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best offset smoker buying guide

Offset Smoker buying guide: Your complete guide to buying an offset smoker.

(Last Updated On: January 19, 2021)

Last Updated on 2 years by Think and Find
Offset Smoker


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Offset smoker: Buying Guide


Meat cooked in low and slow over the barbecue provides extreme tests. But there is another thing which can provide you a taste which is so unique that you will fall in love with it. That is offset or barrel smoker.  If you have a smoker in the home you will also be a master of smoking. But before you invest for a smoker read this article carefully, heroes we discussed everything you need to know before buying a smoker.

What is an Offset Smoker?

Offset smoker has a lot of identity namely: barrel, side firebox, horizontal, pipe smoker and pipe cooker. Those are the traditional smokers and people believe that they are made to produce very high quality and competition-worthy smoked meats. 

An offset smoker provides very high quality and competition-worthy smoked meats


How Do Offset Smokers Work?

Most of the common offset smokers are consist of two differently sized and sealed boxes or cylinder but they are connected. The smaller box is the firebox for keeping charcoal or wood fire and situated a bit lower than the larger box. It is positioned to force the smoke from the fire to the larger box which is referred to as the oven or cooking space of the smoker. A chimney is situated upper portion of the box, which allows escaping the smoke produced from firefox and cooked the meat. Some vertical smoker has additional space to cook more meat by the smoke before passes through the chimney. To control the temperature you need to adjust the air intake as well as exhaust vents to get the proper heat. If you open the vents more, more oxygen will be passed and burning fire will faster and cooking will hotter.

Grilling in an Offset Smoker

Some smokers have some additional features like you can place the charcoal in the open space to make a barbecue grill. It allows cooking on the top of the grates.

Types of offset smoker

In the traditional smoker, you will find that the part of the cooking chamber is closest to the firebox which is the hottest. For this reason, sometimes it provides an unevenly cooked meat, to reduce the problem you need to rotate the food carefully from time to time. In the large smoker, this problem is more noticeable. 

You can buy a reverse flow offset smoker to reduce the need to rotate the meat while cooking. These types of smokers have the addition of a steel baffle plate to protect the meat from direct heat like an oven heat sink and allows the smoke to move around the meat more slowly to give the meat more even heat and flavor.

By looking at the chimney position you will identify the smoker is a traditional offset smoker or a reverse flow smoker. 

On the traditional smoker, the chimney is situated away from the firebox, wherein the reverse flow smoker, the chimney is near to the firebox, which allows the smoke to pushed through and back through the chamber of cooking before vented.

offset smoker
Offset smoker

What Can You Cook in an Offset Smoker?

Offset smoker is made for any traditional low and slow meats including Brisket, Ribs. Pork butt or picnic, Large pieces of meat. Additionally offset smoker is ideal for smoking or grilling any types of meat including chicken, turkey or sausages.

Offset Smoker Pros and Cons


The main advantages of offset smokers are:

  1. Produce the richest and smokiest meats.
  2. Great for cooking a lot of meat at a time.
  3. It is easy to add fuel or wood chips without disturbing the cooking process.
  4. Temperature can be easily maintained.
  5. It can be used for grilling too.
  6. A quality offset smoker lasts for a lifetime.



There are a lot of advantages, but we know every item which has advantages and also some disadvantages.


Here they are for an offset smoker:

  1. Take a long time to start than a gas smoker.
  2. The cooking process takes hours as it is a slow process.
  3. In the colder climate, it is tough to cook.
  4. As an offset smoker is large so it consumes a lot of spaces.
  5. An offset smoker is heavy and can not be moved easily.

What to Look for While Buying an Offset Smoker:


Including the size, shape or degree of fanciness you should keep an eye to these features while buying a smoker :



 Heavy gauge metal A thick metal will provide great heat retention and a more cooking friendly environment, so before buying an offset smoker, be ensured that the smoker is made with thick metal. ¼ inch is considered as a gold standard for an offset smoker.  This type of heavy metal will not be warped easily as well as will not be affected by bad weather conditions.


Quality seals and dampers to reduce fuel usage, improve smoke retention and greater temperature control quality seals are essential. You should ensure that there are no gaps in the seals and make ensure that dampers seal seals are well fitted and easy to open and close.


Temperature gauges An accurate temperature reading is essential to create a slice of professional smoked meat because if you are not able to maintain the proper temperature, the meat will not be perfect. Look for a brand that provides a good temperature meter out of the smoker. It is useful to have 2 thermometers one in the top and another in the bottom to monitor the actual temperature to control it perfectly.


Sturdiness Wheels and legs are important to move the offset smoker if it breaks too quickly it will give you a lot of problems in the long run. So before buying be confirmed that, the legs and wheels are enough strong Checks the hinges and latches as well how strong those are. It is important to buy a durable smoker so it can handle the wear and tear. 


Cover Cover is important to keep the smoker dry and prevent dust if you don’t have enough space to store the smoker. Some brands offer a cover while buying and some can be bought as an optional item. So be sure before buying. 


Warranty an offset smoker should last for a lifetime. But you have some years of warranty it will give peace or if it comes with any manufacturer faults, warranty support will help to replace or repair the faults. 

offset smoker


Other Important Offset Smoker Features


Firebox size Make sure that your smoker’s firebox is large enough to give space to any kind of fuel like wood chips, logs or split wood. As well as it needs to accommodate charcoal while firing. 


Cooking chamber size Before buying an offset smoker carefully consider how much space do you need. If you can not cook your desired number of food just because of space, it will be painful. Try to select an offset smoker, which has plenty of space as well as a lot of racks, grates, and hooks so that you can cook a lot of meat at a time. If your smoker allows the movable racks, it will be more helpful.


Footprint An offset smoker demand a place where the ventilation system and space are properly used. So, before you buy an offset smoker, consider how much space will need for the cooker, and how much space is available to you.


Ease of cleaning If there is no drain or plug to hose out the inside of the smoker, it will take a lot of time to clean it. You need not give a lot of time and a lot of energy to clean the smoker. So consider, are the plates of cooking are easily removable? Does it include a  tool to clean out the ash? Some smokers have an opportunity to clean with the only wipe with a cloth. That will be good for you. 


Portability if the smoker is portable, you will be able to carry them to the outdoor party, but if they are heavy it will be a hard job. If the smoker has handle and wheels it will be more portable. 


Accessories Sometimes you need to buy extra racks, hooks or tools, weather guard, etc. so before buying be sure that your smoker has a lot of accessories to buy. 


Common Problems with Cheap Offset Smokers


With the rising demand of the smoker, a lot of cheap stuff are flooded in the market. They are not properly quality checked. It will never last a long time as well as never give a good cooking result. Maybe they are inexpensive but not good to use. Try to avoid entry-level smokers as well. 


Poor seals if the doors are not sealed properly, heat and smoke will escape from the cooking chamber, as a result, the cooking will take a lot of time but will provide unevenly cooked meat., it will be tough to control the temperature because of the leaks. If the doors, joints, and dampers are not sealed properly, you need to use a lot of fuel to maintain a stable environment, as a result, you need to spend more money on the fuel. 

Made from thin metal that doesn’t retain heat well: thinner steel can not hold the heat produced by the firebox, so if the body of the smoker is made with a thinner steel, you need a lot of fuel to create the stable temperature, again it will be difficult to cook when it is cool or rainy climate. 


Flaking paint most of the entry-level smoker has poor quality paint that can be flaked with the heat and with time. It will look ugly while the paint is flawed, so try to buy a smoker which is not entry-level and the paint is finished enough to tolerate the heat. 

Uneven heat and smoke distribution: in the high-quality smoker the smokes move to up not sideways, but in some cheaper smoker, this system is not maintained properly as a result that provides an uneven cook. You need to rotate the meat from time to time if the smokes come from sideways, so try to avoid a cheap and entry-level offset smoker. 

What is the Best Offset Smoker to Buy?


While buying an offset smoker try to buy one which perfectly matches your demand and budget. Always finding the best offset smoker will not be good practice.

Spending more money gives you better and long-lasting quality. So avoid the entry-level and cheaper brands. Try to find out some well-known brands like then plan to purchase with your budget. 

What do you want to cook?


Every offset smoker brand declared how much meat or foods can be cooked at a time with that smoker. Try to find out your need and then buy. The regular smoker will be good enough for your family use, but if you want to cook a lot of food, it will take a longer time, lots of fuel but won’t provide well-cooked food. 

Where will you keep your new offset smoker?


Before buying the smoker, find out the place where you store the smoker. Then find the smoker of a similar size that matches your space. Do not buy a big one or a very small one for family use. In the cold weather, you need to cover up the smoke as well. So consider all of the things while buying. 

Which offset smoker features do you want?


It is true that, nowadays smokers are offering a lot of features at a time and which can be costly. So if you can determine that, what features do you actually need, and find out what types of features only may cost you less than a package of features. 


So finally make a list of the features you need, and search for those types of smokers. 


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