An offset smoker grill? Things get serious; barbeque is no joke to you now. There are more than enough complicated guides out there showing you how to use an offset smoker grill. But if you want something short and sweet, a straight-to-the-point instruction, this is it.
Table of Contents
- How To Use A Offset Smoker Grill – A Step By Step Guide
- What To Consider When Choosing A Smoker Grill
- Tips And Tricks To Take The Best Use Out Of Your Offset Smoker Grill
- In a nutshell
How To Use A Offset Smoker Grill – A Step By Step Guide
How Does It Work?
All the steps will be much more intuitive and easy to understand when you know how an offset smoker grill works.
Simply explain, you will cook food in a big chamber with the heat and smoke coming out from a smaller one called the firebox.
There is an exhaust damper on the chimney (up above the big main chamber) and a vent on the side of the firebox. You can manipulate the damper and vent by closing or opening them to control the heat.
How To Use It
Among all smoker types, the offset smoker is the most challenging as it requires most techniques to sway the fire and flavor. But don’t be put off just yet, this simple step-by-step guide will help you out.
Step 1 – Fire up
To start the fire, you can use a chimney starter or directly put fuel and coals to the firebox. While putting coals to the firebox, make sure they are on the far side. It will be easier for you to add more charcoal or wood later as you do not have to reach over them when they are burning.
Put some wood logs into the firebox near the charcoal to heat and dry them up first. When they are completely dry and hot, let them sit on the coals to release smoke on the meat.
At the same time, you can put some more logs to the side to prep them up when the first log batch runs out.
Step 2 – Manage The Heat
A thermometer will help a lot in telling you if the temperature is right or not. And to make the best use out of it, you will need to put the probe on the grate level.
As the temperature reaches your expectation level, place the vents near the side of the firebox, which should be ⅓ open. And the chimney now should also be half-open.
Recheck the logs, put some more on the coals, and keep preparing for the new batch if necessary.
Step 3 – Manage The Fire
As a rule of thumb, you should put in new logs every 45 minutes. The heat range from 210 to 275 (degrees Fahrenheit) is ideal for cooking the food thoroughly from the inside.
And if you see any white smoke coming out from the chimney, check the firebox again to make sure it still has enough charcoal and wood.
When the heat drops, put some more wood in the firebox while keeping its door open for a few minutes. The temperature will go back up with enough air circulating inside the firebox to burn the wood.
Step 4 – Boost The Flavor
To make the flavor smokier, you should use one of two big chunks of wood. Let them smolder near the fire so that they can provide the strongest tastes.
Another way to make the meat truly absorb the smoky flavor is by using a water pan. First, put a rack on the coals in the firebox, then you can place a water pan on the grate.
When the cooking almost finishes, and the meat is now dry, flick just a little bit of water on to the meat surface. Water will humidify the smoke coming out to the chamber, making the meat stay juicy and smoky for a longer time.
Step 5 – Be Patient And Enjoy The Result
Using an offset smoker grill needs a lot of patience, and always remember that less is more. You don’t want to smoke your food away and leave it with none of its original flavors and spices.
It is thus important to go easy on it. You can feed your firebox with chucks, pellets, and chips, but never overdo them. Add them every 10-15 minutes and at a moderate amount gradually.
Smoke grilling does take time, it can be up to a whole day, and a watched pot never boils. So sit back and chill. Even if you want the meat to be just medium-rare, it shouldn’t be fast. Slow-cooking the meat will make it more tender outside, juicy inside, and your taste buds will blossom.
What To Consider When Choosing A Smoker Grill
Does it fit your budget?
Offset smoker grill comes in a wide range of price – from $200 to $5,000. But be careful of the seemingly good bargain. The cheap ones leave you cold quickly and may end up being covered in dust after one season of frustration.
Does it look and feel strong?
When it comes to durability, you should look at the product specs. The most significant features include heavy metal, proper ventilation between the main chamber and firebox, tight seals and dampers, strong legs, and durable wheels.
Is it big enough?
Depending on your using frequency and the portion of meat for each batch, you can choose the size of your preference. Many smoker grills come with hooks for utensils, giving you a little bit more space while cooking. Still, the most worth-noticing feature is the size of the front and side shelves.
How good is the warranty?
A decent product should go well without too much maintenance. But a warranty will keep you worry-free from any possible manufacturing defect. So a one-year or even lifetime warranty is definitely a good deal you should look for.
Tips And Tricks To Take The Best Use Out Of Your Offset Smoker Grill
Just learning how to use it is not enough. Here are some techniques to leverage your offset smoker grill’s performance.
- Combine both wood and charcoal so that the meat is both smoky and flavorful.
- Heat the cooker up to the temperature first before adding the meat in to avoid bitter creosote.
- If you use the chimney to start the fire, make sure the coals are fully lit so that they can fade when you cook and will not burn the meat.
- Use digital thermometers on both ends of the smoker grill to control the heat.
- Keep the wood chips, chunks and pellets dry.
- Close the lid while opening the cooking chamber of the firebox for better ventilation.
- Switch the meat from left to right and vice versa to ensure even doneness.
- Notice the weather, especially the humidity.
- Sand out the dust, cover the offset smoker grill and park it in a dry area when not using, only use it when it’s completely dry.
- Dry run and calibrate a new smoker grill to remove the manufacturer’s smell and grease.
In a nutshell
You will need some practice before you are really on the beat and know how to use an offset smoker grill. But that should not be something too complicated, especially now when you know all the steps. All the best to your cooking!