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Good BBQ on a cheap offset smoker

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
We have been visiting family in GA for the holidays. My reverse flow patio-style pit is just too heavy and difficult to travel with, so I brought my CharBroil American Gourmet with me. Just had to cook some bbq for Christmas. I first learned how to cook bbq on this pit a few years ago. Now that I've gotten better and cook on a nicer pit, it's actually fun to go back to the "cheap" smoker and still cook some great Q. Figured I'd put out a detailed post for any newbies who maybe have a cheaper offset smoker and are trying to learn. You don't have to get some multi-thousand dollar smoker to cook good bbq. It's all about learning how to use what you can afford and making the most out of YOUR pit.



I have a few modifications that I made to the pit to make it a better cooker. All of these mods are outlined here in the forum.

First things first - a charcoal basket raised from the bottom of the firebox.





I cook with the side door of the firebox open. I start my fire with a load of charcoal and then just use wood throughout the rest of the cook. I've found that to keep a steady fire on this pit, having the door open keeps the combustion going better. Sure I could add more dampers, but I found something that works for me and my pit. I control my temps by perfecting fire management. I know what temp I'll get to just by what size firewood I put on the fire and how to arrange the fire.



Secondly, I added a baffle and tuning plates to the cooking chamber to help even temps.



Look at my two thermometers - almost dead even from one end to the other.



As I mentioned above, I start with charcoal and then switch over to just wood.

Starting with charcoal:


Now charcoal is burned out and I'm just burning sticks:


Now for the meat - cooked two pork shoulders and a chicken today.

Pork going on:


Steady Eddy at 275 degrees. I cook pork shoulders at a higher temp. My experience is they can take more heat and it will help finish it a lot faster.


Pork almost ready to be wrapped. Chicken just went on:


Kicked up the fire for hotter temps for the chicken so I can get more crispy skin:


Pork finished and resting, and then pulled:



I didn't get a picture of the finished chicken.

This smoker is certainly harder to use than my reverse flow pit. It doesn't hold temps as well and requires a little more maintenance. But the meat I cooked tonight was every bit as good as any food that comes out of my RF. I say again, it's not about the equipment. It's about the cook. And about the process. With a little modification and practice, you can put out world class bbq on a $140 smoker from Wal-Mart.

Thanks for lookin.

James
post #2 of 7

Hey James Great cook, That goes to show what a great pit-master you are, It may have been a little harder But the results were Fantastic !!

 

Great Job, and have a safe trip.

 

:Looks-Great:

 

points1.png       texas.gif

 

 

Gary

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gary s View Post
 

Hey James Great cook, That goes to show what a great pit-master you are, It may have been a little harder But the results were Fantastic !!

 

Great Job, and have a safe trip.

 

:Looks-Great:

 

points1.png       texas.gif

 

 

Gary

Thank you Gary.  Means a lot coming from a great pitmaster like yourself.  Hope you and the family are having a good Christmas down in TX.

post #4 of 7
Thats a GOOD thread. Good pics too.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trickyputt View Post

Thats a GOOD thread. Good pics too.

Thank you - much appreciated
post #6 of 7

Nice work! I'm on a $125 offset from Sears (see sig) and I'm having a blast with it.

post #7 of 7

This is a great example, HB is smoking on a $125 smoker because that what he had available, and doing a fine job and turning out some great Q. A high dollar smoker doesn't make better Q it's the person doing the smoking. 

 

Great job

 

Gary

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