Just bought first offset smoker to learn on! Help me fix it...She's a cheap one

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Stopsign32v

Fire Starter
Original poster
Dec 11, 2023
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Well I did my reading and all and wanted to start small first and later upgrade to a better one. Plus I wanted to be able to cook in it too with charcoal. Anyways I'm sure most of you know this type...It's an Amazon special that will be here tomorrow.

I'm fully prepared for it to be a piece and leak smoke everywhere. But what can I do to make it worth as much as possible?

I'm already planning to season it and maybe paint it with grill paint to keep rust away. What other mods are a must for good smoking? I need to smoke 2 Butts and a chicken probably in 2 weeks!
 

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Depending on the design, you may be able to put a gasket around the hood of the cooking chamber, to stop heat/smoke from leaking there.
If you don't have already, get remote thermometer. Minimum of 2 probes but more is better.

Others that have offsets may have other info.
 
It's likely made from the thinnest steel possible. The learning curve is much steeper by going cheap to start with, but if you can learn how to run this outfit, a better one will be a dream to run. While seasoning it, play around some with learning how to control temps.
 
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It's likely made from the thinnest steel possible. The learning curve is much steeper by going cheap to start with, but if you can learn how to run this outfit, a better one will be a dream to run. While seasoning it, play around some with learning how to control temps.

Ah man I didn't think about the thin metal part. You're probably 100% right. Well I'm only going to deal with this one for a while. I want to upgrade to a decent $500 or so setup next.
 
While seasoning it, play around some with learning how to control temps.
This^^^

Don't worry about about a bunch modifications right now.

Learn how to maintain a temp range, keyword: Range.
I.e. don't chase a particular temp.
Hopefully it'll have a relatively stable temp range it likes to fall into, e.g. 235°-265°.
If it does, learn to cook in that zone.
 
Just see how what you got runs stock and then look at any mods necessary. You can expect some temp swings with any offset .... it's just the nature of the beast, but keeping within 50° or so either direction is where I want mine running.
 
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This^^^

Don't worry about about a bunch modifications right now.

Learn how to maintain a temp range, keyword: Range.
I.e. don't chase a particular temp.
Hopefully it'll have a relatively stable temp range it likes to fall into, e.g. 235°-265°.
If it does, learn to cook in that zone.
That, too. My OKJ likes to settle in around 275° so I don't fight it. I let it run there (+or-50) and cook in that zone.
 
I've stood in front of one in person . Very thin metal .
Like said above , run it as is , learn it as is . Keep a bag of lump charcoal around to boost temps fast . Charcoal to run it , and wood to provide the smoke .

Like said above , find out where it likes to run , and how much fuel it takes to get it there , then how much of what keeps it there , and how often to add it . Don't wait for temps to fall , add on the hour or sooner if it needs that .
 
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I've stood in front of one in person . Very thin metal .
Like said above , run it as is , learn it as is . Keep a bag of lump charcoal around to boost temps fast . Charcoal to run it , and wood to provide the smoke .

Like said above , find out where it likes to run , and how much fuel it takes to get it there , then how much of what keeps it there , and how often to add it . Don't wait for temps to fall , add on the hour or sooner if it needs that .

This is good to know because I was planning to only run it on wood. So only running an offset is reserved for good thick smokers?
 
Wood doesn't generate the heat charcoal does. I start with lump to get a good hot coal bed then run splits from there, but on a thin steel outfit, you will likely need to add charcoal and wood both to maintain temps.
 
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This is good to know because I was planning to only run it on wood. So only running an offset is reserved for good thick smokers?
I'm not saying that . You have great input before me . Find out where it likes to run and cook at that temp .
Don't worry to much about swings .
Those 2 important points were already said .

I was just suggest fuel sources from when I had one . Mine was a Char griller pro . Not as this as yours , but it was a temp nightmare .
So the suggestions were how I fueled it and kept temps in a decent cooking range .
 
First I would build a hot fire to burn/season it in for a couple of hrs... Fire Management is going to be the first thing you want to learn...

Assuming your going to use splits (wood) for your fire... This is a good read..



Also... When making adjustments for temp control... Always wait about 15-20 minutes to see what temps do.... And then make an adjustment accordingly...

As far as mods go... I would concentrate on air leaks on/in the FB (firebox)... Air leaks mean less control and it doesn't take much to have no control... Try to control temps with the intake air on the FB... If you close the intake vent all the way and temps are still rising (after 15-20 min.) they tells me there is an air leak there somewhere... I don't worry much about the CC (cook chamber) door leaking.. As long as it not excessive...
 
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I use Weber kettles today , and they run way better than that Char griller . I still keep a bag of lump on hand to boost temps quick if needed .
 
Will be using Kingsford Original blue/white bag charcoal and wood blocks (not sure what flavor but leaning towards Pecan)

I went ahead and bought this stuff...If I'm going to learn I'd like the thing to not leak as much as possible at least so I'm chasing my tail more than I need to.
 

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Another question:

I was planning on going off the thermostat that is on the lid. Is that not acceptable?
 
Another question:

I was planning on going off the thermostat that is on the lid. Is that not acceptable?
Get a decent remote therm with at least 2 probes and run 1 probe at grate level in a grate clip to get chamber temp and use the other probe(s) for meat. The lid therms that come with about all these cookers are highly unreliable and aren't really giving you the grate level temp where the meat is even if accurate.
 
Get a decent remote therm with at least 2 probes and run 1 probe at grate level in a grate clip to get chamber temp and use the other probe(s) for meat. The lid therms that come with about all these cookers are highly unreliable and aren't really giving you the grate level temp where the meat is even if accurate.

Do you guys have any suggestions for probes that won't break the bank but are good?
 
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