Anyone who’s ever worked the barbeque for a while knows how irresistible smoke-infused meat tastes and understands the importance of having a good smoker.
Reverse flow offset smokers, in particular, are a considerable step up from your traditional smoker in the sense that there’s far more control over the amount of smoke that runs over your food and the actual temperature of the smoker.
Reverse flow offset smokers use a baffle plate, a piece within the cooking chamber, to reduce the amount of smoke that runs over your food, separating the firebox and smoking compartment so that you never end up overdoing it.
Like any cooking unit, you want a product with high quality and preferably an affordable price range, but searching may be a daunting challenge with all the options available.
Fortunately, we’ve done the work for you, comparing much reverse flow offset smokers side by side to bring you our top picks.
Plus, we’ve stapled a short FAQ section for your convenience and chosen the best reverse flow smokers we think will benefit you most, so we can assure you this post is well worth the read.
Top Flow Smokers Reviews
1. Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow SmokerView at Amazon
Our first product up for review is one of two reverse offset flow smokers from Oklahoma Joe’s, a brand with the craftsmanship that puts care into providing the best reverse flow smoker under 1000 dollars for those looking for quality and affordability alike.
This smoker comes with all the stops, including heavy-duty construction, multiple baffles and dampers for optimal heat control, and customizability. With all the easy-to-use features, this smoker is a fantastic pick for anyone that wants a smoker that demonstrates more than just the basics.
Customers are delighted with the sturdiness of this smoker’s construction and the consistency of the temperature. According to the buyers, the smoker looks amazing, performs professionally, and is easy to modify to their heart’s content.
Some buyers claim the baffles are hard to clean and that the paint peels off the firebox over time. Otherwise, the smoker works like a charm.
For an affordable smoker with quality performance and fantastic reverse flow functionality, Oklahoma Joe’s has got your back. You’ll be getting a durable, customizable, and excellently performing product, so there’s little reason to wait on this purchase.
- The main chamber provides 751 square inches of cooking space while the firebox chamber provides an additional 309 square inches
- Uses four baffles to guide heat and smoke into the main chamber for even heating and smoking
- Multiple heat dampers aid in the ease of heat control
- Construction includes a heavy-gauge all-steel body, porcelain-coated cooking grates, and a stainless steel fuel basket
- Has an optional smokestack location and can be modified and customized
- Other bonus features include cool-to-the-touch handles, a bottom shelf for utensils and additional fuel, and wagon-style wheels for easy transport
- The temperature stays even and consistent on both sides of the smoker
- Easy to customize and modify for further enhancement of smoking performance
- Heavy-duty construction adds excellent security when using
- Paint peels on the firebox when the temperature gets too high
- Baffles are a challenge to clean
2. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow SmokerView at Amazon
For a slightly smaller and more affordable smoker, Oklahoma Joe’s offers the Highland, an efficient and straightforward reverse-flow smoker among top-rated offset smokers.
Like the previous model, you get all the same desirable customizability, heat control, and sturdy construction, just with a tad bit less space but an affordable price tag to make up for it.
Buyers are pleased with the excellent construction of this smoker, agree that assembly is straightforward, and concede that the temperature stays where you need it.
Customers attest to the baffles working excellently and enjoy the thickness of their construction. Buyers do warn, however, that without installing additional sealants and latches, heat and smoke may end up leaking out of the unit in various places.
This product might be your best bet if you’re looking for a cheap offset smoker that still gives you a quality performance that lasts.
With fantastic heating, adequate spaciousness, and easily removable and customizable features, you’ll have yourself a smoker that pleases a crowd and doesn’t hurt your wallet.
- The main chamber offers 619 square inches of the cooking area while the firebox chamber provides an additional 381 square inches
- Four baffles and multiple heat dampers work together to produce fantastic heat and smoke control
- Constructed with heavy-gauge all-steel, porcelain-coated cooking grates, and a stainless steel fuel basket
- The ashtray is easily removable for quick cleanup
- Optional smokestack locations for modification and customizability
- Thick baffles retain heat excellently
- Firebox holds up relatively well
- Incredibly simple to assemble and modify
- Heat and smoke may leak without the proper sealant and latching, which you may need to install yourself.
3. Lang BBQ Smokers 36″ Original Patio SmokerView at Lang BBQ Smokers
For competition-worthy smoking, Lang BBQ Smokers brings us this quality offset smoker with user-friendly features, perfect heat guidance, and construction to last you a lifetime.
With expert craftsmanship that considers your needs, you’ll be hooking yourself up with a smoker that you can use, whether you’re competing or merely trying to impress a crowd.
Consumers agree that this smoker is a quality unit made for competitive cooking and easy to use from setup to shutdown. According to buyers, the smoker gives their food a quality taste and puts off a pleasing aroma that attracts others.
If you have the money to spare and want nothing less than the best, this 36″-inch patio smoker is for a person like you.
From an award-winning brand, you’re getting a smoker that won’t only give you the quality of taste and smell, but the quality cooking experience that makes the process of smoking meat enjoyable to undertake.
- Six cubic feet (approx. 475 square inches) of cooking space holds 60-72 pounds of food or about 6-8 racks of ribs side by side
- Strong all-welded 1/4″ rolled steel body maintains cooking temperature excellently
- Includes a slide-out top shelf, removable bottom storage rack, fixed wrap-around prep area, and 3/8″ handles
- 1/4″ plate drip and grease pan come together for satisfying grease management
- Expanded flat metal grates and square tubing frame prevent warping
- The heat baffle design works with the firebox for optimal smoke control and clean heat
- Heavy-duty wheels and tires let you roll the smoker where you need it to be, making it ideal for competition setup
- Puts off an outstanding smell that draws a crowd
- Heat design controls smoke and heat to give your food the perfect taste
- Top-of-the-line construction makes this smoker last a lifetime
- Not the most suitable for beginners who are looking for their first smoker – this unit appears in many competitions, after all
- Offers a smaller amount of space than the previous smokers, which may limit how much you can cook
4. Meadow Creek TS70P Barbecue SmokerView at Meadow Creek BBQ
Our last reverse flow smoker is a professional offset smoker that comes from Meadow Creek that offers exceptional quality and features for the price.
Construction that lasts you for decades, massive space, secure latches, and an expert baffle system makes this a smoker you can use competitively.
At the same time, other helpful features enable backyard chefs to give this smoker a spin just the same. From the handles and the thermometer to the cooking grates and the paint finish, everything about this large offset smoker screams quality.
Consumers are impressed with the quality of the material this smoker provides and are delighted with how easy it is to clean after use.
Customers recommend heating the tank before you cook to get the smoke going and buying the charcoal grill pan to enhance your cooking.
Other buyers wish that this unit let them use propane to start their fires but otherwise agree that this smoker is a beautiful product both to look at and to use.
This smoker lands in a moderate price range and delivers ultimate excellence to ensure that you get every penny’s worth.
Whether you use the smoker for competitions and utilize the reverse flow system to its fullest or cook for guests in the backyard and show off the impressive design, this is a smoker sure to please you and anyone that can’t wait to try your cooking.
- You get 978 square inches of total cooking space provided by T304 stainless steel rust-free food-grade cooking grates
- Positive-lock latches on all doors keep your heat locked in and your smoking process secure
- Handles stay cool to the touch on the slide vents and firebox door for worry-free handling
- You’re able to calibrate the stainless steel thermometer exactly how you need it
- A built-in water pan helps keep your meat moist with the liquid of your choosing
- Constructed with a heavy 3/16″ plate steel tank and 1/4″ plate steel firebox
- Baffles on the firebox keep excessive heat from the tires while the overall reverse flow system provides excellent smoke and heat control
- Heavy-duty construction lasts you for decades
- Stainless steel grates are a cinch to clean
- The heat stays consistent thanks to the reverse flow system and secure latching
- May need to employ techniques to get an easier start-up, such as preheating and buying additional add-ons.
Factors to Consider
Like any smoker, you want to consider how many you’re feeding. If you’re smoking food for yourself, a smaller smoker is ideal, but if you prepare for crowds or are in charge of the holiday meals, a bigger unit is most likely the better option for you.
A smoker is nothing if it doesn’t hold up well over time, so you’ll always want to look into the construction of the smoker you’ve got your eye on and make sure to get your hands on a heavy-duty smoker.
Heavy-gauge steel or cast iron, for example, holds up incredibly well, and keeping your eye out for stainless steel features means dealing with minimal rust.
Pay attention to the material of the grates as well – stainless steel, iron, or ceramic, it all makes a difference – because those will be the parts you’ll need to worry about most when cleaning up.
Many smokers are stick burners, which means their primary fuel type is wood, both for the fuel and the flavor. It takes a bit of effort to get these wood fires going, so if you know you aren’t the type to spend time figuring that out, you might want to look for gas-powered or electric smokers instead.
We do suggest taking the time to get the hang of a stick burner, however, because using natural wood provides smoke and flavor like no other.
Since most smokers need to shut down while smoking their food, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to monitor the temperature.
You could invest in a thermometer separately, of course, but there are smokers with temperature gauges built into them, so keep your eyes open for those features.
The last thing you’ll want is for the smoke and heat to leak out of your smoker. Some smokers come with latches that lock while others have secure lids that do the job. If you can find a smoker that promises secure latching, do so.
What is Reverse Flow?A reverse flow smoker is a smoker that uses an additional metal plate called a baffle to protect your meat from intense direct heat. The baffle forces heat and smoke to first flow under and then over the meat. By the time the smoke goes up the chimney, it's flowing in the opposite direction as a regular smoker. This method protects your meat closest to the firebox from overcooking, which is why it's such a desirable technique.
What Makes Reverse Flow Smokers Better?Aside from protecting your meat from burning, a high-end offset smoker will:
- Double as a greased pan and watertight pan
- Distribute smoke much more evenly for better flavor
- Significantly reduce the number of temperature spikes you'll experience
- Return quicker to temperature than a regular smoker after you open the main chamber door
- Provide cleaner heat that permeates your meat more thoroughly
What Are the Primary Downsides?Because of the nature of a reverse flow smoker reducing smoke and heat, it will take longer for you to get up to your desired temperature, and you'll need to use more fuel than you're probably used to for maintaining that temperature. Also, you should note that while you are reducing heat and smoke, you don't necessarily have control over it, so don't get too frustrated when you end up wanting more smoke than your horizontal smoker is putting out. Despite these cons, however, a reverse flow smoker has much more significant benefits and will improve your smoking process.
What is a Reverse Flow Smoker?
Ever wondered why all the fuss about reverse flow smokers? More often than not, reverse-flow smokers are touted as a superior alternative to regular offset smokers. But is it true?
In the United States, a delicious barbeque must undergo slow, careful smoking until it becomes fall-off-the-bone tender. And, with even smoke flow and rigorous temperature distribution, a reverse flow smoker seems like an excellent tool for incredibly sumptuous meat.
We won’t decide whether it’s the best for your outdoor smoked delicacies. Instead, read on to know how a reverse flow smoker works and why it may be the ultimate choice after all.
Everything You Need to Know About Reverse Flow Smoker
A reverse flow smoker is a conventional type of offset smoker that integrates an extra steel baffle plate into its design. The metal plate acts as a shield that protects the meat from any intense heat that may ruin its goodness.
At the same time, it directs smoke to go under and then over the food in an organized fashion, before it exits through the chimney.
How Does a Reverse Flow Smoker Work?
As we mentioned, these smokers have an additional plate underneath the smoking surface. Heat vents from the firebox and into the cooking chamber, and then drafts down under the baffle.
It is here that a ‘reverse flow occurs’ (which is where it got the nickname) before it is directed back over the piping hot baffle.
The flue or meat baffle is designed as a watertight pan or skillet. The cooking racks are then mounted on the skillet.
Remember, the idea is to sear any excess fat, which is made possible with the help of the welded roaster.
And what do you get with this process? Barbeque that is moist, tender, and bursting with a smoky flavor, without lingering fat.
In addition to regulating the flow of smoke, the steel plate:
- Acts as a heat sink by creating consistent temperature levels in the chamber
- Blocks the direct, harsh heat from charring meat near the firebox
- Doubles up as a watertight pan and griddle
Differences Between the Offset Smoker and Reverse Flow Smoker
It’s physics- heat moves upwards. So then, isn’t grilling on an offset smoker (vertical) better than on a reverse flow smoker (horizontal)? It’s easier said than done.
To avoid huff and puff, let’s go through the comparison guide and explore how each of these barbecues fairs against another.
Because after all, the sooner you buy an efficient smoker, the sooner yummy brisket will be coming your way.
Scour the internet for reverse-flow smokers, and you’re sure to get a mention of regular offset smokers under the same blog post.
A traditional offset smoker is set up with heat and smoke entering the cooking chamber on a single end, drafting across the meat, and leaving the smoking chamber via a stack on the opposite end.
Some of these utilize ‘turning plates’ underneath the meat to propel more heat toward the other end of the smoker.
Others have a direct opening between the cooking segment and the firebox with nothing separating meat from the direct fire except for distance.
You may be surprised to know that some high-end offset smokers have incorporated reverse flow technology. This feature makes it even harder to distinguish between these two grilling favorites.
Reverse Flow Smokers Vs. Offset Smokers
You’ll experience the difference in heat distribution. In a regular offset smoker, heat intensity depends on the area in the smoking chamber. There are areas where the meat will cook faster without charring, while others, like the spot furthest from the firebox, could slow down your cooking.
On the other hand, the intuitive design of the reverse flow enables you to maintain a consistent level of heat without having to monitor the temperatures regularly.
You could take a nap while your meat cooks to perfection!
A traditional smoker will have the stack positioned at the end of the smoking chamber facing the firebox. A reverse flow smoker has it at the same corner as the firebox.
What Is the Best Kind of Reverse Flow Smoker?
When it comes to picking the best reverse-flow smoker, you can’t turn a blind eye to your budget and expectations. Get them today at the stores for less than $699, or you can purchase a smoker built with reinforced stainless steel for a thousand dollars and up.
One thing is for sure; quality is paramount when choosing a reverse-flow smoker.
Go for the two market leaders within their range, Longhorn Reverse, Char-broil Oklahoma Joe’s, and Highland Reverse.
Imagine how easier it’ll be to sustain temperature in one of these beasts for a long cook, even in adverse weather conditions, like a blowy day!
Why would you compromise on what smoker to buy when you could have an unparalleled meat-smoking experience? Equipped with reverse flow technology, you can be sure of greatly cooked, moist, and tender brisket, while locked in irresistible flavor.
These kinds of heavy-duty, outdoor smokers come with multiple dampers and a high-grade thermometer to enable you to precisely control temperatures.
What’s more, the 2.5mm thick steel gives them the ability to retain heat for long spells, creating an ideal reverse-flow cooking environment.
Throw to the mix four full-range wheels, heavy-duty latches, an insulated chamber, four cooking racks, and hoisted fire grate enough to efficiently add fuel, and these smokers will see you through years of cooking to come!
Reverse Flow Smokers Pros
- More even smoke distribution to infiltrate a traditional smoky flavor in the meat rigorously
- Less prone to temperature skews after adding fuel to the fire
- More even heat distribution across the whole length of the chamber to prevent the need to turn the meat frequently when cooking
- Improved moisture and flavor due to fat rendered out of the food, which sears on the watertight pan and filters through the smoking chamber
- When building from scratch, it is relatively easy to design and install the reverse flow technique
- Elimination of the need to have two separate trays for water and grease
- A reverse flow smoker ensures a faster return to average cooking temperatures even after opening the cooking chamber
Reverse Flow Smokers Cons
- Because air restricts to a particular direction, you may experience ‘restrictive airflow.’ Restrictive airflow can cause your meat to be ‘over smoked,’ leading to that bitter-tasted BBQ when you burp it later in the day.
- Reverse flow smokers will require more time to get BBQ pits to the desired cooking temps, and more fuel to maintain that temperature once attained.
- The sole reason that the metal plate is etched inside the smoking chamber, it can’t be removed for cleaning or to allow easy access to the belly of the cooker.
The mere fact that you are penetrating the most flavor into your meat and that you can regulate the heat in the cooking chamber for more evenness, well to us, that’s a winner right there!
Everyone’s passion is to smoke fantastic food. And our best recommendation is for you to check out the best line of reverse-flow smokers and start creating some great, delicious, delectable food!
After all, a great cooking journey with your significant other, friends, and family starts with that one step- getting the right smoker to take your decent cooking skills to the next level.
Making the Decision
After learning everything you need to learn about reverse flow smokers, we hope you can see why we’ve concluded that the best backyard offset smoker is surely the Meadow Creek TS70P Barbecue Smoker.
With its heavy-duty construction, expert reverse flow system, and helpful features like cool-touch handles and a calibratable thermometer, you get hassle-free smoking worthy of competition.
We know not everyone needs an ultra-high-end smoker with a big price tag, though, so if you want a more simple product with a better budget, we’d recommend the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker.
The smoker gives you superb heat control and customizable capabilities all at an affordable price.
When it comes to smoking meats, you want a machine that’s going to give you the power and quality you need to produce the perfect flavor every time.
A reverse flow offset smoker is the machine to get that job done, so if one of these smokers on this list catches your attention, don’t hesitate to add it to your cart so you can get smoking.