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An offset smoker is probably what most people think of when they hear “smoker”. Two chambers, one for meat, the other for charcoal and wood, big appliance in a backyard – it’s what you first think of, no?
It’s one of those things that look like a beast, and next to it, you look like a barbeque king or queen.
A beast usually costs a pretty penny, too. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. In fact, let’s take a look at five smokers that are quite a machine and yet these offset smokers can fit a budget of $1000.
Here’s a classic smoker for a Texas-style barbecue. The guys at Oklahoma Joe’s say their smokers are tough and made to last, and after testing one out we totally agree!
This smoker offers a lot of smoking space, 1,060 square inches to be exact. The primary cooking space takes up 751 square inches, and the offset firebox has another 309 sq. in. That’s enough for just about anything you want to cook.
This guy is pretty heavy, too. The unit weighs 226 pounds, so you probably shouldn’t move this thing around the backyard by yourself, even though it has wheels and a handle for portability.
As the name suggests, this is a reverse flow smoker. It comes with four baffles that serve to distribute the smoke and heat through the smoking chamber. What this does is that it cooks your meat evenly while also protecting it from direct heat exposure. The baffles are locked under porcelain-plated wire grates, but are removable if you wish to direct the heat yourself.
The offset firebox comes with a large charcoal basket, which makes the clean up much easier. Furthermore, the firebox has a side swing-open door, that allows you to stir the fire without opening the chamber lid and thus interfering with the inside temperature. It also has multiple dampers, which help in adjusting the heat. Furthermore, the lid has a built-in temperature gauge that helps you monitor the smoking temp.
Longhorn Reverse Flow comes with two shelves, front and bottom, that offer you plenty of space for cooking utensils, food that’s about to be placed inside, or charcoal and wood.
This Broil King smoker offers a total of 955 square inches of cooking space. Just the primary smoking area consists of 625 square inches, which is probably enough for a backyard party in itself. With the body made out of steel and a beautiful powder coat finish, the smoker is also sturdy and long-lasting.
The smoker comes with adjustable cast iron grids. What’s special about them is that they’re reversible. One side is pointed, which allows you to get the perfect sear marks on your meat, while the other side is carved which is perfect for capturing juices.
The Roto-Draft damper technology gives you complete control over the heat. The large cooking chamber has two, easy-access charcoal trays, while the smaller chamber has charcoal grids, along with a removable ash tray, which is accessible through the side door. Like most smokers, this one comes with a built-in thermometer with a probe that reaches deep inside the cooking chamber, for a precise temperature monitoring.
The front shelf has more than enough space for preparing the food before smoking. It also has 4 tool hooks on its sides, which allow you to attach your grill tongs, spatula or any other cooking utensil. There’s one more neat feature this smoker has – a bottle opener. Manufacturers are well aware that, when smoking, tongs go in one hand, and a beer in another.
Another neat thing is that this smoker comes with a lengthy, 5-year warranty on the cook box, and a 2-year warranty on remaining parts and paint. This is longer than most smokers offer.
This signature series Vertical smoker from Dyna-Glo comes with insane 1382 square inches of cooking area. Making a barbeque party in your backyard? This guy has got you covered.
The smoker’s body is made out of heavy-gauge steel and weighs around 124 lbs. That’s not too much considering the size of the smoker, and with two big steel wheels and a side handle, this guy is also easy to move around. All doors have cool-touch handles, for safe usage during the cooking process.
The main smoking chamber comes with five chrome-plated grates as well as chrome-plated sausage hooks. The offset firebox can also serve as a grill, and it comes with a porcelain-plated cooking grate. This versatile smoker is a great choice for small patios. There’s also a side tray on the offset chamber that allows you to easily add more charcoal or wood, all without having to open the chamber door, and thus interfering with the heat.
The built-in temperature gauge lets you keep an eye on the inside temperature, and it also shows the sweet temp spots for smoke, bbq or grilling. This is handy for beginners.
Large cooking area
Chrome-plated sausage hooks
2-in-1 smoker and grill
Side tray for fuel
Only 1-year warranty
You need to remove a grate to fit a large piece of meat, like a whole turkey
This Char-Broil model comes with 477 square inches of primary cooking surface, which is smaller than other smokers on the list, but if you’re not planning on making food for 20 people at a time, this is more than enough for your needs.
American Gourmet comes with porcelain-coated grates which are easy to scrape as the meat doesn’t stick. Furthermore, you also get three charcoal grates that allow it to be used as a grill too.
The smoker is made out of sturdy, thick steel, but it weighs 68 pounds, and with two 8-inch wheels, it’s easily movable around your backyard. For heat regulation, it has a smokestack, which has an adjustable damper. On the main chamber’s doors, it has a built-in thermometer which allows you to closely monitor the temperature inside the chamber.
This model also comes with a bottom rack, which is great for placing charcoal, wood or cooking utensils. The top shelf is located on its side, and it’s quite small compared to shelves some other smoker models have, so you can’t really place your readied meat, but it can fit a beer and a bbq sauce, let’s say.
For more convenient cleanup, the offset firebox has a side door, which allows you to easily clean up ashes after you’re done with smoking.
Here’s another Dyna-Glo offset smoker that has made this list, and these guys do great jobs with offset smokers.
Although rather compact, this unit has as much as 1,176 square feet cooking area, and according to the manufacturer’s words, it can smoke up to 100 lbs of food at a time. The smoker comes with 6 height-adjustable cooking grates, which are pretty close one to another, so if you plan on smoking a big chunk of meat, you might need to take a grate out. What’s true with every vertical offset smoker is that the heat doesn’t get distributed quite evenly, so you might want to rotate cooking grates every few hours to get your food smoked on the same level.
The bottom of the smoker can get a bit messy from the drippings, and the model doesn’t come with a drip pan. Therefore, it’s suggested you place your own in order to make cleaning an easier task. Furthermore, you can also put aluminum foil at the bottom, which you simply throw away after using the smoker.
The body of this Dyna-Glo smoker is made out of steel, which is a bit thin. For an affordable price this smoker is sold at, the thickness of the material is understandable, but that’s not to say this model is of cheap-quality. Used with caution, it will last you decades. The temperature, however, is a bit affected by the weather conditions, so keep that in mind if you plan on smoking on a really cold day. On the other hand, the smoker is lightweight, it’s only 57 pounds, and even though it has no wheels, it has two side handles which makes it easily portable.
The offset box contains a charcoal basket that sits on a grate that you can easily pull out for a refill. Underneath, there’s a removable ash tray, which makes cleaning more convenient. Adjustable smoke stack and side damper help the airflow which distributes heat and smoke throughout the main chamber. The smoker also has a built-in thermometer on the door, which also indicates a smoke zone, a perfect temperature for smoking food.
Easy to use
6 cooking grates
Removable ash tray
A bit of temperature difference on the top and bottom part of the smoking chamber
As you probably have noticed, there are three different types of offset smokers, all of which have made this list. But, what exactly is the difference between a vertical, horizontal and a reverse flow smoker?
This is a classic offset type – The main smoker chamber is in the shape of a horizontal barrel, with the doors that open upwards. On its side, there’s a smaller, barrel-shaped chamber attached, which serves as a fuel box.
Chambers are connected with a small hole, which allows the air to travel from the firebox to the main chamber. This way, heat and smoke are evenly distributed throughout the smoker.
As the name suggests, this type of smoker has a main chamber set vertically. The doors open forward, and these smokers come with multiple grates stacked one over another.
The main chamber and the offset box are connected the same way they are with the horizontal type. However, since the air goes up, the temperature inside a vertical smoker differs on top and bottom racks, so keep that in mind when placing food inside.
The reverse flow design differs from the classic, horizontal type in one thing. It has extra metal baffle plates. The purpose of those plates is to protect the meat from the direct heat, while it filters smoke more slowly, making it go first below and then over the meat. This means you don’t have to flip your meat pieces while they’re being cooked.
Baffle plates can also serve as grease pans.
If you always wanted to be a master of BBQ, an offset smoker might just be the last missing piece. However, there are so many different choices on the market (and price ranges, one of them being under $500), and if you’re a first-time buyer, this can be really confusing. How to pick a smoker that’s reliable and long-lasting, but doesn’t cost you a fortune? In our opinion, Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker gives you everything you need, and for the price it’s sold at, it’s a steal! If you want something a tiny bit smaller, then Broil King 958050 Offset Smoker is a great pick too. Hopefully, this guide has helped you find out what features you want and need in a perfect offset smoker, and whichever you choose, we hope you’ll enjoy smoking your food! In the end, find out how to use an offset smoker before deciding to buy it.
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