I have been smoking meat for at least a decade and in all my years, I have yet to encounter an offset smoker as well built for hardcore pitmasters as the Yoder Loaded Wichita. With a total cooking surface of over 1600 sq inches, a ¼ inch heavy gauge steel metal for the cooking chamber, and a lifetime warranty, you cannot go wrong with this bad boy.
In this article, I will detail why the Yoder Loaded Wichita is the overall best offset smoker. I will also give you a thorough review of other top performers which will help you pick out the right offset smoker.
|Preview||Product||Construction Material||Cooking Area||Item Weight||Warranty||More Information|
|Yoder Loaded Wichita||¼ inch thick stainless steel||1610 sq inches||591 lbs||75 years||Buy on Yoder Smokers Price|
|Lone Star Grillz 24” x 36” Offset Smoker||¼ inch new wall pipe||1910 sq inches||850 lbs||5 years||Buy on Lone Star Grillz|
|Meadow Creek SQ36 Offset Smoker||13 gauge thick welded steel||949.5 sq inches||310 lbs||25 years||Buy on Meadow Creek|
|Pitts and Spitts Ultimate Smoker Pit U1830||304 stainless steel||853 sq inches||350 lbs||10 years||Buy on Pitts & Spitts|
|Oklahoma Joe's Highland Reverse Flow Smoker||Heavy gauge stainless steel||900 sq inches||180 lbs||2 years||Buy on Amazon|
|Char-Griller Smokin’ Pro 830 Charcoal Grill||Heavy gauge powder-coated stainless steel||830 sq inches||118 lbs||5 years||Buy on Amazon|
|Dyna Glo Signature Series Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker||Heavy gauge stainless steel||1382 sq inches||124.3 lbs||1 year||Buy on Amazon|
The Yoder Loaded Wichita is the top dog on my list because it comes with just about every box ticked. This offset smoker is the ultimate pitmaster’s appliance.
With or without much experience, it is impossible not to appreciate the outstanding workmanship that goes into the making of this smoker and the results will verify this. Let’s begin with the build of this smoker.
A top feature of this smoker is the ¼ thick heavy gauge steel bodywork that makes the cooking chamber a vaulted furnace.
¼ inch-thick steel is arguably the most practical way to maintain an airtight heat seal and a steady temperature throughout your cooking. This thick steel also guarantees that the smoker lasts a lifetime and withstands the rigor of barbequing for years.
The Yoder Loaded Wichita also comes with a charcoal grate beneath the slide-out shelf that can be fitted to provide a charcoal bed for a roasting and grilling experience should you need one. There is also a stainless steel burner in the firebox which allows you to set up a propane fire quickly.
For maximum heat efficiency, the doors of the main cooking chamber and the firebox have a welded baffle all around. This baffle keeps the heat, smoke, and moisture securely trapped in the closed chambers.
A dual damper system to control the intake of air and the release of smoke at optimal intervals creates a perfect balance of heat and smoke. In turn, creating further ideal conditions for the smoker to get a perfectly smoked hunk of meat.
The heat management system is crafted such that the heat plate has smaller perforations closer to the firebox and they get larger as you move away from the firebox. This balances out the amount of heat in the chamber evening it out and avoiding the formation of hot and cold spots.
There are two temperature gauges on this smoker located on either end of the main cooking chamber which allows you to accurately tell the temperature of the chamber at both ends of your barbeque.
There are also two meat probe ports on the side of the cooking chamber which offer you yet another way to keep an eye on the temperature of the meat.
This smoker boasts 1610 square inches of cooking space provided on two cooking grates, a second-level sliding grate, and an additional cooking grate in the firebox for grilling and searing should you fancy that.
You can use the firebox for grilling just about anything including burgers and sausages.
The Yoder Loaded Wichita has a total weight of 591 pounds which means that even with wheels this smoker is not portable. Once you have set it up, you pretty much have to get help if you want to move it to a different location.
The Yoder Loaded Wichita smoke chamber door has a counterweight that bbq enthusiasts will appreciate. The weight makes it easier to maneuver the heavy door and also ensures a firm seal. This means there is no leakage of heat and smoke through the doorway, effectively trapping all the heat and smoke inside.
This smoker comes with a lifetime warranty which is a huge perk in my book. Offset smokers are subjected to intense heat, moisture, and grease which will cause a ton of wear and occasional damage.
A lifetime warranty is evidence of the brand’s confidence in its product and is plenty of incentive to buy this smoker over all the others.
The Lone Star Grillz 24” x 36” Offset Smoker is a work of excellence. Every little detail in this offset smoker has been meticulously considered and constructed for the highest degree of performance.
This is why the three-thousand-dollar dent it will leave in your bank account is worth it.
This is not a beginner’s investment and regular barbeque enthusiasts may find this offset smoker to be overkill but it is not. Hardcore pitmasters, gather around.
The most stunning piece of engineering on this offset smoker is the firebox. The Lone Star Grillz 24”x36” Ultimate firebox is a versatile multifunctional fire chamber that is made of ¼ inch new wall pipe, nothing recycled.
It is fully insulated and comes with a griddle feature up top which is positioned above a cooking grate for direct heat grilling effectively making the firebox a charcoal grill. The ¼-inch thick adjustable charcoal tray slides in and out and the firebox is fitted with a propane log burner which makes getting a fire going that much easier.
There are two removable food grates in the smoking chamber and a 10” x 30” working surface attached to the chamber. The smokestack is adjustable and you will find the shelf below the cooking chamber is sufficient for holding all your accessories, wood logs, and other cooking equipment. The entire smoker is finished off with three layers of heat-resistant paint.
A damper on the door allows you to control the combustion of your charcoal or wood accurately.
The smoking chamber is just as sturdy as the firebox and is made of new wall pipe as well. The lid has a wide welded flange that fits perfectly against the cooking chamber door creating a perfect seal for smoking meats without the need for a gasket or extra welding work.
Three deflector plates in the cooking chamber allow you to manipulate the movement of heat and smoke inside to create a consistent temperature.
This offset smoker comes with a precise stainless steel Tel-Tru temperature gauge and stainless steel cool touch handles for your safety.
The two removable grates as well as the firebox grate provide 1910 square inches of cooking space which is a massive cooking capacity ideal for restaurant use and large parties. This space can cook five maybe six whole packers at a time.
This smoker weighs a whopping 850 pounds.
It is possible to make customizable upgrades and attach a whole new set of wheels that can better handle this huge weight. Despite this, carting it around is still bound to be difficult.
Lone Star Grillz offers a five-year warranty on this offset smoker. The ½ inch firebox which you could get as an upgrade has a lifetime warranty for residential use only.
The Meadow Creek SQ36 is yet another top bet and makes it to this list. This charcoal offset smoker is an American-made fully hand-crafted smoker perfect for budding barbeque enthusiasts and experienced pitmasters as well.
It is made to order, unlike most smokers which are mass-produced and distributed through different stores across the country.
This offset smoker is made of 13 gauge thick welded steel and finished off with heat-resistant black matte paint. The firebox is made of ¼ inch thick steel plate for optimal heat efficiency.
The cooking grates are made of food-grade stainless steel, resistant to wear and rust while providing efficient heat conductivity for optimal cooking. There are heat-resistant handles on the doors for burn prevention.
A heavy-duty firebox charcoal grate keeps the burning charcoal or wood from settling on the ash allowing the coals to burn evenly all around and keep the fire going.
Smoke travels from the firebox and into the smoke distributor located beneath the cooking chamber spreading it evenly across the chamber and the meat. This maintains an even temperature throughout the cooking chamber as you cook.
There is a stainless steel thermometer on the door that keeps track of the internal temperature of the chamber. You should have no trouble tracking the temperature of your cooking.
By opening and closing the vents on the firebox as well as the damper on the smokestack you will be able to control air intake as well as heat and smoke intensity in the chamber.
You can grill foods that require high heat by adjusting the grill pan and raising it to bring it closer to the cooking grates effectively making the smoker a charcoal grill.
This smoker comes with a cooking grate that offers a cooking area of 507.5 square inches. You can add a second optional cooking grate that has a cooking area of 442 square inches.
In total, the Meadow Creek SQ36 has a total of 949.5 square inches of cooking surface area which is ample cooking space to smoke four whole briskets in one go. An optional rib rack maximizes the number of ribs you can smoke in one go.
This offset smoker weighs a friendly 310 pounds which is ideal for grilling enthusiasts who often have to cart their offset smokers from place to place. It also comes with wheels ideal for backyard barbeques which often have to be moved from one spot to the next.
Meadow Creek SQ36 has a warranty cover of one year from the official date of manufacture. The stainless steel grates are covered for 25 years against weld failure and rust in the course of normal use.
The Pitts and Spitts Ultimate Smoker is an ideal investment for budding backyard barbeque enthusiasts. This particular charcoal offset smoker is not only effective but it boasts an appealing facade which is a plus in my book.
Do not underrate this offset smoker on account of its looks though. It has a solid build which is the most important quality to look out for. Let’s take a deeper look at this smoker.
The smoke chamber is made of a 3/16’’ carbon steel plate while the firebox is made of ¼ inch thick steel which seals in heat very effectively. The smoke chamber has a patented roll-up lid and a prep shelf against it.
Both are constructed using 304 stainless steel which is corrosion and rust-resistant. The lid has hand-crafted red cedarwood heat-resistant handles for your safety.
The smokestack has a chimney cap attached at the top to protect the smoker from rain and snow which could cause corrosion and damage to the smoker when it is in storage. The chimney cap also allows you to control the smoke and keep the much-needed smoke from escaping.
Below the cooking chamber, there is a stainless steel shelf that should offer you some space to place a few logs of wood or cooking supplies. But this space is somewhat small because half of it is occupied by the LPG tank bracket.
The propane log lighter has a heat output capacity of 30,000 BTU and provides a faster cleaner and more convenient way to get a fire going. The offset firebox has an EZ Open door and a detachable fuel grate that makes cleaning it out much easier.
There is a built-in water reservoir to ensure your meat doesn’t dry out during those long barbequing hours.
A custom-built thermometer is affixed to the cooking chamber to indicate the internal temperature of the chamber at all times. The firebox also has a stainless steel intake damper for temperature regulation.
The cooking chamber comprises two removable stainless steel cooking grates which provide a combined cooking surface area of 853 sq inches.
This smoker weighs a total of 350 pounds and comes with two rear 10-inch rubber wheels and two 5-inch front swivel caster lockable wheels that make moving this smoker that much easier.
Pitts and Spitts offer a 10-year warranty on the barrel with regard to rust and a 1-year option on other components.
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker easily makes it to this list. Oklahoma Joe is a household name in the barbequing space and this offset smoker is no exception.
From the recognizability of the brand to the pocket-friendly price of this offset smoker, Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker is easily one of my top recommendations. Here’s why:
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker is made fully of heavy gauge stainless steel which guarantees long life.
The cooking grates are also made of stainless steel for better heat retention and transfer and coated with porcelain enamel for rust protection. Cool touch handles on the doors protect your hands from burns.
The firebox has a large stainless steel charcoal basket and an easy cleanout door that makes ash removal easier and faster. The smokestack is removable and can be placed on either end of the smoke chamber depending on the results you intend to get.
If you want the traditional smoker, you can place the smokestack on the opposite end of the smoke chamber from the firebox thereby making your offset smoker a regular Oklahoma Joe Highland Smoker.
By fixing the smokestack above the firebox, you get the reverse flow smoker making this model more versatile.
This offset smoker comes with a temperature gauge on the door of the cooking chamber and an additional temperature gauge port if you wish to install your own thermometer.
A sequence of four removable baffles below the cooking grates control and distribute heat and smoke for delicious consistent results.
The main chamber has a cooking surface area of 619 square inches with an additional cooking area of 281 sq inches in the firebox which you can also use as a charcoal grill, making a total of 900 sq inches.
The Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker weighs a total of 180 pounds and has wheels for easy maneuvering.
Oklahoma Joe offers a 2-year warranty on all parts of the smoker which is pretty decent.
You should also check out Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker which is nearly identical to the Highland model except for differences in the cooking area, overall size, and price.
Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker has a cooking area of 751 sq inches on the cooking grate and 309 sq inches on the firebox grate. This comes to a total of 1060 square inches of smoking area.
Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset smoker is also heavier at 253 pounds compared to the Highland smoker which is 180 pounds. Lastly, the Longhorn model is more expensive compared to Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Offset smoker.
In every other aspect, they are similar.
The Char-Griller Smokin’Pro is a mid-priced budget offset smoker that is especially great for barbeque lovers who do not wish to invest so heavily in a high-end smoker.
This offset smoker will offer you great consistent results and you will have a great time learning the ropes as far as smoking meat on this charcoal smoker is concerned.
This offset smoker is made of heavy gauge powder-coated stainless steel which gives you decent durability and heat retention. The bottom is double-layered for firmer sturdiness.
You can easily control airflow with the dampers and the built-in thermometer will give you an idea of the temperature of your barbeque.
The main cooking chamber has a nonstick cast iron cooking grate that has a cooking surface area of 580 sq inches.
An additional cooking area of 250 sq inches is available in the offset firebox bringing the total cooking space to 830 sq inches. This is enough space for backyard parties of five to ten guests.
This offset smoker weighs a paltry 118 pounds total and comes with wheels so you can move it around your yard rather easily should you need to.
This offset smoker has an impressive five-year cover which is pretty neat for such a cheap smoker
This is a personal favorite simply due to its innovative design, unique in this list. It is a budget-friendly offset smoker and one of the best vertical offset smokers in the market best ideal for enthusiasts eager to cut their teeth on a cheaper model.
These vertical smokers are also known as barrel smokers although they are different from pit barrel smokers in their design.
The Dyna Glo Vertical smoker is made of heavy gauge stainless steel which gives it a decent shot at longevity. The cool touch spring handles protect your hands from burns during cooking.
The vertical design makes the Dyna Glo signature series a favorable option for more adventurous cooks who would like to experiment with the varying placement of the grates.
The construction work coupled with the tough construction material makes this offset smoker quite good at retaining heat and smoke within the cooking chamber.
The temperature gauge indicates the internal temperature of your barbeque and also features a ‘smoke zone’ which indicates the ideal temperature range for infusing your meat with a perfect smoke flavor.
The cooking chamber boasts five chrome-plated cooking grates that offer a total of 1382 square inches of cooking space. This is a lot of space.
This offset smoker weighs 124.3 pounds which is quite light and therefore ideal for campers. Hauling it onto the back of your truck is easy.
That said the vertical build of this offset smoker makes it an awkward item to move around especially once you have it firing away. Once you have set it up, it will be difficult to move around so be certain of your cooking spot.
This attractive backyard smoker carries a one-year limited warranty on all components with the exception of the charcoal chamber. The charcoal grill chamber and the paintwork are covered for three months from the day of purchase.
The construction material of charcoal offset smokers determines just about every other facet of its functioning and more so the quality of your final product. You want to go for heavy gauge steel and the thicker the better.
Heavy gauge steel makes a great body and keeps heat from escaping into the atmosphere which works against your goals. Heavy gauge steel is also ideal for offset smokers from a durability perspective.
While stainless steel sheets are a common feature in many kitchenware items including some offsets smokers, it is not the optimal material for offset smokers. This is because they have to endure long cooking hours, and exposure to heat, smoke grease, and moisture. Offset smokers often have to be used continuously for years.
Heavy gauge steel can withstand this rigor for years while stainless steel can sustain this labor for a few years at best.
The number of square inches provided in offset smokers determines how conveniently you can entertain guests or customers. This is why this is of particular consideration for pitmasters who compete professionally or run commercial enterprises.
Obviously, the larger the cooking area the better. The opposite is also true. For backyard smokers, the amount of cooking area needed may not be as large. So if you invest in a Lone Star Grill, you will find that you have a very large offset smoker that you can’t fire up to make a brisket for a party of five.
It will be a waste of good money and little value for your buck.
If you want all the perks that come with Yoder offset smoker grills, for instance, you can go for smaller offset smokers which you will find online in their stores.
Some brands like Meadow Creek can have a custom-made option for you that does not have a ridiculously large cooking capacity that does not serve your interests. There is something for everyone.
The holy grail of barbequing is temperature regulation and heat distribution so while thermometers are essential, these only indicate what’s going on inside.
Temperature control and heat distribution are directly influenced by the quality and grade of the construction material and the craftsmanship. As well as the ability to use the dampers appropriately whenever the readings on the thermometer prompt you. So some experience on your part is necessary for optimal temperature control.
An accurate thermometer, superior craftsmanship, top shelf heavy gauge stainless steel, and some valuable experience managing the dampers is the combination you need to effect perfect control over the temperature. No one said offset smokers are for rookies!
Speaking generally, offset smokers are not ideal for frequent maneuverability. Because even the ones that we consider light still tend to be wide and occupy a large area making them awkward to cart around.
If portability is essential for you, you need to pick an offset smoker that you can move easily without compromising on the build quality. This is because lighter offset smokers are most likely made of thin metal components. The thin metal loses a ton of heat and cannot withstand the rigor of smoking meats for years.
That said there are some that will naturally not make it to your list such as the Lone Star Grillz 24” x 36” offset smoker which stands at 850 pounds. If you buy this model you will not be moving it even with the upgraded wheels. The wheels only make it ideal for moving it from one spot to the next a few feet away.
Sturdy construction informs both the stability and the effectiveness of the smoker. An offset smoker is often a wide-base piece of equipment meant to take the weight of several large portions of meat such as briskets and intense heat for many hours at a go.
Over the years, a well-constructed offset smoker can hold up rather impressively while poor construction will begin to show in shaky unstable support and wiggly joints.
Cheap offset smokers will disappoint you since they will begin to fall apart within a few years maybe even a few months.
Improper construction also offers poor barbeques since flimsy construction means that the cooking chamber door for instance may not form a perfect seal creating leaks that ruin a barbeque.
This is a key factor when making such an investment. It is even more important if you are purchasing a premium offset smoker for a boatload of cash. In my opinion, offset smokers that fetch upwards of $2000 should be accompanied by comprehensive long-duration warranties.
Short-term warranties are red flags. If you are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for a great smoker, your manufacturer should protect you as extensively as possible. A warranty is a manufacturer’s endorsement of their product so if they have no confidence in their product neither should you.
Anyone with the desire to take their barbequing skills to a top-tier level and exit the amateur leagues should consider investing in one of these babies.
Barbequing large cuts of meat perfectly on indirect heat using charcoal and wood is an enviable skill to possess. While you can gain this skill using other smokers, true masters know that offset smokers are where you show your metal.
The only physical difference between reverse flow offset smokers and traditional offset smokers is the placement of the smokestack or chimney. On a traditional offset smoker, the chimney is located on the opposite end furthest from the firebox. While in a reverse flow offset smoker the chimney is located on the same side as the firebox usually somewhere above it.
In the first scenario, smoke and heat travel from the firebox that is located on one end into the smoking chamber to cook the meat. The smoke then travels out of the smoking chamber and escapes through the smokestack that is located on the opposite end of the chamber. Easy peasy!
In reverse flow smokers, the indirect heat and smoke released from the charcoal grill enter the cooking chamber and smoke the meat. Using a baffle or baffles designed to guide the smoke through the chamber and then back once more over the meat, the smoke then travels back along the length of the cooking chamber. It finally escapes through the smokestack which is located on the same side as the firebox.
Reverse flow smokers allow maximum smoke and heat distribution on the meat cooking it more thoroughly and imparting that smoke flavor we all love more effectively. This is why it is – at least in theory – the better offset smoker.
That said, the best offset smokers do not necessarily need this feature. The heavy gauge steel body will trap the smoke secured inside the smoking chamber for the required length of time necessary to achieve this goal.
If you are looking to purchase an offset smoker need to know what you are in for both positively and negatively. The attributes below will not apply across the board equally.
Absolutely. If you are reading this you are a meat lover and at the very least you have a solid interest in making finger-licking good meat so yes! An offset smoker is the ultimate experience for meat lovers like you.
In terms of authenticity and flavor, I would vouch for an offset smoker over all other types of smokers.
The top pick for this title is the Yoder Loaded Wichita since this model scores highest on all factors discussed which are superior construction, excellent building materials, sufficient cooking space, adequate temperature control, and the manufacturer’s warranty.
The Lone Star Grillz 24” x 36” Ultimate is a close second and in my view only falls short on the warranty which I would expect should be more comprehensive for a machine at this price point.
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