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If you’re looking for an old-school cooking experience that goes back to the basics of smoking, then an Oklahoma Joe smoker might just be the ticket.
As you look around the park, you can’t help but shake your head as you watch the other smokers. They’ve all got their fancy beeping boxes with remote controls and smartphone apps. Where’s the pride, you wonder? What happened to the pure love of this lost culinary art? Gauging temperatures, measuring wood, coal, and propane fuels are not mundane. They are a part of the pride in being a real smoker.
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The folks at Oklahoma Joe understand how you feel. And that’s why they make a line of durable old-fashioned style smokers that take you back to those simpler times. There are no fancy electronics or remote controls. Nope, there’s nothing automatic about an Oklahoma Joe smoker, except maybe the pride you feel from using it.
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Oklahoma Joe Smoker Tips and Tricks
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Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your Oklahoma Joe smoker. First, make sure to prepare your meats using a good rub. Don’t use wet marinades. Next, you want to make sure that you add lots of wood when you finally put your meat in your smoker. You can’t go wrong with wood chips, hardwood pellets, or chunks. They are available in a wide variety of flavors like apple, hickory, and pecan. Keep in mind, however, that different woods will create different flavor profiles in your meats. Also, since you’ll be cooking the meat for extended amounts of time, it’s not a bad idea to stock up.If you’re using a conventional wood smoker, its best to go with wood chunks over chips because they have greater density and will last much longer. If you’re using a pellet grill, always make sure you have a full hopper before smoking. Now you can still smoke without the wood. However, you’ll be denying yourself the heavenly experience of delicious aromas and flavor.Next, remember to keep it slow and low. The best way to smoke your meats is slowly over a low fire, utilizing the wood smoke for its indirect heat. If you’re smoking using a charcoal grill, build your fire on one side of the grill, then put your meat on the opposite side. The meat should never sit directly over the flame.You can also keep your food moist by adding a water pan since long periods of cooking and fluctuating temperatures can dry out your food. Just use a large disposable foil pan and refill as needed.Finally, don’t go crazy with the smoke. One of the biggest mistakes most smokers make is over-smoking their food. That can cause a bitter taste.
How We Reviewed
To review the Oklahoma Joe smoker models, we compared the features of their most popular models but gave special attention to customer feedback. We find that customer feedback will always tell the overall truth about a product’s value. With paying customers, you usually don’t have to worry about them holding back information or being too polite. These people will tell you everything you need to understand about the product, including things the manufacturer would rather you not know. After compiling all of the data, we picked the best of the Oklahoma Joe smoker line.
Say Hello to the Oklahoma Joe Smoker Line
he Oklahoma Joe smoker line consists of six models. However, due to the lack of availability of the Longhorn Reverse Flow model, we did not review it. And it’s unclear if the company decided to discontinue the model, as it’s still on their website. Instead, we opted to examine the other five models and pick the best out of those products.Also, it’s important to note that the Oklahoma Joe smoker line does sacrifice, for its more nostalgic design, some of the efficiency that you’ll find in more advanced smokers. These smokers are a lot like Harley Davidson motorcycles in that they opt more for experience and attitude than for innovation and efficiency.
The first model in our Oklahoma Joe Smoker lineup is The Highland. This smoker’s design is inspired by rugged smokers from the oil fields of Texas. It features heavy-gauge construction with an enormous 900-square-inch cooking space. Easily remove leftover ash using a convenient door for hassle-free cleanup. The durable handle allows you to get a firm grip on your grill lid without burning your fingers.Plus, you can stow all your grilling tools and cooking supplies on an underneath shelf while the upper shelf doubles as an extra workspace. The vertical pipe design has adjustable dampers to regulate smoke and heat by drawing it directly through the cooking chamber. Also, the external thermometer allows you to keep a close eye on internal temperatures and gauge your preheat status. Finally, you can transport your grill like a breeze thanks to its heavy-duty stylish iron wheels.Customers on Lowes rated this Oklahoma Joe Smoker model 4.5 out of 5 stars. A first-time smoker praised the ability to keep temperatures low even on a 100-degree Fahrenheit summer day in Texas. He also noted that the external thermometer was right on the money. Furthermore, he said that the grill did not need any additional modifications, despite what some reviewers might suggest. He also said the grill feature cooks food evenly with no problems.However, some customers did not have a very high opinion of The Highland. There were a few complaints about peeling paint. One customer claimed the metal used to make the smoker was too thin. Another reviewer said that the unit severely leaked air. Additionally, another customer reported that his smoker’s external thermometer was off by 60 degrees, making it impossible to monitor temperatures accurately.This Oklahoma Joe smoker costs $300 to $450 and includes a 2-year limited warranty.
Our next Oklahoma Joe smoker model is the Highland Reverse Flow. This smoker features 879 square inches of cooking surface that lets you choose between traditional offset smoking and reverse flow smoking while using optimal smokestack locations. Additionally, the four uniquely engineered baffles lock under the cooking grate to channel smoke underneath and back over your food, providing even smoke and heat across the entire cooking chamber. Also, you can maintain longer cooking times and exercise greater control over heat using a large charcoal basket that fits perfectly in your firebox. Plus, removing leftover ash is now hassle-free thanks to the smoker’s convenient door. There’s also a handy warming tray at the top of the firebox that can heat your side dishes and sauces.With this smoker, you can stoke the fire with ease without the need to open the cooking chamber lid. This feature allows smoke and heat to flow freely toward the main chamber, thanks to a convenient access door that also allows you to add more wood. The smoker’s vertical smokestack has adjustable dampers to regulate smoke and heat by channeling it through the smoking chamber. You also have a handy-dandy bottom metal shelf to store your cooking utensils, extra wood or charcoal, and anything else you need. Finally, the exterior temperature gauge allows you to measure the inner-air temperature.Amazon customers rated this Oklahoma Joe smoker model 4.2 out of 5 stars. Several customers stated that this was a large old-fashioned starter smoker with excellent performance.However, many customers noted that the smoker does require a few post-purchase modifications to keep smoke and heat from leaking. A customer also reported that his smoker started to rust after a year.This Oklahoma Joe smoker model costs between $370 to $570 and comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
Our third Oklahoma Joe smoker model is the Longhorn Offset Smoker. This model features a sizeable 1,060-square-inch cooking surface with easy to clean, rust-resistant, porcelain-coated cooking grates. You don’t have to worry about losing heat to stoke your fire thanks to the Longhorn’s convenient access door. There’s also a handy area under the firebox to store your grilling tools. This area can also double as an extra workspace. Additionally, the Longhorn features a vertical pipe with adjustable dampers that regulates smoke and heat by transferring through the cooking chamber. Finally, you can easily monitor your cooking and preheating temperatures using the Longhorn’s exterior thermometer feature.Lowes customers rated this Oklahoma Joe smoker model 4.0 out of 5 stars. The majority of customers praised the Longhorn’s durable construction and said that it was a great starter smoker with lots of potential. One of the main attributes customers praised was its value versus much more expensive smokers. Moreover, some customers recommended that it may need a few minor modifications to make it the perfect smoker. That said, a first-time smoker expressed the fun he had upgrading his smoker into a custom-built meat smoking machine and suggested that this is a DIY person’s type of smoker.However, not every customer agreed with the majority’s assessment. Most dissatisfied customers bristled at the idea of buying extra sealant and gasket tape to prevent smoke and heat leakage. Customers also complained about wild temperature fluctuations, especially on windy or cold weather days. Another big complaint concerned paint peeling off the firebox after a short time of use. Finally, one customer noted that it takes too much wood just to keep the temperature in the firebox above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.This Oklahoma Joe smoker model can cost $230 to $560 and comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
Our fourth Oklahoma Joe smoker model is the Longhorn Combo featuring three cookers in one with an offset smoker box and charcoal grill. Its main burners let you grill up to 21 burgers or any of your favorite meats or veggies, while its 12,000-BTU side burner is perfect for heating your favorite side dishes. This combo cooker has porcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates that guarantee consistent temperatures and hassle-free cleanup. It also has two separate cooking chambers, one for gas grilling, one for smoking, and an optional side burner.The electronic igniter features allow you to light all your burners with just a push of a button. Furthermore, you can keep your cooking utensils and extra fuel handy with its convenient underneath storage shelf. And don’t worry about ash removal, because this smoker has a convenient door that lets you clean out leftover ash without much fuss. Lastly, keep a good eye on your cooking temperatures with the Longhorn’s external thermometer.Lowes customers rated this Oklahoma Joe smoker model 4.5 out of 5 stars. One customer praised the smoker’s easy access for adding wood and coal into the firebox. Also, he said it allowed for quick and easy transitions for everything from searing, to baking, to smoking. Another customer added that he cooked some of the best-smoked briskets of his life using this smoker.However, there were a few customers who shared less than warm thoughts about this model. One customer said that the side burner was cheap material and it was the first thing to stop working. Another customer remarked on how the smoker leaked a lot of heat and smoke.The Oklahoma Joe smoker model can cost from $430 to $900 and includes a 2-year limited warranty.
Our fifth Oklahoma Joe smoker model is the uniquely designed Bandera Offset Smoker. This smoker features a total of 992 square inches of cooking surface. It has a convenient front and bottom metal shelf, easy storage, and extra workspace. Additionally, the Bandera features many spring-style cool touch handles that allow you to open your smoker without cooking your hand.Also included are four adjustable cooking grates. Cook like a pro with the Bandera’s rib rack set and two hanging meat hooks. Plus, the removable ash pan and charcoal shelf allow for quick and easy cleanup. There’s also a water pan to provide extra flavoring and moisture, an integrated baffle that provides even smoking, and a professional temperature gauge to help you monitor your progress.On Amazon, customers rated this Oklahoma Joe smoker model 4.1 out of 5 stars. One customer said he easily smoked a beautiful rack of ribs in about four and a half hours using the smoker’s rib rack set. Another customer liked the ample space in the firebox able to accommodate large pieces of wood like fruit woods and hickory.But not everyone was on board the Bandera train. A few customers lamented over the leaking heat and smoke. They also resented having to buy extra materials to fix the smoker’s inherent design flaws. One angry customer ranted about how his smoker quickly rusted and became useless after a year. Other customers mentioned that this smoker seems to burn through a lot of fuel much faster than other smoker models.This Oklahoma Joe smoker model can cost from $375 to $770 and comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
The Oklahoma Joe Smoker Line: Who’s the Smokiest Joe?
When deciding on the best Oklahoma Joe smoker, we first had to reconcile a few facts about these smokers. As mentioned above, these are not the most efficient smokers on the market, nor are they designed to be. Several customers, who also loved their Oklahoma Joe smoker, mentioned the need to modify or upgrade the original smoker to be more efficient in trapping heat and smoke. We found this to be the case in every Oklahoma Joe model we reviewed.If you enjoy a rewarding challenge, these could be your kind of smokers. With this in mind, we chose the Longhorn Combo smoker as the best model. This model’s three-in-one feature incorporates everything people love about an Oklahoma Joe smoker. Additionally, it adds additional functionality not found in the others. We hope this information helps you find the right smoker for your lifestyle.