Offset vertical smokers have a different shape than other smokers, but at the end of the day, they do the same job. In fact, they tend to offer much more space than cabinet smokers (i.e. gas smokers or electric smokers) do.
The long, vertical shape of these smokers will give chefs more room to cook without taking up the entire patio or deck. They have the perfect build to accommodate large, wide slabs of meat.
If the #1 reason to go vertical is to save space, the #2 reason is temperature control. Many people have found that vertical smokers let you control the heat easier.
No matter what type of outdoor cooker you are, there's an offset vertical smoker for you. It just takes some research. This list will give you an idea of the capacity, price and durability that the best offset vertical smokers offer. Other than smoker/grill combos, which let you save money by buying two devices in one, this is my favorite type of smoker.
Top 5 Offset Vertical Smokers
- Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Smoker
- Brinkmann Heavy-Gauge Vertical Smoker
- Char-Broil 152020202 Oklahoma Joe's Bandera Smoker
- Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D
- RiverGrille Rustler Vertical Smoker
1. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Smoker
Some people complain that vertical smokers don’t offer as much cooking space as horizontal smokers. These people have never seen the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D. With 1,176 square inches of total cooking space, this vertical offset smoker gives you more than enough room to cook meats of any size.
Some claim that this Dyna-Glo unit can smoke up to 150 pounds of food at once. Not bad at all if you have a big family, lots of friends, maybe even your own private army.
The firebox's heavy duty, porcelain-enameled steel does a great job of keeping heat inside for a full smoke flavor. The smoker has a durable steel body with a powder-coat finish, which ensures that it'll last for a long time. Its easy-to-read temperature gauge lets you monitor the heat of the smoker from beginning to end. It also has a grease management system that collects condensation and drippings from the primary chamber. This means that you won’t need to wipe down the entire unit when you’re done.
- Plenty of cooking space
- Made with durable steel
- Easy-to-read temperature gauge
- Easy to move thanks to carrying handles
- Narrow shape isn’t best for specific foods
2. Brinkmann Heavy-Gauge Vertical Smoker
Made with heavy-duty steel, the Brinkmann Heavy-Gauge vertical smoker is built to last. It can keep temperatures consistent and prevent smoke from leaking out. Its chrome-plated steel cooking grates can hold thick cuts of meat for a nice, thorough cook.
Cleaning afterwards won’t be a problem either. Indeed, you might not need to scrub anything at all. Unlike other vertical smokers, this Brinkmann unit has hanging hooks that make smoking easier too.
This smoker is reasonably portable thanks to two large wheels attached to the bottom. All you have to do is grab the handle and pull.
Now for the downside. The biggest issue that most people have with the Brinkmann Heavy-Gauge vertical smoker is its extremely high price. Most likely, this is due to its heavy-duty steel. Still, if you want a unit that'll last a long time and give your food a great flavor, this one could be worth the price.
- Fair cooking space
- Durable construction
- Hanging hooks used for smoking
3. Char-Broil 152020202 Oklahoma Joe's Bandera Smoker
With plenty of room for smoking meat and lots of storage space, the Oklahoma Joe’s Bandera Smoker from Char-Broil is perfect for grillers who want to go big. It gives you almost 1,000 square inches of cooking space–254 in the grill chamber and 738 in the smoker. You'll be able to cook a full rack of ribs, a thick-cut pork shoulder and much more.
The Oklahoma Joe's Bandera Smoker comes with two meat hanging hooks and a rib rack set. It also has storage space on the bottom as well as a small tray in front of the firebox smoker. These platforms allow you to store seasonings and bags of wood or charcoal.
The smoker's two big wheels make it much easy to move. Like the Brinkmann vertical smoker, the Char-Broil Bandera smoker has a high price but delivers high quality.
- Extra storage space
- Plenty of cooking room
- High price
4. Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D
Here's another Dyna-Glo model you can expect to get the most out of. In addition to 284 square inches of offset grill cooking space, the Signature Series offset vertical smoker has a total of 1,382 square inches of cooking space. Despite its narrow build, it can fit most cuts of meat. Its heavy steel ensures that your meat is cooked properly too.
The heat resistant handles on the firebox lid and the vertical smoker allow you to open the smoker without burning your hands. Also, you can simply wipe down the smoker's 5 chrome-plated steel cooking grates to clean them.
Large wheels underneath the firebox help move the smoker from one place to another with ease. Simply grab the handle and pull it to the next cookout.
- Made with heavy steel
- Has easy to clean cooking grates
- Limited in space
5. RiverGrille Rustler Vertical Smoker
The RiverGrille Rustler may look like other offset vertical smokers, but it brings its own unique features to the table, including plenty of storage space and cooking room. This vertical smoker also gives you outstanding longevity and durability thanks to its heavy-duty steel construction.
The RiverGrille Rustler has wheels on the bottom and carrying handles that allow you move it quickly. It gives you 1,642 square inches of total cooking area; that's enough to smoke anything from a turkey to a rack of ribs. The height adjustable cooking grates will help too. The Rustler's bottom shelf provides you with extra storage for food, seasonings to whatever else you'd like to keep there.
- Large cooking capacity
- Durable construction
- Smoke tends to leak out
Buying Guide for Offset Vertical Smokers
No matter what you plan to do with an offset vertical smoker, the most important feature to consider is durability. When looking at a smoker, evaluate the overall construction of the unit. Many times, high-quality smokers are made with thick, heavy steel. More often than not, lower-priced smokers are made from a thin, comparatively weak material, but you’d be surprised at the bargains you can find these days.
Next, consider how many people you need to cook for. Do you typically cook for large groups of people? This makes a big difference when choosing a particular smoker. Most if not all of the offset vertical smokers on this list have wheels, so those who prefer a more mobile cooking unit will be in luck.
As always, price is another important factor. How can you get the most value while paying the lowest possible price? The Dyna-Glo Offset Vertical Smoker will give you the most value for your money. Other units on the list above are a bit more expensive, but they deliver excellent results.
About Offset Vertical Smokers
Thanks to their tall, narrow shape, offset vertical smokers allow you to stack several cuts of meat on shelves. They can actually give you more space within the cooking chamber than a horizontal smoker would.
Like horizontal offset smokers, the vertical type consists of two units: A firebox and a vertical unit with cooking grates. These grates are usually very easy to clean and strong enough to hold the heaviest of meats. The firebox holds the fuel source for smoker and slowly transfers heat over to the main unit. Some smokers come with a temperature gauge to help you monitor the level of heat. The average temperature range for this type of smoker is 220-250 degrees Fahrenheit. This can make cooking a little tricky: An extremely high heat will dry out your meat while a cooler temperature will increase the cooking time considerably.
Offset vertical smoker work like giant, charcoal-fueled ovens. You don't flip and press on your food like you would on a grill. Instead, you just put meat in the unit and let it smoke. Since the heat comes from one side of the smoker, you’ll need to rotate your meat occasionally to ensure that everything cooks properly.
Offset vertical smokers aren’t like a digitally controlled pellet smoker. It can be very difficult to keep these units at a consistent temperature from start to finish. People often overlook the chimney of the offset vertical smoker. This feature helps control the airflow, which affects the overall temperature. Expect to stay closer to this smoker than you would with other types of grills.
Another common issue with offset vertical smokers is smoke leaking from the front door. This can slow the cooking process down and weaken the wood-smoked flavor. There isn’t a proven method for keeping smoke within the cooking unit, but buying a smoker made with thick steel helps.