – is the possibility to reach whatever temperature you want. However, since the offset smoker is different than an electric smoker or propane smoker, two appliances to which we have dedicated separate guides, you will have to learn how to control the temperature effectively.
The way to control temperature is by controlling the quantity of fuel (wood or charcoal) and the inlet air vents. As a general rule:
- You should open the inlet vents or add more fuel to increase the temperature.
- You should close the inlet vents or prevent adding more fuel to decrease the temperature.
Offset smoker recipes & temperatures
Knowing how to control the temperature is essential because not all meats need the same temperature. Thinking about some of the most popular offset smoker recipes, you will need about:
150°F / 65°C
275°F / 135°C
300°F / 150°C
225°F / 105°C
250°F / 120°C
Other features to look for
If you want to enjoy your offset smoker to the fullest, there are a few other features you might want to check before buying.
- Offset smoker accessories: Some offset smoker accessories to consider are additional charcoal grills, pans, or trays. An offset smoker cover is another nice thing to have, protecting your appliance from elements when not in use.
- Automatic temperature control: Lets you control the air inlet vent via an app, from the comfort of your home. If your smoker doesn’t come with connectivity features, know that there are separate automatic temperature controllers you can install.
- Storage space: A storage shelf for your charcoal or wood chips and a pre-cooking shelf can undoubtedly enhance your cooking experience. Some smokers also come with hooks for your cooking accessories.
- Mobility: If you want to move your smoker easily from one place to another, look for units with wheels or carry handles.
How to use an offset smoker
Using an offset smoker is similar to using a charcoal grill up to an extent, although you will have to pay more attention to temperature control. Furthermore, there are a few steps you should take before cooking for the first time.
Step 1: Season your smoker
This essential step helps you get rid of potentially harmful substances emanated by the paint and will also build a protective layer on the smoker’s surface. Seasoning an offset smoker is quite easy too. Just rub the inside of the cooking chamber with vegetable oil, build a fire, and let it burn for about two hours at about 350°F.
Step 2: Start the fire
Starting an offset smoker can be done in many ways, but there is a great method you can use to make the fire last longer and control the temperature easier.
- Fill half of the smoker’s firebox with unlit charcoals, piling them on one side.
- Start a fire in a chimney starter using either briquettes or lump coal. If you want to start the fire easier, use some wax or other natural fire starters, but stay away from lighter fluids to prevent potentially harmful fumes from ending up in your meat.
- Add the lit charcoal to the other side of the firebox. As they burn, they will slowly start to light up the unlit charcoals; you won’t have to add more fuel for a few hours, and a smaller fire will make it easier for you to control heat.
Step 3: Clean your smoker
After you have smoked the meat following your recipe, it is essential to let the offset smoker cool off and clean it immediately. Most offset smokers come with removable ashtrays that are easy to clean. Also, scrub off any residues from the grates and wash them with water. Once dry, rub them with vegetable oil. If you can’t store the smoker indoors, invest in a good cover for outdoor storage to protect it from elements.
Offset smoker mods
While many DIYers consider building an offset smoker themselves instead of buying one, not everyone has the time or talent for such an enterprise. However, if you still want to add a personal touch, you can make some offset smoker modifications.
- For instance, if you have a traditional offset smoker, you can add tuning plates at the bottom of the pit to even the heat in your cooking chamber.
- Cleaning the firebox could be overwhelming, but you can build a charcoal basket for quicker removal of the burning coals.
- Most offset smokers come with pretty basic wheels that could be hard to push on uneven terrains. However, you can change them with pneumatic wheels for all-terrain versatility.
If these simple offset smoker mods don’t satisfy you, know that there are many offset smoker plans and tutorials that teach you how to build an offset smoker or how to make more complex modifications.
Best Offset Smoker for the Money
Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal SmokerBest cabinet offset smoker
A truly impressive cooking surface helps you feed big groups or the whole family.