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Offset Observations & Questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
It's quite apparent that I'm a smoking FNG'S and that along this journey one of the most important things that I can do is LEARN my smoker.

I have a New Braunfels horizontal offset smoker.

So here's something that I observed today with some questions to accompany them.

I filled my charcoal basket full with lump, dug out the middle and deposited a half chimney of briquettes. It fired right up and with the intake and exhaust wide open it held around 300 for the longest time.

After a half an hour I decided to open up the doors to cool it a bit. Of course since then I've been struggling to keep it high enough.

When playing with the intake and exhaust I realized that when I began to shut the exhaust the temperature would go down. It's been explained to me before on here that when smoking with a horizontal offset that you start it with lump and continue until the end with wood.

So here's the question, would you keep the wood fire going, which will be hot, and bring the temperature down by closing the exhaust a bit?
post #2 of 9

Hello.  WOW!  You have potentially opened a can of worms.  It should not matter if you use wood or anything else for heat.  Where the controversy arises is with the exhaust.  Some say leave the exhaust wide open throughout the entire smoke.  Some say it is fine to close the exhaust a "some" (never completel) to help control the temp..  I am in the latter camp.  I have always closed down the vents and the exhaust as needed to control the temp.  To each his own.  Only my opinion.  Keep Smokin!


post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks Danny, I appreciate it. I didn't realize that this topic could have been a big deal but I guess I can see it now.
post #4 of 9

I have a horizontal stick burner and a vertical stick burner. I have always run the exhaust wide open and controlled the heat with the vents on the firebox. Lump burns very hot but faster than briquettes so you may be using too much lump at the start generating to much heat. I use briquettes about chimney full to get my wood splits going and then it's all wood to the end.

I use splits of all sizes. Some pencil thin when I just need a little flame to keep the fire going all the way up to 6 or 8 inch splits.

I use different size splits according to if I want more or less heat.


Stick burners have a learning curve probably more than any other kind of smoker you can use. Stick (no pun intended :biggrin:) with it and you will be rewarded.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks Monte, I appreciate it.
post #6 of 9
Originally Posted by TheBig1 View Post

Thanks Monte, I appreciate it.

Always happy to help. Keep posting your questions.

post #7 of 9
On my pit, the exhaust is wide open and heat is controlled by intakes. One thing to note is if using splits, sometimes a larger fire will choke itself and smoke too much, I can tell by the smell when my fire is oxygen starved, I will crack the firebox door to the point that I can't see any smoke coming out of the stack or backing up anywhere, once the fire settles a bit I close the firebox door. It doesn't seem to affect the temps much but I do have a lot of thermal mass.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much Sqwib, that gives me something to think about when things are working.
post #9 of 9
I leave the stack wide open mostly and control with the intake, but I've been known to close it off a bit if the temps get out of hand rather than open the chamber door to cool off. It's a balancing act LOL!
Sounds like you''re making a heck of a charcoal fire before adding wood....
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