How To Maintain Heat in Offset Smoker?[Complete Guide]

How to maintain heat in offset smoker across the cooking process to create mouthwatering meals? It is one of the most asked questions when using an offset smoker.

Is it simple? No, it’s not! A lot goes around addressing your question, like how much to open or close dampers, different temperature, long hours, amount of charcoal and wood pieces, etc. But it is a school you must pass to become a master in preparing delicious food.

This article will give you a clear idea of how to maintain heat in offset smoker. So, stay tuned and enjoy the knowledge.

How To Maintain Heat in Offset Smoker?

How To Maintain Heat in Offset Smoker

Offset smokers can be very temperamental when keeping the steady heat. So, if you don’t nail the fundamentals, you can waste a lot of fuel, and your barbecue or any other food can come out bitter and acrid.

So how to maintain heat in offset smoker. It is the pitfall that has taken many downs. Cooking your barbecue with an offset smoker is like a hair dryer because you’re blowing hot air out of the firebox over the meat or other food in the cooking chamber and out of the exhaust stack.

To summarise, your job as a pit master is to control this draft. You control this fire in the firebox, so it’s always lit and produces a consistent temperature with clean-burning heat.But first it would be best if you have the idea of how does an offset smoker work.

Hereunder, we will talk about preheating your smoker, your firebox setup, your right type of fuel, clean burning smoke, and much more to figure out how to maintain heat in offset smoker. So, you follow our tips about offset smoker temperature control.

1. Sufficient Airflow

Sufficient Airflow

Please provide a good opening at the exhaust side of the offset smoker and on the stack side of the smoker. As a result, you can create that draft, and air can get into the firebox.

2. Use Dry Hardwood Splits

Use Dry Hardwood Splits

You can regulate the temperature in an offset smoker by using the hardwood fuel in the firebox. If you are using the charcoal by itself, you’re not going to get the temperature; instead, you need to cook a low and slow barbecue. The temperature will always be below 200 degrees Fahrenheit unless you use a ton of charcoal in the firebox.

Hence, without a doubt, you need to use an actual hardwood split to make the offset smoker work fine and according to your needs.

You can use the hardwood splits seasoned for a few years or kilned dried. But technically, you can burn anything under a 20% moisture level. For that, you can use a moisture meter.

Therefore, you need to use the dried kiln wood; otherwise, it would produce a lot of creosote and moisture that flows into your cooking chamber. Eventually, it produces an acrid taste in your meat.

3. Natural Lump Charcoal

Natural Lump Charcoal

It would be best if you use natural lump charcoal, but you can also use charcoal briquettes. The reason for using these is that they burn hotter and longer and can help you build a fire in the smoker firebox.

Charcoal lump also creates a bed in the bottom of the firebox, which will help you maintain the smoker’s temperature and save you a lot of wood. Although you may not be able to maintain temperature during a long cook, you might have to put the new chimney of charcoal in the firebox to replenish that charcoal bed again.

4. Thin Blue Smoke

Thin Blue Smoke

What we are aiming for offset smoker heat control is to see thin blue smoke coming out of the exhaust stack. It should be as if it is invisible to you, like a shimmering stream of heat coming out.

Many people assume that the more smokers, the better, and they want a billowing white smoke to come out of the smoke. But this is going to make your meat taste like garbage. Hence if you want the incredible flavours, you want the thin blue smoke.

5. Firebox Setup

There is a couple of things you can do here when you set up a firebox for amicable offset smoker heat control.

1.Building Fire on Bottom

The easiest thing you can do is build a fire on the bottom of the firebox. It isn’t usually recommended, though, because it does not allow the airflow underneath you to fire. Moreover, it can also damage the steel on the firebox; as a result, the paint can peel off and get rusty.

Horizontal Grate

2.Horizontal Grate

The second thing you can do is put a horizontal grate down on the bottom of your firebox to lift it off the bottom and provide sufficient airflow. As the grate is horizontal, it gets away from the sidewalls and doesn’t damage the metal.

3.Charcoal Basket

Thirdly, you can get a charcoal basket, place it in the firebox, and elevate it slightly off the floor. After that, you can start your fire with charcoal and put your hardwood splits on top of the charcoal.

It helps intensifies and magnify the heat within the basket. Hence, it’s a preferred method for many people, especially those who use the Oklahoma joe’s offset smoker.

4.V Shape Setup

The fourth and most suggested method for setting up a firebox is using three grates. You have to put one horizontal and a v-shaped setup on top of that grate.

It provides airflow all around the fire and intensifies it by consisting of the area where charcoal can funnel down and burn. Moreover, as the fire spreads out, it does not go sideways but is funneled down to the bottom of the v and hence doesn’t damage the sidewalls.

6. Preheating Offset Smoker

Preheating Offset Smoker

It will be a lot of help if you preheat the offset smoker for at least an hour or two. Hence, it would be great if you plan to preheat your smoker. That will help you a ton in controlling offset smoker temperature and maintaining a consistent temperature for about 4-8 hours.

The best way to do it is by filling a charcoal chimney up to the brim with natural lump charcoal and can also put some paper. Then you can drizzle some oil which helps it burn cleanly and for a more extended period. After that, light it with a little torch and leave it for about 15 minutes.

Then it would be best if you took the charcoal chimney, placed it in the firebox, and closed all the vents to the firebox; otherwise, the charcoal can fall right out of your firebox.

You need to dump two loads of charcoal to preheat the smoker and leave the third burning hot charcoal to dump more fresh charcoal on top of it in the chimney. Because when needed, you do not have to preheat the smoker; you can put it on the existing charcoal in the firebox.

7. Offset Smoker Temperature Control in Firebox

Offset Smoker Temperature Control

It would be best if you don’t use the little firebox vent because it does not allow enough air in. Hence it would be nice to leave the whole front door and the exhaust vent open to keep the airflow sufficient and amicable for the offset smoker temperature control.

For the time being, when making barbecue, you can control the offset smoker temperature by adding the wood at the right time in the correct quantity. There’s no meat inside the smoker until now.

After about 10 minutes, when you dump the hardwood, it would get black and white on the edges this is when you can start putting your meat inside the smoker.

8. Smoking Chamber Setup

A baffle plate, a crate wrapped with aluminum foil angled downward against the firebox, would be great to deflect all the hot air from the firebox in the smoking chamber and maintain the temperature in the firebox. To maintain temperature, you can also use some bricks wrapped in aluminum foil at the bottom.

Otherwise, you might get a situation where it just goes up out of the smoker box over top of the meat and never even touches the meat, and the temperature, on the other hand, is also super low.

How To Keep Offset Smoker At 225?

How To Keep Offset Smoker At 225

For keeping the offset smoker at 225 Fahrenheit, you can use hardwood chunks to put in the firebox from time to time. And as mentioned above, you can leave the one-third load of burning charcoal in the chimney to dump the charcoal in the firebox to keep the burning charcoal bed for a longer and clean fire.

For monitoring temperature, the temperature doesn’t use the dome thermometer because the hot air rises and gets stuck in the dome of the thermometer so that the reading can be way off.

Hence, you can use the meter probe to measure the internal temperature and place it in the brisket or anything connected to your phone. As a result, you can read the temperature to add the hardwood splits from time to time to help you keep offset smoker at 225.

FAQs: How to Maintain Heat in Offset Smoker?

Final Words

I hope now you know how to maintain heat in offset smoker. Managing fire in an offset smoker is very difficult. In fact, it’s one of the most challenging things you can do at a barbecue.

But it becomes easier when you know your unit, what size and type of fuel you’re using, and roughly how much heat your splits of wood will produce in the firebox. That’s why it’s super important to control your firewood splits’ humidity, size, shape, and weight.