What is a Reverse Flow Smoker?

A reverse flow smoker is an adaptation of the traditional offset smoker. It works to create a more uniform cooking environment by forcing hot air and smoke under an additional metal plate, called a baffle, and back through the cooking chamber, reversing the air flow to escape through a smokestack on the firebox side of the unit.


In addition to improving the flow of smoke, the baffle plates helps to:

  • Block the direct, harsh heat from overcooking the meat that’s closest to the firebox

  • Create a more even cooking temperature by acting as a heat sink

  • Double as a grease pan, searing fat that drips onto it for even more flavour.

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Grilling on a Reverse Flow Smoker

Just like offset smokers, some reverse flow smokers can be used to grill as well. Check out the Oklahoma Joe’s® Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker that has grilling plates over the fire.

Pros of using a Reverse Flow Smoker

  • Consistent cooking environment = more consistent results

  • More even smoke distribution for greater flavour

  • Baffle plate reduces hot spot next to the firebox so you don’t need to move meat mid-cook

  • Less prone to temperature spikes after adding more fuel to the fire

  • Faster return to cooking temperature after opening the cooking chamber door

  • Improved flavour and moisture as the fat renders out of the meat, sears on the griddle pan and filters through the cooking chamber

Cons of using a Reverse Flow Smoker 

  • More uniform heat can be a negative if you like having different temperature zones

  • Restricted air flow can reduce the cleanliness of the burn

  • Takes longer to heat up because the heat and smoke must travel further, and the extra baffle needs to be brought up to temperature too

  • Slightly less fuel efficient than normal offset smokers

  • Most baffle plates are welded in and can’t be removed for easy cleaning (Note: you can remove the baffles in the Oklahoma Joe’s Range)

Who Should Buy a Reverse Flow Smoker?

Offset smokers are the ideal barbecue for anyone who wants versatility and mouth-watering results but doesn’t mind spending the extra time and effort required to get them. Check out the Oklahoma Joes Longhorn and highland Reverse Flow Smokers below.