While reading this article, you will be informed about many different types of offset smokers. They are not only different in appearance but also their functions, power source, and fuel are different. Keep reading the article to know about the advantages as well as disadvantages of the most common types of offset smokers; round v/s square offset smokers.
Introduction to an Offset Smoker:
It is a barbeque smoker that has a cooking chamber and a firebox. The firebox may be attached or in some cases, you have to buy it separately. You can cook on low flame as well as high heat by using an offset smoker. Some offset smokers are specialized in cooking all types of food including meat, beef, pork, turkey, and seafood as well.There are many different varieties of offset smokers in terms of manufacturing as well as a power source. All of them are discussed in this article. Have a look!
Different Types of Offset Smokers:
The type of offset smoker depends on the variety of the power source as well as the fuel used for burning and cooking the food. On such basis, the offset smokers can be divided into these categories that are listed below:
- Kamado Grills Offset Smokers
- Drum/horizontal Offset Smokers
- Vertical Charcoal Smokers
- Pellet Offset Smokers
- Propane or Gas Vertical Offset Smokers
- Electrical Offset Smokers
- Kettle Grills
Kamado Grills Offset Smokers:
It is oval in shape and the walls of this offset smoker are very thick and ceramic-based. It can also be used as an oven as well as a grill. Pizza and other foods can be baked by using a Kamado Grills Offset Smoker.
Drum Offset Smokers:
They are barrel-like and can be manufactured at home by using a 55-gallon water barrel. They have a fireplace at the bottom for producing heat by burning whatever the power source or fuel is. Fire grates can also be used for cooking in this offset smoker.
Vertical Charcoal Smokers:
This type of offset smoker is also famous by the name bullet offset smoker or vertical water offset smoker. It has two preliminary compartments the bottom one is responsible for holding the charcoal and fire and a tray is present under it to collect ashes. The main reason for calling it a vertical water offset smoker is the presence of a water pan above the bottom shelf that is much helpful in the deflection of direct heat from the food that ensures proper cooking and deliciousness of the food.
Pellet Offset Smoker:
As the name suggests, they use pellets as fuel. The offset smokers are so versatile and automatic as well. They can be used for many purposes like grilling, smoking, barbeque of the food as well as in the form of an oven. They are mostly in rectangular shape. All the functions of this offset smoker are automatic so it needs electricity to work. This is the advantage as well as a deadly disadvantage of the offset smoker because in case of any short circuit there will be a calamity in your house. So make sure to use a stabilizer with this pellet offset smoker if you are willing to buy one. It also has an in-built thermometer that constantly tells you the temperature at which the food is being cooked.
Propane or Gas Vertical Offset Smoker:
The first thing you need to have for running this Propane or Gas Vertical Offset Smoker is a refillable gas tank or if you have a gas connection at home that can supply gas to this offset smoker then it will be much more convenient for you. The insulation property of these types of offset smokers should be properly checked before buying otherwise they are lightweight and easy to manage and use.
Electrical Offset Smoker:
The electrical offset smoker is a great innovation in the industry of offset smokers. You can simply put the food inside it, set the timer, heat, and everything, and enjoy your party or read a book. You don’t have to babysit this offset smoker all the time. It will automatically be shut down if you don’t come at the given time but the food will still be hot and fresh. There are no chances of the burning of food if the timer is perfectly set. But you have to keep it inside a safe place while it is not in use.
It is not a typical offset smoker but definitely works like one. If you are a beginner and do not smoke food more often, you can invest in a good quality kettle grill to fulfill your needs. The firebox is present at the bottom and there are two portions of this kettle grill. The upper portion contains the coal and wood for burning and the other portions contain a water plate. The food is present in the opposite direction of the grill grate.
Advantages of the Round Offset Smoker:
The main reason for the popularity of round offset smokers is that they can also be manufactured at home easily by DIY techniques. They can be recycled by using old metal drum barrels. Also, they are much more spacious than any other type used in the making of an offset smoker.
While smoking, you have to adjust the heat to a low and high level according to the type of food you are cooking and for this purpose, heat should be retained inside the cooking chamber of the offset smoker. This can be efficiently done if you are using a round-shaped offset smoker or more commonly referred to as a barrel-like offset smoker as the two parts of the barrel fit perfectly over each other and are closed evenly without escaping any unnecessary amount of heat outside the cooking chamber. This leads to proper cooking of the food no matter the type. It can be meat, pork, seafood, or turkey, everything will be cooked perfectly and the smoking flavor will be infused into the food giving a great taste as well as smell.
Disadvantages of the Round Offset Smokers:
The main disadvantage of the round offset smokers is that no company makes electrical offset smokers in round shapes. The electrical offset smokers are much more eco-friendly and easy to use as well as clean. As we know that the round offset smokers are mostly spacious so they require a lot of maintenance. It is very difficult to keep them clean. A lot of ash is produced by the coal or wood that is used as a power source in round offset smokers and its disposal is a difficult task. Also, their size will make them difficult to fit around anywhere you want. You have to make a specific place for putting the round offset smoker after use and that place should provide the offset smoker a shelter against the weather conditions like snow, rain, sunlight as well as dust.
Advantages of a Square Offset Smoker:
Square offset smokers mostly come with an electrical power source. And electrical offset smokers are helpful in many ways as the stainless interior of this square offset smoker does not rust easily and it is very easy to clean. The square and electric offset smoker also has a smoke diffuser that keeps the smoke flowing constantly and eliminates the old smoke from the interior to the outside environment. The food cooked in this way tastes amazing. The square offset smoker allows you to smoke a wide variety of foods, all at the same time. Square Offset Smoker owners can easily and effectively smoke traditional favorites such as beef, pork, fowl, wild game, sausage, jerky, and vegetables. They are small in size but offer great space for cooking and also the design of the square offset smoker is unique, attractive, and elegant.
Disadvantages of a Square Offset Smoker:
The disadvantages of square offset smokers mostly involve that they are a bit expensive and the gaskets are not in-built. You have to buy them separately. They mostly work on electricity so cannot be used for camping outside the house. Also, the electricity fluctuations may cause short circuits and other problems with the device and may cause harm to the person using it too. You have to buy a stabilizer too so it is not a cost-effective device if your budget is less than $1000 dollars.
Why does the shape matter?
The shape matters so much because all the attributes are linked to it. Some of the attributes are listed below:
- Fuel consumption of the offset smoker.
- Time to heat up the offset smoker.
- Surface area for cooking.
- Power source or ignition method of the offset smoker.
- Cleaning of the offset smoker.
- Locomotion and placement of the offset smoker.
All these attributes are directly linked to the shape and size of the offset smoker so you should do proper research before investing in one.
By reading all the above discussion, we know the fact that there are advantages as well as disadvantages in both types of offset smokers i.e., square offset smokers and round offset smokers. So, we have come to the conclusion that no matter the shape the best offset smoker must have the following qualities.
Heavy gauge metal:
As we know that quality matters more than quantity. The shape and size of the offset smoker will not be worthy enough if the material that is used in the manufacturing is not strong and durable. It is also very helpful in the retention of heat inside the cooking chamber that ensures proper cooking. The best offset smoker must have the steel of ¼ thickness.
Quality seals and dampers:
This is the most fundamental point to check even if you have already bought the offset smoker. Do check the quality of the seals and dampers. If they are of poor quality, heat will not be retained inside the cooking chamber so the cooking may not be even as the food can get burned in some places and undercooked in others. This may also lead to a hazardous condition like fire by the leakage in case of propane or gas offset smoker.
While cooking on an offset smoker, it is all the game of temperature level and control. So, the temperature gauges are very beneficial in this regard. They tell us about the outside as well as the inside temperature of the cooking chamber. It allows us to keep control on the temperature range and avoid food from burning. The temperature gauge should be of good quality so it can give accurate results.
Sturdiness can be defined as the strength of the legs of the offset smoker. Legs play a very important role in the placement of the offset smoker as well as the locomotion from one place to the other. The legs of the offset smoker should be strong enough to stand on a slightly uneven surface.
If you want to buy an offset smoker that has ample cooking surface but does not have space to store it then you should opt for an option that comes with an offset smoker and that is cover. It will protect your offset smoker from harsh weather conditions like snow, rain, and excessive sunlight. A waterproof cover will be beneficial in keeping the moisture away from your offset smoker and it will not rust easily.
Some brands offer up to 5 years of warranty. Make sure to invest in an offset smoker that has a minimum of three years warranty so in the case of any wear or tear you may claim the company. But, you have to take proper care of all the offset smokers no matter what the brand is. You should properly and regularly clean it after every use to increase its lifetime.