What is Reverse Flow Smoker? and Why is it Amazing?


If your Sunday plans include a BBQ party with friends and family, an essential thing you need is the smoker. There are numerous types of smokers available in the market, and the one with the most efficient design is the reverse flow offset smoker.

It adheres to maintaining an optimum temperature inside the smoker. Post the smoking chamber; it moves through the cooking chamber opposite to exit via stack on the firebox end.

What is a Reverse Flow Smoker?

The most obvious question now would be to realize what reversible flow smokers are and what sets them apart from their competitors. It is preferred since it is known for its uniform cooking environment.

Cooking Food Using Reverse Flow Smoker

It features a baffle under which smoke and hot air are forced. It reverses the airflow and escapes through the smokestack. This technology enables the smoker to cook the meat uniformly. The amount of smoke emitted, when channelized the perfect way, adds to the flavor of the meat and gets incorporated in it.

When buying an offset smoker, it is essential to look for models which do not have thin metal. A thin metal model does not let the user control the heat and smoke in the cooking chamber appropriately. Thick steel-made smokers with food doors and well-made vents are always preferred.

Why Reverse Flow Smoker?

Every device has its pros and cons. The reverse flow offset smoker brings a lot more to the table.


  • Cooking Environment: The cooking environment is consistent, producing better results.
  • Heat Flow: The baffle plate enables the reduction of added heat beside the firebox, stopping overcooking. It acts as a heat sink, doubling up as a greased pan for burning fat and enhancing flavor.
  • Uniform Smoke Distribution: The smoke distribution is uniform, causing the meat to be equally cooked in all parts and enhancing the flavor.
  • Temperature: The transition to cooking temperature once the chamber door opens is rapid and efficient.
  • Fuel Consumption: Adding fuel does not lead to temperature rises on most occasions.
  • Design: The smoker’s reverse flow design ensures a well-made BBQ at the cost of no extra heat.


The smoker also has its drawbacks.

  • Time Consumption

The time consumed for the device to heat up is more since the traveling distance is more. Ensuring the baffle is heated up to the optimum temperature is an arduous task at a limited time.

  • Temperature Zones

In the case of people who love different temperature zones, uniform heat causes a problem in the reverse flow offset smoker.

  • Airflow

The smoker restricts airflow leading to less cleanliness of the burns caused.

  • Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is comparatively less than other offset smokers.

  • Cleaning

Cleaning the baffle plates often becomes a concern for the user as they are welded and cannot be removed for easy cleaning.

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How to Use a Reverse Flow Smoker?

Among many types of smokers, reverse flow smokers work differently than the traditional offset ones.

Wood Chips in Reverse Flow Smoker

With the baffle plate coming into the picture, it becomes essential to know the perfect way to use the smoker for cooking your meat.

A step-by-step guide is given below to ensure that your meat is perfectly cooked and nobody leaves the BBQ party with a dissatisfied demeanor.

1. Marination

One needs to marinate the meat a day before. It ensures better cooking. Besides, any fat or connective tissue is removed to get better tenderness. The best results are achieved post marination when refrigerated overnight.

2. Preparing the Smoker

The reverse flow smoker is ready before the meat is kept to cook. The cooking racks are cleaned using either a grill brush or an aluminum foil. Proper maintenance of the reverse flow smoker enhances the cooking experience and gives a smoky flavor to the meat.

3. Fuel Source

The fuel source is the next important step in the process. Depending upon cooking methods, briquettes or lump charcoal is added to the fuel basket.

One could also use a medium chimney starter to light the firebox chamber. Other hardwood enhances flavor and gives the meat a more smoky flavor.

4. Temperature Monitoring

Monitoring the cooking temperature is an essential part of the process. Generally, digital thermometers are present inside the steel construction chamber.

Reverse flow smokers take a longer time to heat up due to the presence of the baffle plate and should be monitored carefully.

5. Internal Airflow

Regulating the internal airflow is essential. When required, one needs to open and close the smokestack locations and sliding vents.

Fireboxes need to be arranged before entering the cooking chamber to regulate the heat and smoke. These devices produce many clouds of smoke, so opening and closing the vents to alter the temperature is essential.

The meat is ready for BBQ only when the internal temperature reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lid is closed.

6. Cooking Time

The meat takes a longer time to cook in the smoker. Depending upon the meat, the time may vary. It is advised that One should baste meat every 2 hours. Monitoring the temperature and smoke flow ensures the perfect results.

Regular Offset Smokers

The traditional offset smoker serves the same purpose as the reverse flow offset smoker. The difference is in the design of the two smokers.

Contrary to the reverse flow offset smoker, in this setup, the smoke enters from one end and exits through the other end, thereby cooking the meat present in the middle.

In many models, there is no distinct separation between the meat and the fire except horizontal distance. A few models also feature ‘tuning plates’ which force more heat towards the far end of the smoker.

One particular type is Oklahoma Joe Highland smoker. This helps the heat to be more concentrated on the meat and cooking it perfectly.

Regular Offset Smokers vs Reverse Flow Offset Smokers

The cutthroat market demands the user be well aware of the features of each product before buying.

As discussed previously, every smoker has its advantages and disadvantages. The user perspective is different from that. They indulge in the products based on the features they want.

Regular offset smokers provide more airflow. The people who like to cook in different temperature zones, this smoker is perfect for their choice.

Moreover, the smoke emitted is very clean. These features make the regular offset smoker a good choice for users.

The reverse flow offset smoker, on the other hand, is for those people who are willing to invest the time to let the meat cook. The process is a lot slower than the traditional ones but uniform throughout the entire smoking chamber.

It ensures that the meat is perfectly cooked and is not left raw anywhere. It is the ideal choice for beginners and enhances the flavor due to the fat rendering on baffle plates.

Thereby both smokers have their uses and different designs. The location of the smokestack plays a vital role in identifying the smoker type.

While the reverse flow smokers provide uniform heating as their forte, the regular ones reduce the smoke emitted.

Further Discussion

An intelligent take would be to identify the hotspots in your smoker. This is the position where the heat is uniformly available in the maximum intensity. Locating this spot is an advantage, and one can utilize it to get faster and better results.

The rack system helps the cause as various kinds of meat do not need direct heat to cook them. They can be placed on the racks for slow cooking.

The tenderness of the meat is maintained throughout, making it one of the show-stealers in the BBQ party. The reverse flow offset smoker uses modern technology to give a twist to the traditional models and delivers as it should.


Reverse flow smokers have been a regular choice for users who prefer uniform heating of their meat.

For example, pork is best cooked in this smoker since it does not have to face intense heat. It also reduces the hassle by a long haul, making it an obvious choice.

So, if you’re in for a party next Sunday, and you don’t know what to cook – BBQ is your answer. With a wide range of companies offering smokers, you can easily choose a model according to your preference and budget to suit your needs!

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Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.