If you want to take your cooking flavor to another level, you should use an offset smoker. but what is an offset smoker? Well, there are basically two types of smokers based on design. The first is the vertical smoker and the other one is the horizontal type of smoker of which the offset smoker belongs. How to use an offset charcoal smoker, however, is the subject matter of this article.
How Does the Offset Charcoal Smoker Work?
The use of offset charcoal smoker is different from that of the electric and gas-powered grillers or smokers. The reason for this is that there are several things that you need to know before you can perfectly cook food using the offset smoker. Moreover, this type of smoker is the most difficult to master. The trick, however, behind the mastery of the offset charcoal grills smoker is in how well you regulate the temperature of the cooking chamber.
The best offset smokers have that typical design of two chambers. One chamber, which is the larger chamber, is called the cooking chamber. The smaller chamber is the firebox where the fire is set. The heat and smoke from the firebox flow toward the cooking chamber, and slowly cook the food. However, the temperature within the cooking chamber fluctuates. Moreover, the temperatures across the cooking chamber’s area are not the same. Thus, keeping the temperature at a desirable constant requires vigilance on the user’s part.
Steps on Using the Offset Charcoal Smoker
Once you have the meat all set for smoking, you should then prepare the offset smoker for use. The following are the simple steps that you need to follow:
Set the Fire in the Firebox!
The use of charcoal is the best method of firing up the offset smoker. Once the coals heat up and burn, you can then add wood or log. You can also use the chimney starter. The use of chimney starter is quick and easy. It is a cylindrical metal with a grate at the bottom or near the bottom along with many air vents on its sides. With its use, you will be ready to cook in less than 15 minutes.
Once the charcoals are already burning, you can dump them onto the firebox. You should dump them on the far side of the firebox so that you don’t need to reach out frequently when tending the fire. Then, you should place two pieces of logs onto the firebox near the burning charcoal but not on top of the charcoal to dry out the logs.
Once dried out, you can then place the logs on top of the charcoal. Wait then for the temperature to come up. Then, place another standby log onto the firebox to dry it out. Every time you put a dried-out log onto the charcoal, make sure that you have another log on the standby. Just keep the vents and the door of the firebox open while you wait for the temperature to come up.
Keep the Temperature Regulated!
The most difficult aspect of using offset smoker is the regulation of the heat. The cooking chamber needs to be kept at the ideal temperature. If you only want to do hot smoking, you should keep the temperature of the cooking chamber between 126 to 176 °F. But if you want to do some smoke roasting, you need to keep the temperature of the chamber at 250 °F and above.
To get the temperature right, you need to have a reliable thermometer that could give you the exact temperature of each part of the cooking chamber. Probe the temperature at the grate level. Keep the vent of the firebox about 1/3 open. Adjust the vents as needed. There are some factors too that may affect the cooking chamber’s temperature such as the wind, temperature of the outside, and other factors. You should also check the smoke because it may be indicative of what is happening inside the firebox and the cooking chamber.
If the temperature of the cooking chamber goes down, add another dried-up log to the firebox. Lastly, don’t make huge adjustments of the vents at a time. How to use an offset charcoal smoker is easy as long as you know the important tips and steps on how to go about in using it.