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Offset - Charcoal burning procedure

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Can you detail how you go about doing a smoke? Please list smoker used, charcoal or lump used, minion method?, estimates of charcoal quantity, air vents, time before refueling, etc. I'm a newbie to offsets and definitely need some tips. Hopefully everyone posting will highlight some new tricks for you seasoned smokers too.
post #2 of 11

Not a seasoned smoker.

I have a homebuilt Craigslist offset I call Maude. Maude has a square fire box. I load her to the top with a mixture of lump and chunk wood. I use whatever flavor I am looking for in the wood so it varies. I take my propane torch and light a small area on the cooker side. I let this get started with the fire box lid open and all vents open. As soon as she gets hot in the cooker area I start choking her down. I close the lid on the firebox and I start closing vents. I watch my therms to see where I need to close her all the way down. Now my smoker has a pencil size hole I leave open for draft. I watch for thin and blue then it is time to cook. Sometimes I don't see any smoke at all but I can smell it. This is ideal for me. I will throw a chunk at a time in for flavor. I preheat these on the top of the fire box and that seems to keep the nasty (thick and white) smoke down. Now I am a newbie though I used a Brinkman for years. So I am sure some great advice will come along soon. I won't comment and how long it lasts cause I guess I am not sure. That will be another post soon as I log a smoke.

post #3 of 11
I will fill up my basket with regular old kingsford. But I dispurse little pieces of wood throughout the charcoal.I will sometimes even put some apple wood chips down into the charcoal too, after it is loaded of course. Then I will load my charcoal starter with Royal Oak lump. Once that is ready to go I will dump it, and let it start to catch, watching the temp in the cook chamber. Once it starts to climb I will start backing the inlet damper (Since I know my pit pretty well I know about where I need to go to control it where I want it.) when I see tbs I load it up with what every I am smoking. I may add a preheated chunk every know and again, but the ones that I planted usually do the trick. I can get a good burn for several hours before I need to replenish.

The key is to just do it till you know you pit. I hope this helps.
post #4 of 11
CharGriller Smokin' Pro with modifications.
Currently using Cowboy lump until it's gone. Have loaded up on Royal Oak.

First I light a half-chimney of briquettes and put it in the firebox right next to the smoke chamber opening. Meanwhile, I load a divided basket with lump & soaked wood chips. When the smoke chamber has warmed up, I put the basket of unlit lump over the briquettes and I put on the meat. As the burn goes on I will toss in more chips and/or some sticks; the sticks preheat on top of the firebox so they don't smolder. If a stick smolders upon being put on the fire, I know it's a bad stick and I pull it out.

My charcoal basket is a stainless BBQ wok, square, that has a dual-wall divider in it. I generally get close to three hours on the first basket before I have to begin refueling, and I get roughly 2 hours from each additional half-basket of lump. A chicken smoke can usually be done with only a single reload, a rib smoke perhaps two. Butts and brisket of course take a few more. A large butt will burn through most of a 10-lb bag! Since I want to make the most of my lump expenditures, I usually cook with a pretty full grill.

I keep smoker temps around 225. Usually, after a half hour or so the intake vent gets closed down to about 25% open. (Sticks increase the heat, so I can close the vent down even further when I use them.) This keeps the fire from getting too hot and burning too quickly. If it's windy I turn the firebox side into the wind, and close the smokestack a bit on the wind side just to block backdrafts as much as possible.
post #5 of 11

sounds right

Sounds like a good method to me!
Great post!PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Great posts. I think I also need to dump my lit charcoal on the smoker side and not the air inlet side.

Keep them coming.
post #7 of 11
I use a char griller smokin pro with mods

I fill a basket with lump coal (royal oak) then light a chimney full and put the lit on top of the unlit (typical minion method). Once it burns down I reload the basket putting unlit on top of the still burining coals. I typically get 3 hours out of a basket either way. I put on soaked chunks for smoke when needed.

My basket is elevated above the ash drawer for easy clean out, so I can keep this going for hours on end easliy.

As always the key to long sustained temps is to not peek at anything firebox or smoking chamber.

Have a good firebox thermometer and good meat thermometer and trust them.
post #8 of 11
I've got a super modified silver smoker
I use Wicked Good Weekend Warrior Lump Charcoal

I use this offset primarily for smoking ribs these days, as the other smokers handle long smokes better.
Anyhoo, this is what I do.

Pour in about 8 lbs of charcoal and wood chunks into the charcoal box.
Mound it all up towards the vent end of the fire box. Light up about 1/2 a chimney of briquettes. When they are fully lit, pour them into the fire box on the chamber side. Have the stack fully open, have the door vent at about half open. Let the smoker heat up. When the chamber temp is at 200* shut the vent to 1/4 and watch what happens. Adjust vent as needed waiting 10 to 15 minutes to judge results. Typically my smoker will go just over three hours before needing some fuel. When adding new fuel I push the hot coals toward the chamber side of the fire box and add the new lump on the vent side. Don't add new fuel on top of the hot! You will get a temp drop and a lot of billowy white smoke. This system works very well for me.
post #9 of 11
>>>Don't add new fuel on top of the hot! You will get a temp drop and a lot of billowy white smoke.<<<

and the lightbulb just went on in my head - thanks SD!
post #10 of 11
I think this method combined with Coyote's sounds like something that I may try out on my next smoke.

I typically add ONLY hot, lit coals to my firebox once the "Menion Method" has does it's job for about 3 hours. I knew there was a better way than "wasting" my fuel by pre-lighting it.
This is a GREAT thread...keep the responses coming! Maybe someone with decent sized trailer offset could give some pointers too.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Anyone do anything else?
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