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bought used pitts spitts smoker. I have some questions!


Joined Aug 28, 2010
Hi Everyone:

This is my first post. 

I just bought a used pitts and spitts wood offset smoker off craigslist.  It's a super, duper heavy duty  24" x  36" offset.  I would say it's at little older than the model currently for sale.

My first and last smoker was a $30 (new) electric smoker.  It didn't work too well; I took it personally; and haven't smoked anything in over 10 years because of the poor results (although I do general purpose charcoal grilling routinely)

The pitts and spitts might be overkill, but I have found that good sturdy equipment is good for a beginner!  (I am a beginner smoker, but I do A LOT of general purpose cooking of all kinds, so I have decent  knowledge principles such as frying, roasting, baking, temperature; when food is done; etc, etc...

Here are some questions I hope you can answer:

1.  is there some kind of generic manual I can download for an offset smoker?

2.  my smoker has a heavy duty ball valve at the bottom of the barrel:  What is this for? Cleaning?

3.  I read something about some of these smokers coming with a water pan.  I don't think mine has one.  

    What is a water pan used for?  where does it go if you use it (in the firebox?)

4.  My firebox has several steel brackets above the grate where I guess you put the wood.  What would I put on the grates in the firebox?

5.  There is a nice heavy duty lidded box above the firebox. When I flip up the lid, there is an expanded metal tray in it.  What is that used for? (warming tray of some sort?)

6.  What would be a good smoking project for a total newbie (you know, something that is hard to totally ruin so as to build my confidence and something that would still be edible even if it's a mistake!)

Feel free to add comments about anything else I should know as I start!!

Thank you; Thank you!



Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Mar 12, 2009

First off Welcome Beth to SMF. You'll like it here for there are alot of really good folks here that would just love to help you with just about anything to do with smoking. As far as some of your questions let's see if I can answer some of them for you.

1 Now you should be able to fine the website if you goggle the smoker maker.

2 Yes it is for draining and also cleaning our your new smoker.

3 No you don't need a water pan for that kind of smoker.

4 That's where you build your fire that way the ash falls down below the fire and does kill out your fire.

5 Yes that's the warming box.

6 Now there are many things I would say for you to smoke for the first thing. Maybe a chicken their pretty easy and when you eat it for the first time you will be hooked for sure. Then you have a fattie (look it up in wiki) it's killer and you'll like it alot. Then you can go to maybe spare ribs their pretty easy too. I would also recommend the  E-Course it's free and it will give you the basics of smoking and some good methods to use also. So the next big thing for you to do is go out and get you something to smoke and if you happen to have any questions just post it here and we will be happy to answer them for you.

Welcome To Your New Addiction
Last edited:


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Sep 24, 2009
I'll go ahead and say it here, Welcome to the site Beth. There is a ton of info here, sometimes its just hiding. The Wiki's are great thing to check out along with side firebox smokers in the build section. Jump on over to the roll call section and give us a little intro on yourself. Sometimes it makes it a little easier to help out if we know what part of the world you are in.

Hope you enjoy the site, if you can't find something ask away.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
OTBS Admin
Group Lead
Joined Mar 22, 2008
Welcome to SMF congrats on the new smoker. Some pics of it would help


Thread starter
Joined Aug 28, 2010
Thanks everyone, for the info and the warm welcome!

I love forums like this:  People are so nice and helpful and willing to share what they know.

Thanks for the advice about starting out with a chicken.  For some reason, I had tunnel vision and thought meat, meat, meat.  Chicken sounds like a great way to start.  And will try the e course.  I am sure you guys get a lot of the same questions from newbies, so good thinking on someone's part to have a course ready.  

I'll also check out the roll call section.

Can't wait to tell you all how it's going!

Thanks for the help!



Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Joined Feb 22, 2010
Spitts and Pitts is right down the road from my house.  They make great SFB smokers and they work just like most side firebox smokers.  I think on their site you can get a charcoal basket for your smoker if not you may want to make one to help you with temps until you feel comfortable enough to go straight burning sticks in it.  Enjoy the smoker it will last you forever with proper care.


Fire Starter
Joined May 20, 2010
Beth, welcome to the site,go to the top of the page and click on forums then scroll down till you find roll call


Smoking Fanatic
Joined May 17, 2010
Hi Beth !!  Welcome to SMF looks like these guys have your questions covered pretty well. 

I agree chicken or a fattie for the first smoke.  I also agree on using charcoal instead of straight wood to begin with, if you can do that in your model.

Get yerself a good digital thermometer ( check it in boiling water for accuracy ) then light up sit back and enjoy the good life.


Joined Oct 12, 2010
I have a similar Pitts and Spitts unit.  The water chamber is the chamber itself.  I usually fill it up with 1-2 inches of water, throw in a ton of herbs, onions, etc. and go to town.  Once finished, use the pipe to drain out the water and accumulated drippings.  Works perfectly every time.


Joined May 27, 2011
Im sure this is late but the pitt you have does not need a water tray, the bottom of the pitt is the water tray...fill it up but not too much that it flows into the fire box.  This way you are cooking with smoke and steam.  Then when you are done drain it and hose it out while still warm.  Cook at 225 to 250. 

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