Holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics, loves traveling and learning new languages. Fluent in Spanish, is learning French and Czech at the moment. Enjoys exploring national cuisines every time he visits new countries.
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous online and offline grilling masterclasses runs his own BBQ accessories shop.
Last updated: February 17, 2021
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Does your mouth water when you hear terms or see foods like pulled pork, spare ribs, and smoked trout? But what exactly makes these three dishes so irresistible? The unique smoke aroma and tenderness of the meat, right? However, you may think that smoking is far too complicated for you to have your own smoker grill. In our best Oklahoma Joe smoker reviews, we will clearly contradict that. One of the best brands in the hands of grill masters, Oklahoma Joe smokers are the bang for the bucks when it comes to indirectly cooking your grilled food in hot smoke for a long time.
In this article, we will present to you the best Oklahoma Joe smokers. We have selected each based on criteria such as the type, cooking area, grates, dimensions, and weight. Asides from the Oklahoma Joe smoker reviews, you will also find out which criteria are used to select the perfect smoker and what you should consider when buying. Also, you will learn how to use a smoker and what delicious things you can conjure up with it. Let’s start with a comparison of the products!
The Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Smoker is a solid barrel smoker with a weight of 181lbs (81 kg). The dimensions are 85.1 centimeters in depth, 144.8 centimeters in width, and 134.6 centimeters in height. Using an integrated thermometer in the access flap of the cooking chamber, you can read and control the internal temperature of the smoker at any time. To ensure easy transport, it has two large steel-spoke wheels.
With an adjustable ventilation flap on the chimney, you can regulate the heat and smoke development. Specially designed cool-touch handles on the combustion chamber and the cooking chamber protect against heat and burns. As with some other models in our Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe smoker reviews, the manufacturer does not provide any information about the material thickness. According to some users, this is around 2 to 2.5 millimeters. In terms of weight and dimensions, the material thickness is around 2 millimeters.
There is a horizontal sheet metal on the side firebox or on the combustion chamber of the smoker. You can place a pot or pan on this and, for example, prepare side dishes while smoking. The fire in the combustion chamber generates sufficient heat for this.
What we liked: We like the safety features of the smoker. The presence of cool-touch handles on the combustion chamber and the cooking chamber prevent against burns.
What could be better: The smoker leaks without the use of sealant. A warming rack, as in similar smoker grills, is unfortunately not integrated into the Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Highland.
With the Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Smoker, you can cook a lot of grilled food at once. The offset smoker has a large grill area of 751 square inches. It offers enough space to place grilled meat. This means that 12 to 14 people can easily be served at the same time. The manufacturer relies on durable cast iron for the grill grates. This is very rust-resistant and easy to clean.
Setting up the Char-Broil Smoker is child’s play thanks to the instruction manual supplied. A sturdy grill trolley with 2 wheels serves as the means of mobility for the smoker. To the right of the large cooking chamber is the fire chamber. Thanks to the built-in ventilation slots, it can also be fired without opening the large chamber.
A chimney is also installed at the left end of the cooking chamber. Thanks to the adjustable air flap, you can regulate the heat and smoke development. The handles are made of a non-conductive material and protect hands and fingers from the heat.
What we liked: We will like to mention the storage space in front of the cooking chamber. If you want, you can temporarily store important grill accessories or the grilled food here. Another shelf is located on the lower surface of the grill trolley.
What could be better: The smoker could be coated with a more resistant finish. A few users complain about the paint peeling off during the burning process.
The Char-Broil Joe Longhorn Combo differentiates from other models in its range because of the source of power. It is a combo-type smoker that can use gas or charcoal.
The model is big enough to smoke a turkey in the lower racks. This is according to Oklahoma Joe Longhorn Charcoal/Gas Smoker and Grill reviews by users. When on LPG fuel, it can produce a power of up to 48000 total BTUs.
A vertical pipe with adjustable ventilation flaps helps regulate heat and smoke by sucking it through the cooking chamber. This barbecue is made of solid steel. Ultra-resistant, the barbecue can be left outside without fear of bad weather. It is also resistant to various shocks.
The American smoker barbecue is equipped with several shelves to facilitate storage under the tanks. 2 small worktops are also located in front of each tank.
What we liked: We definitely like the fact it gives you options when it comes to the grilling power or fuel. It uses gas or charcoal.
What could be better: The finishing of the smoker could be better. It is not resistant to UV. Also, it is heavy and the wheels don’t help much. The temperature gauge is inaccurate. Be careful or it could make you overcook your meat.
Handcrafted with noble and resistant materials, Joe’s Barbeque Smoker is a true guarantee of quality and durability. This model is widely appreciated thanks to its large grill surface, offering more space for dishes and garnishes.
This barbecue will also delight smokers and those who appreciate the authentic taste of a real traditional barbecue. You can smoke your meats or fish between 60 and 90°C or let your meats cook gently on the grill, without having to watch them. They will be tender and juicy.
It has a fireplace and two steel rooms, one of which accommodates the wood fire and a larger one serves as a cooking chamber. The opening between the two chambers allows the hot smoked air to enter the large chamber, in order to cook the food indirectly.
The hearth and the cooking chamber are well separated, so the juices do not flow into the embers.
What we liked: The Longhorn Offset Smoker has six porcelain-coated wire grates, unlike others that have just four or five. We also like how large the cooking areas are.
What could be better: First, we think it is overpriced. Secondly, it doesn’t come with a water pan. So, if you need this, you will have to buy it separately.
Things to Consider
You have already seen some of the best smokers from Oklahoma Joe. In this section, we will explain the individual aspects in more detail. We’ll tell you what Oklahoma Joe smokers offer and what you should consider while selecting yours.
Why Oklahoma Joe?
The smokers from Oklahoma Joe are simply the bang for the bucks. They belong in the upper class in terms of both quality and price. In the manufacture of these smokers, the material is first sandblasted and then painted with a high-quality paint that is heat-resistant up to approx. 800°C. This makes Joe’s Smokers extremely resistant. The wall thickness is at least 5 millimeters. This means that temperature fluctuations inside are virtually impossible.
Thanks to this thermally perfect design, Joe’s Smokers consume relatively little fuel. This is particularly advantageous for low-temperature smoking (low and slow) of, for example, pulled pork.
Features to consider while buying the best Oklahoma Joe smoker
Here, we will see what criteria to watch out for while trying to buy a barbecue from Joe Oklahoma. You will also learn how to interpret the criteria for yourself and find out which is the perfect smoker for your needs.
Basically, there are 5 different types of smokers that Joe Oklahoma produces. Each version is decided by the structure, the technology included and the fuel required. While some smokers are manually fired, others are fully automatic. So that you too can find the right smoker, we present the different types in the following sections.
The barrel/offset smoker
The barrel smoker was the classic form of smoking. It is also often called an offset smoker. It consists of a large horizontal cooking chamber (pit) and a laterally lower fire chamber (side firebox). In some versions, a chimney is also attached to the pit, on which the smoke that is generated is directed outside. The material used is usually more or less thick steel with a thickness of 1 to 5 mm. The thicker the steel, the more durable the smoker. However, the material thickness also increases the price.
Both the large cooking chamber and the no fire chamber are accessible via hinged lids. The Side-Fire-Box also has a side door to add fuel. Charcoal or wood is used as fuel, which produces the typical smoky scent. As it passes through the grill chamber, the smoke flows around the grilled food and cooks it gently. The smoke is then led outside via a chimney. The fat produced when smoking is conducted through a drain in the cooking chamber into a fat bucket below.
Plenty of choices available
Large grill area
Indirect grilling does not produce any harmful substances
Particularly tasty grilling results
Takes a lot of time
Sufficient space must be available
Care and cleaning effort
Reverse flow smoker
A reverse flow smoker looks very similar to the barrel smoker, at least outwardly. Like the Highland Reverse Flow Smoker, its main components include the cooking chamber (pit) with a built-in intermediate sheet and the fire chamber (side firebox).
With this type of smoker, the smoke gases are first directed through the intermediate plate (baffle plate) to the rear of the cooking space. Only then do they enter the oven through an opening. The smoke then goes back to the other side to escape via the chimney. The advantage of this type of smoker is the even temperature distribution in the cooking space. By redirecting the hot air, there is no hotspot like with the classic barrel smoker.
With this special design, you can achieve delicious grilled food with an unforgettable, delicate, and smoky taste. Steaks that are too dry or burning are almost impossible.
Even temperature distribution
Tender grilled food
Requires careful cleaning
No automatic temperature control
The water smoker is often also called the bullet smoker. It has a similar structure to an ugly drum smoker. The clear difference, however, is that it is equipped with a water bowl. Water smokers are made from a cylindrical body that looks very similar to a barrel or an elongated egg.
At the lower end, they have a stand for stability. Inside, there is a fire bowl with a grate on the floor and a water bowl above. The latter also serves as a collecting tray for meat juice or fat. The food to be grilled is attached to several hooks above the water bowl. The top of the water smoker is closed with a hemispherical lid, which is provided with a thermometer.
Pieces of wood or charcoal are used to operate a water smoker. The glowing coal evaporates and the water forms a smoky, moist air inside on the ascent. The grilled food is removed from the smoke and cooked slowly and aromatically. You can refill fuel as well as water while grilling via the doors recessed on the side. To regulate the temperature, a water smoker usually has several ventilation slots on the bottom. The heat can be regulated in a very stable manner.
During operation, only water needs to be refilled from time to time, otherwise, the water smoker will run by itself. As an alternative, one can use sand instead of water. Sand has the property of being able to store heat for a very long time. While smoking with water takes place at around 110 to 130 degrees, you can achieve higher temperatures of 180 to 200 degrees with sand.
Easy to use
Stable temperature control
Relatively space-saving due to vertical construction
Runs for a long time without adding fuel
Reasonable purchase price
The water level must be checked from time to time
A pellet smoker must be connected to the electricity socket to operate. Wood pellets specially made for this purpose are used for firing. Like the barrel smoker, it consists of a cooking chamber (pit) and a storage container for the pellets.
Instead of the side firebox, the pellet smoker is fired by electric ignition. Thanks to the automatic control, the effort when grilling or smoking is very low. As a user, you simply give the device the desired temperature and you can start smoking!
The electronic monitoring also ensures that the correct amount of pellets is always fed into the heating chamber. The cooking temperature of the food to be grilled can also be monitored using an integrated temperature sensor. Since the pellets are available in different types of wood, you can also influence the taste.
Automatic monitoring and control
The taste can be changed with different wood pellets
The fuel is supplied automatically
Requires electricity to operate
Special pellets for firing
A digital smoker or an electric smoker is another way to smoke grilled food. At first glance, however, the devices are more reminiscent of a refrigerator with a glass door than a smoker. In the interior, there are several grill grates on which the grilled food is placed. It only needs to be supplied with electricity to operate. Before switching on, water and smoking chips must also be filled into the containers provided. It can then be started.
The decisive advantage of a digital smoker lies in the temperature control. In contrast to a charcoal-powered smoker, the control is automatic here. With a digital smoker you can sit back and relax, because, after programming, the rest will take place on its own.
By the way, if you think you have to do without the smoky taste of the Electric Smoker, you are wrong! The typical smoke aromas are created by adding smoking chips or smoker pellets. After switching on, the heating element heats the interior of the digital smoker and the smoker box. The filled-in water increases the humidity and is intended to prevent the food from drying out. Due to the heat, the smoking chips start to glow and the smoke draws into the upper area. There it flows around the food to be grilled and leaves the digital smoker via the recessed ventilation holes.
In addition to automatic control and monitoring, some digital smokers even have WiFi on board. So you can see that there are enough technical gadgets.
Automatic temperature control and monitoring
Long running time
Little need for space
Many flavors through different smoking chips
Quick and easy cleaning
Requires power connection
No real smoker atmosphere
Expensive to buy
This measured variable is determined by the number of people you want to regularly delight with your smoked food. Do you regularly invite a large number of guests? You should make sure that there is enough space on the grillage. Here, the classic barrel smokers often have more space to offer. Depending on the number of cooking chambers, a total of at least 1,000 square inches of cooking area should be enough for 10 to 15 people. If you want a large cooking area, choose the Longhorn Offset Smoker or the Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker.
Dimension and weight
Depending on the design, a smoker needs more or less space. Horizontally arranged smokers, such as a offset smoker like the Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker, take up a lot of space in terms of width. Of course, there are also small and large versions of these.
If you only have a small space available, you would be better off with a vertically manufactured model. These include water smokers, ugly drum smokers, electric smokers and pellet smokers. The interiors of these are arranged very efficiently in order to be able to accommodate large quantities.
However, if space is not an issue, horizontally built smokers can also be considered. Before buying a smoker, you should definitely be clear about how much food you want to grill at once. The bigger your smoker grill, the more space you must have on the grill area!
You have to consider the number of grates and the material it is made of. The fewer grates you have, the fewer the chance of smoking smaller foods or vegetables. There are two types of materials for the smoker: stainless steel and cast iron. Our advice is that you choose cast iron. This is because it retains more heat and can last for decades, or even a lifetime, provided they’re well-maintained. Food doesn’t also stick to cast iron like stainless steel.
Note that both materials are not immune to corrosion or rust. It all depends on how you use and maintain them. The advantage of stainless steel grates is that they’re easy to clean, less expensive, and lighter than cast iron.
Material and material thickness
Heat-resistant sheet steel is used to build most of the smokers. Depending on the price category, this is thin or thick-walled. During operation, the smoker must withstand high temperatures for several hours. Cheap smokers often only have a material thickness of between 1 and 3 mm. High-quality smokers have built in sheet steel with a thickness of 5 to 7 mm or more. For occasional use, a simpler variant is usually sufficient.
As far as the material of the grill surface is concerned, the manufacturers build grill grates made of stainless steel or enameled steel. Stainless steel is considered to be particularly durable and easy to clean. The shelves and handles are often made of wood to prevent users against burns.
Using a thermometer is a must when smoking. So pay attention to the highest quality thermometer possible with a reliable display. When it comes to cheap smoker models, manufacturers like to save on the thermometer. Just read the online reviews and ask other users if possible. If you want to be on the safe side, you can easily swap out a thermometer and replace it with a higher quality thermometer. This is because there are reports of inaccurate readings from built-in thermometers from the brand.
Upper-class smokers in particular have great extra features on board. In addition to large cooking chambers and smoke towers, there is often a hob on the side fire box. Digital smokers can be controlled via the app and automate the process.
When buying a smoker, pay attention to existing storage space. Like with the Longhorn Combo Smoker & Grill, you can easily store your grilled food, spices and other grill accessories on these. So you always have everything to hand and you don’t have to travel long distances.
The price of a smoker depends on the type and extra features in it. While you can find classic models for a price as low as under 100, there are models that cost close to a thousand bucks. To enjoy using them for long years and for commercial purpose, choose models in the higher end.
Delicious smoker recipes are sprouting up like mushrooms right now. Particularly large pieces of meat are made for the smoker. These are, for example, whole roasts of pork, beef, goat or spare ribs. Fish is also suitable for a smoker barbecue and steaks can be grilled hot in the side fire box and then cooked in the cooking chamber.
Yes, vegetables are extremely suitable for smoking. There are hardly any limits to your imagination. Zucchini, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and many other vegetables are great for smoking. Just like meat or fish, the food takes on a great smoky aroma and cooks gently thanks to the low temperatures when smoking.
To clean the grid: when it is still hot, remove any particles still present using the brush. If necessary, clean the inside and outside of the bowl, the lid and the grid with a little hot soapy water with a sponge or a cloth.
Take a look at our final verdict before taking out your credit card. Our overall best and Editor’s Choice is the Oklahoma Joe Highland Reverse Flow Smoker. This two-chamber smoker has an adjustable ventilation flap on the chimney, for regulation of heat and smoke development. Its cool-touch handles also protect against heat and burn.
The Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker is the best value among the four recommended smokers. This offset smoker has large grill areas enough for serving 12 to 14 people. With grills made of durable cast iron, it is very rust-resistant and easy to clean.
Finally, we recommend choosing our Budget Pick, the Longhorn Combo Smoker & Grill if you have a low budget. This is also a two-chamber smoker which can use gas or charcoal. The model is big enough to smoke a turkey in the lower racks. As we have seen in the best Oklahoma Joe smoker reviews and comparison table, this is the cheapest in our list.