You must have came across the term reverse flow smoker when looking for the regular offset smoker in market. They are often called to be more efficient and somewhat better than traditional smokers.
Today we will see what a reverse flow smoker is, their working and if they are really better in terms of performance, upkeep and efficiency.
A reverse flow smoker is a barbecue smoker that leverages air to further travel inside the smoker to achieve a uniform temperature. It prevents sudden temperature spikes. Thus offering better cooking results; delicious smoked meat with less work.
The reverse flow smokers these days have become quite popular, and they are widely preferred over the conventional offset smokers.
In this article, we’ll discuss in detail the difference between the two, the pros and cons of each smoker type, recommend a top-selling reverse flow smoker, and a practical guide to clean a reverse flow smoker.
So, scroll down and find out answers to all your queries today:-
What Does Reverse Flow Mean In a Reverse Flow Smoker?
A reverse flow smoker aims to create an optimal, uniform cooking chamber. How does it do it? Forcing hot air & smoke underneath the metal plate is commonly called a baffle.
Now, the heat comes back via the chamber for cooking and eventually escaping back to the firebox via a vent on the same side.
The modern smokers are built with the reverse flow design as it allows the meat to be cooked uniform, better maintains the flavor and moisture for a crispy, savory taste.
In a reverse flow design, the heat & smoke is forced under the baffles or the tuning plates back over the meat and then through the chimney.
The reverse flow prevents overheating of the meat and prevents sudden temperature spike when more fuel is added ( One of the major issues with offset smokers ).
The reverse flow ensures that the design returns to normal when the chamber doors are opened.
Working of a Reverse Flow Smoker
A reverse flow smoker is the modern adaption of the conventional offset smoker. It works to establish a uniform cooking ambiance within the chamber by forcing the smoker and air under a metal plate called a baffle and back via the chamber of cooking.
Thus reversing the flow of air to escape via a smokestack which is present on the firebox side of the unit. The reverse flow smoker prevents the harsh heat from overheating the meat.
It establishes an even cooking temperature by being a heat sink.
To better explain how a reverse flow smoker is a revolutionary cooking appliance, let’s take an example: cooking pork on a traditional offset smoker.
You’ve to flip it multiple times, and you have to pay all the attention to cooking.
But when you have a reverse flow smoker, you’ve nothing to worry about, as the smoker itself maintains a uniform temperature from one end to the other.
So, a reverse flow smoker makes cooking a lot hassle-free.
The difference between both the offset and reverse smoker is not huge; there later has an additional metal plate, known as a baffle.
This metal plate’s objective is to shield the meat from the direct high intensity of the heat. Simultaneously, it forces the air to go under & back over the meat and flows out through the chimney.
The additional metal plate divides the cooking chambers into two halves to go-in and comes out.
Therefore, the flow of the smoke is more uniform. Overheating of the meat which is near to the firefox does not happen because of the metal plate. So, in a nutshell, a reverse flow design acts as a heat sink.
Regular Offset vs. Reverse Flow Smoker
What’s The Difference?
A reverse flow smoker is similar to a regular smoker, with a little modification for ease of cooking and better lip-smacking taste.
An offset smoker has a chimney that is on the opposite wall, and a firebox. On the flip side, a reverse flow smoker has the firebox outside the chamber of cooking, and shields the food from receiving direct heat, and getting overcooked at certain parts.
In straightforward terms, a reverse flow smoker is a change to the offset smoker.
The conventional smoker mounts the smoker’s firebox with a chimney regularly situated on the opposite wall of the smoker. The chimney is on the right side of the smoker, so it draws up & across the meat.
The smoke which comes from the firebox is then directed by an additional plate termed as baffle on the smoker’s opposite side, and afterward, the smoke is guided to move out from the chimney.
The aim of having an additional plate is to ensure uniform distribution of heat to properly cook the meat for amazing taste.
When the cooking chamber door is open, the internal temperature returns back to normal in no time.
Advantages of Reverse Flow Smoker
Now, let’s talk about the many perks of opting for a reverse flow smoker:
- You’ll get the mesmerizing smoky flavor every foodie craves because of the even distribution of the heat throughout the smoker.
- The best part, you need not flip the meat now and then, as the heat is being distributed evening. It is not coming from any specific parts closer to the firebox, so there is no chance of overheating the meat.
- Whenever you put-in fuel to fire, the temperature won’t spike right away, causing overheating.
- When you open the door of the cooking chamber, the proper cooking temperature returns in no time.
- The reverse flow design enables the fat that generally renders out in an offset smoker to sear on the griddle pan, filtered via the cooking chamber.
- The metal plate acts as a water and grease tray, so there is no need to buy a separate grease and a water tray.
Note: The BBQ newbies must go with a reverse flow smoker as it lets them enjoy superior cooking results that only an experienced meat smoker will come up with through an offset smoker.
In simple words, a reverse flow smoker makes cooking a lot easier, therefore, the more preferred choice.
Advantages of Regular Offset Smoker
Now, we’ve rounded up the pros of using a regular offset smoker, so read on to find out:-
- You can stoke the fire or add chunks, logs, chips, or pellets without opening the cooking chamber.
- The cooking chamber of an offset smoker is big so you can cook large quantities of food in one go.
- In an offset smoker, there is no moving part to wear or electrical circulatory to burn out.
- There are a variety of accessories available for customization of the offset smoker.
- Most people believe that an offset smoker delivers the most authentic barbeque flavor.
- The dual-chamber design makes it easy to add fuel.
- Since a regular offset smoker doesn’t require power, you can easily set it up anywhere you want to.
Note: In terms of pricing, the offset smoker is a clear winner, as it is priced reasonably and available in all sizes; you can pick one according to your specific budget.
When To use Offset vs. Reverse Flow Smoker
A regular offset smoker is a preferred option under the following conditions:-
- You require more airflow.
- You wish for clean smoke, especially when you are BBQing in your backyard.
- If you wish for the different heat zones.
- These are some scenarios when BBQ experts found that an offset smoker holds the edge over the reverse flow smoker.
A reverse flow smoker is a preferred option under the following conditions:-
- If you’re a beginner and found BBQing for the very first time.
- You don’t have time to keep on flipping and moving the meat regularly when BBQing.
- You want the same low & slow heat throughout the cooking chamber.
- You want added flavor of meat that you get when the fat rendering on the extra metal plate is known as a baffle.
Finally, when to use an offset smoker or a reverse flow smoker depends upon your personalized choice.
Which One is Easier to Use?
Smokers prefer a reverse smoker over an offset smoker because the former is easier to use. You don’t have to turn your meat regularly to make sure the meat is evenly distributed.
So, the ultimate benefit is to save both time & effort, and it is a win-win situation for smokers. The temperature recovery of the smoker will be fast and swift.
Even a newbie smoker will achieve amazing meat flavor and tenderness. There is no problem with overheating, and the baffle plate prevents the direct exposure of the meat to the heat, even when a certain part is near the firebox.
When you pour-in fuel into the reverse flow smoker, there won’t be a sudden spike in the temperature.
The flavor is improved as the fat drips from the pan over the meat filter through the cooking chamber. So, in a nutshell, it is a much-preferred option if you are a newbie to smoking BBQ.
Is Reverse Flow Smoker better Than Traditional Smokers?
Yes, reverse flow smoker holds the edge over a conventional smoker, and here we enlist its perks:
- A reverse flow smoker delivers uniform heat throughout the cooking chamber.
- There is no overheating of certain parts of the meat in a reverse flow smoker, especially the one near the firebox.
- You can expect better taste and tenderness as the flow of hot air is evenly distributed throughout the cooking chamber, thus, why naive smokers find the reverse smoker music easier to operate than an offset regular smoker.
- The metal plate or the baffle acts as a greased pan. The dripping of the fat from the pan to the meat adds a stroke of flavor to the meat.
- The flavor is enhanced as the smoke distribution is uniform.
- No temperature spikes when you add fuel to the smoker.
- The chamber’s cooking temperature quickly returns to normal; if you open the door of the chamber, it happens instantaneously.
- Maintaining a reverse flow smoker is much easier than a conventional offset smoker.
How To Use A Reverse Flow Smoker
We advise you to marinate your meats the night before. You should cut back any excess or connective tissue, which affects its delicacy.
In this step, you have to set up your reverse flow offset smoker by utilizing a little piece of aluminum foil or simply a flame broil brush to clean the cooking racks. It will upgrade the cooking experience and help with smoking meat.
Add your fuel, which could be briquettes or lump charcoal, as per your preferred cooking method. Then place your meat on the cooking rack and close the lid.
We recommend utilizing a digital thermometer to monitor the cooking temperature inside the cooking chamber. You should situate the thermometer close to the side work regions so that you can see it without any problem.
To change the air’s inward flow, you may have to open or close the sliding vents and smokestack areas.
Reverse flow smokers produce a great deal of smoke, so ensure that you open the vents to bring down the temperature and close them to raise it.
When you have the inside temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107 C), you are prepared to begin smoking. Spot the meat on the barbecue plates and close the top.
Cook the meat low and for a few hours.
The Best Reverse Flow Smoker
When it comes to the best reverse flow smoker there is nothing in comparison with the quality of Oklahoma Joe’s Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker.
Elevate the reverse smoker experience with a Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker. It is designed & developed with great versatility; it comes with removable baffles and an optional smokestack.
It has a big basket of charcoal for long cooking sessions with minimum interruptions. There is a convenient firebox that makes cleaning up the smoker a breeze.
It comes with a professional temperature gauge that enables accurate monitoring. The Longhorn’s Smoker has large, wagon-style wheels that enable easy mobility.
There is a bottom shelf that allows you to store cooking utensils and additional fuel nearby.
It has 751 sq ft of primary cooking and 309 sq ft secondary cooking space. The four baffles are pre-locked under the coated wire, which is porcelain. and smoke goes out via the chamber of cooking.
The charcoal basket is large enough to deliver an efficient burn, tending to the fire, and easy to clean up.
There are also cool-to-touch handles that allow you to handle your reverse snooker with your hands.
How To Clean & Maintain Reverse Flow Smoker
Here’s a practical user guide to clean and maintain your reverse flow smoker:-
First, you’ve to remove ash after every use of the smoker. The ashes residing on the smoker’s different parts hold humidity and form byproducts, causing the rusting effect.
Make sure the ashes are fully cool before you make an effort to get rid of them. Dispose of the ashes in an air-tight container.
Next, you need to wipe the sauces or other leftovers gently over the surface of the cooking chamber.
Use a nylon brush to remove the grates.
To scrape off grease, you’ll need a putty knife or the bits of food that are stuck in the cooking chamber.
After a few months, deep cleaning of the reverse flow smoker is important to maintain its optimal functioning.
Thoroughly wash the smoker with warm water and use good-quality detergent. Make sure you let the smoker in open-air dry out. For treating the small spots of rust, you need a wire brush.
For the exteriors, you can use spray paint. Then, when you’re finally done, build a fire and let the smoker run for a couple of hours to reseason.
Wrapping It Up
So, we discuss in detail the design of an offset smoker and how it is different from a regular smoker. We explained when to use a reverse flow smoker or a traditional offset smoker.
Now, you’ve to decide whether to go with the traditional or a smoker flow design.