What advantages do offset smokers have?
- It is great for large quantity cooking – If you are having a party with friends and family or just a get-together of people who you plan to feed with your delicious meal, then your gas cookers, electric cookers, and conventional stoves might not be enough. The offset smoker, however, will get the job done quickly and perfectly.
- It has no mechanical components to get spoilt – Offset cookers, unlike electric ones, operate manually and are very simple to use.
- Easy to refuel – While gas cookers usually require being carried to a fuel station to be refilled, the case is totally different with offset smokers. You can refill your offset smoker instantly or even while still cooking.
- Readily accessible accessories – Most offset smokers come with an extensive variety of useful accessories to ease your cooking. Most manufacturers of these smokers have included handy accessories to provide you with more options. These accessories include a bottom shelve that protects your food from heat.
- Retains the customary taste in foods – Offset smokers are also known for being able to provide a classic flavor and feel that is lacking in other cookers. Such a flavor could help kindle childhood memories or even arouse a fascinating atmosphere ideal for family reunions.
Features to consider while choosing an offset smoker
Offset smokers aren’t your everyday equipment, so they need to be treated accordingly. When shopping for the right offset smoker for your needs, below are the key features you need to take into consideration.
There are two primary types of offset smokers: traditional offset smokers and reverse flow offset smokers.
Traditional Offset Smokers – In traditional offset smokers, the hottest part is the closest to the cooking chamber. This usually leads to imbalanced cooking, meaning that you have to be turning your food more often. This might also need you to carefully place the meal to avoid some parts of the food cooking quicker than the rest.
Reverse Flow Offset Smokers – Reverse flow offset smokers are great if you are looking for a lower number of turnings. It also comes with the steel baffle plate, which is a special addition. The steel baffle plate shields the meat or food from direct heat. It operates like a sink providing uniform temperature, which moves slowly around, thereby making sure the meat has uniform flavor and heat.
Speaking about the type, there are also barrel and vertical offset smokers. The difference is basically in their appearance, keep in mind though, that barrel ones are usually bulkier while vertical smokers often provide you with more cooking space and less room needed for their storage.
Total cooking area
There is really no right choice as regards the size of the cooking area. You only need to take your needs and preferences into consideration. If your family is large or you are hosting cookouts and large parties, then you have to find a big unit like the Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC.
Compact offset smokers ideally fit individuals who cook for only a few people. Compact models are also better due to their portability, compactness, easy storage, and affordability.
Seals and dampers
You must also consider the dampers and seals of an offset smoker as they are very vital to how well or poor it performs. You can’t expect the meat to be smoky and tasty without these important components. Premium dampers and seals disallow the heat from escaping, thereby saving you money on fuel. Well-installed dampers are vital as they are capable of optimizing smoke retention.
Also, the damper needs to be accessible. The ruggedness and smoothness of the damper will show whether the smoker is built for extensive applications and outdoor use.
The best thing for smoking is to be low and slow, so you need to manage your cooking temperatures carefully. Most times, operating your offset smoker anywhere from 225 degrees to 275 degrees should be enough. This is actually the standard or normal range of temperature to find. If you are, however, interested in other types of smoking, you may require some leeway as regards the temperature range.
For example, cold smoking is a kind of smoking that preserves and cures meat like salmon. Cold smoking requires you to expose the meat to smoke with minimal heat. So you will require a smoker that is capable of lower than 200 degrees temperatures and if possible closer to the range of 100 degrees. When choosing the best offset smoker for your needs, ensure you choose one that comes with a temperature range to cater for all your needs.
Also, you need to be able to observe the internal temperature of your offset smoker. This is important if you will be making beef jerky or bacon. Being aware of the internal temperature of your smoker’s cooking chamber without needing to open it is very important as you wouldn’t need to risk allowing precious smoke and heat to escape.
It’s always better if you choose a smoker with two temperature gauges, with each one installed on each side of the chamber. This will allow you to accurately configure the temperature if you detect a difference in the regions. While temperature gauges can actually mean you pay more money for an offset smoker, we assure you that they are actually worth it.
You need to also consider some extra features such as warranty, materials, and a basket for ashes included. While with adequate care, a high-quality offset smoker should serve you for a lifetime, you should still consider choosing a smoker backed up by a good warranty.
Also, pay attention to the materials used in the construction of your offset smoker, so as to ensure that it is durable and won’t be worn out easily by heat.