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If traditional, smoky BBQ flavor is what you’re after then a solid offset smoker is one of the absolute best ways to help get you there.
We love all smoker grills and what they are good for. With an offset smoker, you get maximum control and authentic smoking capability. They are constructed with a main smoking chamber that resembles a drum, where the food is cooked. On the side or below (hence “offset”), there’s a small box where wood or charcoal gets burned to emit a smoky flavor into your food.
The “catch” with offset smokers is that some of the really nice, commercial grade ones get pretty expensive. In this post, our goal is to highlight some of the best offset smokers under $1000 so that you don’t have to completely break the bank. Some of our picks are well below that $1000 threshold too!
In a Rush? Here’s Our Top Choices:
Best Offset Smokers Under $1000 – Our Picks
The Dyna-Glo Signature Series Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill makes our list as the best vertical offset smoker under $1000. It’s well under that price point and has some great features.
First, and this might just be my personal taste, but I think aesthetically this is one of the best looking smokers, period. The classic tall drum design with the offset smoke box just screams traditional BBQ.
5 chrome plated cooking grates add up to provide 1,382 square inches of cooking space. More than enough to handle the smoking duty for a group of large people and accommodate multiple briskets at a time.
The most important differentiator compared to other Dyna-Glo models is the heavy-gauge steel body construction on this smoker. It does a fantastic job of retaining consistent heat, and if cared for properly will last over a decade.
Last but not least, this offset smoker is equipped with oversized heavy duty steel wheels which is a HUGE help if you find yourself needing to move your smoker around from time to time.
- Heavy-duty steel construction
- 1,382 square inches of cooking area
- 5 cooking racks to distribute food across
- Cool touch handles and spring lid grip
- Oversize steel wheels help with transportation
- Smoker grill combo setup for maximum versatility
- Removable offset charcoal grate and ash pan
- The oversized steel wheels help a lot, but it doesn’t change the fact that this thing weighs a lot!
The Dyna-Glo Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker comes in as the second vertical smoker to make this list of the best offset smokers under $1000.
Thanks to the wide vertical design, it has a whopping capacity of 1,890 square inches of cooking area. That’s the most cooking area offered by any of the smokers you’ll see on this list by a decent margin.
All of that area is spread across 6 different racks, so it’s easy to stay organized during your smoke. An intuitive charcoal and ash management system is also built in, so you can easily remove charcoal ash pans for easy cleanup.
The Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D Wide Body’s offset smoke box is designed for maximum efficiency when it comes to fuel burn. Basically, that means you’ll spend less time managing the fire and your wood/charcoal will last you a long time.
- 1,890 square inches of primary cooking space is a ton to fit all of your meats to smoke!
- 6 cooking racks and wide body design make organization easy
- Easy clean system with removable ashtrays
- Extremely reasonable price – best bang for your buck
- Smokebox is designed for efficient fuel burn
- It’s fairly heavy and bulky so it’s probably not the easiest to take on the go (tailgating or camping)
The most important thing when it comes to an offset smoker, or any grill for that matter, is the quality of construction. These cooking vessels are meant to evenly and thoroughly cook food, and the only way you can do that consistently is with something that’s well designed and made with strong materials.
The Broil King 958050 Offset Smoker makes our best offset smoker under the $1000 list precisely because of this. No stone was left unturned when it came to the design, and 2mm steel was the material of choice for most of the base construction.
There are 625 square inches of primary cooking space across heavy duty cast iron grates. That’s a ton of space and more than enough to smoke for a party of 15-20 people if needed.
A special air vent system includes a chimney style stack with Roto-Draft damper technology. This is a huge plus and makes your life easy as the pitmaster when you need to adjust and control your smoke.
Last, cleanup is made easy with a removable ash tray in both the main cooking chamber and the offset smoke box.
- Top of the line construction
- 625 square inches of the primary cooking area is generous
- Advanced ventilation system
- Easy clean system
- Quality cast iron cooking grates
- On the expensive end (close to $1,000)
We’re dipping back into the Dyna-Glo well to take a look at the Dyna-Glo Signature SeriesBarrel Charcoal Grill & Side Firebox. This is one of their horizontal offset smokers which also makes our list of the best offset smokers under $1000.
The design is different too in that the cooking area is split up a little bit. The primary cooking area is 443 square inches, then there’s a secondary cooking area in the offset box itself of 287 square inches. This totals up to a very nice 730 square inches of total cooking area.
Construction wise, heavy-gauge steel was used in the body for maximum durability. Similar to the Heavy Duty Vertical model, oversized steel wheels are located on the bottom to make transportation a little easier. Removable ashtrays are also included to make clean up easier.
- Heavy-gauge steel body construction
- 730 square inches of total cooking area
- Two separate cooking areas allow for two zone cooking
- Easy clean removable ashtrays
- Can be used as a smoker grill combination cooker
- Similar to other Dyna-Glo smokers, it’s pretty heavy at 123 pounds.
- 811 Square Inches: Includes 443 sq. in. porcelain-enameled steel wire cooking grates, 184 sq. in. chrome-plated warming rack and 184 sq. in. offset smoker.
- Tasty Smoke Flavors: The offset smoker is firmly attached to grill to ensure good circulation of heat and smoke. Easy to open side door to add charcoal and remove ashes; air vent stokes fire instantly.
- Adjustable Pan: 2-level height-adjustable charcoal pan creates better heat control and holds up to 4.4 lbs. of coal.
- Temperature Monitor: Lid-mounted thermometer gauge helps check and monitor the cooking temperature and you can cook with great confidence.
- Ample Space: Front and side tables offer workspace for seasonings and grilling tools. The bottom shelf provides extra storage space and holds up to only 20 lb. accessories when they are evenly distributed.
If you’re on a budget, the Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Offset Smoker is probably the way to go. It’s the cheapest option on our list of the best offset smokers under $1000 – and it still offers some great features and will get the job done.
For cooking area, it features 438 square inches of cooking space in the main chamber followed by 183 in the side box and an additional 179 in a swing away rack. It’s a little disjointed, but that’s 800 total square inches of cooking space.
Porcelain coated cooking grates do a nice job of distributing and retaining heat evenly so you can achieve consistent results.
Other features included are a smoke stack, temperature gauge, scald-proof handle, access door on side for charcoal management, side air vent, and built in wheels.
- Very inexpensive
- Great smoker for beginners
- Free assembly is typically included for free
- Only weighs 55 pounds so it’s a good choice for on the go smoking
- Surprisingly good ventilation system
- Wire cooking grates aren’t ideal
- Some customers have complained that their units don’t retain heat well
If you’re looking for something with a smaller footprint, the Char-Broil Offset Smoker is a great way to enjoy smoked food without having to lose a bunch of patio space.
605 square inches of primary cooking space is more than enough for a medium sized family, and the intuitive design is easy for anybody to use.
Porcelain coated cooking grates and a well engineered ventilation system ensure even heat distribution throughout the main cooking chamber. When it’s time to clean up, a removable ash pan is built in to the smoke box for ease.
Char-Broil’s offset smoker comes with a one year warranty, which we always love.
- Less than 70 pounds and built in wheels for a small footprint and easy transport
- The price is super budget friendly, on the lower end of smokers on the best offset smoker under $1000 list
- The indirect smoke and ventilation system is well designed
- Lots of prep and storage space with built in side and bottom shelves
- One year warranty protection
- Some customers have complained about a poor finish job which leads to chips and bad performance over time
- Some customers have also mentioned bad welding which leads to heat loss and inconsistent temperatures
What’s So Great About an Offset Smoker?
If you’re relatively new to grilling and smoking, you might be wondering what all the commotion is about offset smokers. Some people swear by them, but what makes them so great?
Basically, offset smokers are designed in such a way to set you up for success. They make achieving delicious, traditional flavored BBQ as easy as possible for you whether you’re a beginner or an absolute pro.
Also, they look pretty damn cool!
Obviously, an offset smoker isn’t for everybody. Any particular type of smoker has its benefits and drawbacks. So to help you decide if an offset smoker is the right fit for you, here are some pros and cons:
- Offset smoke box makes smoke management incredibly easy. You can easily add fuel without letting smoke and heat escape in the main chamber, which is a HUGE help in smoking almost any kind of food.
- Central cooking chambers are often pretty big and wide open, so you can smoke lots of food at once.
- They rely on charcoal, wood, or both as fuel. Personally, I like to use a mixture of both charcoal and wood. The charcoal serves as a great base for your fire with some extra flavor added coming from wood and wood chips.
- Lots of models feature some sort of grill combination with the offset smoker. Typically this comes in the form of grates over the smoke box, but some have the option to grill in the main chamber too.
- Despite the reputation, you can find a quality smoker without taking out a loan! All of the models on this best offset smoker under the $ 1,000 list I’d be happy to end up with.
- Offset smokers are heavy relative to other types of grills and smokers. That means they’re not ideal for smoking on the go.
- In addition to the weight, they take up a lot of space. Naturally, the smoke box is an extension that you’d normally not have included on a regular smoker or grill. You need to have a fair amount of space set aside for an offset smoker.
- You have to practice a lot before you will achieve great results. Smoking is both an art and a science, and nobody I know mastered it on their first try. Plan on dedicating a few runs before you really start to catch a groove.
- Unless you pay for an expensive, extremely well built unit, smoking, in general, is tough in adverse weather conditions. That means cold, wind, and precipitation will all make things pretty tough to achieve great results – even with the best offset smoker under $1000.
All of that being said, offset smokers are incredibly fun pieces of cooking equipment that can deliver out of this world BBQ ribs, chicken, brisket, sausage, and the list goes on!
What Do You Cook on an Offset Smoker?
Offset smokers are set up for BBQ – that is, low and slow cooking. This isn’t the type of cooker that runs hot to sear or grill steaks and burgers for a quick meal.
Finesse and flavor is the name of the game when it comes to offset smokers – they’re meant to cook tougher cuts of meat like beef or pork ribs, brisket, beef roasts, wild game, whole chickens, and other tough cuts.
How Cheap Can You Go?
Even though this list is geared toward the budget friendly, you should absolutely pay attention to the quality of the smoker you buy.
Smokers, probably more than any other piece of cooking equipment, heavily rely on build quality to perform. A poorly built unit won’t retain heat and will leak oxygen – which will lead to inconsistent results at best. At worst, it will be impossible to properly cook your BBQ.
So, any time you’re budget shopping take extra care to read through reviews and see what other people have to say. If a ton of people have bought a particular cost friendly smoker before and they all rave about it – odds are it’s well made.
In fact, if you decide you have a bigger budget than $1,000, you should check out our resource on the best high end offset smokers next!
Tips for How to Use an Offset Smoker
A couple of quick tips for how to use your offset smoker:
Use a Combination of Wood and Charcoal
I mentioned this briefly before, but a wood and charcoal fuel combination is ideal. Charcoal is much easier for temperature control and makes a great base for your fire.
Wood is a little more volatile in terms of temperature management, but adds fantastic flavor. In tandem is the best way to do it. Start out with a charcoal fire and add wood chunks throughout the smoke.
Take it Easy At First
The most common mistake beginners make is overdoing it on smoke. Too much smoke will lead to bitter, dried out results. Trial by error is a big part of the cooking journey, but my two cents is that you should err on the side of less smoke at first then work your way up. That way, you can still enjoy nice results as you learn to hone your skills.
Use a Smoker Thermometer
I get asked a billion times questions like “How many hours should I smoke my (insert meat) that weighs (insert weight)?”. Sure, there are general rules of thumb to follow. But, when smoking you really should be using a digital smoker thermometer.
There is no set formula, and each fire and piece of meat is unique. Instead, you should be cooking until your food reaches the proper internal temperature, and the only way to do that accurately is with a probe thermometer.
Best Offset Smokers Under $1000 – Wrap Up
I hope this post has helped you to figure out what are the best offset smokers under $1000 for you! Which one did you end up with? Let us know in the comments section below.
Remember, learning how to make delicious food is a journey – and an offset smoker is an excellent type of smoker for any aspiring pitmaster.
Check out our post on the best reverse flow smokers next to check out a special sub type of offset smoker.