Determining The Best Offset Smoker For Your Home
For all those who love barbecue, it is important that you get an offset smoker. Despite so many advanced and innovative barbecue machines out there in the market, I think the flavors are best brought out by a traditional machine, which is what an ‘offset smoker’ is apparently called.
If you crave for a mouth-watering meaty delight, then there is no better machine than an offset smoker.
If you have the ability to determine the best offset smoker on the market, then you can enjoy a host of recipes in the best possible way for a long-long time.
While modern barbecue machines are expensive and a bit complicated, an offset smoker is ideal for you because they don’t come at a high price, its running cost is also less and it could stay intact for a long period of time.
I like an offset smoker because it gives me the feel of cooking food old-school by keeping all the flavors within the meat.
Buying an offset smoker might have been a simple thing in the past, but not today. Reason being, there are dozens of brands manufacturing this product, and they all have incorporated their own set of features to cajole customers.
If you are looking to buy an offset smoker just because you want to tell your friends that, ‘hey! I barbecued these steaks in my new offset smoker’, then you will have to go through the review of five top offset smokers.
In order to make things easier for you, we have shortlisted five products that we believe are doing extremely well in terms of sales as well as performance.
Top 5 Best Smokers You Should Check Out
1. Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker
Whenever we talk about an efficient and reliable offset smoker, the name of Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker will always be taken with pride. Here are some of the key features of this machine:
- Easy-to-clean door: To me, it is an important feature because I don’t want to waste my time cleaning the machine after enjoying juicy and fatty steak.
- Cool Touch Handle: The grill handles remain cool no matter how hot the grill is.
- The inclusion of an offset firebox: You don’t have to open the lid to stoke the fire. This ensures smooth flow of heat and smoke to the main chamber.
- Grates are coated: Grates are porcelain coated, thus making cleaning of the grates easier along with rust resistant.
- The inclusion of a storage rack & side shelf: You can add some extra utensils and pieces of charcoal in the storage rack. While side-shelf can be used to place grilling tools and cooking accessories.
- Temperature gauge: Always be familiar of the temperature inside the offset smoker with this gauge.
- Easy mobility: The machine incorporates wheels, which makes moving this machine an effortless job.
- Smokestack: The smoke and heat regulate in a much efficient manner with the inclusion of vertical pipe named smokestack, which comes along with adjustable dampers.
Pros and Cons
- An inexpensive machine.
- Simplified operation and easy maintenance.
- All-in-one unit.
- Hold more things than other offset smokers because of the inclusion of side shelves.
- If using wood as a fuel, then be ready for some hard work.
- Cooking surface is less.
- Can’t be used with a combination grill.
If you are one of those people who likes to serve a pack of hungry individuals in the party alone, then you need to have a machine like this at your disposal.
This smoker is going to satisfy the hunger of many people at once. You can cook multiple numbers of things on this machine, i.e., from smoked ribs to grilled steak.
If you want, you can bake an apple pie as well. I really like this machine and space I get with it. Let’s find out some key features of this machine:
- Doesn’t make use of charcoal or gas: With this machine, you don’t require charcoal or gas, as it is created with an original wood-pellet grill, which is going to offer you with a 100% authentic wood-fired taste.
- Versatile barbecue cooking: You can slow cook the food or expedite the cooking process with this machine in the easiest of the ways. You can smoke, grill, roast, bake, barbecue and braise food.
- Get perfectly grilled food every time: The company has provided an integrated digital elite controller, which keeps the temperature at +/-20 degrees Fahrenheit. Changing the temperature is as simple as turning a dial.
- Simplified operation: This machine offers a very easy and predictable operation, thus allowing you to make delicious food without getting into any complexities. You don’t have to stand near the smoker and check if the fire is present or disappeared.
- Ideal for in-house cooking: You will love grilling on this machine as it offers you with an amazing 646 square inches of grilling space, which could accommodate up to 9 rib racks, 6 chickens or 24 burgers at a time.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent grilling space.
- Clean and consistent operation.
- Simplified functionality.
- A smart machine that handles cooking on its own.
- Pollution-free operation.
- An expensive smoker and grilling machine.
- The material used in griller is not that great and won’t last long.
3. Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker
If you are looking for something different, something fresh in an offset smoker, then you should probably take a look at Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-inch Charcoal Smoker.
This smoker is going to offer a wide range of benefits to you, thus making cooking a charm.
Let us discuss some of the key features of this machine:
- Amazing Cooking System: You get a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid. Accompanying these are two plated steel grates, which are used for cooking. Charcoal chamber, water pan, and grate are porcelain-enameled.
- More dampers than any other offset smoker: This machine has got 4 dampers, which is more than any other machine at this price range. All 4 dampers are made of aluminum and rust-resistant.
- Portability: This machine is quite portable, as you can assemble and pack it within a few minutes. Moreover, you can carry this machine along on outdoor trips. There are just three parts that you need to take care of.
Pros and Cons
- Keeps all the flavors of the meat intact.
- Managing temperature is quite easy.
- Cooking grates are high-quality and durable.
- Maintaining this machine is quite easy.
- Handling this smoker is also convenient.
- The thermometer didn’t work as efficiently as I would have expected.
- No side handles.
4. Masterbuilt 20077615 Digital Electric Smoker with Window
This smoker is ideal for those who are looking to cook food with a flavour reminiscent of a traditional smoker.
Many people like to use a smoker that takes them back to the old days when meat was grilled in a slow manner. Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker With Window is going to give you that same feel, trust me!
Let us check out a few key features of this machine to get a better idea about the capabilities of this amazing smoker.
- Good cooking space: The machine consists of four chrome-coated smoking racks that offer you a mammoth 721 sq. an inch of cooking space.
- Built-in probe thermometer: In order to get precise results every time, the company has fitted a meat probe thermometer in the machine.
- Efficient heating element: I was quite impressed with the consistency of this machine, and all credit goes to the 800-watt heating element that is incorporated in this machine.
- Easy controlling of multiple functions: The machine consists of an RF remote, which can be used to control time, temperature, food light, turn the machine on and off, and also monitor the temperature of the meat.
Pros and Cons
- An inexpensive product.
- The machine is efficient and durable.
- Heats a lot faster than other machines.
- Can cook large amounts of meat at once.
- Makes full use of wood chips, as 4 cups of wood chips could last for 5 hours or even more.
- Moving this machine is not cumbersome at all.
- I didn’t like the material of the digital controls. They don’t seem to be accurate as well. This is the only shortcoming of this machine.
5. PK Grills The Original PK Grill & Smoker
When people say ‘old is gold’, they are absolutely right. Products made in the past used to be efficient and long-lasting, and PK Grills The Original PK Grill and Smoker proves it in the best way.
This smoker is an old-fashioned machine that will take you back to the old days. But, this machine does have a number of new functions. Let us discuss all those along with many key features below.
- Charcoal Grill: Well, the operation does get a bit slower, but charcoal grill ensures flavor of the food. If you are looking for a machine that gives the best smoky flavor of meat, then PK Grills is what you should have.
- Cast Aluminium Grill: The grill of this machine is made of recycled aluminum, thus making it rust resistant as well.
- An extremely portable Machine: Moving this machine is a child’s play, as it is compact and lightweight. You can take it along on outdoor trips as well.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to use because of straightforward design.
- Keeps the flavor of your food intact for long hours.
- You can move this machine from one place to another quite easily. Can take it on hiking/fishing trips as well.
- Not pricey at all.
- No ash catcher.
- Grill size is smaller than other smokers of the same price range.
Now, having reviewed the five best offset smokers, it would interest you to find out as to what an offset smoker is and what factors you need to consider while buying an offset smoker. So, let us discuss all these crucial aspects here below.
What Is An Offset Smoker?
Offset smokers are from the same family as that of the normal grills. An offset smoker consists of barrels that are laid horizontally with an opening where you could insert and take out the food item from.
But, it is the side box that makes a machine an offset smoker because that box is offset from the main cooking chamber. It is in this box where the fire would start using charcoal or any other source of fuel.
The fire produces smoke and this smoke is drawn into the cooking chamber and cooks the food. Excess smoke can be thrown out of the machine using a chimney.
What Makes An Offset Smoker Good?
A good offset smoker is going to draw the smoke into the bottom of the cooking chamber and then, flows along the bottom of the machine by a diffusion plate.
The smoke then rises at the extreme end of the cooking chamber followed by coming back along the top, i.e., above the diffusion plate, on top of the meat and finally, out of the chimney.
The location of the chimney is of great importance because it allows the smoke to move in the desired direction.
If your offset smoker has a chimney on the side, then the smoke will flow in the cooking chamber a couple of times.
This means, the temperature inside the cooking chamber will remain consistent and food will be cooked in a much more efficient manner. In the nutshell, if an offset smoker is a reverse flow smoker, then that’s better.
Different types of offset smokers
Traditional Offset Smoker: This type of smoker is totally natural and the hottest. Cooking can be uneven at times, so you will have to keep rotating the grill and position the grill carefully to avoid uneven cooking. The larger the traditional offset smoker, the greater will be the temperature disparity.
Reverse Flow Offset Smoker: You can buy this type of smoker to make things less arduous. The flow of heat in this type of smoker ensures proper and even cooking of the food.
Moreover, the smoke dissipates from the chimney in an efficient manner, thus keeping the operation simple and pollution free.
You can use an offset smoker as a barbecue grill by placing charcoal in the oven space and cooking the food on top of the grate.
What Can You Cook In An Offset Smoker?
People buy offset smokers for cooking different kinds of meat on the low and slow heat. The types of meat that you can cook on your offset smokers are:
- Pork picnic or butt.
- Large pieces of meat.
What Features To Look For When Buying An Offset Smoker?
It is not just the size, shape and style of the offset smoker that is taken into the account when buying an offset smoker, but a number of other features.
- Heavy Gauge Metal: This is for maximum heat retention and even cooking. Thick metal will not warp easily, despite what weather it is.
- Temperature Gauge: With this, you can easily measure the internal temperature of the offset smoker without opening the lid frequently. Your meat is going to be cooked properly if the lid remains intact till the entire cooking duration.
- Quality Seals & Dampers: The seals need to be of the best quality because it will ensure proper temperature control, enhance smoke retention and reduce usage of fuel. Make sure that the seals don’t have any gaps. The dampers should also seal properly, but can easily slide open and closed.
- Sturdiness: The legs of the offset smoker should be sturdy. Check latches and hinges as well because if those are flimsy, then there are chances of any mishappening during cooking. Your offset smoker should be able to take the mild wear and tear.
- Cover: Get an offset smoker that comes with a cover, so that you can store the machine properly. The cover should be waterproof and must protect the smoker from rust.
- Warranty: Buy an offset smoker that has a good life. But, don’t forget to check the warranty that company has in the offing because God forbids, if your machine malfunctions within a year or so, you must be able to get it repaired or replaced for free.
The quest for the best offset smoker consists of various aspects. You will find different types of offset smokers with different operation styles and features, so it is now up to you to decide as to which offset smoker would suit your style of cooking.
With different brands coming to the fore as of late, it will take some searching because every brand has something new and unique to offer.
The best offset smoker should be capable of keeping the best flavors of the meat intact without creating pollution.
Moreover, the parts should be rust and warp resistant because you will be using this smoker for a long-long time. So, keep these points in mind before buying an offset smoker.