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Best Offset Smokers 2022

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The best offset smokers have a few things in common. Solid steel construction, excellent airflow control, high-quality construction, and the authentic smoke flavor that only real hardwood can provide. You buy an offset smoker because you are serious about barbecue. For you, meat smoking is more than an occasional excuse for a cookout. Barbecue, with all its variations and possibilities, is a way of life.

Best Offset Smokers
Best Offset Smokers

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What is an Offset Smoker

Smokers come in wide varieties. From the difference in fuels to the shapes and sizes. One of the oldest styles of smokers is the offset smoker. This configuration has been wildly popular with caterers, competition cooks, and BBQ joints for decades. The offset is easy to use but does have a learning curve. The best offset smokers, however, can be controlled precisely without any electronics or fancy gadgets.

The offset smoker gets its name from the fact that the fire is held in a box, offset from the cooking chamber. Hence the offset firebox. This creates indirect heat and allows for access to the fire and the food independently. Offset smokers are powered by charcoal or hardwood. When burning hardwood, these cookers are sometimes referred to as stick burners. You can use combinations of fuel, mixing charcoal (lump or briquette) with hardwood logs or chunks depending on the size of the firebox.

In form, the offset smoker is divided into two sections. There is the firebox and the cooking chamber. The firebox sits lower than the cooking chamber to the side (sometimes beneath or behind). The cooking chamber is a large chamber with cooking grates for food. There are two styles of main chambers, the long, low chamber, and the tall, vertical chamber. 

The two chambers are connected, allowing smoke and heat to flow from the firebox to the cooking chamber. A vent on the firebox controls the airflow into the smoker, while a vent (typically a smokestack) on the cooking chamber lets air flow out. Adjusting these vents controls the smoking temperature. 

Reverse Flow Smoker

A reverse flow offset smoker reverses the course of the airflow. A metal plate sits at the bottom of the cooking chamber. The heat and smoke from the firebox flow under this plate to the opposite side of the chamber. Then back, over the food, and out through a stack on the side of the firebox. This is how you tell a reverse flow offset smoker from the standard configuration.

If I was going to build an offset smoker, I would make it reverse flow. It is a better design and has more even heat distribution. However, being a reverse flow smoker doesn’t make it better. It’s an improvement. Standard offset smokers can still be fantastic. Don’t pick a reverse flow smoker for that factor alone. Also, the vast majority of offset smokers are not reverse flow.

What are the Advantages of Offset Smokers

Offset smokers are loved for their authentic smoke production and the flavor they can produce. This is traditional barbecue at its best. This is why so many serious barbecue cooks turn to an offset design for their cooking versus a pellet smoker. With their use of hardwood or charcoal, you get high smoke production in ratio to the heat produced. By combining charcoal with hardwood, you can adjust the smoke flavor and level. 

Offset smokers are scalable, meaning they can get very large without impacting function. There are wildly popular BBQ joints that do all their cooking on a single offset smoker. In fact, larger offset smokers have more even heat and can be easier to control than smaller units. Offset smokers can cook a lot of food. And many models can grill as well as any charcoal grill. 

Affordability is also a strong pro on the offset smoker’s side. While I don’t recommend the cheapest on the market, when you compare the cooking area of offset smokers with that of Kamado Grills or Pellet Grills, you find that you can get a lot more cooker for the money. This is not to say that some of these smokers don’t run into thousands of dollars. But from a value standpoint, these are great options.

What are the Disadvantages of Offset Smokers

The biggest disadvantage of the offset smoker is time. It takes time to learn the ins and outs of the smoker. They are not hard to use, but you need to know the proper way to build a fire and adjust the vents to get to and maintain your target temperature. 

Offset smokers can also take time to heat up. This is often longer than it takes to start a charcoal fire. With this style of smoker, you need to build the fire and then bring the cooking chamber up to temperature. The larger the cooker the longer this can take. They also may not recover temperatures quickly, so keep the lid closed as much as possible. 

Cheap offset smokers are not worth buying. There are many better options for the price and size like the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker for instance. A good offset is solidly built with thick steel. The doors and vents close tightly and all the parts line up correctly. Bad offset smokers tend to lack all these factors. If you don’t want to make the investment in a good offset smoker, consider a different style of cooker.

It is my opinion that a good offset smoker is not for beginners. This should be an investment made because you are serious about barbecue and know what you are getting into. There are many websites out there recommending low-quality, low-priced offset smokers from companies like Dyna-Glo, American Gourment, and  Char-Griller. I do not recommend these and if you are looking in this price range, get a good, simple charcoal smoker instead. If you are just starting in food smoking, you might want to consider a good Gas or Electric Smoker (see my list of the Best Gas Smokers or the Best Electric Smokers).

You Get What You Pay For!

There are several cheap offset smokers on the market. Most of these are simply not worth your time or energy. Temperatures can be hard to control. Plus they tend to corrode quickly and will give you nothing but grief over time. They may be cheap, but they are not worth the investment. You can still get the great charcoal smoke flavor with other styles of smokers. I recommend you take a look at my list of the best charcoal smokers. for this reason, I don’t recommend any offset smokers under $500USD.

Best Offset Smokers


The Good One Marshall

The Good One Marshall
The Good One Marshall

The Good One Marshall

Derrick Riches

The Good One Marshall
Capacity
Construction Quality
Ease of Use
Temperature Control

Summary

I know what you are thinking. This doesn’t look like an offset smoker. I assure you, it is. It has a separate firebox that connects to the cooking chamber through a vent. Air flows in through this firebox and out through the vents on the top. What the oddly named ‘Good One’ is, is an improved offset smoker. The vents rotate on screws for more precise control of the cooking temperature. Now, the Marshall is big. It will cook nearly 150 pounds of food or up to 9 briskets at a time. If you want a more patio-friendly model, I recommend their Open Range model

While I wholeheartedly recommend this smoker, it does cost around $2,500USD, so it isn’t the answer for many. It is, however, an excellent offset smoker that breaks the runs and smokes easier, better, and more efficiently than almost any other charcoal smoker. Good One Smokers are handmade in the United States and are serious, heavy-duty smokers.

Specifications

2378 square inches of smoking space on four racks
471 square inches of grilling space
A separate grilling space allows for simultaneous grilling and smoking
11 gauge steel body with 14 gauge steel lids
Precision control “spinner” air vents
Two 10-inch wheels and two heavy-duty casters
Center door-mounted temperature gauge
Removable ash catcher
Removable drip pan
Internal damper separates firebox (grilling chamber) from smoker box
Large wheels make the unit easy to move
Total weight of 497 pounds
Made in the United States by Landmark Manufacturing

Read my Full Review of The Good One Marshall

4.6

What I Like

  • Excellent Temperature Control – The vents on this smoker are truly unique. They turn on a screw allowing for very precise oxygen control. Count the turns and you will be able to set this smoker to an exact temperature every time.
  • Solid Construction – This smoker weighs nearly 500 pounds. It is massive and hand-welded by a leading metal manufacturing company. The high-temperature paint gives it a porcelain surface that resists rust and maintains its appearance for a long time. This is a serious, heavy-metal smoker and every part reflects that.
  • Efficient Fuel Consumption – All that metal holds heat. Air flows in and out through the vents and nowhere else. For a big metal smoker, this unit is very efficient, requiring less charcoal (or hardwood) than most other offset smokers. Close the vents and the damper between the chambers and you can snuff out that fuel and save it for next time.
  • Simultaneous Grilling and Smoking – The firebox is large and rectangular. An expanded steel grate sits over the coals, allowing you to grill at high temperatures while the main chamber remains low and slow.
  • Huge Capacity – This offset smoker sits on an area that is three feet by four feet and still has nearly 3,000 square inches of cooking space. This is a very efficient use of your patio.

What I Don’t Like

  • Big Smoker/Little Legs – The Good One Marshall is 500 pounds of smoker on a four-legged cart. Worse, it sits on two inflatable tires (that will go flat frequently from the weight) and two casters. These are built for the job, but this is an awkward smoker that is hard to move. Also, don’t put it on a wooden deck, all that weight is focused on four very small spaces. It can punch through wood or embed itself in soft ground.

Yoder Wichita Loaded

Yoder Loaded Wichita Offset Smoker
Yoder Loaded Wichita Offset Smoker

Yoder Loaded Wichita

Derrick Riches

Yoder Cheyenne Offset Smoker
Capacity
Construction Quality
Ease of Use
Temperature Control

Summary

Yoder has become a leader in hardcore barbecue. They are known for making some of the best pellet grills in the world, but they bring equal quality to their charcoal offset smokers. The Yoder Wichita is designed as their backyard smoker. This is the classic barrel-style offset and has a heavy gauge steel to hold in heat. It is expensive at a $2,700 price point, but it is excellently built. This is a classic, direct flow stick burner smoker with heavy, solid construction. 

The Loaded Wichita is, well, loaded. At the price, you would hope so. It is made from 1/4-inch steel and weighs nearly 600 pounds. There are two thermometers mounted into the door, which is counterbalanced for easier lifting. There are shelves in front of the cooking chamber and the firebox (which you can cook on). There are also a number of available upgrades offered for this loaded model. This is Yoder after all, and they are known for detailed construction as well as their custom smokers.

Specifications

Total Weight: 591 Pounds
Cooking Surface: 1,610 Square Inches on two grates
Removable Chimney
Counterweighted Cooking Chamber Door
Temperature Probe Port
Pot Warmer on Firebox
Grease Drain
Length: 7 1/2 feet
Lifetime Warranty
Made in the United States by Yoder Smokers

4.5

What I Like

  • Construction – You can’t argue with the construction quality of Yoder Smokers. They make a wide range of outdoor cooking equipment from their classic offset smokers to huge pellet smokers. All are built with lots of metal and attention to design and quality that few companies can match. Offset smokers are pretty generic cookers, but you have to admit that this model looks great. But it goes well beyond just looks. The welding is fantastic and everything comes together to give you precision temperature control and very consistent airflow. This smoker is built to produce that perfect blue smoke we all love for making great barbecue. Add to this a lifetime warranty and you have a high-quality offset charcoal smoker.
  • Ease of Use – Offset smokers are not considered the easiest cooker to use. You need to know how to build and maintain a fire, as well as adjust vents to get the best performance. There is a learning curve. The Yoder Wichita Loaded does have some nice features that make your smoking experience better. I like that the racks slide out so you can more easily access food. The dual temperature gauge helps you control your cooking by giving you two points to check temperatures. It is these features that make this a great offset.

What I Don’t Like

  • Price – There isn’t much to not like about this offset. Great construction and attention to detail make it great. It also makes it expensive. There are comparably priced offset smokers (some listed below) that give you similar space for half the price. Yes, there are some at a fraction of the price, but you lose so much with those. The Wichita comes in at nearly $3,000 and there are a number of upgrades that can improve this, but they too are pricey. But you do get what you pay for.

Lang 36-Inch Deluxe

Lang 36-Inch Deluxe Offset Smoker
Lang 36-Inch Deluxe Offset Smoker

Lang 36-Inch Deluxe

Derrick Riches

Lang 36-Inch Deluxe Offset Smoker
Capacity
Construction Quality
Ease of Use
Temperature Control

Summary

Lang is legendary in BBQ, having been a Smoker Maker since 1988. They have built some of the most popular BBQ smokers to hit the competition circuit. All of their products are built by hand in Nahunta, Georgia and a built with more than thirty years of experience. In many ways, Lang set the bar for smokers and you can see their influence throughout the industry. They make some of the best offsets you will find.

The Lang 36-Inch Deluxe Offset Smoker is designed for the backyard. This is a fully loaded offset smoker with a comparatively small cooking chamber, but also a warming box over the firebox. You can use this warming box for heating, baking, or as an additional slow smoking space. The main smoking chamber is a reverse flow smoker and provides excellent even heating. The compact design makes this a highly efficient offset so it will save you on fuel over time.

Specifications

Weight: over 700 pounds
931 square inches of total cooking capacity
Reverse flow baffle
Left Handed Model Available
Wrap Around Shelf
Mounted on two large, inflatable tires, and two casters
Slideout Upper Rack
Locking Doors

4.4

What I Like

  • Compact Design – If you don’t count the wrap-around shelf, this smoker is a little over five feet from end to end. And yet it will handle 8 racks of ribs or a dozen chickens. One of the problems of offset smokers is that they can take up a lot of space. But what if you don’t have the space for a large rig. The Lang 36-Inch has the capacity without a huge footprint. And even better, everything is right upfront. You can access the adjustable dampers, the chimney, and the food without taking a single step.
  • The shelf – Many offsets don’t have good working space. This model has a huge amount of table area for you to load and unload food easily. This seems like a minor issue until you have your hands full of hot brisket and no place to set it down.
  • The Warming Box – A lot of barbecue gets wrapped before it comes off the smoker. With this Lang smoker, you can wrap foods and move them to the warming box. This can free up your cooking chamber for other foods, or allow you to shut down early and let all that stored heat in the metal hold foods at temperature for hours. You can also use this box to heat all your side dishes. This gives you a great deal of versatility in a comparatively small offset.

What I Don’t Like

  • Availability – Lang Smokers are generally built to order, even if you are ordering a standard model. Also, shipping is an additional price and can run high if you are a long way from Georgia. At times, it can take up to 6 months to get your smoker built and ready to ship. Many people have opted to drive to the factory to pick up their smoker themselves when it is ready. You have to contact Lang directly to order. No store carries their products. While this isn’t an issue unique to them, high demand can make getting your Lang difficult.

Horizon 20-Inch Classic Smoker

Horizon 20-Inch Offset Smoker
Horizon 20-Inch Offset Smoker

Horizon 20-Inch Classic Smoker

Derrick Riches

Horizon 20-Inch Offset Smoker
Capacity
Construction Quality
Ease of Use
Temperature Control

Summary

Not many people seem to have heard of Horizon Smokers. Which is strange. This company, founded by Roger Davidson, has a linage that goes straight back to the original Oklahoma Joe’s (yes, that Davidson). The smokers that Horizon now builds are part of a legacy decades old. Solid and classic, these units have become a secret favorite.

Horizon smokers are handmade in Perry, OK, and shipped directly to you (there are some retailers to check that first since you pay for shipping from the factory). The 20-Inch Horizon Smoker is large enough for catering or for barbecue competitions. The heavy construction and fantastic build quality mean that you will be able to keep this smoker cooking for decades. I particularly like the oversized firebox on this unit. The Horizon 20-Inch starts at around $1,550USD.

Total Weight: 450 Pounds

Total Cooking Space: 975 Square Inches

4.3

Pitts and Spitts Ultimate Smoker Pit

Pitts and Spitts Ultimate Smoker Pit
Pitts and Spitts Ultimate Smoker Pit

Pitts and Spitts Ultimate Smoker Pit

Derrick Riches

Pitts and Spitts Ultimate Smoker Pit
Capacity
Construction Quality
Ease of Use
Temperature Control

Summary

Pitts and Spitts of Houston, TX have been making serious smokers since 1983. They are one of the biggest names in hardcore barbecue cookers. Their Ultimate Smoker Pit is actually a series of cookers ranging in price from $2,400 to $3,300. The reason for the steep price compared to size is in the features. The Ultimate Smoker Pit has several stainless steel body parts as well as a 30,000 BTU gas burner for lighting the fire. Yes, load it with logs, turn on the burner, and you will have a fire burning in ten minutes. 

Basically, the Pitts and Spitts Offset Smoker is designed to be a more accessible, easy-to-use cooker. The lid rolls over so no need for counterbalances or even a lot of strength. With the size options, you can go from a smaller smoker perfect for the family to a large-sized unit ready for catering. 

Smoking Area: 853 to 1855 Square Inches

4.1

Meadow Creek SQ 36 Barbeque Smoker

Meadow Creek SQ36 Barbeque Smoker

Meadow Creek SQ 36 Barbeque Smoker

Derrick Riches

Meadow Creek SQ36 Barbeque Smoker
Capacity
Construction Quality
Ease of Use
Temperature Control

Summary

Meadow Creek Smokers have become a favorite on the competition circuit. The SQ36 is listed as their entry-level smoker. It comes standard with 510 square inches of smoking space but that can be nearly doubled. Of course, this is a $2000USD smoker without any of the extras that can be added to it. The Meadow Creek SQ 36 has an efficient design that optimizes cooking capacity for the size. Without the option extra cooking rack you can smoke 6 pork butts.

Even heat is provided by an internal diffuser that allows smoke and heat to flow evenly into the bottom of the cooking chamber. The smokestack is mounted opposite the firebox, but in many ways, this smoker functions similarly to a reverse flow unit. That smokestack is mounted low, almost at the bottom of the cooking chamber. This means that the Meadow Creek holds onto smoke longer and better. 

Total Weight: 310 Pounds
Smoking Area: 510 Square Inches (expandable)

4

Broil King Smoke XL 32-Inch Offset Charcoal Smoker

Broil King Smoke Offset XL Charcoal Smoker
Broil King Smoke Offset XL Charcoal Smoker

Broil King Smoke XL 32-Inch Offset Charcoal Smoker

Derrick Riches

Broil King Smoke Offset XL Charcoal Smoker
Capacity
Construction Quality
Ease of Use
Temperature Control

Summary

Broil King of Canada makes virtually every type of outdoor cooking equipment and has done so for decades. This offset smoker is simple and small, but solidly constructed and easy to use. It does cost around $1,000USD however. This puts it outside the range of a budget smoker and when you consider the size, there isn’t a lot of incentive to purchase this model. I like it, but as you can guess, there are better offset smokers and there are certainly less expensive ones. You have enough space for your family and can make some very good barbecue. With care, you can fit up to 6 racks of ribs on the Broil King Smoke XL.

Total Weight: 150 Pounds
Smoking Area: 955 Square Inches

3.9

Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker – BUDGET FRIENDLY

Oklahoma Joes Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker
Oklahoma Joes Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker

Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker

Derrick Riches

Oklahoma Joes Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker
Capacity
Construction Quality
Ease of Use
Temperature Control

Summary

This Oklahoma Joe’s isn’t the company of 20 years ago. This is something else. Yes, this is a reverse flow offset smoker and you can buy it for around $500. This makes it very comparable to the Broil King above. What makes that smoker better is the attention to detail. This isn’t a bad smoker. In fact, for the price, it is a good offset. It is also the most widely distributed offset smoker on this list. 

Oklahoma Joe’s is, of course, a brand of Char-Broil. Char-Broil also owns American Gourmet. While this is a more affordable model than the Oklahoma Joe’s I do not recommend the American Gourmet Offset Smoker. It is extraordinarily lightweight and an example of the kind of offset that gave this style of smoker a bad name.

Total Weight: 180 Pounds
Smoking Area: 900 Square Inches

3.8

Who Should Buy Offset Smokers

Offset Smokers are for those interested in serious barbecue. You don’t dump in pellets and push a button. And, you are probably wasting fuel and potential if the most you cook at a time is a rack of ribs. There is an art to the offset smoker and once you have mastered it, you will be the envy of all those neighbors with lesser cooking equipment. 

The larger offset smokers are perfect for those interested in barbecue competitions or catering. They have the capacity and quality that you can rely on to perform at your best. And you get to hang with the stick burner crowd. Offset smokers require some skill. Not a lot, but just enough to set you apart from the others. And don’t worry. Many offset smokers can be connected to temperature control devices to make your life even easier.  

Best Fuel for Offset Smokers

One of the advantages of an offset smoker is that it can burn any type of hardwood or charcoal. However, there are proper ways to build a fire and get the level of smoke you want. Remember, more smoke doesn’t necessarily mean better barbecue. It just means a stronger smoke flavor. Not everyone enjoys heavy smoke so you adjust as necessary.

A strategy used by a number of competitors is to start with standard Kingsford Original Charcoal. I know there are some who think this is a lesser charcoal, but when it comes to consistent heat output, Kingsford is the best. It might not produce the highest burn temperatures, but for an offset smoker, you don’t need it.

Use the Kingsford charcoal as a base layer. Get it to a full burn. This means a high heat with full coverage of white over the briquettes. Smooth out the coals into an even layer and then you can put on hardwood logs, wood chunks, or lump charcoal. With an offset smoker, you build a fire in layers. Once it is going, add additional fuel to keep the fire strong, but controlled by the vents.  

Pro-Tip

Flame King Heavy Duty Weed Burner

If you want to light your offset smoker like a professional consider a propane weed burner. You can buy this almost anywhere. Connect it to a propane tank, light it up and then blast your fuel to get it burning. This way you can light a lot of charcoal or hardwood very quickly.  Just promise me that you will be careful with one of these.

About Me

I have been writing about Barbecue & Grilling for 25 years. I have cooked on almost every grill or smoker ever built. In that time, I have endeavored to match people with the grill or smoker that is right for them. I believe that the right product is the one that you find easy to use, capable of doing everything you want, and is reliable. If you have a good first experience, you will be back for more. In this way, we grow barbecue for the next generation. I want you to make the memories that your children will cherish.

Affiliate Disclosure

This article and the website it appears on uses sales affiliates to cover the cost of operation. If you choose to purchase a product through the links provided, a portion of that sale will go to me. It helps me create content, so I can help you and others have the best barbecue experience. I am grateful to all my readers over the years that have been so kind as to assist me in my exploration of outdoor cooking. Thank you.

Contact Me

    Derrick Riches

    I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.

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