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Calling all Arizona or Hot Weather Smokers

TXBBQinAZ

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Hello all,

First time posting and looking for a little advice from the folks in Arizona or hot weather climates regarding offset smokers. I currently have a Masterbuilt electric smoker that I have been using for the past six years. This has been a great learning experience as it was the first time I had prepared and smoked an assortment of meats (went to college in Texas which is where I was introduced to smoking!). It is nice to have, but having anything larger than a 13lb brisket or turkey makes it rather tight with not much room to add other meats.

Which brings me to my question, I am in the market for a new offset smoker and I have been trying to find information regarding how any smokers handle the daytime and evening heat. Most evenings we are still above a 100 degrees after the sunsets. Anyone have problems with a certain brand handling the heat, smoker burning too hot, or any other overall problems? I would be using a large pool umbrella to try and shade the smoker as much as possible, but curious to hear y'alls comments.

Thanks in advance.

TXBBQinAZ
 

smokerjim

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not much help with real hot weather smoking, but i suggest a big cooler of ice cold beer. i'm sure some of the hot weather people will be around.
 

old sarge

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I used an offset for years and never factored in the air temp. I just tried to keep the drum close to 300 degrees per the lid mounted therm. Lump mesquite and hickory wood for the smoke/flavor. All a matter of managing the damper. It was an inexpensive Brinkman Smok-n-pit pro. Always a good meal produced but a certain amount of fussing. Got old, got lazy, went electric.
 

pc farmer

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No clue. Over 100 I would die. Wouldnt use as much fuel thou.
 

old sarge

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I work outdoors, construction field. It was 103 today. Lots of water. Pretty rough on an old man (I turn 70 in DEC). But it is never too hot to Q or grill!
 

sawhorseray

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Howdy TXBBQinAZ , welcome to SMF! I live in Gilbert and smoke on a Meadow Creek SQ36 offset. We have a few more challenges here than other folks across the nation don't always run into, but we're also able to smoke year round. I do have a large pool umbrella that I incorporate when it gets into triple digits to keep the direct sunlight off of the cook chamber. The first thing to realize is you can forget all about that 225ºtemp you feel you need to work with. You'll be smoking brisket, butts, and ribs in the 275º-285º range, just like Aaron Franklin does at his restaurant in Austin. We have to work with smaller splits during the hot months and add them more frequently than in winter. I like to work with the firebox door open just about all the time for heat control, anywhere from a tiny crack to 2-3 inches, it's all a part of learning your smoker and what it takes to maintain steady heat and good smoke. There will be flare-ups in temperature, most often when adding new splits to the firebox, and there's no need to panic. Open the firebox door wide to decrease the heat inflow to the CC, and lift he cook chamber door to release the heat, it doesn't take long to regain control and have the heat die down. The main thing is to stay calm, briskets, butts, and ribs can be fairly forgiving on minor heat spikes. Once you've got your vents set try to leave them alone for the most part and maintain control using the firebox door, I always smoke with the exhaust stack vent wide open. I also don't use charcoal and smoke with straight wood, most often hickory splits. I'll make like a little log cabin out of the splits inside the firebox and start them with a weed torch, 45-50 minutes later there's a nice bed of coals producing beautiful thin blue smoke, throw some meat on the grill. It goes almost without saying that a higher quality offset is going to be far easier to control temps, ones made of thicker steel cost more and are far easier to work with. You want to have a good pair of welders gloves on hand, and use them, you'll find that out soon enough the hard way, everything's hot. I reckon that's about it for now, hope I was at least a little help and didn't scare you away from a offset. In my opinion they produce the best Q on the planet, and once you've got heat control dialed in you'll take great pride in being a true pit master that's a large part of the cook. You do have to pay attention and tend the fire, it's not like a pellet pooper where you can just plug it in and walk away for a few hours. I got my SQ36 from these guys in Tempe, they're nice helpful folks and not a bad place to start looking. Please feel free to contact me if there's anything you think I might be of assistance with, that's what this forum is all about. RAY


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SmokinAl

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I use my Lang year round. When the temps are hot you just simply build a smaller fire. Very simple.
Al
 

D.W.

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It's been 100 +/- a couple degrees here for over a week now, and I've cooked on the offset almost every day. You just need less fuel for temp. I also agree 100% with sawhorseray sawhorseray to use smaller splits and maintain airflow/temp control via the firebox door, it's the easiest way to go about. I keep an assortment of different size splits on hand to help temp management. Also, the cold beer helps a bunch too.
 

SecondHandSmoker

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Lots of good advice in the above posts.
A swimming pool plus ice cold beers or frozen margaritas are must haves too.
Stay cool and safe up there.
 

sawhorseray

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Lots of good advice in the above posts. A swimming pool plus ice cold beers or frozen margaritas are must haves too. Stay cool and safe up there.
Thanks for covering that Stuart, I'd kind of completely overlooked those two important aspects. How are you holding up down that way? The last two days we were 119º, was the hottest July ever. I've been dipping in my pool a half dozen times a day for the last couple of months, really cuts down on the showering and laundry, probably be keeping that up for the next three months. We're still pretty much in lockdown mode and staying safe as could be. I might smoke up a little something on my offset next week tho with the Vortex and SnS my Weber has been getting a real workout this summer.
You kids stay safe too, the zombies are everywhere! RAY
 

TXBBQinAZ

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Thank you everyone for the good advice. The two staples of an Arizona summer, pool time and a lot of cold beer!

I will need to look into Meadow Creek, so thank you for that sawhoreseray! I had been looking at the usual suspects that I have found on a few of the other threads on SMF.
 

SecondHandSmoker

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Thanks for covering that Stuart, I'd kind of completely overlooked those two important aspects. How are you holding up down that way? The last two days we were 119º, was the hottest July ever. I've been dipping in my pool a half dozen times a day for the last couple of months, really cuts down on the showering and laundry, probably be keeping that up for the next three months. We're still pretty much in lockdown mode and staying safe as could be. I might smoke up a little something on my offset next week tho with the Vortex and SnS my Weber has been getting a real workout this summer.
You kids stay safe too, the zombies are everywhere! RAY
Yes Ray, those are two very important aspects to cooking out during the summer up there.
I remember those days very well.
We holding up okay down here. Luckily, the temps haven't been too bad down here,
107-108 degrees. The evap coolers on the patio are working great even with high dew point temps.
We've been doing more grilling than smoking, so I'll need to go on propane run real soon.
Yep, we run into the occasional zombie when we venture out.
You and Jan stay safe too.
 

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