American barbecue is all slow and low - Roy Choi
Long, low, and slow, that’s the American way. And as the rest of the world knows all too well, when it comes to barbecue, the longer it cooks for, the better it is.
Good barbecue is like fine art, you have to take your time to get it right, and to perfect the cook you’ve got to instill it with love and a tiny piece of your soul.
It took Michaelangelo four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and his dedication to his craft is evident in every single brush stroke and fine detail.
That exacting approach to mastering your calling and ensuring that everything you do is bursting with passion is the same path that all of the greatest artisans of smoke-flavored barbecue pursue.
It might not take them forty-eight months to smoke a brisket, but they pursue each and every single one of their cooks with the same, raw, ragged attention to detail that Michelangelo did when he created his most famous work.
If you ask any barbecue veteran what the secret to great barbecue is, they’ll tell you that it’s all about patience and letting time, heat and smoke combine to do what they need to do.
Getting the smoke right, and letting it wash over your barbecue and imbue it with all sorts of incredible flavors is crucial. And the best way to make sure that you get the smoke right is with the right smoker.
That’s why we’ve come up with a list of five of the best offset smokers that every dedicated barbecue hound and fanatic should be using as the centerpiece of their smoking world.
Are you ready to find out how to make great barbecue and put an extra dose of Hallelujah into everything you cook? Good, then come with us. It’s time to smoke, the offset way…
OUR TOP PICK
In nineteen eighty-seven, Joe Davidson took twelve hand-made smokers that he built with the two thousand dollar budget that he’d diligently scraped and saved to acquire, to the Oklahoma State Fair.
He sold all of them on the first day and took orders for another hundred while he was there. History was made that day and Oklahoma Joe’s picked up the smoker slack and they’ve been running with it ever since.
The Highland is one of Oklahoma Joe’s best selling smokers and there’s a good reason why. This offset smoking miracle has a total combined cooking space of just over nine hundred square inches that all of the heat and smoke from its firebox can leisurely pass over, cook, and infuse with flavor.
Controlled by an easy to employ and even easier to work set of dampers which grant you full mastery over the levels of smoke and heat that you use to grill with, the Highland is the devoted smokers’ choice of barbecue ready weapon.
With a temperature range of between one hundred and eighty and five hundred degrees that you can carefully monitor thanks to its chamber mounted gauge and a firebox (also known as a hopper) that can hold nearly twenty pounds of the charcoal or wood pellets (dependent on your choice of smoke making fuel) that it uses as fuel to smoke and cook your barbecue, with, the Highland Offset Smoker has earned its place in the Barbecue Hall of Fame a thousand times over.
- With a combined cooking space (nearly six hundred and twenty square inches in the main chamber and another two hundred and ninety in the firebox) of nearly nine hundred square inches, the Highland Offset Smoker has enough room to cook for gatherings large and small. No matter how many folks you invite to your cookout, with Oklahoma Joe’s Highland in residence, you’ll be able to cater for them all.
- Its dampers make it easy to control the amount of heat and smoke that you grill with so with a little practice and dedication, you’ll be able to smoke whatever it is you’re grilling to perfection and create your very own barbecuing mythology.
- Durable and built to last, it’s porcelain cooking shelves are easy to clean and wipe down, which reduces the worst bit of any barbecue (the dreaded clean-up) to a minimum, which means you can spend more time smoking, grilling, and having fun.
- Even though it’s mounted on wheels which provides it with a degree of maneuverability and gives the Highland the illusion of portability, thanks to weighing more than a top of the range Cadillac, once you’ve moved it into place, the Highland won’t be going anywhere, ever again.
Char-Griller believes in two things. Great food and making lifelong memories, and as any good barbecuer will happily attest to, both of those things go hand in hand with each other.
And their Smokin’ Pro is built to last and fuel that lifetime of memories that it’ll be used to make.
With a total combined cooking surface of eight hundred and thirty square inches (five hundred and eighty in the primary cooking chamber and two hundred and fifty in the side-mounted, offset firebox), this charcoal-fired smoker is designed to produce the finest Texas-style barbecue that you’ll ever taste.
Its solid steel construction makes it durable and strong and means that it’ll hold on to every degree of its heat for as long as you want to. And you’ll be able to fully control all of the heat that it makes with the Pro’s uncomplicated trouble-free dampers.
Easy to use, and even simpler to clean thanks to the easy dump ash pan that it’s fitted with, the Smokin’ Pro is a straightforward, no-frills offset smoker that won’t weigh you down with unnecessarily complicated controls or instructions.
Just load the firebox, fill up the grills and you’ll be ready to start smoking Texas-style.
- When Car-Griller designs their Smokers, they make sure that they’ll last. This all-steel offset smoker is fashioned to be tougher than John Wayne and will last longer than the uncut version of ‘Gone With The Wind’
- Simple to use, and even easier to clean, the Smokin’ Pro is an uncomplicated grill for people who want to spend more time hanging out with their family and friends and eating than they do cooking.
- It’s an incredibly affordable way to crash headlong into the world of great barbecue and smoking and won’t even leave a mark on your pocketbook.
- The heat settings leave a little to be desired and won’t allow you to control your cook with the level of mastery that great barbecue requires and needs to elevate it to a plateau that all great smoking disciples yearn to reach.
- It’s a charcoal only smoker, so the end result tends to lack the depth of flavor and subtlety that a lot of pellet smokers can, and will, imbue your food with.
Z Grills lifelong dedication and commitment to grilling and smoking with pellets has seen them carve their own path in the barbecue world.
It’s a journey that’s been rewarded with a loyal fanbase who are just as dedicated to Z Grills as the brand is to their faithful audience.
It’s a pairing that not only works, it also helped to pave the way and laid the foundations for the creation of the Z Grills, Bluetooth enabled offset pellet smoker.
Using their patented eight in one versatility, this Z Grills offset smoker will let you grill, braise, bake, roast, sear, char-grill, barbecue, and smoke to your heart’s content.
Its fifteen-pound capacity hopper, when fully loaded, will provide up to fifteen hours of cooking time, and its huge, combined seven hundred square inch cooking area will soak up as much smoke as you want this incredibly powerful barbecuing beast to make.
And you’ll be able to make all of the smoke and heat that you want thanks to it’s simple, straightforward, Bluetooth equipped digital controls.
With a near three hundred-degree temperature range, you’ll be able to cook long and slow or as fast and hard (not that any self-respecting smoker would ever pursue that particular avenue) as you want to.
With Z Grills you’re free to do things your way, whatever that may be.
- With a total cooking surface of just over seven hundred square inches, there isn’t a barbecue outdoor cookout or get together that the Z Grills offset smoker won’t be able to handle. It doesn’t matter how many people show up, this offset smoker can cater to all of your guests expected, and unexpected alike.
- You’ll constantly be able to monitor and keep a close eye on the temperature of the meat that you’re smoking, regardless of your geographical proximity to the smoker during your barbecue, thanks to its Bluetooth-enabled meat thermometer.
- The eight in one versatility of the ZGrills smoker allows you to expand and stretch your culinary ability to its absolute limit and far beyond as it can smoke, braise, roast, grill, barbecue and bake just about anything you want it too.
- As crazy as it sounds, there really aren’t any. Almost everyone who uses this offset smoker falls in love with it, it’s simplicity, and the freedom to follow your own smoking path that it offers.
With over a century of innovation under their collective belt, Dyna-Glo has always strived to deliver affordable, inventive, and efficient grills to the American public.
And with their vertical offset smoker, they didn’t just achieve that objective, they shattered the smoke-laden glass ceiling and engineered a smoker that’s easily within the reach of every household.
This four foot tall, charcoal-fired offset smoker, thanks to its six shelf design has a total smoking space of around eight hundred square inches and a combined cooking space of just over one thousand square inches.
It’s capable of cooking and smoking almost one hundred pounds of meat whenever it’s fired up, and it’s built-in steel thermometer keeps a constant watch on the interior temperature so that you’ll always know exactly what’s going on inside your smoker.
Made from heavyweight durable steel, it’s a smoker that’s been designed to keep things simple, straightforward and easy and can quickly transform beginning barbecuers into steely-eyed smokers with an innate feel for, and understanding of, smoke, flavor and heat.
While we’ve never been ones for venturing too far out of our smoking comfort zone, we have to admit that this vertical smoker made us rethink our barbecuing game.
It may not be the most multi-faceted machine that we’ve ever smoked a couple of chickens and a big old pile of steaks in, but it doesn’t need to be as the amount of smoke and flavor it creates elevates it straight into the barbecuing big leagues.
Sometimes you just want to smoke up a storm and when you do, the Dyna Glo is the right tool for the right barbecuing job.
- With an eye-popping eight hundred square inches of smoking space, this vertical offset smoker is a party starting, barbecuing giant that no serious would be smoker can really afford to ignore.
- And while we’re talking about what you can’t afford to ignore, it’d be remiss of us not to draw your attention to the Dyna Glo’s price tag, which is simply astonishing. We can’t figure out why it’s so cheap, but we’re not going to ask too many questions, as we were more than happy to lay our hard-earned dollars down for it. And we humbly suggest that you do the same and follow our lead.
- Oddly enough, considering how sturdy and well-built it is, the Dyna Glo is the lightest offset smoker on our list. While it doesn’t look like it’ll lend itself to being humped from one place to the next, at just over fifty pounds, if you get a friend to help you, it’s staggeringly easy to move around.
- It’s a charcoal only smoker, so it lacks the vitality and adaptability of a pellet fired smoker or an offset smoker that can use both. That said, if you look at the Dyna Glo purely as an affordable entry-level ticket to the world of smoking and barbecuing, it’s nearly unbeatable.
As you’ve probably surmised, we’re long-time fans of the way that Oklahoma Joe’s does things, and when they added a reverse flow, offset smoker to their barbecuing stable, we literally couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.
When we finally did manage to lay our mitts on it, the Longhorn didn’t just live up to our incredibly high expectations, it surpassed them and continues to surprise us in all sorts of new and interesting ways every single time we fire this smoker up.
Engineered with an extra channel to funnel smoke and heat through, the Longhorn smokes and heats whatever you want to want to grill from underneath and then forces that same smoke and heat into the main cooking chamber, which reduces your barbecuing time and infuses everything that you’re grilling with, even more, rich, dense smoke-filled flavor.
With a combined cooking surface area of just over a thousand square inches (seven hundred in the main chamber and three hundred in the firebox), and an easily controlled smoke and heat flow that pushes the temperature envelope at which you can smoke to nearly five hundred degrees, the Longhorn is one of the most versatile and adaptable smokers that we’ve ever had the pleasure of barbecuing our burgers in.
Like everything that Oklahoma Joe’s builds, the Longhorn is an offset smoker that’s been made to take a heat-based beating and just keep on smoking.
It’s probably the reason we like using it so much as we’ve wheeled it out almost every weekend for a year, and it’s never let us down yet. It just keeps on drenching everything that we use it to cook in lip-smacking, smoke-infused flavor.
- It’s a reverse offset smoker, so it doubles your smoking fun and barbecuing pleasure and reduces your cooking time. That’s the kind of smoking progress and efficiency that we not only like, but thanks to the Longhorn, have also become used to.
- With a combined cooking surface of just over one thousand square inches, it doesn’t matter how many of your nearest and dearest turn up to your barbecue, with the Longhorn, you’ll easily be able to feed them all.
- Easy to control and easy to use, the Longhorn’s twenty-pound hopper capacity means that you can just fill it up and keep on smoking all day. And if you’re anything like us, once you’ve started learning how to smoke with the Longhorn, you’ll be there from dawn to dusk, cooking away with an Oklahoma-sized grin on your face.
- When we mentioned wheeling the Longhorn into place earlier, we were of course using literary license. While it’s our regular go-to offset smoker of choice, we don’t, and can’t wheel the Longhorn anywhere, even though it’s mounted on wheels. That’s because, at just over two hundred pounds, it’s a heavyweight smoker that’s almost impossible to move without causing some sort of significant, long-lasting injury. Once you’ve found a prime position for this offset smoker, it’ll stay there until it’s, or your, smoking days are done.
Best Offset Smokers Buying Guide
What Is An Offset Smoker?
An offset smoker is a smoker that consists of two parts - the main cooking chamber and a side-mounted or offset firebox.
The food that you want to smoke, and cook, is placed on a grill in the main chamber and the firebox, that is filled with either charcoal or wood pellets that the smoker uses as fuel for the heat, and to produce the smoke it requires to make to cook and flavor the food, is then lit.
The heat and smoke from the firebox are then channeled and funneled into the main chamber to cook and smoke the food before exiting through a chimney that is mounted on the top of the main chamber.
Smokers have become increasingly popular during the last decade, thanks in no small part to a revived interest in barbecue, and offset smokers have found a new audience thanks to the large cooking surface and efficiency that their design offers.
Which Offset Smoker Should I Be Smoking With?
That’s a budgetary question that only you can answer. If you’re looking for an entry-level offset smoker that’ll feed a legion of your family and friends and won’t set your pocketbook alight, the answer to all of your smoking-related conundrums lies with the Dyna-Glo.
It’ll smoke more food than your guests will ever need and it won’t damage your bank balance.
However, if you want to be a little more adventurous on your offset smoking journey, aren’t hampered by your budget, and still want to feed every member of your flock, then you’ll need to invest in our offset smoker of choice, the Longhorn.
As soon as you start using it, you’ll see why we adore it so much and just as we did, will almost certainly become die-hard fans of smoking everything the Oklahoma Joe’s way.
Last update on 2021-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API