Grilling food for a large audience can be a ton of back-breaking work especially if you use a conventional grill. A great percentage of the grills on the market can only cater to a small number of persons at once especially when you have to cook one type of food at a time.
To cater to a larger group of people at once, you need an offset smoker with ample cooking space. Finding a good offset smoker can be a pain in the butt since you have a ton of options to choose from. Therefore, we decided to make things easier for you by personally handpicking the best of them.
Here’s our top pick.
#1. Best Offset Smoker – Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Offset Charcoal Smoker
The Dyna GLo signature smoker is one behemoth offset smoker with 5 cooking grates that gives you more than 1382 cu ft. of cooking space.
This vertically-shaped charcoal smoker has a massive size and is built to last.
It features oversized wheels for easy movement, temperature gauge, an easy lock and unlocking door mechanism, and high-quality heavy gauge stainless steel construction material. The side firebox also offers you a mini compartment for cooking on the go.
What You Should Know When Buying an Offset Smoker
One of the first things you should consider when buying an offset smoker is the number of people and items you intend to use it to serve. If it’s not worth it, we suggest going for conventional grills.
If you have a large number of individuals who’ll be served at once, then you should go ahead and get the offset smoker. But just before you do that, consider the location you live in.
With the increase in the number of wildfires in many areas in the US, certain counties may have laws governing the use of smokers and grills. Ask the appropriate authorities or your neighbors for any information that will help you stay out of trouble.
In addition to that, you should also take note of the weather conditions. Windy places or regions with heavy rains can impede the use of your offset smoker greatly.
Furthermore, the size of your yard should be taken into consideration. If your outdoor space is limited, then you should have a rethink about getting an offset smoker considering the fact that they’re large enough to take up a great deal of space.
As you’d expect, the construction materials must be high-quality. This is due to the fact that the amount of heat the smoker will give off when in use can affect the body and will prevent even heat distribution. This will, in turn, lead to some food items not getting cooked properly.
It is, therefore, important to go for offset smokers with heavy metal construction. This will drastically reduce the loss of heat from the body of the smoker. Bear in mind that with heavy build construction, the weight of the smoker will increase significantly.
Let’s not forget to mention that the use of heat resistant paint in coating the smoker is important. If cheap paint is used, it’ll fall off and possibly contaminate your food. Additionally, your food will be exposed directly to the metal which will begin to rust with time and further contaminate your food.
Offset smokers are either powered by gas, electric or by charcoal. These are the two types of offset smokers. You can also choose to get one that has a vertical construction or one that is horizontal. For many, the vertically constructed models are the best since it takes lesser space.
This is also another important factor to consider. The cooking space is often determined by the size of the smoker.
For instance, vertical offset smokers tend to have more cooking space than the barrel-shaped models.
When considering the cooking space, you should also not forget our first factor; the location where it will be stored and where it will be used.
Generally, offset smokers are known to be very heavy. Therefore, it is important to buy models with wheels for easy movement. It should also feature heat-proof handles that aid in movement so you can quickly move it without waiting for it to be cold.
Good Ventilation System
Fire relies heavily on oxygen to burn. And offset smokers aren’t an exception to this rule as they need a good deal of oxygen to keep the flames burning. On portable charcoal grills, you’ll always find dampers in vantage places for easy control over air.
It is also important to take note of features like a reverse flow technology system that will cycle the heat and smoke twice in the smoker before allowing it to escape from the exhaust stack. Unfortunately, many offset smokers on the market don’t have this feature – it’s not a must-have, but it’s worth having.
Having an integrated thermometer is essential if you want to keep your food from burning.
Fortunately, most offset smokers on the market have integrated thermometers.
You should also keep a meat thermometer handy for checking if your meat is done.
Storage Space and Hanging Hooks
Although it’s not an essential feature, it will be helpful for storing away cooking utensils and accessories as well as other items like charcoal. Hanging hooks should also be available on the side of the smoker so you can hang some of your cooking accessories.
For easy cleaning, your offset smoker must have an ashtray and a grease catcher underneath. This ensures that it is able to gather dirt in one place and reduce the stress of cleaning. The ashtray should also be accessed easily.
Offset Smoker Reviews
We took a look at about half a dozen offset smokers and we shared our thoughts concerning each of them below.
#1. Best Offset Smoker – Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Offset Charcoal Smoker
Cooking Space: 1382 sq. inches
Features: integrated thermometer with the smoke zone marking, five chrome-plated cooking grates, heavy metal body, wheels for easy movement, sturdy cool-to-touch handles, cool-touch spring lid.
Offering almost 1400 sq. inches of cooking space is the Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Offset Charcoal Smoker, a massive vertical offset charcoal smoker. It’s built to last and has all you need in an offset smoker.
To start with, the Dyna-Glo features a 5-grate cooking chamber. It offers you the opportunity to adjust the grates to slightly increase the amount of room you have for your cooking. This ensures that a good deal of your food is contained in it at once.
The Dyna-Glo’s body is made from heavy metal and it’s not surprising that the smoker is heavy. However, it features an ergonomic handle and tough wheels that allow it to be pushed along to wherever you want with relative ease.
As we expected, there is an integrated thermometer on this unit. The thermometer has a smoke zone marking which gives you an idea of the ideal temperature for infusing smoke flavor into your cooking.
In all, the Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Offset Charcoal Smoker is a great buy, even though you cannot remove the ashtray until you’re done with the cooking.
Cooking Space: 739 sq. inch + (275 sq. inch)
Features: over 900 sq. inch cooking space, removable ashtray, 3-piece smoking chamber, porcelain-coated cooking grates, temperature gauges on the lid, high-quality metal construction, storage space, and wheels.
The Char-Broil Deluxe Offset Smoker is a horizontal offset smoker with ample cooking space. It offers about 900 sq. inches of cooking space – including space on the side firebox. This offset smoker is constructed with a combination of high-quality porcelain and metal materials.
It sports a 3-piece smoking chamber. This gives you unlimited control over your food even as it helps you to keep your control over the temperature. With respect to temperature, there’s an integrated thermometer on the lid.
The cooking grates on this offset smoker are made from porcelain as against the stainless steel ones we’ve seen so far. The Char-Broil Deluxe Offset Smoker shares quite some design features with the Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw Charcoal Grill / Smoker which we reviewed below.
Both feature an under-the-grill storage space as well as sturdy wheels for easy movement.
#3. Best Gas Offset Smoker – Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker
Cooking Space: 784 sq. inch
Features: gas-powered with 15,000 BTU burner, vertical construction, double doors with a good handle and locking mechanism, wood chip box, liquid and grease collection plate, 4 adjustable steel cooking grates.
If you’re looking for gas-powered offset smokers, then you should look at the Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker, a close relative of the Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Offset Charcoal Smoker we reviewed earlier.
It’s vertically shaped and features a 15,000 BTU burner with an easy ignite button and control knob. There are different sizes available if you’re interested in getting a size larger than this model we reviewed.
The Dyna Glo LP Gas Smoker features double doors with an easy to lock and unlock mechanism. There’s a wood chip box as well as a liquid/grease collection plate that collects the droplets of grease and liquid from your food.
With the Dyna Glo LP Gas Offset Smoker, you get up to 784 sq. inches of cooking space, thanks to the 4 adjustable stainless steel cooking grates. Movement is an issue on this offset smoker, no thanks to the absence of wheels. Other than that, it gets a thumbs up from us.
Cooking Space: 1063 sq. inch
Features: 1063 sq. inches of cooking space, heavy gauge steel materials, an adjustable fire cast-iron grates with warming rack, and smoker box attachment capable, wheels for movement, etc.
As we mentioned earlier, the Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw Charcoal Grill / Smoker shares close similarity with the Char-Broil Deluxe Offset Smoker. This Char-Griller 2137 offset smoker offers 1063 sq. inches of cooking space.
Unfortunately, you need to purchase a side firebox separately if you intend to have a lot of space. This can be a major turnoff for anyone looking to shave some dollars off their purchase.
However, with the Char-Griller 2137, you get good value. The heavy-gauge steel construction is top-notch just like the adjustable cooking grates. There’s an additional allowance for the addition of a warming rack – this is what increases the cooking space.
The Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw Charcoal Grill / Smoker also offers you sizeable storage space as well as wheels for easy movement.
#5. Best Electric Offset Smoker – Masterbuilt MB20070210 MES 35B Electric Smoker
Cooking Space: 900 sq. inch
Features: electric powered, 1500W heating element, variable temperature settings with easy to use control knob, integrated thermometer, 3 chrome-coated cooking grates, removable water bowl, grease tray, and adjustable damper for smoke control.
Interested in an electric offset smoker? If your answer is yes, then the Masterbuilt MB20070210 MES 35B Electric Smoker is for you. It features a 1500W heating element that is powerful enough to cook food on the 900 sq. inches of cooking space.
The Masterbuilt 35B Electric Smoker comes with 3 cooking grates all made from steel and coated in chrome. As we expected, it also features an integrated thermometer, a wood chip sliding tray as well as a grease tray that traps droplets of grease from your food.
To control temperature, there’s an easy to use control knob in addition to the integrated thermometer. Again, there is an easy to use adjustable air damper for controlling smoke.
Save for the fact that it can slightly increase your energy bill, we give the Masterbuilt MB20070210 MES 35B Electric Smoker a thumbs up.
Apart from being easy to run and maintain especially for charcoal models, offset smokers offer the versatility of cooking lots of food at once for more mouths without any extra stress. With its large cooking space and extra grates, you get more chops ready in a short while.