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Your Complete Guide To Buying An Offset Smoker

by Lianne Jones February 22, 2022

Your Complete Guide To Buying An Offset Smoker

Maybe you went to a family barbeque and noticed that a relative of yours has an offset smoker. You got to see it in action, you got to taste some of the incredible smoky flavors unlocked in the various meats and vegetables that they cooked within it.

You were amazed by it. You started to think how good it would be to have your very own offset smoker! 

So you want to buy an offset smoker, but there is a lot of information out there! How can you know what's correct, what to listen to? If you find yourself overwhelmed by the wealth of information and opinions out there about Offset Smokers, then you can take a moment to breathe! We've got you covered!

Below is a complete overview of offset smokers and their features. We're going to give you all the information you will need, including their history, where to buy them, how to choose between gas and electric models, and how you can work out if a specific model is right for your personal cooking needs. 

Whether you're looking for an offset smoker to entertain at a large barbeque, or just because you want to increase your standing as pitmaster - this is the guide for you!

We have also included an extensive FAQ section that will help you in answering any and all of the most important questions that you might be having around this issue.

So let's begin - this is the complete guide to buying an offset smoker.

Why Buy An Offset Smoker?

Let's start with the most simple of questions and consider our intentions. What reasons might you have for wanting to buy an offset smoker? 

Firstly, an offset smoker is a great addition to a barbeque. If you are a pitmaster, then this is a toy you are going to want to have. It allows you to cook food without having to light up a fire every time. 

This means you don't have to worry about smoke blowing away from your food, or getting too close to the flames. You can get away with being further back than you would otherwise be able to, which makes cooking more enjoyable.

Secondly, they are relatively cheap to purchase. A good quality offset smoker should set you back no more than $200. That's not bad when you think about the fact that you could spend thousands of dollars on a traditional barbecue. 

Thirdly, they are easy to use. Unlike a traditional barbecue, you won't need to learn anything new to make the best use of one of these. All you need to do is add some wood pellets and turn them on.

Finally, they are versatile. In addition to using them for barbecuing, you can also use them for roasting, baking, grilling, smoking, and even making soup.

What Makes An Offset Smoker 'Offset?'

The name comes from the fact that they are designed to sit off-center on a table. This means that you can place them wherever you want. They are usually placed in the center of a room so that everyone can enjoy the food you prepare.

This design also allows you to use them indoors. Most people who own an offset smoker tend to keep it outside during the summer months. However, if you live somewhere that gets cold, then you may want to try keeping it inside.

A Short History Of Offset Smokers 

Before we go into detail about the different types of offset smokers available, let's take a quick look at how they came about. The first ones were made in Germany in the early 1900s. They were called "Köfen" (meaning oven). These ovens had a cast iron body and a coal-fired furnace underneath. They were used for baking bread and other similar foods.

In the 1960s, American companies began producing their versions of these ovens. They were known as "offset" smokers. The reason why they became popular was that they allowed users to cook food while sitting comfortably in a chair. This meant that they didn't require anyone to stand over the stove. As such, they became very popular among chefs. 

Today, Offset Smokers are a readily available piece of cooking equipment that many homes can afford. Sudden jumps in technology have allowed for more impressive methods of temperature control, turning the process of smoking into a science and an art form!

How Do I Choose Between Gas And Electric Models?

Okay, so you're set! You want to buy an offset smoker and you are going to go out and make this dream a reality! Well from now on it's simple, right? Think again! There are a few important factors you're going to need to consider to purchase your perfect Offset Smoker. 

The first thing you'll notice when you look at an offset smoker is that there is usually only one way to power it: either with gas or electricity. There are no other options available.

This is because offset smokers were originally designed to be powered by gas. However, over time, people discovered that they worked better with electricity. So now, almost all offset smokers come equipped with both types of power sources.

If you are planning on purchasing an offset smoker, then you may be wondering whether you should go for a gas-powered unit or an electric-powered one. The answer depends entirely on what kind of cooking you plan to do with your smoker.

If you are planning on using it primarily for barbecuing, then you will probably want to opt for a gas-powered smoker. They tend to provide better heat control and allow you to adjust the temperature much easier.

However, if you are planning on using your offset smoker for other purposes such as roasting, baking, or smoking foods, then it is likely that you will want to invest in an electric-powered smoker. These units are generally cheaper and offer greater versatility.

Buyers' Guide

Now that we've answered the most fundamental questions about offset smokers, we're going to break down all of the other things you need to keep in mind when buying your new cooking toy in a comprehensive list. 

Temperature Control 

Offset smokers are typically equipped with two ways to regulate the temperature inside the cooker. You can use either a thermostat or a dial gauge.

A thermostat will automatically turn off the burner once the desired temperature is reached. This means that you won't have to worry about manually turning the stove off every time you're done cooking.

On the flip side, a dial gauge allows you to manually set the desired temperature. Once you do so, you'll be able to easily monitor the progress of your meal by simply checking the indicator.

If you plan on using your offset smoker to roast vegetables, then you should go with a dial gauge. However, if you're going to use it to smoke meats, then you should look at investing in a thermostat.

Vertical Smokers 

Most offset smokers are built vertically. This means that their heating elements are positioned above the food being cooked. It also makes them ideal for those who don't have enough space to build a traditional pit.

In addition, vertical smokers are often smaller than their horizontal counterparts. This means that they take up less room in your kitchen, which is always a plus.

If you're looking to cook large quantities of food, then you might want to opt for a larger model. On the other hand, if you're just interested in smoking small amounts of meat, then a smaller unit will work perfectly fine.

Offset Barrel Smokers 

Another option is to get a barrel smoker. Unlike offset smokers, these models feature a long, narrow chamber where the food is placed. As a result, they are more suitable for slow-cooking meals like stews and braises.

They also make excellent choices for outdoor grilling. Many people prefer this design because it's easy to move around without having to worry about damaging the floor.

Fuel Source 

Most offset smokers are fueled by natural gas. If you don't already know how to operate a gas line, then you might want to check out our guide here.

You can also choose to fuel your offset smoker with propane. Propane is more expensive than natural gas, but it offers many advantages. For example, it doesn't require any special equipment to operate (just a tank). It also provides a cleaner flame, which makes it ideal for smoking food.

In addition, propane is safer than natural gas. That being said, you'll still want to make sure that you install a carbon monoxide detector before you start using your offset smoker.

There are also woodchip and charcoal options, which means that you can cook with whatever type of fuel you prefer.

Smoke Chamber Size 

When it comes to offsetting smokers, there are three different sizes: mini, midi, and full-sized.

Mini offset smokers measure between 12" and 18". Midi models range from 18" to 24", while full-sized ones measure between 24" and 30".

The size of your smoke chamber has a huge impact on the flavor of the food you put into it. A smaller chamber tends to produce less intense flavors, whereas a larger chamber produces richer, deeper flavors.

To get the best results, you should always buy a model that's roughly equivalent to the size of your grill. For example, if you plan on using your smoker to barbecue chicken breasts, then you should purchase a midi or full-sized unit.

Wheels 

Wheels are an important aspect of an offset smoker to consider. If you don't have wheels, then you will find that it is difficult to move your offset smoker around. It's especially hard to maneuver it into a position where you want to cook.

You may also find that it becomes quite heavy to lift. Wheels make things much easier.

So before you decide which type of wheel you would like to get, take note of the size of your offset smoker. Then choose the model that has wheels that are compatible with its dimensions.

Size Of The Unit 

Another factor to consider is the size of the offset smoker that you wish to purchase. When shopping for an offset smoker, you will often see models that range anywhere between 12 inches and 24 inches wide.

It doesn't matter too much how big or small the offset smoker is; however, if you are looking to buy a smaller unit, then you might want to think about getting something that fits more comfortably in your kitchen.

It's not uncommon for larger offset smokers to weigh upwards of 100 pounds. That's why many people prefer to buy a smaller version instead.

Cooking Area 

The last thing to consider when purchasing an offset smoker is the amount of space available for cooking. Some offset smokers come with a large cooking area while others only have a relatively small one. How much space do you have? you don't want to end up buying something that you don't have the room to store. 

This is important because you will want to ensure that there is enough room for you to prepare food without having to constantly move the cooker.

One way to determine this is to measure the width of the cooking surface. Make sure that it's at least twice as long as the length of the offset smoker itself.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! Those are some of the most important things to consider when selecting your perfect offset smoker. An offset smoker is a wonderful addition to your home barbeque setup!

If you want to become the ultimate pitmaster, then you should get one! Soon enough you will be unlocking the secrets to true smoky flavor!

We hope that this guide has helped you to understand all things regarding offset smokers. Below is a Frequently Asked Questions section that is going to answer any left-over questions you might still have!

Happy smoking! We hope that you find your perfect new cooking toy!

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Makes A Smoker Better Than A Gas Grill? 

A gas grill is great for grilling steaks and burgers. However, they aren't very good at smoking meat. On the other hand, a smoker can be used to smoke meats, fish, veggies, and even desserts.

Smoking food over an open flame gives off a unique flavor that cannot be achieved by simply heating food over a burner. This is what makes a smoker better than a gas grill.

Are Charcoal Smokers Good? 

Charcoal smokers are great for making delicious smoked foods. They give off a smoky aroma that is unmatched by anything else.

However, charcoal smokers tend to be more expensive than electric ones. So if you're on a budget, we recommend that you go for an offset smoker. It's less costly and allows you to use wood chips or pellets.

What About Pellet Smokers? 

Pellet smokers are also known as "pellets" or "wood chunks". These are made from compressed sawdust.

They work just like regular charcoal smokers but they cost significantly less. You can buy them online or at local stores. Different types of smokers do different things, so always consider this when you are searching. 

What Are The Best Cuts Of Meat For A Smoker?

The best cuts of meat for smoking are brisket, ribs, pork butt, chicken breasts, salmon fillets, and whole chickens. All these items can be cooked in a smoker.

How Much Does A Pellet Smoker Cost? 

You can purchase a pellet smoker for anywhere between $100-$400. The price depends on how many features you want. For example, a basic model may only include a lid and a firebox.

How Hard Is An Offset Smoker To Clean? 

Offset smokers are fairly easy to maintain. However, they require some work to clean. Cleaning the grease trap is essential. Grease build-up can cause serious health problems.

If you don't regularly clean out the trap, you could end up getting sick. Also, make sure that you keep the ash pan clean. Ash build-up can clog the vents and prevent air circulation.

Lianne Jones
Lianne Jones


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