Offset smoker questions

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by ilmsmoker, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. Hi all!  First post on the forums.  And probably a newbie question.  A little backstory first...I grew up and still live in Eastern NC.  I learned to smoke pork shoulders as a teenager on my best friend's farm watching his dad cook over live coals while my buddies were in deer stands. I wasn't a venison fan so I didn't want to go shoot them.  Over the 20+ years since I have cooked on ECB's, WSM's, pig cookers made out of flat top oil drums (eastern NC style), and am now cooking primarily on my large BGE. 

    On to the question - I love to smoke ribs.  My BGE just isn't set up big enough to cook 6-12 racks though.  And I like the thought of having capacity that the BGE just doesn't have for cooks other than ribs.  So I'm thinking of adding something bigger to the arsenal. That said, I have always wanted to cook on an offset smoker.  But if I'm going to put that much money into a new piece of cooking equipment I'd like to be able to do more than "just" smoke.  I would like to be able to cook direct also.  And I don't mean inside the fire box.  But with the reverse flow like a Lang, or the tuning plates in others, I'm just not sure if you can cook direct well in an offset smoker.  I have never cooked on an offset so this is completely foreign to me so sorry for what I feel is a newbie question.

    Thanks in advance!  Looking forward to being involved in this community!
  2. rogerwilco

    rogerwilco Meat Mopper

     I have a few BGEs and really enjoy them. I also have a Horizon offset for just such issues as you state. It is great for a bunch of slabs or whole packer briskets. It will also hold about a million-and-six chickens.

      Although I haven't done it, I could remove the convection plate, place a full-length charcoal grate directly on the bottom of the main cooking chamber, fill with charcoal, and thus allow for direct grilling if the full expanse of the main cooking chamber. Horizon even offers a grate with which to accomplish this.

      One thing to be aware of is just how much more charcoal/fuel an offset will use compared to a BGE. It was really a bit surprising to me, being used to the efficiency of the ceramic cooker. But.....the offset is a WHOLE BUNCH OF FUN.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
  3. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    I'll second the amount of fuel used, it's tremendous! They are not energy efficient!
    I'll also add another tid bit I picked up from a Brinkmann Smok'n pit, yes, you can use direct heat, but how much are you going to enjoy cleaning out the cook chamber the next time you want to smoke and not have that ash all over your food?
    Just something else to consider, I've not used a "good" smoker, so it might not be so bad, but mine was a mess!
  4. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    With an offset your heating a lot bigger area. On the average about every 1/2 hour your adding a split of wood to the fire.
    Also an offset isn't a set and forget smoker. You have to pretty much stick close by. But they put out some awesome Q!
    Would you would still have your have your BGE in your arsenal to cook direct?

    :welcome1: to SMF
  5. mikesys

    mikesys Fire Starter

    I have a Yoder Loaded Wichita, it has a heat management plate that is removable and I also purchased the charcoal grate. It allows me to use the cooking chamber as a 20"x42" charcoal grill. It is the best of both worlds if you choose to use it that way.

    With my Lang 60 Deluxe smoker the reverse flow plate underneath the cooking grate is too close for charcoal.

    Both smokers use one spilt of wood every 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the cooking chamber temp you wish to cook at.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
  6. mikesys

    mikesys Fire Starter

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
  7. Thanks for the replies everyone - so it sounds like it is doable.  That is good.  Perhaps it puts another item on my checklist to look for though - no permanent mounted tuning plate or in the case of the Lang, the permanent baffle.  As for cleaning, what about the pits with the spigot on the bottom?  I think they are meant to drain the cooker of grease and to allow for "steam cleaning" after the fact.  So for cleaning technique if using the main chamber for direct grilling - what about you clean the ash you can and then open the valve and rinse out the bottom of the chamber?

    Yes I will still have my BGE in my arsenal.  Never getting rid of that thing!  And I have gotten used to the efficiency of my Egg but am fully aware that the offset will not be nearly as fuel efficient.  And there are times I enjoy sitting by the pit, stoking the fire.  So it will be the best of both worlds.  If I'm headed to the beach for the day, set the egg and forget about it.  If I'm chilling at the house watching football, throw some logs on the fire!

    Thanks to all for their input - was checking out the section on these boards with all the smokers and was looking at the Horizon Pits yesterday.  Looks like they are fairly inexpensive and get favorable reviews.  While browsing around I also stumbled on Yoder - not a smoker but WOW that Yoder 24x48 charcoal grill.  That thing is bad ass!
  8. mikesys

    mikesys Fire Starter

    I would scoup out the larger chunks and or use a shop vac (after the ashes have cooled down of course), then rinse out the cooking chamber. Finally, heat up the smoker to dry it out.

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