How to Use Offset Smoker - Tips and Tricks

by: George LaBarge

Download this transcript


[Music] welcome guys my name is George and in today's video I'm giving you a how-to guide for cooking on an offset smoker if you're curious about how these work or if you're looking to solve your own offset smoker problems this videos for you many videos give a general overview on how to cook but I go a step further in this video and give you tips from how to start a fire getting the best cooking smoke controlling temperature and when to add logs to your fire let's get started today I'm cooking on my Brinkman trail master offset smoker today I'm going to be using Applewood and also Kingsford briquettes to get the fire started and what I'm going to do is show you how I barbecue chicken what my methodology is also this will also be a video on fire management for an offset smoker as I'm going to go through that during the cook and how to maintain temperature one of the things I'm going to do today is keep this temperature around 275 to 300 degrees how I do that is I use basically it's the ready check maverick ET 735 that's going to monitor my temperature all the way during the cook and this is an actual actually a bluetooth thermometer then it links up with my cell phone so with that we'll get get this fire started and then get the chicken on so what I have here is I've got two wax fire starters and then my full chimney of briquettes and then I'm just going to go ahead and stick my full chimney right over top of that fire and then in about 20 minutes those four cats will be ready to go on and get them into the smoker box now here's how I have my smoker box set up or I guess my firebox I should say is I like to I've got a basket that I built to hold the coals and also the wood and I've got the the left side filled with coals unlit coals and then once my coals are ready dump those here on the right side and then as they they'll burn across and that way I don't have the full thing don't learn lit at one time and that will help even out the temperature throughout the cook and once I get the calls going I'll shut everything up and let this thing start warming up now these coals are about ready now good thing that do is always get yourself a really good pair of gloves these are welding gloves but they got from Harbor Freight they're kind of cheap but they do a good job at least to protecting my hands as I go to dump the hot coals into the firebox here these are ready to go you know I guess I'm going to dump them over on the right hand side get them in there now get this thing filled up and let it start to heat up let's talk a little bit about fire management on a offset smoker so you have two ways to control your fire and your temperature you have two it's all about basically airflow and what I like to do is on the on the chimney side is I always keep my chimney all the way open so let that think they open all the time and I control the temperature by using the inlet side air flow open all the way is to get the highest temperature and as you want to close the tempest close it off too as you dial into your cooking temperature and you have to with an offset smoker stick burners these are called you do have to continuously adjust that but you also are able to cook with big pieces of wood which makes your food taste better so it's kind of a trade off now this has been going for about let's see good half-hour maybe a little bit less we're at 187 degrees currently it takes a while to get this thing up to temperature and that will happen basically the thicker the material in your smoker the longer it's going to take to get it up to temperature now these brinkmann's really aren't very thick material it's kind of an entry-level offset smoker but I've done modifications to mine where I have about a quarter-inch thick plate steel inside of it to use as a baffle and that takes a long time to heat all that steel up so it does take a while to get this thing up to temperature but now it's getting close I'm going to go ahead and put a piece of my Applewood on you let that get started and show you what happens after you get a piece of wood on and how you have to look for the right color smoke so that you know you're cooking with the right smoke I'm go ahead and get that right on top of the coals and then what I like to do is then just lefty of the Box leave the Box open till it actually catches and very important to use dry wood obviously and in this case all of my Applewood is off of dead apple trees that I have here in my property so now it's starting to catch already and I'll let it get going here a little bit and then I'll go ahead and close the box

and again very important here very important to have the vents fully open at this point so that the player can get the most amount of air possible right now as it's trying to catch fire now some people wonder what's your earliest Moke you can barely see very very thin colored smoke and that's how you want to cook you want to cook on basically when you get smoke like this if you got the white puffy billowy smoke that's just going to make your meat it'll actually turn like smokey the color will get real dark and like charcoal color this is how you want to cook and like this with a smoke like this so whenever it gets white and puffy basically that means that you don't have enough oxygen to your fire and you want to make sure that you open it up and give it as much oxygen as possible it's almost been an hour now since I put the chicken on and one of the things I want to talk about in terms of firebox management is how do you keep your fire and how do you keep the temperature where you want it now currently I put three pieces of Applewood on so far and my temperature peaked out to 298 degrees now right now it's starting to just start to go down it's it at 297 right now now I know with my smoker here that as it starts to just start to drop that's when I need to put another piece of wood on if I wait any longer it's going to I'll be trying to catch it up all the way Trent is I put wood on so I need to put another piece of wood on right now as that catches that we'll help build it up and keep it around that same temperature so I'm going to go ahead and do that right now put another piece of Apple with that get that right on there and like I said before I'll go ahead and let it catch leave the Box open for a little while let the wood catch fire once it catches fire then I'll go ahead and close the door down again and the reason why you want to do that is you don't want that wood to smolder if it smolders then we get the white puffy smoke on the chimney side and that's not what we want for our meat and

like I said since this wood is so dry it's not taking very long at all for it to catch fire again very important to have dry wood when you're when you're using an offset smoker like this

and it's already caught I'm going to let it go just a little bit longer and then I'll close this thing down so far we've dropped just to give you an idea I've dropped now to 283 degrees since I've opened the firebox so it's one of the things you need to keep both the firebox closed as well as the cooking chamber closed there's a saying in barbecue if you're looking you ain't cooking and that's very true when it comes to these offset smokers opening this cooking chamber will lose heat very fast okay I'm going to close it down and we should be in business now now since I opened that cooking chamber up I lost a little bit of temperature and the temperature was going down before I had opened it up so at this point it's ready for another piece of wood I'm going to go ahead and put that on right now really what's happening is as those Kingsford briquettes burned down I need to keep adding more and more wood to replace that those coals that were inside the firebox so what happens is I need to add more wood as I go further along in the cook until I can maintain the amount of coals that I have inside the cooking chair the firebox to maintain the temperature so again we're going to let that that fire you're the would catch fire which is doing right now let it get caught up here and then once it is ready and fully engulfed in flames then I'll go ahead and close the lid

now since I've closed the cooking chamber the temperature has gone back up to 271 degrees and it'll keep climbing once I close this firebox I'd

that looks pretty good right there so I'll go ahead and close it well we can hear the ready check maverick going off right now and basically what's telling me is I've now exceeded my 315 degree limit so this will be good chance now to show you how we would dial back the temperature when it gets too hot with the firebox so I'm going to do is just go down here of course have your gloves on because this is very hot and just close this off I'm going to close it off about half way and what that will do is that will start to now reduce the amount of oxygen to the fire and then it will slowly bring that temperature back down and to the range where I want it which is between 275 degrees and 315 degrees well one of the things I just did and I didn't catch it on camera here what I did inside the firebox but I had a bunch of white billowy smoke coming out of my chimney and so what I did is I went into the firebox and just kind of took like my little fire poker and just kind of stirred the coals around a little bit got a little so a little bit more air could get to them and basically what you see now is now I'm back to a nice thin blue smoke again so you know another thing you can do what I was doing was dialing back the the air in flow to control the temperature but that was giving me a little bit more smoke and so I opened up the firebox and just kind of move the pieces of wood around a little bit move the coals around a little bit so they're getting better airflow and therefore improve improved my my smoke output out of my chimney so another tip there and what you can do to improve your cooking using the offset smoker well I put a couple pieces of wood on there now and what's happened is you can see my smoke is a little bit puffy and the temperature keeps going down so what's that tell me I have my vent all the way open that I need to move that wood around to get a better airflow so I'm going to do that right now let's see there's no flames coming out of that that wood right now so you need to move it around a little bit get in a better position get those coals underneath the wood those new pieces of wood so they burn better and just Stoke that around a little bit see that's much better now you know it can close it up actually that'll that'll do the trick it'll get her going now they see the smoke the smoke is much better now temperature now is still haven't started going up yet but it should here in a minute there goes starting to go up now that's part of managing the firebox on a Hofstede smoker it's really not a set it and forget it you really have to be out here that's why that's why they call you a pitmaster because you got to basically master your your barbecue pit at the end of every cook we need to make sure that we clean our smoker out after every single cook so one of the main important things that I do is make sure that I open it up and I'll you know scrape off all the food residue off the grates very important to do that also to open it up and let it air out want to let any of that moisture that's in there get out of the smoker and let that thing dry out because we don't want to let a lot of moisture in there to sit inside and basically then start to corrode the inside of our smoker the other thing we want to do is open up and clean out the Ashbaugh ashes out of the firebox we want to do that after every time and I'm going to go ahead and do that here in a minute but I want to mention that at the end of this video that it's very important step right now these are a little too hot yet to go ahead and take out I'm going to let's leave this open and let it all cool down a little bit and then I'll go ahead and scrape it out and empty all the ashes out of it the recap for how to operate a offset smoker is to you know maintain how to maintain your temperature leave your chimney completely open control the temperature with the inlet side you know looking at the air flow through the inlet that's how we control our temperature and and then in terms of watching the temperature need to have a thermometer that measures the inside of your smokers temperature and then as the temperature starts to start to start to dip down that's when we start to add more wood add more fuel on if we try if we wait too long before it gets to the bottom of our temperature range then it's too late we'll be chasing the temperature down and then trying to get it all the way back up again so as soon as it starts to dip down that's when we need to add more fuel into the into the firebox so hopefully this has helped you understand how to maintain a fire in an offset smoke smoker if you liked the video go ahead and click the like button if you have comments on how you manage the fire and your offset smoker I'd be interested in seeing that as well otherwise I'll

More from this creator:
This video shows you how to use an offset smoker with tips and tricks that will address many of the common problems for new pitmasters. I cover tips on starting the fire, controlling for too much smoke, adjusting the temperature, and how to care for your pit! Controlling the temperature on an offset smoker is one of the important aspects of cooking on one of these pits. I take you through a whole cook and show you how to get around some of the common problems you will encounter during your cooks. From using the dampers, when to add fuel (wood), and how to adjust the coals in the firebox. Getting too much smoke is also another common problem. I give share some tips on in this video. If you like this video, please click the like button. If you would like to see more videos like this, please click the subscribe button. Finally, please comment on what you see here. What other questions do you have? How do you address the problems I demonstrate in the video? Do you have some tips to share? GrillGrates:

Maverick BBQ Thermometer Bluetooth:

Maverick BBQ Thermometer Wireless (if concerned about phone compatibility):

Fast Reading Pen Type Thermometer:

Ekogrips BBQ Gloves:

Bear Paws:

TranscriptionTube is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
You may contact the administrative operations team of TranscriptionTube with any inquiries here: Contact
You may read and review our privacy policy and terms of conditions here: Policy