Choosing the Best Offset Smoker for the Money

by The Smoke Expert on August 14, 2014

Although a little tough to operate as compared to electric smokers, offset smokers do offer the advantages of functioning as a grill with a large cooking area and can smoke a lot of stuff at the same time.

However, finding the best offset smoker can be a pain in the rear!

This list features 3 of the best horizontal and vertical offset smokers that offer reliability and convenience and yet are not overly expensive. Yes, you can certainly buy offset smokers that cost more than $1000 but I’ve deliberately kept this list down to those smokers that are in the $100-$600 range.

So without further ado, let’s move onto my best offset smoker reviews.

1. Char-Broil’s American Gourmet Offset Smoker Grill

The American Gourmet Smoker from Char Broil may not be the most expensive or the most stylish smoker in the market, but it is an excellent piece of appliance for its price. In case you want a offset smoker grill that can satisfactorily smoke meat and comes for a reasonable price, this product is something you need to closely consider. It will not break the bank, but still make you very happy with its cooking abilities.

Char-Broil’s American Gourmet Offset Smoker Grill

To be quite honest, at first I was attracted to this smoker only because of its low price. But once I started using it, I quickly realized that there were many other things that were great about this smoker, despite this being my # choice for the best offset smoker for the money.

It is not a surprise, but you need to understand that you are not going to get too many features and high-tech electronic controls in this thing. However, what you do get is the ability to maintain a heat of as high as 250 degrees for as long as you want, with just a slight tweak on the chimney of the appliance.

One thing you will find very satisfying about the Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker Grillis the simple fact that it has a very easy assembly process. You need not spend hours trying to assemble it and getting nowhere. As a matter of fact, ease of assembly seems to be a characteristic of all Char Broil smokers.

While the metal used to make the firebox is very heavy duty, the huge vent featured by the box seems easily adjustable. In fact, you can adjust the vent even if the grill seems quite hot. The adjustable type fire grate is good for the most part, sitting inside the firebox. But the company could have place the grate al little bit higher to make the experience even better. That is because sometimes, you need to stop in the middle in order to get some ash out if the smoking time is really long. Note that it is easy to remove ash, because the firebox contains a hinge door that has the ability to swing out. Yet, the problem is, stirring up the ash a bit tends to send little ash on food too, which is not so great. But then again, that is the case with any wood smoker you buy in the market, so that cannot be really used against the smoker.

One thing you are going to love about this smoker is its wide space of 670 square inches. Since there is porcelain coating in the cooking grates, the nice touch of elegance is certainly present too. While the lower rack is suitable for preparing foods like whole pig and pork shoulder, the upper rack, made of stainless steel, is mainly great for making hot dogs, sausages and bologna. Note that there is a drain toward the bottom that allows drippings to escape, which you need to clean when the grill remains warm. Otherwise, it can plug up a bit.

Best Offset Smoker

Since this is a charcoal or wood smoker, it does not have the capacity to adjust temperature automatically. Therefore, you will have to be there to adjust temperature by adjusting the firebox.

Ventilation is provided in the grill’s cooking chamber by the small chimney present. A thermometer is present toward the middle part. Like any other step smoker, this smoker tends to get heated more toward the side which contains the firebox. Therefore, you will have to rotate whatever you are cooking from time to time if you want even cooking. In case you are making brisket, be sure to turn it periodically in order to avoid heavy crusting on one side.

This smoker does not really have a major drawback. But if I have to point out something, then I would say that I do not like the fact that it catches rust very easily if not covered while keeping it outside.

2. Smokin Pro 1224 Charcoal Grill from Char-Griller

Even though I bought the Char Griller Pro 1224 when I did not know much about grilling, and had no experience with other smokers, I never regretted my decision. That is because the grill not only offers satisfactorily cooked meats, but also produces good quality smoked food most of the time. For a grill having a very modest or reasonable price tag that is a killer combination to have and that’s why this should be your choice if you’re looking for the best offset smoker under $200.

Smokin Pro 1224 Charcoal Grill

The overall aesthetic appeal is praise-worthy. In fact, I think the kind of appeal it has deserves a bit of bragging to your neighbors.

In case you do not want to keep the grill at the yard, the wheels will certainly come very handy. Rolling this thing is quite easy during those times when you need to show some grilling magic outside.

The coking grates are made of real cast iron, which is good news because almost no other smoker in this price range offers that. Also, the overall construction has been carried out using stainless steel that is heavy-duty. So even though the grill may not look too appealing from the outside, the power it has is immense. There is a warming grate near the lid. The grate can be removed in case extra space is required. Other than that, the hinged lid makes opening easy.

The Pro 1224 has quite a large cooking area, nearing about 830 square inches. While almost 580 square inches are covered by the primary grill, the rest of the 250 square inches are occupied by the firebox. Just to get an idea regarding how much food the main barrel can accommodate, think about fitting a large turkey without any hassle. The firebox is mainly great for making side dishes such as vegetable kebab, and other roasted dishes.

The fact that it contains 2 wheels to transport it from one place to another is quite funny. That is because with its heavy-duty steel body of 146 pounds, it really makes transporting a heck of a tough job.

One disadvantage of this smoker is that its paint tends to flake, since it can attain truly high temperatures. But then, when your BBQ has to be that hot, what else do you expect to happen?

3. Outdoor Leisure 40-inch Smoke Hollow SH36208

Containing a 40 by 20 inch barrel, and an area of 720 square inches for cooking, the SH36208 Smoker form Outdoor Leisure is a value for money product. The smoker contains an offset firebox to make things more interesting.

Outdoor Leisure 40-inch Smoke Hollow SH36208

The cooking grids have porcelain coating. Moreover, it has wire mesh bottom shelf, as well as front table.

Heat does not travel much through the central part of the main cooking chamber, which is the problem with almost any offset smoker. Heat tends to come toward the right part near the firepit hole. The use of convection plate to carry heat downward could be helpful.

The smoker is overall a reliable and durable appliance, with sturdy finish and quality material use. However, in case you really want to know what the exact temperature is in the cooking area, try getting a new thermometer and placing it on the smoker’s grate. That is because, since the in-built thermometer remains on the upper part, it shows an almost 25 degrees higher reading every time.

It might seem a little expensive compared to the above 2 offset smokers but considering the features and quality, this is surely the best offset smoker under 600 dollars.


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