What can You Cook in an Offset Smoker?

Smoker grill in home backyard

As BBQing gains more popularity, newer grilling equipment and techniques have been devised. Offset smokers are the most popular type of smokers and are what most people picture when they hear of or think about a smoker. You can smoke different kinds of meat with your offset smoker and even smoke other foods besides meat.

This article will explain what offset smokers are and how they work. We’ll further describe the foods you can smoke with your offset smoker and the benefits of having one.

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What is an Offset Smoker?

An offset smoker is a barbecue smoker designed to smoke food at a lower temperature. It has a horizontal cooking chamber and a firebox on the side. The cooking chamber keeps the food at the appropriate level to cook slowly and is designed to cook with indirect heat.

Most cooking chambers have shelves that allow you to fit in more food. The firebox on the side heats the chamber and the food gets slowly cooked. The heat source of the firebox is burning wood and charcoal. The lower placement of the firebox to the cooking chamber is an offset design, where the name “offset” is derived.

How does an Offset Smoker Work?

The smoker depends on oxygen to cook food. It is designed to allow air into the firebox through the air intake vent and the air leaves through the stack. For the offset smoker to work, fire is created in the firebox by adding wood splits or charcoal. As the fire burns, the air intake vent allows air into the firebox. The air flows across the fire and into the cooking chamber, drawing heat around the food.

The temperature of the offset smoker can be controlled by adjusting the flow of oxygen entering and leaving the firebox. The flow of oxygen is adjusted using adjustable vents. To raise the smoker’s temperature, the vents are opened, allowing more air into the fire. When the temperature needs to be lowered, the vents are closed, shutting off the oxygen supply.

Using an offset smoker to create an incredible delicacy requires practice. You need to understand how your smoker reacts to fire size. Once you’ve got your ideal heat level, smoking delicious food will be easy.

What Can You Cook in an Offset Smoker?

Offset smokers aren’t meant for meat alone and you can make a whole meal with just your offset smoker. You can cook several meat dishes such as smoked ham, smoked chicken, and smoked turkey. But besides the numerous meat dishes, you can also make side dishes such as potatoes, carrots, and corn on the cob.

There are several other meals you can make using your offset smoker. You can use your offset smoker for cooking lobster tails which can make a delicious entrée when smoked correctly. You can also make pizza with your offset smoker. The smoker can be used as a wood fire oven, allowing you to make pizza that tastes great.

Offset cookers can be used to cook many foods, and you can get the best out of them if you try to be creative. You can make dinner with your offset smoker in the form of mac and cheese. All you have to do is put your homemade mac and cheese in an aluminum pan and place it on the offset smoker. It gives a smoky cheese flavor that many people love.

smoke coming out of a smokestack, barbecue on green background
Advantages of Using an Offset Smoker

Advantages of Using an Offset Smoker

An offset smoker might be what you need if you enjoy making different types of food using a barbeque. Here are some of the advantages of using an offset smoker.

  • Makes a variety of dishes
  • Has shelves in the cooking chamber that can fit a lot of food
  • Makes juicy and well-smoked meat
  • Incredibly easy to handle
  • Cost-efficient
  • Allows you to add more logs or stoke the coals without affecting the cooking chamber’s temperature
  • It has a long lifespan when properly maintained

Disadvantages of Using an Offset Smoker

Although offset smokers are loved by many, they are not without their flaws. Let’s see some disadvantages of using an offset smoker.

  • Quite bulky
  • Temperatures rely on excellent heat insulation, rendering poor-quality offset smokers nearly useless
  • Difficult to move
  • It takes a long time to heat up and takes longer to cook
  • Temperatures need to be checked constantly
  • It requires a lot of practice and patience to master the cooking technique

What smoker has the taste of an Offset but the ease of a pellet smoker?

Our favorite smoker that is easy to use and delivers great taste is the Masterbuilt 560 Gravity Series. This smoker has simple-to-use digital controls, easy to load charcoal tube, and easy to light with two haystacks or a blow torch. Also, if you prefer a party size the model 1050 has almost twice the cooking area.

Check out our videos.

Check out our Masterbuilt 1050 video playlist

Is it Healthy to Cook With an Offset Smoker?

Many people have the misconception that smoked meat cause cancer. Studies have been carried out, however, and this has not been proven true.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) is linked with causing different types of cancer. This cancer-causing compound is produced when charcoal or wood is burnt with droplets of animal fats. PAHs react with the meat’s nitrogen and produce nitro polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (NPAH), which can also cause cancer.

Hydroxy citric acid (HCA) is also linked with causing cancer. This acid is produced when meat and other animal products come into contact with extremely hot surfaces.

Fortunately, PAH, NPAH, and HCA aren’t formed when meat is smoked using an offset cooker since the meat isn’t in direct contact with the source of heat. The above compounds are formed when meat or other animal products are grilled directly over a heat source. These compounds aren’t associated with offset smokers.

However, it is crucial to stay safe and healthy by always keeping your smoker clean. After using your offset cooker, open each removable part and clean using soapy water and steel wool. Once you’re done, rinse with clean water and leave them to dry.


If you don’t have an offset smoker, you should get one. There are many delicacies you can make using an offset cooker. The range of dishes isn’t limited to only meat.

If you enjoy spending an afternoon making dishes on a smoker, an offset smoker will do you good. When used with the right type of wood, you can be sure your meal will have an excellent finish and a great flavor.