New to offset need advice please.

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Zarn

Newbie
Original poster
Mar 16, 2018
7
4
Totally new to offset smokers really need some advice here please.

Yesterday was the first day using my new LSG 20x36 off set. I seasoned the grill and did fire management for 7 hours to learn the smoker and what it liked. I was able to maintain temps 225-250 for over 4 hours no problem using Hickory wood well dried.. After that I threw some chicken thighs in they turned out pretty good with the exception of way to much smoke flavor. To the point it made our lips tingle.

I have a few questions to the experienced folks here with offset smokers.

1. Do you substitute charcoal after you burn a few splits of wood to finish the cook ?
2. Or when you have a good fire do you continue feeding splits to the smoker ?
 
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Fire management is key. What you really are wanting to maintain is a coal bed more so than the fire. You burn splits to add coals to the bed. That bed of coals is your primary heat source not the fire itself so much. A lot of people start out with a chimney of charcoal as the initial coal bed then feed a split every 30-40 minutes to maintain that coal bed.

The size of the coal bed controls the pit temp. The fire is really more there to burn the split into coals. The cleaner the “fire” is the less smoke flavor. You need enough air flow to keep it clean. Leave your exhaust unrestricted and only adjust air at the door.
 
Agree 100% with everything SmokinEdge SmokinEdge said.

The key, IMHO, to offest smoker cooking is maintaining a very hot coal bed. You'll learn your smoker as you use it, but generally, if you want higher cooking temps, you should build a bigger coal bed...and vice versa if you want lower cooking temps, build a smaller coal bed - but the key is to keep the coal bed HOT. Doing this eliminates more of the dirty smoke that causes creosote (that's probably what caused that over-smoked, tingly-tongue taste on your chicken.)

Another tip to eliminate some of the dirty smoke is to pre-heat your splits. If there's room in your fire box, lay a couple of splits adjacent to your fire - but not in your fire. Or just lay a couple splits on top of your firebox until you're ready to put 'em on the fire. The pre-heated splits will ignite faster when you put them on the fire, and will burn cleaner.

Lastly, it's my experience that poultry doesn't take much smoke to over smoke it. My opinion is, a little smoke goes a long way with chicken and turkey - especially if you're cooking pieces instead of the whole bird. When I cook chicken parts, I really try to limit the amount of smoke that gets to the meat. I'll start with a very hot bed of lump charcoal, and only add a single split a couple times while cooking. If my temps begin to drop before I get the chicken done, I can always add more lump charcoal...but if you cook 'em hot and fast, that's probably not an issue.

Red
 
SmokinEdge SmokinEdge and seenred seenred got ya covered.... the only thing I will add is for longer cooks I add 2-4 unlit charcoal briquets with each split add.... It helps keep the coal bed hot and intact. If I see the coal base reducing, I add a bit more. You just don't want too add to many at one time as that will affect the quality of the smoke.
 
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Hickory produces a particularly strong smoke flavor, and chicken is easy to oversmoke. You might be trying to control the temp with the dampers too much and not by the size of the fire/ coal bed. Maybe the wood is a little green still. Try testing it right after you've split it if you have a moisture meter. You might be surprised.
 
Everyone has you covered with suggestions. I do wonder, what did your smoke look like? Better yet what did it smell like? I like to put my hand over the stack and let it get smoked a little to smell it. One thing I'd add is the smaller the piece of protein the higher temp you might want to run to reduce smoke some perhaps. All a matter of taste c
 
Just adding an image..... Notice the ratio of coals to splits.
copperpot-fire4.jpeg
 
SmokinEdge SmokinEdge and seenred seenred got ya covered.... the only thing I will add is for longer cooks I add 2-4 unlit charcoal briquets with each split add.... It helps keep the coal bed hot and intact. If I see the coal base reducing, I add a bit more. You just don't want too add to many at one time as that will affect the quality of the smoke.
Great Advice Thank You
 
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