Offset Meat Smoker – Keeping the steady temperature

To keep temperatures stable within an offset smoker, you must start with a robust and well-burning fire. What is the best way to do this?

The steps to follow

Choose the method you prefer to start the fire, whether it’s charcoal or kindling. We recommend making use of Mallee Root charcoal as well as the charcoal starter tool that you can figure out how to make use of here.

It is then important to ensure that there are dampers (pinwheel dampers located on the outside of the firebox) open, and the flue of the smokestack also opens. Make sure you have a good fire going in your offset smoker and get as much oxygen and airflow as you can to ensure it can breathe and absorb light. If you need to add more charcoal, do so.

After the fire has begun and is burning After the fire has been lit, shut the firebox and observe the temperature increase. When you reach the temperature you desire (somewhere between 100C to 130C) Close off some dampers so that you can keep that temperature. It can be a challenge initially, but you’ll soon realize just how much it is necessary for you to modify the dampers.

At this point, you will begin to see the clear glow emanating through the vent. If you only see smoke that is white, you need to adjust the dampers until you have an uncluttered fire. The most important thing to avoid is that filthy smoke that has creosotes flavored your meat.

Once you’ve got the grill ready and you’re ready to add wood to create the delicious smoke. The type of wood you choose will depend on the type of food you’re cooking. If you’re having trouble in determining which woods work best to use, read our previous article, How to select Smoking Wood to use in your barbecue smoker. Whatever wood you choose to use, ensure it is dry and seasoned to ensure an easier cooking process and cleaner smoke.

Once you’ve added the wooden block to an offset smoker, you’ll observe that the temperature will increase and you will need to adjust the dampers according to the increase. Then you can cook your meat.

Maintaining the temperature in your offset smoker for meat

If you’ve built an attractive and clear fire, half the work is done for you, and it’s much easier to maintain the desired temperature. Remember that temperatures can fluctuate throughout the cooking process since fire is not always predictable. If you notice changes in temperature, you may require the following steps.

  • Lift the dampers to let in more airflow If the fire is going out
  • Add more fuel i.e. charcoal or wood
  • Make use of the Charcoal Starter Wand using the fan setting to blow fresh hot air to start the fire again
  • Turn off the dampers if the heating is getting too hot.

Simple Tips

  • If it’s windy or rainy, move the smoker in a way that the winds don’t impact the spikes of the fire. Protect your firebox.
  • If it’s scorching hot outside it can be a problem. You should try cooking at a cooler temperature.
  • If it’s raining make sure that you ensure that your sources of heat i.e. wood dry. Push through it.
  • Make use of an electronic temperature monitoring device such as one called Ez Temperature to monitor your grill’s temperature as well as the internal temperature of your food.


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