The Best Offset Smokers of 2017

by | Oct 28, 2017 | Grill

Offset smokers were a traditional design used frequently 50 years ago. They went through a period of unpopularity in the 90s and 00s, yet they’re in something of a renaissance period right now.

With that popularity, lots of manufacturers are starting to bring out offset smoker designs and I thought it was time to put some of the best on the market to test.

In this round up review, I put offset grills from Dyna Glo, Outsunny, Char Griller and Oklahoma Joe to the test. Which one is the best? You’ll have to read on to find out!

Rank#1#2#3#4#5
Grill


Dyna-Glo

Vertical offset


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Oklahoma Joe's

Reverse Flow


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RiverGrille

SC2162901-RG


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Outsunny

Grill + Offset Smoker


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Char-Griller

Side Firebox


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Price$$$$$$$$$$$$
Rating
ProsLarge smoking area, vertical build.Large smoking surface, solid build quality.Sturdy build, professional quality. Entry level, doesn't break the bank.Side firebox, cast iron, adjustable dampers. Can attach to other Char-griller, grills.
ConsThin steelLow quality paintNot entry levelWe aren't big fans of wood handles. Small grill.Low quality paint
Cooking Surface (sq/inch)1,1761,0601,713288250
Shipping Weight76.8 pounds196 pounds392 pounds41.7 pounds39.4 pounds

The Best Offset Smokers of 2017

Check out our reviews below, and if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch via our contact form.

dyna-glo-vertical-offset-charcoal-smoker

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

User Rating:   (4.1/5)
Versatile Grill    
Stabilized Temperature  
Grilling Surface Area  1176 Sq/In

I’m already a fan of the Dyna Glo brand, so was really hoping that their build quality would shine through on this smoker. At about $170, it’s right on the money for a decent smoker you’ll get many years use from.

Features

The Dyna Go is a well sized smoker with 1176 square inches of cooking space. Like most Dyna Go grills, it has a similar heavy gauge black steel design – something I’ve become a big fan of recently. It has the all-important temperature gauge at the head of the stove and features a similar sturdy leg design common to all Dyna Glo smokers.

It weighs in at about 55 pounds, not bad at all for an offset design.

Setting It Up

I managed to set up the Dyna Glo without requiring any high temp silicone or adjustments. It took about an hour to put together, this was probably me taking my time to avoid any gaps in the door and vent system.

The instructions were nice and clear, just what I’ve come to expect from Dyna Glo, plus you have the all-important customer service number if you need to ask questions.

As with most offset smokers, the heat is produced by the charcoal and this fire only took about 10 minutes to light up. The only niggle I had here was that the catches appeared a little weak to hold the door completely tight. It took a few minutes to find the perfect way to shut the door – something to bear in mind.

In Use

I ended up testing the Dyna Glo with some ribs and chicken wings we had left over from the weekend. These cooked perfectly with the Dyna Go, juicy wings and equally as succulent ribs can be cooked if you follow the instructions.

The venting control system works well, although you might have trouble getting to 300 degrees plus without some sort of fan assistance! Other than that, you’ll be able to keep the Dyna Glo at a “low and slow” setting for hours at a time.

Portability

At 50 off pounds, you’ll be able to carry this smoker around without too much hassle. The offset design does require a two person lift though, so true portability isn’t really on offer here.

You should be able to move, store and carry the Dyna Go within a yard space with ease.

Pros: Decent quality, a very pretty design and not too hard to carry.

Cons: You’ll need to be careful with the assembly of the grill to avoid panel gaps. The door fit is definitely something to take time over!

oklahoma-joe-reverse-flow-smoker

Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker

Our Rating: (3.9/5)
Firebox Chamber  
Weight  196 lbs
Cooking Area   1,060 Sq/In

I haven’t used an Oklahoma Joe grill in years! Last time was when an old friend lived on the same street as me and we regularly had family cook outs. His Oklahoma Joe was a pretty neat piece of kit and something I always liked.

Features

Less cooking space than the Dyna Glo is available here. It measures up at 1060 square inches, which is still pretty decent. The reverse flow system is design to evenly distribute the smoke and heat across the entire cook space – something I really wanted to put to the test!

The design is very traditional and personally, I quite like it.

Setting It Up

The steel used in constructing the Oklahoma Joe is very thick, probably the main reason why it weighs nearly 200 pounds! There is some light assembly to get started; however, I didn’t need the instructions as the traditional build meant I could figure out what went where.

I’ve heard only good things about Oklahoma Joe’s customer service, so good in fact I hoped to give them a test. Unfortunately, the design of the Longhorn means that I was up and cooking in well under an hour – no assistance needed!

In Use

There’s something nice about tending to the wood fire in the second box whilst cooking above. You can see why the lengthways barrel design is so classic – it really works well.

There’s a temperature gauge located at the top of the barrel, although I’ve seen an awesome report from a guy who installed additional gauges across the barrel – perhaps something that Oklahoma Joe might want to look at.

The smoker is perfect for cooking at a low and slow heat; however, you’ll struggle to get above the 300 degrees’ level depending on the outside temperature. I really struggled to get above 320 degrees on my test run.

Having said that, I cooked a mean brisket on this grill and my time spent using it was enjoyable.

Portability

Nah, you’re not going to budge this beast! At almost 200 pounds, it’s really a grill you’ll have to wheel around, something Oklahoma Joe obviously realised because it comes with a very sturdy set of wheels on one side, plus and equally as sturdy handle on the other.

Like most offset designs, you’ll want to restrict this one to garden duties only.

Pros: Superb quality and a nice grill to use.

Cons: A bit pricey at $500, yet the brand name and quality really justify the price tag.

You can read our full review of the Oklahoma Joe smoker in another article of ours. Truly a solid smoker and built to last.

rivergrille-ranchers-with-offset-firebox

RiverGrille Rancher’s Grill With Offset Firebox

Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Wood Firebox  
Cooking Area  1,713 Sq/in
Product Weight  352 lbs

Another huge grill comes courtesy of River Grill with a massive 1713 square inches of cooking space. This grill is huge, very heavy and possibly at the meeting point between consumer grade units and commercial ones.

Features

This grill is a full on professional smoker. It comes with 4mm steel, making it very heavy and solid, plus it comes with good features like a double lid – helping you keep as much heat in as possible.

This grill weighs 350 pounds, which gives you a solid (excuse the pun) indication of quality.

Setting It Up

First things first, this grill is huge, so you’re not going to be able to assemble it alone. I would get a friend over to put this grill together, they’ll probably want to see such an amazing smoker in action anyway!

Instructions were clear, concise and customer service is superb. I had to call River Grill up as one of the top lid catches was bent upon arrival. Thankfully, River grill sorted the whole thing out and delivered a completely fresh grill, with a technician to help us get underway.

That’s customer service!

As far as setup time goes, my figure is probably a bit inaccurate because of the support we got; however, I’d say two people should be able to unpack, assemble and have the first fire going in about an hour.

In Use

What can I say about the River Grill apart from the fact it’s superb. To be honest, it’s way too large for my needs, yet I gave it as good a workout as I could; cooking ribs, chicken and turkey.

I really tried to use the grill to its full potential, something that you’ll struggle with if you cater for less than 20 people!

One real positive with the River Grill, is the fact the barrel is one solid piece of metal. No need for sealant or any careful assembly here, it all works wonderfully.

Portability

Decent wheels and carry handle mean you can move the grill on a flat surface. Lifting the grill is a mammoth task and not one I’d advise!

Pros: A commercial grade smoker in a home setting, quality and style are second to none.

Cons: You’re going to pay for that privilege in terms of price, assembly and lack of any real portability.

outsunny-grill

Outsunny BBQ Grill + Offset Smoker

Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Charcoal  
Cooking Area  

Outsunny are a brand I’m not entirely familiar with, I haven’t used one of their grills before so it was going to be interesting to see how this model shaped up.

Features

Given the $140 price tag, I wasn’t expecting as many features as the Outsunny came with. It comes with a single piece grill lid, decent temperature gauge and useful wooden table space to the front and side.

There isn’t an official weight provided for the Outsunny; however, it’s quite light and I’d guess a weight of about 50-60 pounds.

Setting It Up

The grill came part assembled, and required a good hour to make sure everything was screwed in properly. Having said this the fit and finish wasn’t half bad for the money.

At first glance, I’m not 100% sure how well the wooden slats will hold up to daily punishment. The wood does have a cheap look to it and it’s not particularly well finished.

In Use

In general use, the Outsunny works okay, yet this is about as good as it gets. The smoker “works”, yet I found it difficult to achieve a steady temperature. On a more positive note, the grill part of the smoker works perfectly and I could chicken and ribs to a reasonable standard. Although I will note this is a common issue you will find with charcoal based smokers.

I know the price point is cheap, and you do get an awful lot for your money. However, I can’t help but get the feeling that Outsunny have spent the cash on “packing features in”, rather than focusing on quality.

My youngest daughter caught a splinter from one of the wooden table slats, not a great start!

Portability

The Outsunny is light and comes with a decent pair of wheels and carry handle. You’ll be able to wheel this in and out of your shed easily. It’s also possible to unbolt the legs from the barrel, handy if you want to carry this smoker in your car boot.

Pros: It’s cheap and cheerful.

Cons: That cheapness shows in the quality of materials used.

char-griller-side-smoker

Char-Griller Offset Side Fire Box

Our Rating: (4.3/5)
Removable Ash Pan  
Material  Heavy Steel, Cast iron cooking grates
Cooking Area  250 Sq/in

Back to more familiar territory, the Char Griller brand is one that I’ve tested quite a bit over the years. I’ve mostly been impressed by the Char Griller line up, and although I’ve never recommended one, they’ve always been close on my other reviews.

Features

The Char Griller comes with an easy to remove ash pan, vent adjuster and comes with a pleasing enamel black finish. Like most Char Griller products, the Table Top Grill has a nice quality feel to it.

Setting It Up

It’s worth mentioning, that the Table Top Grill is probably best used as an accompaniment to Char Grillers range of barrel smokers. It’s a small grill and Char Griller obviously don’t expect you to be able to complete a full cook out with it. Assembly was easy, with little actual work to do. It’s also extremely lightweight and easy to lift.

So, what can you do with this grill? Well, it’s obviously not a full smoker, yet you’ll be able to grill with it alone, plus you can add it to a Char Griller barrel grill to turn it into a decent sized smoke box.

In Use

As a plain grill, the Char Griller is good. I rate this highly if you want a smoker that you can detach, throw into your RV and head down the beach with.

I ended up taking this smoke box to a friend who already owns a Char Griller Duo Propane model. According to the instructions, you can fit this box directly to the side of the Duo with ease.

After a few minutes head scratching, we figured out how the smoker fits into an existing barrel grill. We decided to cook out over my friend’s house and did a pretty usual cook with chicken, ribs and corn on the cob.

I was impressed with the smokebox. The fit was solid and given it’s a detachable box, I assumed it wouldn’t be smoke tight. We couldn’t be more wrong as the Table Top Smoker worked well in addition to the Duo.

Portability

This is the Table Tops trump card. It’s light enough to carry on your own and once detached from its barrel grill, you essentially have a tiny smoker to take camping with you.

Pros: A neat design idea from Char Griller.

Cons: You’ll need a full side Char Griller Barrel Grill to take full advantage of it.

Round Up

There’s 3 winners in this round up and which one you choose depends on price and application. For a solid smoker to be used at home, the Dyna Glo is the budget option and works perfectly. If you want to push the budget then the Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn is what you need.

If you want to maintain a degree of portability, then you can’t go far wrong with the Char Griller and its detachable Table Top Griller. It’s going to be expensive to purchase the full-size Barrel and side box, yet you basically get two smokers for the price of one.

One thing is for certain, the River Grill is overkill except for commercial applications, whilst the Outsunny was at the opposite end of the spectrum – cheap but not cheerful!

Billy StewartBilly Stewart

Founder of BarbequeSmoked.com

My dad is a true mans man, and has owned a number of grills. Ranging from gas to charcoal. Growing up with him allowed me to see what different types of rubs, spices, brines, etc went into making the best BBQ. Although my dad was a truck driver, and I had a degree in Information Technology I knew that I wanted to do something about grilling and our recipes.  That’s where Barbeque Smoked comes in.

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