What is a Reverse Flow Smoker?

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If you’re looking for an offset smoker, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the phrase Reverse Flow.

Companies who provide this modern take on the original offset say that the enhanced design provides more uniform heat dispersion for better cooking outcomes.

Continue reading to learn more about this design and if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

How does a reverse flow smoker work?

What is a Reverse Flow Smoker?

A reverse flow smoker is a variation on the traditional offset smoker. The offset smoker has the firebox on one side of the smoker, with the chimney on the opposing wall.

Because the firebox is positioned outside of the cooking chamber, it is simpler to shelter the food from the direct heat of the fire. Furthermore, due of the chimney’s positioning, the smoke is pulled up and across the food, enhancing its exposure.

The chimney of the reverse flow smoker is situated on the same side as the firebox.

An extra baffle plate directs smoke from the firebox to the other side of the smoker, where it is dragged back across the cooking grill on its journey up the chimney.

The advantage of installing an extra baffle to reverse the smoke flow is that it is dispersed more equally above and below the meal.

When cold smoking, the baffle plate screens the food from the direct heat of the fire and cools the smoke to provide a more controllable interior temperature.

If you want to learn more about how to operate an offset smoker, we offer a comprehensive tutorial.

Pros and Cons of reverse flow and offset smokers

What is a Reverse Flow Smoker?

While it may seem that the increased uniformity of the reverse flow smoker makes it preferable than the offset smoker, the fact is that both have advantages and disadvantages.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a smoker but can’t decide between offset and reverse flow, here’s a breakdown:

Pros and Cons of reverse flow smoker

Pros Cons
The use of the baffle plate creates a more evenly balanced distribution of smoke The baffled airflow makes it hard to get a very clean burn
The additional insulation of the baffle plate helps to create a more consistent internal temperature Reverse flow smokers are less fuel-efficient than regular smokers
This increased consistency means the meat does not need to be flipped mid-cook Because of the design and the addition of an extra baffle, a reverse flow smoker takes longer to come up to cooking temperature
The baffle also acts as a searing plate, cooking off the fat rendered from the food on the grill gate above and adding to the flavor In some models, the baffle is welded in, making cleaning more difficult
The internal temperature is less prone to spiking when more fuel is added and returns to cooking temperature faster after the lid has been opened

Pros and Cons of a standard offset smoker

Pros Cons
The lack of the additional baffle in a standard offset smoker means you get better airflow and the smoker comes up to cooking temperature faster The internal temperature of a standard offset smoker is less consistent than a reverse flow smoker
The greater airflow also means you get a cleaner burn and therefore, cleaner smoke than a reverse flow smoker The food needs to be flipped during the cooking process to ensure maximum smoke exposure
While the design does create hotspots, these can be used proactively to smoke different foods at different temperatures The lack of a baffle does mean there will be a hot spot closest to the firebox. This makes it hard to smoke a lot of food without repeatedly rotating the food to ensure everything smokes at the same rate

Are reverse flow smokers better?

As you can see from the table above, both reverse flow smokers and normal offset smokers have advantages and disadvantages. However, in certain cases, one of these smoking designs may be more beneficial than the other.

If you’re new to smoking food or just want a more consistent smoker that doesn’t need as much babysitting, a reverse flow smoker will provide a more level cooking temperature and eliminate the need to turn the meat.

Because the temperature is uniform throughout the cooking chamber, you can smoke more food without having to rotate it out of any hotspots.

However, if you’re a more experienced smoker, you may like the offset smoker’s cleaner burn and exploitable hot spots for smoking food at varied temperatures in one smoker.

Whether one kind of smoker is superior to another is largely determined on your own requirements.

What is the best reverse flow smoker?

Anyone wanting to purchase a reverse flow smoker can’t go wrong with the superbly priced Oklahoma Joe Highland or the somewhat more costly Lang 36 Original, in our opinion.

Oklahoma Joe Highland

The Highland, made of 100% heavy-gauge steel, eliminates one of the major problems of offset smokers: weak body construction, which means they can’t maintain a steady temperature.

Because the Highland has a detachable baffle, you may use it as a reverse flow smoker or a standard offset.

It also includes two chimneys that can be opened and closed to control airflow.

The Highlands firebox also has attachable grill plates for grilling and searing meals directly over the flames.

Despite its strong build and features, the Highland is a fairly reasonable piece of equipment and an excellent first smoker for those just getting started.

Lang 36″ Original

While not as inexpensive as the Highland, the Lang 36 Original is packed with features and constructed entirely of quarter-inch rolled steel in an all-welded design.

The rack has a wrap-around prep space and a bottom storage rack for storing equipment and preparing meals.

There are detachable bottom racks and sliding higher racks within the Lang, with enough overall cooking area for a whole piglet or 6-8 complete racks of ribs.

The Lang’s frame has two 8-inch pneumatic tires for increased mobility, and if you want to establish a permanent outdoor barbecue area, Lang will give your smoker without the frame for a $200 discount off the original price.

Wrapping it up

Reverse flow smokers are ideal if you want a steady and dependable smoker that optimizes the smoke exposure of your meal. They address some of the typical offset smoker’s hot spot difficulties and are an excellent starting point for people new to the world of smoked cuisine.

Do you want to acquire a reverse flow smoker, or do you already have one and know how to get the most out of it? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.


What is the advantage of a reverse flow smoker?

Because of its enhanced heat distribution and heat stability, many people believe that reverse flow smokers are the ideal alternative to ordinary smokers. They’re an excellent tool for producing really tasty smoked meat.

Are reverse flow smokers worth it?

They are very useful for cold smoking procedures, such as smoking fish or cheese. They are also excellent for low and slow cooking. Because the heat distribution is more distributed, the reverse flow method also produces more constant cooking temperatures.

What is the difference between offset and reverse smoker?

It takes longer for a reverse flow smoker to attain appropriate interior temperatures. It may be ascribed to the design’s support for circulation and heat increase. It takes longer to heat up, but it keeps heat longer than a horizontal offset smoker, which is built for low and slow cooking using indirect heat.

Why do people reverse smoke?

In contrast to traditional smokers, many new causes for initiating reverse smoking were found, the most notable of which was that they had learnt this behavior from their moms. This was followed by other factors such as peer pressure, companionship, and chilly weather.

Does more airflow in smoker make it hotter?

When dense white smoke is evident, damp wood is usually blamed. If possible, avoid using moist wood. Increase the flow of air via your intake vent. An increase in air movement can assist assure a hotter fire, which will cause your wood to ignite and burn faster.

Why do you put water in the bottom of a smoker?

grill.Keeping the Smoker’s Cooking Temperature Stable

Temperature changes in water take longer than in air. As a result, a water pan is particularly useful in assisting in the stabilization of the smoker’s internal temperature.

Does opening the vents on a smoker make it hotter or colder?

Whatever vent you fiddle with, keep in mind that open vents indicate hotter, faster-burning charcoal. Closed vents result in less oxygen, which leads to less heat and slower-burning charcoal.

How many years does it take to reverse smoking damage?

Quitting smoking improves lung and heart health.

“However, if you quit before the age of 30, you can recover almost all of them.” One year after quitting smoking, your chances of suffering a heart attack are cut in half. After four years, your risk is the same as a nonsmoker’s.


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