If you are a beginner, then it is probably best for you to purchase an offset smoker. An offset smoker is best for beginners because they are easier to use and maintain than other types of smokers such as vertical water or bullet smokers (see my article on the 5 most common types of smokers).
Offset smokers cook food more evenly and with less attention than forward flow offset smokers. Although there is some learning curve with this type of smoker, it’s not too difficult to learn how to use an offset smoker and will help you make tasty meats in no time at all!
One thing people like about an Offset Smoker is that they allow for customizable heat control. The chamber where the fire box sits can be raised or lowered based on your desired cooking temperature.
Another great aspect of offset smokers is that they generally have an enclosed firebox, which provides efficient burning and lower emissions than fireboxes with partial enclosures or no enclosure at all.
Finally, finding a good deal on an offset smoker can be difficult, but there are actually many good deals to be found in the market right now. It’s important to know what you’re looking for before you go shopping so you can get the best deal possible!
Is pellet smoker better than offset smoker?
Certainly, this question is considered by every barbecue enthusiast. And the answer to it isn’t so simple. Each type of smoker has its pluses and minuses. Before buying a smoker you should understand what are the strengths and weaknesses of each variant.
This type, in general, is more capacious than pellet smokers. It uses charcoal or wood for fuel so it doesn’t require charging with pellets thus giving more freedom when choosing what wood to smoke meat with (apple, maple).
Offset models also need less attention when smoking because heat control system makes them self-regulated – they have a built-in thermometer which controls temperature inside the chamber so there’s no need to constantly how things going inside the grill. Because of this, all you need to do is check the fuel once in a while because when the heat drops below required level it automatically adds more charcoal or wood through an electric feeder.
What’s also important is that offset models are relatively cheap because the construction of them isn’t so sophisticated which makes them easier to service when something goes wrong.
The only real disadvantage of this smoker is its relative small size compared with offsets. Though it has smaller cooking chamber dimensions pellet grills are still much bigger than other types of smokers including offsets because their design requires creation of a special container for pellets which stores them and at the same time controls airflow between them so it doesn’t cause any problems with regulation system.
To solve this problem manufacturers created multi-level grills which solve the space issue because of their two levels of cooking chamber. There’s also another advantage in pellet smokers – you can control temperature precisely to a degree using built-in thermometer and programmable smoker which calculates required temperature based on what type of meat is being cooked, its weight and thickness. In addition, pellet smoker heats up very quickly so that any barbecue enthusiast won’t have to wait for hours just to start cooking.
It may seem that pellet grills are better than offsets because they have more advantages but it isn’t so. Offsets have a lot more pros than disadvantages while pellets have only benefits without any cons. So the between these two options lies with every person who wants to buy smoker. Which one will be better depends on personal preferences, available funds and cooking skills.
Talking about the price of this type of grills it may surprise you that pellet smokers are much more expensive than offsets because according to some sources the average cost of them varies from $800 up to $1,400 while offsets can be bought for around $300-$500 which is a big difference in price.
We’ve done our best to describe pros and cons of both variants so each person would understand what they are going for when buying a barbecue grill. It is important to mention that you shouldn’t hurry with purchase – consider carefully what kind of smoker do you need taking into account your experience in meat smoking as well as available funds. Don’t forget that great barbecue doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive and even if you choose the most expensive option it doesn’t mean that your grilling skills will improve.
Barbecue is one of the oldest methods for cooking meat which became popular all over the world because of its simplicity, low costs and great results. And no matter what kind of smoker are you going to choose in the end there’s one important tip everyone should remember – always marinate meat before smoking so it absorbs flavor better and becomes more juicy when done. So which variant you’ll choose in the end? Is pellet smoker better than offset smoker? The truth is up to you!
Offset Smoker Reviews
Before you look for a smoker, it is important to know what your cooking needs are. This is vital because you will need to purchase the best offset smoker for beginners depending on what type of food you want to cook and how much space you have available in your back yard or patio.
After all, if you go ahead and buy a huge offset smoker without planning accordingly, there will be nowhere for it to go other than outside taking up room which could have been better used for a garden or feeding those hungry dinner guests!
So before rushing out and buying the first smoker that looks good enough for your requirements, keep reading as we show you some great advice from our team of experts about what makes the best offset smoker.
The following article contains useful information which will help you to create the best backyard oasis that your family deserves.
Choosing Your Offset Smoker Grill
There are many different styles of offset smoker on the market today, some with very unique features. To find out what is right for your needs, it’s important to know about each type of grill and all of their benefits & drawbacks before making a final decision.
The three most popular types of charcoal offset smokers are classified by the way in which they cook food, more precisely how smoke flavors are brought to the meat within them. They are often known as ‘Pit Barrel Cookers’, ‘Drum Smokers’ or more commonly ‘Offset Smokers’. The first two styles were invented decades ago, while the latter style was developed within the last 50 years.
Each of these styles of smoker have three main components, being a firebox, cooking chamber and charcoal/ wood chip pan. They are referred to as ‘offset’ smokers because the firebox is off to one side so that it can be heated on one side whilst meat is placed in the smoking chamber which is slightly lower than on the other side. That way when you place your coals into the firebox they will fall down into the smoking chamber by themselves due to gravity with no further need for tending!
Pit Barrel Cooker
The Pit Barrel Cooker uses an offset method with a barrel-like shape (hence its name). The barrel’s exterior is made from sticks that are placed diagonally across each other and then held in place with ropes. Its interior is lined with metal sheets with a damper near the bottom to regulate airflow. This type of cooker can be used for smoking, roasting and even baking.
The cooking chamber at the top is where the meat will go before it is wrapped tightly in aluminum foil with some liquid or seasonings added to make sure it is moist and juicy. It has an opening on one side which allows you to insert your smoke wood (wood chips, chunks etc.) and another opening towards the bottom where you put your coals. Make sure to place water in the pan below or around your meat while it cooks/ smokes to ensure food doesn’t dry out.
The pit barrel cooker is a movable cooker, which is easy to transport from place to place, and doesn’t require a lot of space for storage purposes. It can be used as your main cooking source or even during camping trips with family & friends! Another benefit of this type of smoker is that you don’t need to tend the fire every few minutes as the design does most of it for you.
A more modern version on this traditional offset grill is the Drum Smoker . This version has been around since the 1950’s and comes in many different sizes and shapes. A popular model is one with two drums joined together by a wall which has adjustable dampers so that airflow can be regulated easily.
Although the drum smoker is not that much different to the pit barrel cooker, there are two main differences which you need to be aware of when cooking your food. The first difference is in how it regulates airflow; with a pit barrel cooker, you pull air from beneath the grill, while with drum smokers you pull air through tiny holes in the upper chamber wall and also by adding dampers above where you place your coals. The other difference is that instead of having one heat source for both sides of the cooking area, this style has two separate heat sources so that one side can have more heat than the other depending on whether or not it’s needed.
The advantage of using a drum smoker over the traditional pit barrel cooker is that you get less ash in your food. The disadvantage is that the size of this smoker means it won’t be as mobile as a pit barrel cooker and will require more space for storage.
The last style is a much newer addition to offset smokers, which was designed by Joe Traeger over 50 years ago. It has an offset firebox which allows you to position one end higher than the other. This gives you better control over how much heat is added to the smoke chamber from different sides, depending on what type of food you are smoking. You can also use this smoker as a grill or oven, as well as it being highly transportable if needed!
Like with drum smokers one side uses a heat source which is separate from the other to allow you to regulate the heat more easily. You can use this smoker as a traditional offset smoker with coals in one end and wood smoke coming out of the other, or you can have a lower temperature on just one side which allows for smoking at a much longer period without constant checking and heat adjustments.
If possible it is best to position your coals on one side with either water or meat placed on the other area so that the food absorbs some of the flavor from the wood. That way you will get some delicious smoked flavors added as well as some direct fire grilling! Along with some pros and cons of each style, we also provide what we consider to be some top 10 offset smokers currently available today!
1. Landmann USA 28-Inch Black Smoker With the first smoker on our list being a traditional offset smoker, this one is made by Landmann USA who are known for making high quality grills & smokers which are both functional and also aesthetically pleasing! With four adjustable cooking heights up to 633 square inches of space to cook on, you have plenty of room here for large meats or even small turkeys during Thanksgiving season!
The firebox provides direct heat towards side 1 which can be used for grilling or searing. There is also an included water pan so that your food stays moist as it smokes. The meat rack on this unit is fully suspended with rods which makes hanging large cuts of meat easy to do efficiently. This is a more traditional style smoker which is best suited towards people who want to add their own flavors and seasonings instead of using the more modern pellet burner type smokers.
2. Camp Chef SMV24 2-in-1 Offset Smoker One of the main downsides to using a drum smoker such as we mentioned earlier in this article compared to an offset, is that they can be quite difficult to transport – well with this smoker by Camp Chef you get some extra features thrown into the deal which makes it ideal for both portability and smoking! The first thing you will notice when looking at this unit is that it resembles a barrel or drum on its side, but what you don’t see from outside is all of the technology which is stored behind the scenes!
As you open it up, everything slides out to make using this smoker as easy as possible. This includes a gas burner on one side of the drum with its own controls. On the other side of the drum is an electric heating element which helps control the heat while also helping with cooking times since you can use both at once if needed. There are also some excellent mesh grates for hanging meat, making it easy to pull off that delicious smoked meal without having to constantly watch your food or grab forks/knives/spoons!
3. Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24 With so many smokers available on the market today, sometimes all you really need is something simple and straightforward – especially if you are just looking for a smoker to get started with and not quite ready to invest in the more expensive models just yet. That is exactly what you get here from Camp Chef, their entry level offset smoker which is both functional and affordable!
Weighing around 60 pounds this unit has everything you need for smoking meats such as ribs, sausages and even chickens – but of course if you wanted to cook a turkey on it, by all means go ahead! The heat tray at the bottom helps you control your heat easily without having to lift up the lid or fiddle with any dampers or controls. This one doesn’t have a handle at the top so during transportation may be a little harder due to its size, but if you are looking for an inexpensive offset smoker this one comes highly recommended.
4. Landmann USA Smokey Mountain Cooker If you want to get into offset smokers and also master the art of smoking meats such as ribs or even pork shoulder, then we suggest you look no further than this model by Landmann USA! Even though it is a more affordable smoker compared to other models on our list, don’t be fooled because this thing will wow people with its performance and capacity! This unit can cook up to 100 pounds at once (although the upper racks are not included) which means around 30 racks of ribs or 8 whole turkeys can be cooked at once! The main cooking area has adjustable height settings up to 635 square inches and an additional 105 square inch warming rack above.
The firebox has its own cooking grate so if you are looking to cook other types of meat, vegetables or even bread then go right ahead! It is heated by charcoal but the great thing about this smoker is that it has a large ash pan underneath which makes cleaning up after each use super easy. The three dampers on the side allow you to control the heat very easily and ensure your food cooks evenly throughout. This unit comes with limited warranty from Landmann USA which cover manufacturing defects for 5 years.
5. DYNAPOL Dyna-Glo DGB390SNP-D Heavy-duty Offset Firebox Smoker What exactly does “heavy duty” mean? Well in terms of this offset smoker by Dyna-Glo, it means that it comes with the same technology as the more expensive models available out there but at a fraction of the price!
It also doesn’t mean you have to be an expert smoker in order to use this unit because it has everything you need to get started right away which includes front and side handles for easy transportation. With dimensions of 40 x 24 x 19 inches this unit is definitely on the larger side so make sure you check its measurements if you are looking for something smaller! This particular model by Dyna-Glo can cook around 20 pounds of meat at once which is perfect if you want to prepare some food for your family or friends – just don’t forget about them! The main cooking area has adjustable heights up to 705 square inches and features a heat shield to protect your hands.
The firebox has its own adjustable heat shield as well plus some additional racks too so you are able to cook more food at once if needed. Overall this is an excellent choice for beginners or those who are looking to buy their first offset smoker without investing too much money on it!
6. Char-Broil Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker If you are on the market for something that looks great, cooks exceptionally well and also comes with a reasonable price tag then look no further than this model by Char-Broil! It doesn’t matter if you want to smoke ribs, chicken, turkey – whatever meat you want really – because this can do it all! The unit itself is very durable and features high grade steel construction which will last for a long time to come.
The cooking area has measurements of 440 square inches so you can cook up to 20 racks of ribs or a whole pig at once! It also comes with a chimney starter which makes it way easier to start your fire so all you need is some charcoal and wood chips. This Char-Broil model comes with a lid mounted temperature gauge that will help you monitor the cooking process from afar without having to open the main door. The two side handles make it easy for transportation plus get this – if you want to smoke vertically then just remove the legs from this smoker and get ready for an awesome experience!
7. Napoleon LEX 644 Grill and Offset Smoker Hybrid Do you want a smoker that looks like it comes from the future? If so, this model by Napoleon LEX 644 is exactly what you need! It features a unique grill and offset design which adds to the already sleek exterior of this unit. The cooking area has measurements of 424 square inches and can cook up to 34 grilled burgers at once!
The whole grilling surface comes with various heat zones such as extremely hot zones (for searing), medium ones (for cooking) and not-so-hot areas (for warming your buns). You will never have cold buns ever again when you use this Napoleon LEX. This particular smoker comes with a very sturdy side table so you can easily transport all your food ingredients. Plus, if you are looking for something even more convenient then take a look at the front shelf which is perfect for holding plates and other supplies you might need during the cooking process.
8. Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker The good thing about this model by Char-Broil is that it has three adjustable height positions in order to match up with pretty much any grill height out there! Meaning, if you already own one of those fancy grills then all you have to do is place this vertical offset smoker on top of it and start cooking.
The unit itself measures 52 x 24 x 34 inches (LxWxH) so keep this in when checking its measurements because it is definitely on the larger side. The cooking area itself has measurements of 584 square inches and features an offset firebox which provides even heat distribution throughout the whole cooking chamber. This particular model by Char-Broil comes with a heavy duty steel construction which makes it extremely durable to use over time plus, it also comes equipped with two handles so you can transport this smoker anywhere you like.
9. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker If you are looking for something that will allow you to smoke large amounts of food at once then look no further than this model by Dyna-Glo! It features dimensions of 37 x 24 x 19 inches (LxWxH) so it is definitely on the larger side of things. The cooking area has measurements of 635 square inches and you can easily fit up to 58 burger patties inside it at once!
Similar to other high-quality models, this Dyna-Glo unit features an offset firebox which provides better heat distribution throughout the whole cooking chamber. This means that meat will never get cold spots while smoking and also be more evenly cooked in general. Plus, the stove itself comes with a crumb tray and adjustable air vents (for temperature control) so it is even easier for you to monitor the smoking process from afar. On top of all this, this smoker by Dyna-Glo comes with a solid steel which makes it extremely durable plus, it also comes equipped with two side handles so you can place it on top of any grill surface and start using it instantly.
10. Landmann USA Smoky Mountain Vertical Propane Offset Smoker Do you want the best propane smoker out there? Well, this particular model by Landmann features a stove top design which adds to its overall durability plus, one thing we really like about this unit is that it allows for natural wood smoke flavor production without all those chemicals! It has dimensions of 18 x 20 x 31 (LxWxH) and weighs around 77 pounds.
The whole cooking area has measurements of 356 square inches and come complete with a removable wood chip pan as well as heat-resistant glass windows on each door side. Plus, the stove is made out of a very sturdy steel construction and comes with adjustable air vents (for temperature control) so you can easily monitor the cooking process from afar. On top of that, you get to use its three doors for better access when placing food inside or taking it out!