If you don’t have much time and just want to find out what the best offset smoker is, then I recommend the Dyna-Glo Signature Series as the best one.
Offset smokers are a great way to get amazing flavors. But while there are plenty of excellent smokers available at very affordable prices, there are also quite a few bad ones.
With so many different models on the market, it’s important to know what you’re buying. That’s why I’ve created this useful guide for the best offset smokers. So, let’s delve a little deeper and find the best offset smoker grill for you.
What Is an Offset Smoker?
An offset smoker has a large central chamber where you cook your food, with a smaller firebox on the side. This firebox is where wood or charcoal is burned.
When the wood or charcoal is burned in the firebox, heat and smoke are created. This passes through to the central chamber, cooking and flavoring the food.
This form of indirect cooking means your food cooks slowly and carefully, giving an unbelievable depth of flavor.
What to Look for in an Offset Smoker?
An offset smoker is a thing of beauty! Every pit master will be stoked to own one of these things. They embody the primal pleasure of outdoor cooking and, when used right, produce food that tastes incredible.
Much like any piece of equipment, you’ll need to bear a few things in mind when choosing the right one for you.
Let’s take a look at the key features of offset smokers.
Price & Build Quality
Prices for offset smokers can vary quite a lot. They start at a little over $100 and can cost well over $1,000. Obviously, the cheaper ones aren’t built with heavy-duty materials and won’t last as long. But you can definitely pick up an affordable smoker that’ll work wonders.
At the upper end of the price spectrum, you can find some incredible smokers built like high-performance machines. They’ll certainly set you back, but for those willing to splash out they may well be worth it.
Regular Flow or Reverse Flow Smoker?
In a regular flow offset smoker, heat and smoke are drawn into the central chamber. This heats and flavors the meat, before making its way up and out of the chimney.
Reverse flow smokers use what’s called a ‘baffle system.’ This is where heat and smoke are drawn under the chamber before it’s pulled back over the meat. Then it leaves the chamber through a chimney on the same side as the firebox. With reverse flow, the meat is heated and smoked twice. Lots of people say this gives you more tender and flavorful meat.
Most offset smokers come with a horizontal cooking chamber and a firebox on the side. This means you usually have one main rack for food, with a smaller warming shelf above. It’s a simple design that works well and gives a nice even distribution of smoke. You get limited space though.
Vertical offset smokers are able to cook a lot more food. They can fit many cooking racks into the central chamber and take advantage of rising heat, giving you a nice even cook. They can be a bit clunky and difficult to maneuver. Which brings me to the next point…
For many people, this is really important. If you’re looking for a smoker that you can shift around the backyard with ease, a big, heavy, super expensive one is not going to do the job. Luckily many good smokers have big sturdy wheels for easy transportation.
Offset Smoker Reviews
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker
This smoker has space! An impressive 1,176 square inches of cooking space in fact. This includes 784 square inches of total smoking area – plenty of room to smoke some amazing food.
It’s all about the upright design. A vertical cabinet makes the most of the naturally rising heat. With this type of smoker, you can stack up to six height-adjustable cooking grates. This gives you a lot more space to fit different types of food. It also leads to a more efficient smoker, bringing an even cook and better smoky flavor to your food.
The steel construction is a bit thin, though. The gaps between the seals are a problem too. I recommend using some high heat silicone to seal all the gaps. This will make all the difference when it comes to heat and smoke retention.
All in all, this is a quality all-round smoker. It comes in an extra-wide version for a little extra cost. The Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D is more expensive than most of the other smokers on this list. If you’re looking for a lot of cooking space though, it’s worth paying a bit more.
- Lots of space: the vertical design means that as well as extra smoky flavor, you’ll get a ton of smoking space.
- Even cooking: the vertical design also means the smoke will be evenly distributed.
- Adjustable racks: make detailed height adjustments to each rack, for extra control when smoking.
- Easy assembly: this smoker is nice and easy to put together.
- Inaccurate temperature gauge: the built-in thermometer isn’t that great. I’d recommend investing in a better one.
- Poor mobility: with no wheels, this smoker isn’t the easiest to move around the backyard.
- Poor sealing: a few too many gaps mean smoke leaks out too easily. Use high heat silicone to seal gaps.
Char-Broil 12201570-A1 American Gourmet Offset Smoker
A big name on the BBQ scene, you know you’re getting value for money with Char-Broil. And when it comes to budget smokers, this smoker is as good as it gets.
It’s a little on the small side, but you’d expect that at this price point. 290 square inches of cooking space in the main chamber and 140 in the firebox chamber is plenty for a small family barbecue. But you’d struggle to smoke food for a big party with this smoker. Much like a lot of budget smokers, it also has poor sealing. Be sure to seal the gaps with some high heat silicone.
This smoker is very mobile. It comes with two big wheels, meaning you can easily move it around your backyard. It’s a little on the light side, which is good for mobility. But the lightweight build also means it probably won’t last as long as it should. Still, for those on a budget, it does the job nicely. And at a very affordable price too.
So, while it’s not going to cut it for a BBQ pro, the Char-Broil 12201570-A1 makes a great entry-level smoker.
- Good price: this is one of the most affordable quality smokers on the market.
- Big-name brand: Char-broil is a known brand, giving you extra peace of mind.
- Good mobility: this smoker is light and has two big sturdy wheels, meaning you’ll be able to move it around without a problem.
- Small cooking space: with only 430 square inches of cooking space, you won’t have a massive amount of space to play with.
- Lightweight build: the construction quality reflects the price. It feels a little flimsy and seems like it wouldn’t stand the test of time.
- Poor sealing: a few too many gaps means lots of leakages. Use high heat silicone to seal gaps.
Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker, Black
Another budget smoker that offers excellent value for money, the Royal Gourmet CC1830F is a great choice if you’re new to the world of smoking. Easy assembly makes it a breeze to get started. It also has a total of almost 800 square inches of cooking surface. This is spaced out over 438 square inches in the main chamber, 179 square inches on the warming rack, and 183 square inches in the offset smoker.
There’s a bit too much leakage going on, though. Again, I recommend using high heat silicone to seal all the gaps. Adding a high heat BBQ smoker gasket would be another good idea.
Where the Royal Gourmet CC1830F really shines is its simplicity (very easy to assemble) and its mobility (two big sturdy wheels). And of course, the price.
- Decent cooking space: for the price, this smoker has a lot of room.
- Very affordable: one of the cheapest smokers on the market, you certainly get a lot of value for money with this smoker.
- Good mobility: two big sturdy wheels make the Royal Gourmet CC1830F very easy to move around.
- Easy assembly: you’ll have no headaches putting this smoker together.
- Lightweight construction: this smoker is made with lightweight materials. It can sometimes feel a little flimsy, but at this price, that’s to be expected.
- Poor sealing: smoke sometimes escapes between the seals. Use high heat silicone to seal the gaps. Also, think about buying a high heat gasket.
Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill
This smoker is a beast! If you’re looking for a heavy-duty smoker grill with huge cooking space, but don’t want to break the bank, this could be the one for you. There’s a total cooking space of 1,382 square inches – enough for a BBQ banquet! All this space is set out in an upright chamber. This produces an even cook and a great smoky flavor throughout.
For a big smoker, it’s really easy to move about. The steel wheels are huge, which really helps when it comes to shifting this big beauty around the backyard. It’s very well constructed too. Heavy-gauge steel body construction makes it feel like a proper piece of BBQ kit.
The racks can be tricky to move. You can’t remove them individually. Instead, you have to start at the bottom and go from there. This can be a bit annoying if you’re in the middle of smoking. Also, this smoker lacks a good ash-clearance system. The vertical design on the smoker makes clearing ash a bit of a problem.
It’s got a couple of nifty little design features, though. Pre-installed sausage hooks give you extra flexibility and cool-touch spring handles give you safe access to your food. Still, invest in some heat-resistant grill gloves for proper peace of mind.
- Massive cooking space: with a total cooking space of 1,382 square inches, this smoker has plenty of room.
- Even flavored cooking: upright smokers give you a much more even cook, with the smoker getting a chance to infuse every piece of food.
- Heavy-duty build: this one feels like it was built to last. Heavy-gauge steel body construction makes this a smoker that will certainly last a long time.
- Good mobility: for a smoker of this size, it’s got great mobility.
- Racks difficult to move: you have to remove the racks one by one from the bottom. This can be a problem, especially if you want to make adjustments while your food is smoking.
- Ashes can be hard to clear: with this kind of design, a better ash-clearance system would make cleaning up a lot easier.
KBQ C-60 BBQ Smoker Pit
This smoker pit takes things to another level. It runs on small logs rather than charcoal, producing a beautiful flavor that sets it apart from other smokers. The price also sets it apart. This stick burner smoker is by far the most expensive smoker on the list.
Looks-wise, this thing resembles something out of a lab. Laser-cut, stainless steel construction means this is a smoker that’s built to last.
It’s definitely not for the casual backyard cook. You’ll need to sort out a wood supply before you buy it and they’re not easy to come by. Also, the firebox uses a semi-open flame and needs regular tending. So, it’s not the kind of smoker you can leave to do its thing. You need to get into pit master mode, every 30 minutes or so.
It’s worth mentioning that this smoker gets really hot. It’s a big fire pit, so it needs a suitable setting. Don’t use it in a place where you wouldn’t want to start a small campfire – a wooden deck or a houseboat for example. Also, it’s not safe for use in very windy or very dry weather.
Still, if you’ve got the right setup and are serious about smoking, this wood-burning smoker will produce some amazing results.
- Lots of cooking space: 12 cooking racks and a capacity of 60lbs give you plenty of space to smoke lots of food.
- Authentic experience: if you’re the kind of cook who likes things old school, this could be the smoker for you.
- Amazing flavors: the fact that it uses real wood means that you’ll get an authentic smoky flavor.
- Very sturdy build: a lot of thought has been put into the construction of this smoker. There’s no doubt it’ll last you a long time.
- Automatic temperature control: Inverted Flame™ firebox technology means you don’t have to keep an eye on your food. It’ll smoke to perfection every time.
- Very pricey: those looking to get into smoking food will be put off by the hefty price tag.
- Clinical looks: you’d be forgiven for thinking this thing will send your meat to the future rather than smoke it to perfection. Some primal pitmasters may be put off by the high-science styling.
- Requires hands-on barbecuing: this is definitely a smoker for proper barbecue enthusiasts. You’ll have to tend to it every 30 minutes or so, adding wood logs and setting coals.
All of these smokers bring different qualities. Which one you choose depends on what you’re looking for in a smoker.
For me, there’s an overall winner. The Dyna-Glo Signature Series is a great all-rounder. It’s well-built, not too expensive, produces a great flavor and, for a heavy-duty smoker, it’s very easy to move around.