How to Use an Offset Smoker

How to Use an Offset Smoker – Complete Beginners Guide

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Offset smokers are excellent to grill the food and smoke it at the same time. You can enjoy both things together with your friends and family. To cook food in the offset smoker, you need to know how to use it. If you have bought a new offset smoker and you want to know how to use an offset smoker, then you are in the right place. Today, we will discuss each and everything about using an electric offset smoker. Even if you don’t know anything about offset smoker, you can follow this guide. Let’s start the discussion.

Before we start discussing steps to use an offset smoker, we would like to tell you about the parts of offset smokers and how you can use them.

Parts of Offset Smoker

There are some common parts that are present in an offset smoker, it is possible that some might not be in your smoker, so you can skip them. The general parts of an offset smoker are,

Temperature Gauge

Temperature gauge is present on the top of the lid in most offset smokers. This will help you to see the temperature inside the main cooking chamber. Usually, these gauges are analog. Keep in mind the temperature gauge does not show you the temperature of the food, it tells you the temperature that is at the top of the chamber. If you want to measure the precise temperature of the meat, then you need to use a probe thermometer.


You will notice a side box in your offset smoker which is known as the firebox. This is the place where you will put briquettes/charcoal and logs to generate smoke and heat. There is an air inlet in the firebox that allows you to control the temperature. Further, with the inlet, there is an air damper which is also called “Butterfly”. Firebox has a grate on which you put the briquettes/charcoal.

Main Cooking Chamber

The cooking chamber is the main area where you will gas grill food, this is also known as main smoke chamber. Here the smoke is gathered that is generated in the firebox. The temperature rises here, and food is cooked.


On grates, you place your meat for gas grilling. The grates can be of stainless steel or porcelain-coated cast-iron. There can be a warming rack as well to cook or warm food.

Smoke Stack

There is a smokestack or chimney on the main cooking chamber. This also has a damper that can be used to control temperature and smoke in the cooking chamber.

Storage Rack

There is a rack in most offset smokers where you can put charcoal and logs. This makes everything handy.

How to Increase and Decrease Temperature?

The temperature of the offset smoker depends on the burning of fuel. So, if you can control burning, then you can easily control the temperature. The way to control the temperature is by controlling oxygen in the firebox. In an offset smoker, there is an air inlet at the side of the firebox and an air damper at the top of the cooking chamber. You can use them to increase or decrease the temperature.

At first you need to raise the temperature of the cooking chamber to cook the food. When you add charcoal pieces in the firebox, keep the air inlet of the firebox and air damper of chimney open. It will help to ignite the logs and charcoal quickly and increase the temperature. For decreasing the temperature, you can limit the air from the air inlet and air damper.

So, by controlling the air you can control the temperature inside the cooking chamber.

Steps to Use an Offset Smoker

We will tell you the step by step actions to use an offset smoker. All you need to do is to follow the steps. The steps are general for offset smokers.

  1. The first thing that you need to do is cleaning. Before using the offset smoker, clean everything including grates and the cooking chamber.
  2. If you are using a new offset smoker, then you should season it before use. For seasoning, you should spray cooking oil in the chamber. The spray would be enough. Moreover, you can also spray cooking oil on the grates to avoid sticking of the food.
  3. After cleaning and seasoning, you can ignite the charcoal and put it inside the offset smoker. At first, only put the charcoal at the backside of the firebox and do not add logs. After adding charcoal close the lid and keep the air inlet open. Let the charcoal burn a little and then add a log on the other side of the firebox, not on the charcoal. Allow the log to pre-heat, then after some time put the log on the charcoal grill. This will burn the log quickly and prevent white smoke. Then put another for pre-heating.
  4. Now wait for the desired temperature. After getting the desired temperature, you can close the air inlet, but do not close the butterfly completely. Leave one-third of the butterfly open. You can also set the chimney cap to half-open.
  5. Since the temperature is reached, now you can put meat on the grate.
  6. Check the logs in the firebox after every 45 minutes and add logs if required.
  7. After using the offset smoker, you should allow it to cool down and then clean it before storing.

How to Get Delicious and Moist Meat?

Sometimes meat get dry and bitter. To get tasty and delicious meat you need to use charcoal and wood both. If you use only wood, then the meat will have a bitter taste. So, we recommend using charcoal with flavored wood logs. Further, to retain the moisture, you can put a water bowl in the firebox. It will keep the meat moist. You can also spray water on the food by opening the lid, but some of the heat will escape due to opening the lid.

Final Thought

Offset smokers are excellent for making delicious and flavored grilled meat. We have provided you all the information on parts and step by step guides for using an offset smoker. So, enjoy delicious food with friends and family.