A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research,
he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.
Looking for a more versatile smoker with plenty of room to take your brisket to the next level? Then take a look at the combination traditional and reverse flow smoker from Oklahoma Joe: the Longhorn.
What does “reverse flow smoking” even mean, and why should you care? Let our grill gurus explain.
First, here’s a quick overview of how traditional smokers work before we get into what reverse flow is. The usual setup is a main smoke chamber with a separate firebox on one end and a smoke exhaust pipe on the other.
When properly sealed, smoke travels from the side firebox into the smoke chamber to cook and smoke the food, then out the other end.
The reverse flow comes in with a few additions to the traditional setup. By placing porcelain-coated panels underneath the cooking food and opening the secondary smoke stack located on the same side as the firebox.
The panels direct the heat and smoke to flow first underneath the food to the far end, then over top and all the way back to the smokestack next to the firebox.
This technique results in a much more even temperature across the smoke chamber. And the radiant heat from the panels also helps cook the food faster and more evenly. That means more smoke and more aroma, tastier food, and a more efficient cook time.
In this Oklahoma Joe Longhorn review we’re going to give you a well researched rundown of the quality and performance, a huge list of specifications, as well as a look at pros and cons.
Because there are a lot of grill and smoker products out there. So, let us help save you a buck by helping you figure out which one is best for your backyard BBQs.
Oklahoma Joe Longhorn: Review & Breakdown
We’re big fans of the versatility of the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker. For the price of one you’re not just getting a traditional smoker, but a reverse flow smoker as well.
And it doesn’t take a grill master to appreciate the differences in operation. Traditional, or offset smoking is reliable, easy, and quick to clear up after. And reverse flow is great for faster and more precise recipes, with a little extra prep and clean up.
Total beginners to grilling may not need something as specific as a dedicated smoker. But the exceptional size of the cook space will appeal to hunters, caterers, and home BBQers who love to entertain.
Something to be aware of is the lack of a tight seal to the smoke box. When smoke and heat can escape from a smoker the heat becomes impossible to keep at a consistent temperature.
Lack of a seal means food often takes longer and requires more attention to cook well. Also, fuel efficiency can become a problem. To avoid the possibility of somewhat less efficient smoking, some modification is necessary.
Luckily, the modifications are simple enough. To get a good seal on this smoker you can use silicone caulks or sealants to stop up the gaps and prevent leakage. And a few handy grill clips will keep the lid snugly set during cooking.
There are also reports of peeling paint after a handful of uses. To remedy this you can pick up some high temperature paint. But prevention is always more effective than fixing after the fact, so we recommend covering the Longhorn after it cools down every time.
Those with simpler smoking & grilling needs may be better served by choosing a no-frills, cheap little charcoal grill that can achieve a tight seal.
But for professionals, neighborhood grill master, or serious smoked meats fiend the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn is one of the largest and most versatile smokers available for the price.
Check out also Oklahoma Joe's Smoker Grill Combo Review.
Overall, the specificity of use and modifications necessary to give consistent performance does not make this a budget friendly choice for smaller families, new grillers, or casual outdoor cooks.
But for folks like caterers who need heavy, regular use of a smoker the enormous capacity of the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn Reverse Flow Offset Smoker may be just right!
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