Maintaining the temperature in your offset smoker is key for producing good results, but anyone who’s worked with an offset smoker also knows they can be temperamental when it comes to keeping steady heat. Uneven heat distribution is actually one of the key reasons beginners struggle with smoking (and often give up).
So how do you avoid the pitfall that’s taken so many down? You follow our tips!
First, You Need to Build a Nice Hot Fire
A strong burning fire is a key to getting your temperature to where you need it and keeping it there. Start your fire with charcoal or kindling. Once the fire is going, make sure you have the dampers and the flue on the smokestack open. Keep building up the fire in your smoker, making sure to get as much oxygen to it as you can to feed the flames.
Second, Trap the Heat
Once your fire is going strong, you make to make sure that heat stays in. Do this by closing the firebox door to let the temperature rise. Once you’ve got the ideal temperature (usually somewhere between 100° and 130° Celsius), close off some of the dampers to keep it steady. If you’re new to your smoker, this can take some initial trial and error. Our advice is to not figure out which dampers you should be closing with a very expensive cut of meat on your first try.
Third, Add Your Flavoring Wood
At this stage in the game, your flue should have stopped pouring white smoke. You want a clean fire burning hot so that you don’t contaminate your meat with creosote from dirty smoke.
Now that you’re up to temperature, add your flavoring wood of choice. This can be anything from cherry to apple, to mesquite, but the key thing here is to make sure the wood is dry and properly seasoned. This will produce a much easier cook. Once your flavoring wood has been added, your temperature will creep up a little, so adjust your dampers accordingly.
You’re now ready to add your meat and get smoking!