Newbie in TN

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Master of the Pit
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Sep 19, 2018
South Carolina
it is not an offset. My center grate comes out is how I initially load the charcoal. The whole bottom is one big open area for charcoal. I have a access/vent door in the back to add more charcoal. I did a trial run the other night with and it held steady temp for a while. I just need practice I guess to see how temp acts. I have added temp probes to the lids. Would like to get some digits thermometers to read temps of grates and meat while cooking.

The other night I built my fire all in the rear and did a few chickens in the middle and put a Boston butt on the very front away from the heat.
I have a friend who has a very similarly shaped fuel oil drum that he turned into a cooker. It has an access door in one end where hot coals can be put in under the grate and scattered around with a shovel. He only uses hardwood that he burns in a 55 gallon drum. The drum has a grate in it up from the bottom that allows the hot coals to fall through to the bottom. There's a hole cut into the side at the bottom to allow those hot coals to be removed with a shovel and spread into the cooker. As a suggestion, you could do the same with a grill or fire pit. Build a fire with hardwood and use the hot coals instead of charcoal for a different taste. I'm just not a big fan of most charcoal briquets and prefer lump charcoal much more, so there's another suggestion for you. As for brand of lump, I've recently switched to Jealous Devil from Royal Oak, but there are a bunch of different brands out there.

Another thing is don't leave ashes in the cooker for very long after cooking, I try to get mine out the next day or when they've cooled. They will draw moisture and rust the cooker out from the inside...


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Feb 25, 2018
E Tn
Welcome to the site, I live in Anderson county, for smoking I would build a fire in 1 front corner and make a gate to swing up to add wood/charcoal, it will be a hungry beast if just running on charcoal, I would start with a charcoal bed and run it with wood, need to make a raised grate to keep some of the ashes from smothering the fire out imo.


Original poster
Thread starter
Sep 7, 2022
Yeah mike it is a hungry beast on just charcoal from what i have figured out so far.