How do you know that the offset smoker you’re about to buy is of long-lasting quality? While reading reviews can be helpful, it’s also good to know what offset smoker features are important so you know what to look for. Regardless of the size of the barbecue or your budget, when you’re shopping for a top-quality offset smoker, keep an eye out for these features:
Heavy gauge metal
Thicker metal means that you’re going to enjoy better heat retention, reduced fuel usage and reduce the chance of the metal warping over time. It’s particularly important in colder climates where the rain, wind and/or snow is going to act against your little fire to slow your cooking down. However, metal that’s too thick will take a long time to warm up and will respond more slowly when you’re trying to change the temperature of the cooking chamber.
A smoker that doesn’t seal well will leak that oh-so-valuable smoke and heat. This means that you’ll use more fuel and might even lose a bit of that smoky flavor to the atmosphere. Check all doors to make sure there aren’t any gaps. If you do find some or see smoke leaking, simply fill it with a high-temperature smoker seal such as Lavalock.
Having well-sealing but easy to slide dampers is vital for being able to control the heat and smoke levels within the cooking chamber. Make sure they’re easy to adjust and oil if necessary.
Barbecuing without a temperature gauge is barbecuing blind! For greater temperature control and understanding of what’s going on under the hood, you’ll need a quality thermometer that’s built into the lid. Being able to monitor the internal temperature without having to open the hood means you won’t lose heat of smoke, interrupting the cooking by opening the main door.
Barbecues are big, heavy and when you’re cooking, hot. To keep things safe, you’ll want one that’s strong and sturdy. Look for strong legs, wheels and hinges.
Even if you’ve got somewhere undercover to store your smoker, it’ll last longer if it’s kept dry under a waterproof cover. Some barbecue manufacturers make matching covers while for others, you’ll need to find one that suits its shape and dimensions.
If you look after your offset smoker properly, you should get many years of meals from it. Nevertheless, a warranty gives you peace of mind and protects you against potential manufacturer faults.
Choosing Offset Smoker Features to Suit You
After you’ve met these must-have offset smoker features, you’ll also want to consider what you need to suit your purpose. Ask yourself these questions before you start shopping:
- How much do you want to cook at a time? Will it be suitable for everyday cooking as well as having guests around?
- Where will your new offset smoker be kept? How much room will it take up? Can you move it?
- How big does the firebox need to be to accommodate the type of fuel you’ll need to use?
- Will it be easy to clean?
For all the information on buying an offset smoker, read our buyer’s guide here.
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