Ok, so I’m looking to buy my first smoker. I’m trying to decide between an electric pellet smoker or a wood burning offset smoker. I’m leaning towards an offset smoker (Oklahoma Joe’s highland to be specific). I feel like an electric smoker would be more like using an oven outdoors. The set it and forget it is convenient for sure...but it sort of feels like cheating. However, my concern with an offset smoker would be that once the novelty wears off I’d get tired of tending to the fire box constantly . Any insight on the pros and cons of pellet vs offset would be awesome!
Welcome to the SFaF. I have never had an offset but I have had a pellet grill for over 2 years now.
Yes they are a outdoor oven but with flavour that you don’t get in an oven.
The main reason I got a pellet grill was for the ease of use.
Some will say there is nothing like tending a fire and they are right nothing compares but what I will say is what else do you have going on e.g. young kids and the like. Tending a fire takes time and you can’t go out and leave it for an extended time confident that the temp will remain the same.
A pellet grill will pretty much sit on temp until you change the temp or it runs out of pellets.
I have a GMG which I describe to people as an “outdoor WiFi connectable wood fired oven”. They can’t believe it when I explain what a pellet grill is.
You can also get a great pizza attachment with the GMG which allows you to cook Wood fired pizzas which come out fantastic.
Yep people can give you a hard time about it being an easy bake oven but hey they do a great job and have won BBQ Comps all around the world.
Again depends on your situation and what you have going on in life and how chained to a grill you want to be.
I started with a bullet after much research as they where relatively easy to control but still had an authentic smoke flavour.
Since then I’ve added to my collection and I love them all on there individual ways.
My favourite smoker is my offset for the taste of the food that comes off it, but it is a labour of love that you have to spend the entire day with managing your fire for a long cook.
If you want to produce great food straight off the bat and like the idea of set and forget I’d recommend a pellet smoker.
Also check out the Pit Barrel Cooker, so simple and definitely set and forget.
You’ll also get plenty of votes for Kamados which are also great.
Plenty of decisions!
Agree with Jimmy 100%. Never had offset, but love the pellet grill. So versatile and easy to use. Everything from smokied fish to pizza. The great benefit is the ease with which you can change temps, up or down, mid-cook. Mines a Pit Boss 820, and I love it.
Mmm sounds like you need both 😂
I don’t own a pellet but the prosmoke off set is good fun to cook on and the food is delish.
Welcome to SFAF!
Only you can answer this, but I agree that it is likely a real issue:
my concern with an offset smoker would be that once the novelty wears off I’d get tired of tending to the fire box constantly
IMO most people will get more use from a pellet BBQ.
I had a stick burner and made the transition to pellets years ago. Despite the fact that I like tending a fire I wouldn't go back. I get my fire tending kicks when I grill on my fire pit.
Like the others, I think it depends on how much time you want to devote to your passion.
You've basically answered it yourself anyway.....Time vs Convenience
So I'll throw a spanner in the works and say if I had to choose only one BBQ, I wouldn't get either. I'd be buying a ceramic kamado which will cover all bases, is reasonably quick to light, can be used to roast, cook low and slow, direct grill (sear) and can be easily controlled to maintain a fixed temperature over a whole day without you having to stand over it. You get the satisfaction of charcoal cooking but the ease of an indoor oven once you get the hang of it.
You could always buy a cheap offset in the first instance as well, and see how you like playing around with the fire.
I didn’t own a komado style cooker until
Last week , now I have 2 , 1 still gotta pick up and the other still in pieces in the shed 😜
Gumb i am all for Kamado’s but the one thing I don’t like with a Kamado is you can’t easily come down in temp due to the insulation properties of the ceramic.
Don’t get me wrong I love them but I do love the ability of a Pellet going up and down in temp reasonably quickly.
Although on a pellet there is no way you can sear anything like on a Kamado unless you have the searing option like the Pit Boss for example.
It’s horses for corses and it depends what the grill is being bought to cook for IMO.
I guess that’s why I have 4 bbqs well that’s my story anyway.
Yeah Bruckster gonnahave to put that one on hold for a bit , mrs is already not happy about the Komado and primo. Prob divorce me 😜
About to get the back yard and alfresco/ bbq area done as well . - might to to extend it now 😂😂
BBQbushy a day of cooking on that Primo and she will be a convert.
Over the Christmas break I was cooking on it almost every day.
The house just didn’t heat up from using the oven at all.
And you can fit sooo much in it. I think you will be surprised with the sheer size of it.
buy an offset if you like playing with fire or buy a pellet grill if you like sleep and food
the one thing I don’t like with a Kamado is you can’t easily come down in temp due to the insulation properties of the ceramic.
It can be done by 'burping' but the secret is not to let it over shoot in the first place.
This old chestnut......
I think your family situation comes majorly into play here. When my kids were very young I could have used an offset, but once they get to the age when you are running them around, forget it, no chance. There would only be a handful of days a year I could actually use the offset.
My signature has an offset in it, but it's not even at my house, some bloke called Grant has it - his kids have left home. However, the pellet grill gets heaps of use.
I have an offset and love using it. Yes at the end of the day I'm sick & tired of going out and putting logs on but i love it at the same time. I have a 3 yr old a 1yr old and it still works for me. the 3yr old is scared of the bbq because it has fire (thanks Fireman Sam) so won't go near it when lit which is great. If I time it properly i can run down to the shops and grab a few things but any longer than that and the fire is out which is a bummer.
I don't have a Pellet grill but would also love one for lazy days when I can't be bothered tending a fire. A few guys at work have traegers and they love it for the ease of use. A bit further down the line i will probably get a pellet grill but for now i'm quite happy to play with the offset.
At the end of the day it all comes down to what sort of time you want to invest into bbq.
And think of the lay of your land. Offsets are fun but if you have to climb up and down stairs to get to it then that becomes a pain.
Captain has a good point actually. I'm lucky mine is only about 6 steps from my front door so i don't have to go far to tend it but i think if it were further away from the house it would be more of a chore.
My offset is my favourite of all my cookers, but it's not been getting much love lately. Although I've not been doing much low n slow at all lately.
If you are time poor (like I currently am) then I wouldn't recommend an offset.
Don't get me wrong, I loved waking up at 4am and lighting a fire and sitting next to it all day having a few drinks and tending to my fire... Now I can barely find time to sit down and watch a movie so the offset is sadly being used as a home for spiders in the shed
The fact you are already concerned the novelty of tending to a fire could wear off quickly makes me think you should go with a pellet grill.