What Is A Reverse Flow Smoker?

There might need to be more than the traditional offset smoker to upgrade your smoking game. You might have heard the term reverse flow in the smoking industry. Unlike traditional BBQ smokers, reverse flow smokers cook at a uniform temperature. Essentially a subset of offset smokers, it has a different construction and an additional metal plate to ensure tasty smoked meat.

Alternatives to offset smokers are always reverse flow smokers. The manufacturers that produce this unique variation on the classic offset smoker claim it delivers better cooking results with more even heat distribution. Reverse flow smokers work differently from conventional smokers, so you should understand them before purchasing them.


What Is A Reverse Flow Smoker?

In the reverse flow smoker, a firebox is outside the cooking chamber. An extra baffle plate directs the heat and smoke too far away. Then, it moves in the opposite direction through the cooking chamber.

A reverse flow pellet smoker is a smoker that is a minor change from the traditional offset smoker in design. To cook food, it moves heat in the reverse direction. In the end, the food you will get is cooked with indirect heat. Owing to this it is called a reverse flow smoker. 

All the offset smokers do not have the ability like the reverse smoker, but all the reverse smokers are offset smokers. The reason is that the chimney and the firebox are located on the same wall in reverse flow bbq smokers, while they are located at opposite walls in the offset smoker.

What Is A Reverse Flow Smoker

Aside from that, reverse smokers offer more consistent temperature control than offset smokers, which provides cleaner burning. The important thing is that the offset smoker cooks the food from top to bottom. In contrast, the reverse flow smoker cooks it from down to top.

The most crucial benefit of an offset smoker is that it protects your food from being overcooked. Therefore, you will be able to cook more consistently with this smoker because it gives you an even temperature for cooking. Moreover, it will also control the temperature during refueling.

How Does A Reverse Flow Smoker Work?

In easy wording, a reverse flow smoker is an alternative to the offset smoker. Unlike the normal smoker, offset smokers have a firebox on the side with a chimney facing the opposite direction.

In easy wording, a reverse flow smoker is an alternative to the offset smoker. Offset smokers usually have the firebox on the opposite wall to the chimney on the side of the smoker.

The reverse-flow smokers have a firebox on the same side as the chimney. Mostly, indirect cooking, those fireboxes are beneficial and available outside the chimney. The smoke comes across the food because of the chimney and thus maximizes its exposure. 

The smoke coming towards the smoker from the firebox moves away from the smoker by using an additional baffle plate. As it travels towards the chimney, it crosses the cooking grill on its way back.

The primary advantage of using a baffle plate in the reverse smoker is evenly distributing the smoke above and below the food. When it is cold and humid, it cools the smoke and saves the food from direct heat.

Reverse Flow Smoker Pros And Cons


As compared to the offset smoker, the reverse flow smoker has the following advantages:

  • Even Heat Distribution: It is the most significant benefit of reverse smokers. It forces the heat to move away from the cooking area, and thus heat moves pass through the cooking chamber and then radiates from the baffle plate. Due to this, it is a constant heat area, and the food cooks evenly. 
  • Temperature Control: The reverse flow smoker’s temperature control is much easier than the traditional offset smoker. You will see a little increase in the temperature because of the metal plate. Anyone can easily control the temperature by using the outage and intake valves. 
  • Improved Flavor And Moisture: Unlike the traditional smokers, the reverse flow smoker cooks the meat from down to the top, therefore, resulting in delicious food. There is a proper grease setup in which the grease drips into the metal plate and again comes back to your meat. It results in the addition of moisture. 


Besides providing reasonable temperature control and heat distribution, it also has a few disadvantages.

  • Smoking: The main disadvantage of this smoker is that there is much probability of over-cooking. Due to this, the food can get a bitter taste. 
  • More Fuel: As the hot metal plate is underneath the cooking area, it will take a little more fuel than the offset smoke to control the temperature. 
  • Hard To Clean: Since the grease drips on the hoit metal plate under the cooking area, some grease can go under it. Almost every griller knows that it is very hard to clean the burnt grease. 

Is A Reverse Flow Smoker Better?

First of all, in order to buy a smoker, you have to keep an eye on your needs and requirements because both of these smokers have their drawbacks and benefits. Always remember that the feature of the best BBQ smoker is reasonable temperature control. 

Your smoker can only expect better results only if it contains this feature. The heat and smoke are much more evenly distributed in the reverse offset smoker, thus giving you the best cooking results without performing too much work. 

If you are a newcomer and do not know much about smoking, then the reverse smoker is the best choice, as there is no need to rotate or flip food. While on the other hand, professionals need exploitable hot spots and easy cleaning, so the traditional offset smokers are best for you. You can also build DIY offset smokers at your own after reading this guide.


When Do You Use A Reverse Flow Smoker Vs Traditional Offset Smoker?

A traditional offset smoker is better when:

  • When you want to utilize different heat zones
  • If you want the smoke produced to be clean
  • For more airflow

A reverse flow offset smoker is a good choice when:

  • You are a beginner
  • You do not desire to move meat mid-cook 
  • To get the added flavor that you get from the fat rendering on the baffle plate
  • You want to go low and slow during the entire cooking session

Frequently Asked Questions

The meat will cook perfectly from all around because the smoke distributes evenly all around the food in this smoker. You can cook your meat faster with the reverse flow smokers than the offset smokers depending upon the temperature control.

In a reverse smoker, heat and smoke are forced to move inside the cooking chamber under an additional metal plate in the opposite direction. Due to this, consistent temperature control occurs. Yes, the temperature remains the same throughout the reverse flow smoker.

Besides allowing better heat distribution around the food, reverse-flow smokers offer many other advantages, such as preventing your food from overheating and becoming harsh and improving the heat flow.

Final Words 

The reverse-flow smoker is a great addition to anyone’s backyard. They allow you to cook at a higher temperature since the heat source is at the firebox. With this smoker, it is possible to get a perfectly smoked brisket or ribs. If you are ready to take your barbecue game to the next level, it is definitely worth the investment and effort in making one of these smokers if you are a do-it-yourselfer.

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