Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker Review

Are you looking for a smoker where you will be able to smoke turkeys, chickens, and other larger pieces of meat? Grilled meat in a smoker will result in a juicy and soft meal that you and your friends will love to try on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

My cousin recently received a Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe’s Highland reverse flow smoker, and naturally, I volunteered to come to help her out. So, here is my Oklahoma Joe Smoker review that will show you how amazing this cooking device is.

Oklahoma Joe’s Highland reverse flow smoker review

Here you have my review of the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland reverse flow smoker that includes assembly, cooking on it, cleaning it, its specifications, accessories, and other features that I saw worth mentioning.

Assembly

The smoker came gift wrapped in an Amazon website box, and we were surprised to find out how much it weighed. They definitely weren’t teasing with the team lift icon on the side of the box. Because of its weight, we were eager to put it together in the nearest clear spot indoors – a rookie mistake on our part.

It reminds me of a similar situation in camping where I pitched the tent and inflated the camping mattress outside but then I figure it out that I can’t put it inside through the tent’s door.

Assembly went fine and everything seemed pretty easy. But once we got it put together we needed to wheel it outside. I would recommend putting it together outside, nearby where it will be, so that there’s no need to move it too far once you put it together.

Using the smoker

I didn’t have any problems igniting the firebox with tinder and then building up with bigger lumber. When the fire got hot, I examined the smoking compartment and discovered that the heat wasn’t evenly distributed. I quickly ran back to my place and returned with some metal deflectors from another of my grills. Once those were in place, the fire was even and hot.

My cousin and I put some meat, vegetables, and seafood on the grill. We ended up putting almost everything we had on hand but couldn’t come very close to filling up the grilling area. 

Everything turned out well, smokey, and juicy and we were pleased with the taste. We went a little foolhardy in our cooking and I really wish we had just cooked one thing at a time, though, as the food started to get cold before we could finish eating it all.

Cleaning the grill

We found a pail and a large paintbrush and simply swept out the tinderbox into the beach pail bucket. It has a clean-out door for easy ash removal. It didn’t take long at all and we were happy with how easy and simple it was to clean.

Specifications

Its measures are 33.50 x 57.00 x 53.00 inches and has 900 square inches of cooking surface. The main chamber has 619 square while the firebox chamber has 281 square inches of space. It’s heavy and sturdy, at 180.80 lbs, and made of steel. It’s not actually manufactured in the USA, though.

The unit has one shelf on the bottom and another on the side that doubles as a workstation. The unit has a heavy-gauge all-steel construction, porcelain-coated cooking grates, and a large stainless steel fuel basket that can be found in the firebox chamber. You don’t have to worry about touching hot handles and burning yourself since it has cool-touch handles.

The basket provides a more efficient burn, easier tending to the fire, and quick clean-up. With the swing-open firebox door, you can stoke your fire without opening the chamber lid. Raking out the firebox ash is much simpler because of it. A professional lid-mounted temperature gauge will take care of heat monitoring. With the large, wagon-style wheels, transportation will be easier.

Firebox

This Highland model is a smoker with purpose, so you don’t want to use it to cook meat directly, but only to smoke it. Unlike some smoker models, it comes with the firebox attached, big enough to take tree logs. It doesn’t burn propane, only wood or charcoal. 

As the smoker isn’t directly underneath the meat, you don’t need to re-arrange your food, move your grill grate, and stir the embers, you can replenish and check fuel without disturbing the slow roasting moisture of your meal.

Air dampers

Most grilling units only come with one air damper, but the Highland comes with several so that you can better control your airflow, heat, and smoke. The damper is the circular adjustable airflow wheel on the side of the model.

Oklahoma Joe's Highland Reverse Flow Smoker

Reverse flow feature

This unit isn’t a regular offset smoker. It features a reverse flow technology which means that the heat generated in the firebox goes under a sealed drip pan to the far end of the smoker. The heat moves through the cooking chamber in the opposite direction and exits the stack on the firebox end of the device.

Smoke like with traditional offset smoker

The product has a series of 4 baffles to guide heat and smoke through the main chamber delivering even heat to the foods. They can be found under porcelain-coated wire grates and are removable. With the optional smokestack locations, you can customize the setup and smoke with a traditional offset smoker.

Accessories

Separately, you can purchase a grill cover to keep your device pristine due to elements, as grill covers help extend its life. Heat deflectors from a third party are also available online. Some grillers love them, and I think this device really benefits from them.

How much can you grill at one time?

This unit is pretty large, so you can cook many things at a time. By my estimates, you can cook 2 beef briskets, 10 whole chickens, 30 hamburger patties, or 4 racks of ribs horizontally. 

If you lay the ribs on their side with the width pointing upwards, you can probably fit about 20 rib racks. We didn’t want to waste food we wouldn’t be eating, so I didn’t cook these things all at one time, I just laid them on the grill.

About Oklahoma Joe’s

Char-Broil is a widely recognized name brand in outdoor grilling and smoking, for wood, charcoal, and propane that bought Oklahoma Joe’s in 1998. Their new line of Oklahoma Joe’s is named after the famous Oklahoma and Nebraska barbeque chain, Oklahoma Joe’s – but not because of the restaurant.

Interestingly enough, Oklahoma Joe’s started out as an outdoor smoker manufacturer. Ten years later, presumably after perfecting their line, they started their own restaurant. This gives the line a lot more credibility and prestige knowing that you’re buying a grill that was perfected for ten years and engineered to cook the best meat, rather than a product with a restaurant name slapped on it for the purpose of additional corporate revenue.  

Oklahoma Joe’s lineup

Oklahoma Joe’s lineup consists of 6 smokers: The Longhorn, The Longhorn Combo, The Highland, The Bandera, The Longhorn Reverse Flow, and the Highland Reverse Flow. The Highland is the starter grill, Bandera is their vertical offset cooker, and Longhorn is their supreme grill.

Is a reverse flow smoker better than the ordinary offset smoker?

Reverse flow smokers distribute heat and smoke more evenly than ordinary offset ones and offer a better cooking experience. They are also less prone to temperatures spikes, will return temperature faster after you opened the cooking chamber, and meat will be more tender and juicy.

Smoke on the best grill ever

The Oklahoma Joe Highland reverse flow smoker is a decent sized and pretty okay priced device for the size, construction, features, and convenience. The Highland model from the Oklahoma Joe’s grill line does pretty okay, but there are some other grills in that line that don’t stand up to the quality and service that we expect from a smoker of this caliber. If you want that smoky flavor, brown color of the meat that is juicy and tender feel free to order it today.

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