Offset Meat Smoker - Maintaining Steady Temperatures
To maintain temperatures in an offset smoker you need to start off with a strong and good burning fire. How do you do that?
Steps to follow
Next is to make sure you have the dampers (pin wheel dampers on the side of the fire box) open and the flue on the smoke stack open also. Build up the fire in your offset meat smoker, getting is as much airflow and oxygen as you can so it breathes and takes light if you have to add more charcoal do so.
Once the fire has started and is going strong, close the firebox door and watch the temperature rise. Once you have the desired temperature (somewhere between 100C - 130C), close of some of the dampers so you can start to maintain that desired temperature. This can be tricky at first but you will start to learn just how much you need to adjust the dampers.
By this stage, you should start noticing a clear heat coming from the flue. If all you see is white smoke, adjust the dampers so you get a clean fire burning. The last thing you want is all that dirty smoke containing creosotes flavouring your meat.
Now you have the grill up to temperature, it's time to add some wood to get the flavoursome smoke. The flvour wood you use will vary depending on what you're cooking. If you need some help determining what woods are suitable, check out our previous post, How to choose Smoking Wood for your BBQ Smoker. Whichever wood you decide to use MAKE SURE IT IS DRY WOOD AND SEASONED as doing this will ensure a much easier cook and clean smoke.
Once you have added your wood to your offset meat smoker, you will notice the temperature will rise so adjust the dampers accordingly. Now you are ready to put your meat on.
Maintaining the Temperature in your offset meat smoker
Now if you have built a nice clean fire, half the job is done for you and it will be much easier to maintain that desired temperature. Keep in mind that temperatures may change throughout the cook as fire can be unpredicable. If you experience temperature fluctuations, you may need to do the following.
- Open up the dampers to allow more airflow if the fire is going out
- Add more fuel i.e. charcoal or wood
- Use a Charcoal Starter Wand on the fan setting to blow in clean hot air to build the fire back up
- Close off the dampers if the heat is running too high.
- If it's windy, reposition the smoker so the wind doesn’t affect spikes in the fire. Shield your fire box.
- If it's hot outside, the temperatures can really get away from you try to cook at a lower temp.
- If it's raining, make sure to keep your fire source i.e. wood dry and push through it.
- Use an electronic temperature monitoring device like an Ez Temp to measure your grill temperature and internal temperature of your meat.
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By: Cameron Davidson