What Is An Offset Smoker? [Everything You Need To Know]

An offset smoker features a unique firebox and airflow system to provide perfectly barbecue smoked food. If you want to advance your cooking skills, try an offset smoker.

So, what is an offset smoker? An offset smoker is generally a barbecue smoker that features a horizontal chamber and a firebox on one side. The offset smoker is designed to cook with indirect heat hence perfect for low and slow cooking. It works by the air drafts getting into the firebox through the oven and then out through the stack.

If you love cooking your meals with an authentic barbecue with wood, then using a heavy-duty offset smoker will make it easy for you to accomplish your objective. Read on for more details on everything that you may want to learn about the offset smoker.

old smoker with wheels

Why Offset Wood Smoker

Although the offset wood smoker may have its challenges, including frequent refueling and adjustments, it is one of the best tools you can embrace if you want to elevate your grilling skills. An offset wood smoker can be an excellent grilling tool for you if;

1. You Love Playing With Fire

The design of the best offset smoker is in such a way that it gives you ample time to stoke the coals and manipulate the fire as much as you deem it necessary to accomplish your objectives. If you love manipulating a live fire while cooking your favorite dishes and elevating your cooking experience, you will like the offset smoker.

2. The Cool Factor

If you like the cool factor when preparing meals, then the offset wood smoker is for you. A quality offset wood smoker functions better than open pits and cabinet smokers as it is the coolest.

3. Authentic Wood Flavor

The offset wood smoker also gives you an excellent opportunity to impart authentic wood flavor to the food. In addition to excellent heat retention capability, the smoke promotes the sporadic generation of heat and smoke than the charcoal.

If you are new to using an offset smoker, you may end up over-smoking your meat, which is why you should be careful. One way to avoid over-smoking is to refuel the smoker with a mixture of firewood and charcoal.

Best For Cooking Large Volumes

Whether you love cooking your food in large quantities or want to cook for a large group, the offset wood smoker will not disappoint you. It can hold a lot of cooks. The only challenge you are likely to experience is a high fuel consumption rate.

Offset Smoker Grill

While most offset smokers are designed to cook with indirect heat, some can allow you to cook with direct heat. All you need is to set the fire under the cooking grate in the cooking chamber and proceed with your grilling ventures.

To get the best from your offset smoker, here are some expert tips on getting the most from an offset smoker.

1. Cook With A Combination Of Wood And Charcoal

You do not have to use wood alone as a source of fuel. Instead, you can combine wood and charcoal for the best results. The advantage of the charcoal/wood combo is that it makes it easy to execute temperature control while imparting a delicious smoky flavor to your food.

2. Equip Yourself With A Digital Thermometer

Keeping the temperature constant while cooking is one of the best ways to have a successful smoking experience. However, you are not likely to achieve this objective if you do not have a functional thermometer. The digital thermometer will make it easy to control the temperature in your smoker.

3. Go Easy On The Smoke

One of the common challenges people experience when using an offset smoker for the first time is over smoking. Always adopt a restrained approach to ensure that the amount of smoke you generate inside the cooking chamber does not overpower the food. For instance, avoid soaking the wood chunks to generate more heat.

What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Offset Smoker

Purchasing the best offset wood smoker is key to getting the most from the offset wood smoker. While the process can be challenging due to the numerous brands in the market, you will always find it easy when you know what to look out for in the best offset smoker. The following factors can help you make the right choice.

The Design And Construction Materials

The construction and the material are the most critical factors to examine whenever you want to get yourself the best smoker. If the design and the materials are not up to standard, the chances are that you will not like the services of the smoker.

When examining the offset smoker’s structure and materials, pay attention to the thickness and quality of the welds. A ¼ thickness of steel is the standard quality for the best offset smoker. Such thickness implies that the smoker can serve you for a long time. The hot-rolled or stainless steel is excellent for a quality offset smoker.

Additionally, offset smokers made in the United States tend to be of the right quality. Moreover, they are cheap as the cost of production is low. Lastly, ensure that you invest in a smoker with a warranty to be sure that it will serve you for a long time.

Well-Designed Firebox

Besides ensuring that the smoker is made of quality material, you need to examine each part of the smoker. For instance, the firebox is the only source of heat, meaning that its quality will significantly influence the efficiency of the smoker. Ensure the following;

  • The dampers/venting are sturdy and firm so that they are always in place whenever you are using the smoker
  • Presence of raised log grates for convenience when using both wood and charcoal
  • A functional ash removal system to promote easy cleaning and maintenance of the grill

offset smoker

Functional Cooking Chamber

The cooking chamber is where the magic happens. Therefore, you must ensure that it is perfectly designed to make cooking easy and reliable. Generally, a functional cooking chamber should have the following traits.

  • Excellent heat/smoke flow – a functional cooking chamber will have an excellent and uninterrupted flow of smoke and heat to guarantee even cooking. There should be no drastic cool or hot zones in the cook box.
  • A door Seal – a door seal on the door to the cooking chamber is an excellent trait for a best offset smoker. This is because it ensures that the cooking chamber is well closed when there is the need to do so.
  • Food Racks – It is also vital to ensure that the cooking grates are made up of quality materials to make cleaning easy and convenient. Quality grates also mean longevity.
  • Over food Space – One of the advantages of investing in an offset smoker is that it makes it possible to cook large volumes of food. Therefore, it is good to ensure that the cook chamber has ample space to give you the flexibility you need when preparing meals.
  • Quality Handles – You should also ensure that the handles are made up of quality materials to make them easy to handle. In this case, they should be cool-touch handles.
  • Accurate Temperature Gauges – Ensure that the smoker has accurate temperature gauges. They will ensure you do not have difficulty regulating the temperatures while cooking.


Lastly, consider the mobility of the smoker. A good smoker should be easy to move around so that you are always open to places where you can use the smoker. An offset smoker fitted with proper wheels will be the best option.


An offset smoker is a perfect tool for indirect cooking. Notably, offset smokers come with numerous benefits, including cooking best-tasting foods in large volumes. Whenever you want to invest in an offset smoker, ensure that you are familiar with the qualities that make a great offset wood smoker.