A reverse flow smoker is a unique kind of cooker that intends to deliver outstanding results from smoking, grilling (yes, you can grill on it as well), and indirect cooking of proteins, including but not limited to meats, fish, cheese, and even pizza. While there are many types of smokers, including costly ones like Big Green Egg, Yoder smokers, etc., the reverse flow smoker is slightly different.
Most other types of smokers, including BGE and Yoder, are known as “vertical” smokers, in which smoke generates in the lower chamber where you can place meats on the cooking grid or shelves for smoking/cooking. In contrast, the heat generated in the smoker can travel upwards and around food in the upper chamber.
In simpler terms, heat travels vertically inside a traditional vertical smoker. However, in reverse flow, smokers such as the best offset smoker, heat, and smoke travel horizontally from the bottom towards the top where meats sit for smoking/cooking.
What is a Reverse Flow Smoker?
Typically, heat travels from bottom to top in a traditional smoker due to convection where hot air and smoke rise. However, since reverse flow smokers come with modifications that cause heat to travel from bottom to top against the standard convention of heat climbing through the chamber, they are known as “reverse flow smokers.” While this makes sense, it is essential to note that reverse flow smokers are modified a bit differently than the typical horizontal offset smoker.
How does a reverse flow smoker work?
To better understand how they work, let’s look at how heat and smoke travel in horizontal smokers. There is an offset firebox at one end of the main cooking chamber in traditional horizontal smokers, which houses fuel for generating heat that travels to the main cooking chamber through openings. As the heat rises, it hits the offset firebox then travels horizontally from bottom to top, where meat is above the heat source.
In reverse flow smokers, openings in the offset firebox emit heat and smoke that travel horizontally for effective smoking and indirect grilling.
However, the difference is that heat and smoke travel in the opposite direction. They travel horizontally from bottom to top where meats are placed above the heat source, as shown in the picture “Big Green Egg.”
You should also note that reverse flow smokers have the main cooking chamber, which you can access through a front door for adding fuel, arranging food, and of course, removing food from the cooking chamber.
what is a reverse flow offset smoker?
A reverse flow offset smoker is modified from traditional horizontal smokers to deliver outstanding smoking, grilling, and indirect heat cooking foods.
In a reverse flow smoker, smoke travels horizontally from bottom to top, where meats are on cooking grids/racks above the heat source. This means that smoke and heat travel in the opposite direction for great-tasting food.
While the origins of reverse flow smokers are unknown, they have been around for quite some time now and remain popular due to their results-oriented design and ease of use.
Which is great, reversed flow or offset smoker?
As mentioned earlier, there is no difference between the two smokers in terms of heat or time required for smoking. Their design makes them different, which allows a reverse flow smoker to deliver indirect heat cooking and the fast healing process.
In contrast, traditional offset smokers are best at producing high-quality smoky flavor. So, it all comes to personal preference and cooking skills as both smokers work on the same principles.
Pros and Cons of Reverse flow smoker vs offset smoker
Reverse flow smokers are known to heat up faster compared to traditional offset smokers. While there is no exact data for how much time it takes but according to researches, a reverse flow smoker takes less than half of the time (2-3 hours) required for a traditional vertical smoker (5-6 hours or more).
This presents them great for use in multiple circumstances where one is short on time. Another significant benefit of a reverse flow smoker is that they can deliver results for indirect heat cooking due to design, which makes them ideal for slow cooking meats such as whole chickens or turkeys.
On the other hand, offset smokers produce more smoke than reverse flow smokers, which can be ideal for making certain types of food. In addition to that, they are also known to have a more smoky flavor and tend to burn wood faster than reverse flow smokers.
However, despite the common belief, there is no difference in heat and time required for smoking because both work on the same principles, i.e., heat and smoke travel in the opposite direction for effective results. One might need more time to produce traditional smoky flavor due to lack of proper modification, which one can overcome by using the right combination of fuel and wood or adding sauces for smoky flavor.
What types of fuels can use in a reverse flow offset smoker?
As mentioned before, reverse flow smokers work effectively with various fuels, including lump charcoal briquettes, wood logs, and even pellets. Whether you want to smoke with wood logs or use them for indirect grilling, it is possible with a reverse flow smoker.
You should mention that there are “pellet smokers” that work great for smoking and indirect grilling. But all are not necessarily built in the same way as to reverse flow smokers, even though one can use pellets effectively in both types of smokers.
FAQs About Reverse Flow Smokers
Is a reversed flow smoker greater than a conventional offset smoker?
It’s not about being better or worse but comes down to individual preferences and cooking skills.
How significant is reversed flow in a smoker?
While there is no difference in terms of heat and time required for smoking, due to design, a reverse flow smoker can deliver results for indirect cooking, which may take longer time than the heating process.
How much time it takes to smoke food using a reverse flow smoker?
As mentioned before, the time required for smoking is the same irrespective of the smoker type of fuel used. It all comes down to maintaining your smoker and the right combination of power and wood that can increase or decrease the time for smoking food. Please note that if you want to use an indirect cooking method, there are chances to take more time than the heating process.
Can a reverse flow smoker be used for direct cooking?
Yes, it is possible to use a reverse flow smoker for direct cooking, but one must follow the proper guidelines. However, there are specific cons in using this type of smoker for direct-heat cooking, such as low temperature and uneven distribution of heat which may cause burning of surfaces.
Is the warmth likewise omnipresent in a reverse flow smoker?
No, the temperature can vary from one spot to another; hence you may face the desired results. Direct heat cooking is not possible with this type of smoker, and it all comes down to the way one maintains their smoker.
Where is the haystack inside a reverse flow smoker?
Stack is at the back of a smoker, implying that heat and smoke travel in the opposite direction for effective results.
How should one maintain their offset smoker?
Maintaining a smoker is pretty straightforward, but it depends on the type you have. For example, gas smokers require less or no maintenance, while charcoal ones need regular cleaning to work effectively. Therefore, proper care and maintaining a smoker can help you get the best results and save fuel costs.
As mentioned before, reverse flow smokers intend to work effectively with various fuels, including lump charcoal briquettes, wood logs, and even pellets. Whether you want to smoke with wood logs or use them for indirect grilling, it is possible with a reverse flow smoker.
You should mention that “pellet smokers” work great for smoking and indirect grilling but are not necessarily built in the same way as to reverse flow smokers, even though you can use pellets effectively in both types of smokers.
If you own a reverse flow smoker or have used it before, please share your thoughts and experiences. Till then, thank you for viewing this content! If you have any inquiries or recommendations, feel unhesitant to ask us. We would like to hear from you!