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:

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 a 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 is restricted 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. 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.

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