Oklahoma Joe Highland Smoker Review: What should you expect of this smoker? Does it truly delivers? Read on to find out.
If Summer had one defining scent, it’d definitely be the smell of barbecue – Katie Lee
To smoke, or not to smoke? That is the barbecue question. Or at least it would be if Hamlet had tasted the sort of culinary delights that modern smokers and grills are capable of cooking.
Truth be told, we’re pretty sure that the Prince of Denmark’s creator, William Shakespeare would also have been a barbecue fan. He was a champion of the common man, and as barbecue is the food of the people, we’re certain that the Bard would be first in the smoker line, plate in hand, anxiously waiting for the smoker to finish so that he could get started.
And Will wouldn’t have been alone, as we’d have been right behind him, battling to get our hands on the latest tasty treats that the smoker was about to crank out. Or we would have been, if we weren’t already devoted to the smoker cause and didn’t spend our weekends and downtime in the yard, crowded around our smoker, cooking up a storm.
And as you’re here, we’re pretty sure that you’re dead set on following your own smoke based trail and are looking for a way to either continue your barbecue adventure or find a smoker to jump-start it with.
So, we’re going to let you in on a closely guarded smoking secret, set you on the right course to smoking success and tell you all about our favorite smoker, the Highland Offset from the one and only Oklahoma Joe’s.
Names aren’t just for tombstones, they’re important. They carry the weight of your identity, and while some brands adopt them for convenience and as an easy way to sell their wares, that most definitely isn’t the case with Oklahoma Joe’s.
Founded by Joe Davidson, the company was started with the belief that if you want more flavour, you’ve got to go that extra step to get it.
Joe made twelve purpose-made smokers with two thousand dollars he’d saved and sold all of them at the Oklahoma State Fair in 1987, and on the same day that he sold all those first twelve smokers, he took orders for a hundred more.
So, he rolled his sleeves up, hit the road, and started making smokers full time and Oklahoma Joe’s was born.
A brand that wears it’s smoking heart on its sleeve, they were started by a guy called Joe who came from Oklahoma, and that’s how they got their name.
And now you know who they are, it’s time to talk about one of their best selling, and most beloved smokers, the Highland Offset.
Oklahoma Joe Highland Smoker Review
Oklahoma Joes Highland Offset Smoker Buyer’s Guide
The Smoking Room
A good smoker gives you enough room to smoke all the meat and vegetables that it thinks you’re going to need.
A great smoker gives you more room than you’ll ever want or is probably ever going to be necessary, just in case a few more guests pop around and want to indulge in a little barbecue fun with you. The Highland Offset is one of those great smokers and has nearly six hundred and twenty square inches of available cooking space in its main chamber.
Whatever you want to smoke, the Offset has the room to make all of your smoking dreams come true.
It’s got enough space to smoke nearly two dozen burgers, more ribs than you can count, a whole family of chickens and that incredibly large brisket that you always give a second glance whenever you walk past it in the supermarket.
And when the smoking chamber’s domed lid is closed, it’ll hold the heat in there so everything will cook to absolute perfection.
But wait, we’re not finished. That’s just the space that’s available in the primary chamber. There’s an additional two hundred and fifty square inches of cooking room in the Highland’s offset firebox.
And even though math isn’t our strong point, we figure that’s somewhere close to a total of nine hundred square inches of cooking space. Which is more than enough to keep any party going for as long as you want it too.
Seeing as we’ve already mentioned it, we might as well tell you about the firebox.
It’s an offset box, which is where the HIghland gets the secondary part of its name from and that means that it’s easy to load, stoke and add fuel to without having to worry about opening the main chamber and losing any of the heat while you’re cooking.
The firebox gets incredibly hot, incredibly quickly and efficiently and effectively transfers all of the heat and the smoke it produces to the main chamber, so you enjoy all of the elegantly smoked taste and flavour that you’ve been aching to try.
And the fact that it’s offset, also makes the HIghland’s firebox easy to clean after you’ve finished smoking and everyone else has finally gone home. Just swing open its lid, and add the fuel or scoop out the ash.
It’s All About The Heat And The Smoke
Now that we know how well it makes it, let’s talk about how easily you can control all of the heat and smoke that the Highland makes.
It’s fitted with multiple, fully adjustable and simple to use dampers which allow you to precisely control the temperature it cooks at and the amount of smoke that flows into the main chamber.
And you’ll know just how hot the main chamber is getting thanks to the temperature gauge that sits on top of the main chamber, so you turn it up for a faster cook, or down so you can get that long, lazily smoked full flavour that every smoker fantasizes about.
Then there are the grates the Highland uses, which are porcelain coated, so they pass every degree of heat into whatever it is you’re cooking. The grates are also one hundred percent rust and corrosion proof and easier to clean than the firebox, which is another big tick in the trusted smoker’s almanac.
Let’s Get Smoking
Part of the charm of smoking and barbecuing is the freedom that it gives you to cook outdoors.
Even though most of us are unlikely to move our smokers out of the confines of our yards, it’s nice to know, in the back of our minds, that if we wanted to pack our smokers up and hit the backwoods trails and get hopelessly lost in the unforgiving wilderness, we could.
That’s why the Highland is made from heavy gauge steel so that it’s tough enough to smoke everything you’ll want to smoke at however high a temperature you desire and durable and strong enough to be moved from here to there and back again and not fall apart at the seams while it’s travelling.
Oklahoma Joe’s even added a pair of wheels to the Highland to make moving it around a little easier for you. But, and this is the but that you’re not going to like, as we’ve already mentioned, the Highland is a big old smoker with more cooking space than the average US Marines Mobile Kitchen, and all of its glorious smoking space and power comes at a price.
The Highland Offset is a heavy metal machine that weighs in at just under two hundred pounds. So, if you haven’t been eating your Wheaties or working out in the gym with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, you’re going to have a hard time trying to move the Highland Offset.
Ah, who are we kidding, you’re going to find it next to impossible. Once it’s in your yard, it’s going to be there to stay.
We love Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset and ours has pride of place in our yard. It’s a staggeringly affordable smoker that’s become the centre of all of our family gatherings and parties.
We even fire it up on the weekends when no-one is coming over, just so we can get a taste of the rich, smoked barbecue that it helps us cook.
However, as you’ve probably guessed, we’re homebodies and we like to cook all of our barbecue from the comfort of our yard and wouldn’t last five minutes out in the wild.
If you’re like us and you just want a smoker that you can use at home to cook for your friends and family, then you literally will not find a better, more pocketbook-friendly model than the Highland Offset.
However, if your dreams and fantasies of smoking involve hitting the open road, then you’re going to need to think twice about the Highland Offset and maybe start making some enquiries about gym memberships, because you’ll break your back trying to move it anywhere.
Our advice? Buy a Highland and smoke at home.