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If you are thinking about getting a smoker for your yard, why not consider an offset smoker. They are challenging, but they give the most satisfaction to those who love to cook outside.
Offset smokers have a large chamber where you cook your food. It looks like an oil drum or a metal box. Some are horizontal and others are vertical. There is a chimney on one side and on the other, another chamber which is the firebox. Heat and smoke travel from the firebox to the main chamber and then the smoke comes out of the chimney. To control the temperature, there are vents on both the firebox and the chimney.
Table of Contents
- How Do I Fire Up My Offset Smoker?
- Pros and Cons of an Offset Smoker
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
In a hurry? This is our winner!
- ULTIMATE 8-IN-1 WOOD PELLET GRILL & SMOKER - bbq✓bake✓roast✓braise✓smoke✓grill✓sear✓char-grill, you can do everything on here
- PELLET GRILL TECHNOLOGY - It’s the best and easiest way to get wood-smoked flavors. Anyone will instantly realize the taste is better than a gas or charcoal grill
- MAKES YOU A GOOD CHEF - One button starts up, this pellet grill will maintain the preset temperature within 10 degrees fluctuation and produce the optimal amount of smoke, easy and steady
- FOR FAMILIES AND PARTIES - Features 700 sq inches of wide cooking space that allows you to place all at once and cook efficiently, 180° to 450° F Adjustable temperature range gives you great flexibility for different food
- LESS PELLET FILLING, MORE SMOKING - The 20 lbs large-capacity pellet hopper offers a longer cooking time, eliminating the need to refill the hopper constantly
Best Offset Smokers Under $500 – Runner Up
- Features five chrome-plated cooking grates and a total cooking space of 1382 square inches
- Heavy-Gauge Steel Body Construction. The temperature gauge features a smoke zone which indicates the ideal temperatures for infusing the perfect amount for smoking flavor. Also, the cool to touch handles, allow you to access fuel and food safely.
- Cool-touch spring lid grip provides safer access to food
- Stainless temperature gauge with "Smoke Zone" indicates the ideal temperature for infusing smoke flavor
- Oversized steel wheels for mobility before and after use
Best Offset Smokers Under $500 – Comparison Table
Best Offset Smokers Under $500 – Reviews
This grill and smoker are amazing. It uses wood pellets, and not only can it smoke, but it can also grill, bake, sear, roast, barbecue, braise, and char-grill. What more can you ask for? It is made from durable stainless steel and is highly resistant to corrosion.
It is simple to use as it has a digital control board which can both auto-ignite the grill and lets you set the temperature in the range of 180F – 450F. It has an LED temperature display. The temperature control automatically adds the wood pellets, so you don’t have to worry about running out in the middle of cooking.
It has convection heat distribution which means that your food will be cooked evenly.
The cooking chamber is massive. You get 700 square inches of space. The cooking chamber measure 19.2” by 26” and the warming rack is 6.9” by 27.5”.
- Made from stainless steel
- 8 in 1 smoker and grill
- Digital control board
- 700 square inches of cooking space
- 3-year warranty
- 20 pounds of pellets give 20 hours cooking time
- Comes with a cover
- A few customers complained that it won’t keep a decent temperature
This is another good buy as you can smoke or grill your food. It has a durable heavy-gauge steel body construction that will combat the wear and tear of inclement weather. It is a vertical standing smoker and it works on charcoal.
It is massive. There are 1382 square inches of cooking space and 5 chrome-plated cooking grates. You can feed your neighborhood with this smoker!
A great addition is a stainless steel temperature gauge which has both a ‘Smoke Zone’ and a ‘Grill Zone’. You will be able to keep the ideal temperature whether you are grilling or smoking.
The handles remain cool to the touch, so you don’t have to worry about burning your hands. In addition, there is a spring lid which also remains cool.
Added benefits include pre-installed sausage hooks, a removal charcoal grate and ash pan, and a grease cup.
- Made of heavy-gauge steel
- 1382 square inches of cooking space
- Cool to the touch handles and lid
- Stainless steel temperature gauge
- A few customers complained that the smoker arrived damaged
- One customer complained that it did not hold the temperature
Here we have another wood pellet smoker which is made from durable steel. It will stand up to the elements. The grill is made from porcelain-coated stainless steel which is also very sturdy.
There is a digital control panel that enables you to control the temperature. You can have it lower for a slow smoke or up higher for grilling, baking, roasting, and braising.
The cooking surface is 305 square inches which is adequate for a small family. In fact, you can cook up to 10 burgers in this smoker. It comes with a meat probe so you will be able to check on the temperature at any time during the cooking process.
- Made of durable steel
- Digital control panel
- Both a grill and smoker
- Easy to assemble
- Not a lot of cooking space
This is a wood pellet smoker and grill which has 450 square inches of cooking space and can cook up to 15 pounds in weight. Not only can it smoke and grill, but it can roast, braise, barbecue, and bake. Imagine baking pizza and biscuits in a smoker!
The smoker has a temperature control system that can smoke foods low and slow or grill hot and fast. The thermostat has an LED display and it keeps the heat automatically. When needed it will even add pellets to the firebox. If you have the smoker on a low temperature, you will find that the wood pellets smolder and produce more smoke.
There is an integrated spigot which drains hot grease into a cup. You won’t have to deal with food that is too greasy so it’s much healthier for you.
You can buy all sorts of hardwoods to use in your smoker and they will all give a unique taste to your food. Pick from maple, apple, cherry, mesquite, hickory, pecan, and lots more.
Additional features include wheels so that you can move the smoker with ease. It also comes with a weather-resistant grill cover.
- Temperature control system
- Automatically adds pellets to the firebox
- 450 square inches of cooking space
- Cover included
- A few customers complained that the temperature gauge wasn’t accurate
- The water pan is too shallow.
This charcoal grill with offset smoker ha 800 square inches of cooking space so you could easily host a party and feed everyone well. There is 438 square inches in the main chamber, 179 square inches on the warming rack, and 183 square inches in the smoker. There are cooking grates in the smoker which are made from porcelain steel as are the cooking grates in the main chamber.
The lid is heavy and keeps the heat in well. There is a professional thermometer in the lid so you can keep an eye on the temperature inside the main chamber.
You won’t burn yourself on the handle as it remains cool while the food is cooking. There is an adjustable damper so you can control the airflow.
The charcoal pan can hold up to 5 pounds of charcoal, so you don’t have to keep replacing the charcoal every few minutes. The firebox has lifting handles so you can adjust the height of the charcoal.
There is plenty of working and storage space with a bottom shelf and a front table.
- 183 square inches of cooking space
- Durable porcelain steel cooking grates
- Large charcoal pan
- A few people complained that the paint flaked
This smoker is made from steel and gives you 610 square inches of cooking space in the main chamber and 281 square inches in the smoker. It is made from heavy-gauge steel and has durable porcelain-coated wire cooking grates. They are easy to clean and won’t rust.
Other benefits this smoker gives include multiple dampers so that you can control the temperature, a lid-mounted temperature gauge, large wheels for easy mobility, and a front shelf for you to put any accessories you need. The firebox door is large and swings open. This enables you to stoke the fire without opening the chamber door.
- 891 square inches of cooking space
- Made from heavy-gauge steel
- Multiple dampers
- Temperature gauge
- A few customers claimed that the firebox paint peeled off
Best Offset Smokers Under $500 – Buyers Guide
How Do I Fire Up My Offset Smoker?
Offset smokers can work on a variety of fuels, wood, charcoal, charcoal, and wood, gas, or even electricity.
If you are going to be using wood and charcoal, heat the coals with a chimney starter and once they are hot, transfer them to the firebox. Put in a couple of logs, but don’t put them on top of the coals until the coals are heated. Once the logs reach temperature, put them on the coals and add another log to heat up.
Smoking with charcoal is a little easier as you won’t have to add the logs, but you still need to keep a keen eye on what is happening as the temperature can go up and down.
Wood pellet smokers, as well as gas and electric, are probably the easiest to use.
You do need to have a good thermometer to check on the temperature. Put it at grate level where your food is cooking.
While your smoker comes up to temperature, keep the vents open and the firebox door slightly open. When it has reached the desired temperature, close the vents on the firebox until they are 1/3 open. The chimney cap should be ½ open. You will need to put in new logs about every 45 minutes and check the temperature every 20 minutes. There can be a difference of up to 75F from one end of the cooking chamber to the other. If the temperature is dropping, you may need to add some more wood. When you do this, leave the firebox slightly open for a few minutes until the temperature has risen. Always preheat the smoker before putting your food in the chamber. If it isn’t preheated, you can get creosote-covered food.
Pros and Cons of an Offset Smoker
- You don’t have to open the cooking chamber to stoke the fire, so keeping heat consistently on your food
- You can smoke a lot of food as the cooking chamber is usually noticeably big
- You can install a grill grate above the firebox on most models so you can also have direct grilling
- There is no danger of the electrics burning out halfway through cooking or your gas bottle running out
- An offset smoker can take as long as an hour to preheat
- Wind, rain, and the cold can affect the temperature in your cooking chamber
- They are heavy so it is difficult to move them
Frequently Asked Questions
Perhaps you have some questions about offset smokers, so we’ll answer a few questions here. If you need any more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Does an Offset Smoker Give Out a Lot of Smoke?
In the early stages of heating a wood and charcoal smoker, your smoker can give off a lot of smoke, much more than a charcoal only smoker. This does, however, die down. If white smoke comes out of the chimney, it can indicate a problem in the firebox.
Is There Anything Else I Can Do to Regulate the Temperature?
The addition of a water pan will help regulate the temperature and improve the flavor of your food at the same time. You will need to put a rack up in the firebox above the fire and place a pan of water on this.
What is the Best Material for an Offset Smoker?
For durability and long life, you should look for an offset smoker made from heavy-gauge (1/4”) steel.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading about offset smokers and are feeling inspired to invest in one of our choices. We stand by our top pick of the Z Grills ZPG-7002B 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker. As well as smoking, it will grill, bake, roast, barbecue, braise, and char-grill (find out our choice for the best grill under $1000). It has fan-forced convection cooking, a big cooking surface of 700 square inches, and digital temperature control. We hope that you have a great summer smoking your food.