How to Use an Offset Smoker-Tips and Guidance

Someone who loves to cook, understands the significance of a smoker. The offset smokers are distinctive in their way. They are constructed to focus more on the addition of extra flavors whilst cooking. Some people might consider using an offset smoker as a tough thing. But, in reality, cooking the food with an offset smoker follows a similar process as with the other smokers. There is a lot to know before people start churning out a barbecue.

What is an offset smoker?

An offset smoker comprises of a large chamber that has an appearance of a metal box or an oil drum. The food is placed in the same chamber for cooking. Besides the large chamber, a smaller chamber (fire-box) sits, in that small chamber, the fire is built. However, in some offset smokers, the small chamber is positioned at the backside of the main chamber (large). After the fire is built inside the small chamber, the smoke and heat travel towards the main chamber (large) to cook the food.

The offset smoker is also equipped with a chimney. Plus, there is a vent present near the small chamber (fire-box). The vent can be used to control the temperature of the offset smoker. Also, the chimney can be closed and opened.

How to use an Offset Smoker?

Using an offset smoker requires skills and practice. An offset smoker needs the most work and knowledge. But, this is not meant to put you off. We have briefly described the steps of using the offset smoker efficiently.

#1. Starting the Fire:

  • One of the best ways to fire up the offset smoker is by using the charcoal. After the coal starts heating, add the small wooden blocks.
  • The best technique to light up the coal is by using the chimney starter.
  • After the coals are lit, dump the coals into the firebox.
  • Now, place small pieces of wood into the firebox to start the process of smoking.
  • After the wood is heated, allow them to dry and then place the wood on the top of coals. This will help reach the desired temperature.
  1. Getting the correct Temperature: A digital thermometer is required to maintain the temperature inside the cooking chamber. Insert two thermometers, each at both the ends of the cooking chamber. You can drill a hole in both the ends to insert the thermometer probes. The temperature can be up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pre-heat the chamber: We suggest our readers to first set the cooking chamber at the right temperature and then add the food material.
  3. Keeping the lid closed: During the process of cooking the meat keep the lid of the chambers as much closed as possible, it is suggested that one should not open the lid of both the firebox as well as of the cooking chamber. In order to check the meat and wood, one should observe the smoke coming from the chimney, this will help avoid the needless opening of the lids.
  4. Vent Positions:
  • The 1st vent that is necessary to be kept in attention is the one present on the firebox (small chamber). This will have the most crucial and direct impact on the temperature of the fire.
  • One should keep this vent wide open while the fire is going on. As soon as the desired temperature is reached, this vent can be closed a little.
  • You can stable the temperature using the same vent and chimney. After the temperature becomes stable, wait for 30 minutes and then adjust the chimney.
  • Make sure that you do not shut the chimney too much (or more than half). Also, do not shut off this vent (of the fire-box) during the entire process of cooking, otherwise, in the end, the food may get covered in the creosote.
  1. Weather: The temperature of the offset smoker also gets affected due to the outside weather. Considering the weather, make sure that you have enough wood and charcoal.
  2. Using the water pan: You can add water whilst cooking, this will improve the flavour of the meat, add moisture and will also help in regulating the temperature of the chamber.


Offset smokers are popularly used to cook meat. Smoke is known to add flavours to the meat. When using offset smokers, people need to step up their skills. As we know, practice makes any task perfect. Considering the challenges of new users, we have written this article on How to use an offset smoker. Reading this article will help you correctly use the offset smoker. We hope you cook your favourite meal properly, do not forget to prioritize your safety.

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