Offset Fuel Burning Cash!

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Original poster
Oct 30, 2021
Hi guys, hope I posted in the right place, but have a question about my experience of upgrading from a weber kettle to an Oklahoma Joe recently.

So I start off with a chimney of briquettes and a couple of splits. I have apple, it's well seasoned and all broken down into good 8-10" long 2-3" wide splits. All good, gets to temp, nice clean smoke. Runs for a couple hours like this. Happy days.

The problems start when the coal starts burning out. I then try to maintain things with splits only, the temp jumps around all over the place and more annoyingly the smoke starts to fluctuate between heavy white and thin blue quite a lot - probably erring on the side of heavy white mostly. Well ok, at this point I bite the bullet, take out a split, chuck in half a chimney of briquettes and we're all good again in no time. My guess is that splits only are not keeping the chamber hot enough to burn clean... unless I add more, but then I shoot past 350f within minutes.

My issue is that I feel like I'm gonna be burning a whole bag of briquettes plus splits on each cook! Here in the UK that's upward of 20 bucks of fuel each weekend, which seems a bit excessive, especially considering I was getting 3-4 cooks out of a bag with the weber (not comparing apples with apples there I know, but never the less, it grates a little!).

To be honest seasoned smoking woods like oak are expensive to acquire here in London anyway, so just running on splits is probably not the best long term solution either - but just wondering if there are any tips or tricks to drastically reduce the amount I use but still maintaining optimum conditions? Or maybe this amount of fuel burn just a fact of life with running an Oki Joe,?
Fuel consumption is definitely going to be higher. Not only because it is a cheaper offset not as thick as more expensive models but you are also heating more space. I bought a diffuser plate from and this has helped my temp fluctuations and allows for a more even cook. Offsets cost more to run but I feel it’s worth it for the end result.
You need to develop a good bed of coals to maintain a more consistent temp. Remember you are cooking with wood and temperature will vary somewhat, its not an electric oven. Each smoker is different so its up to you to to learn about your offset. Apple is a nice wood for smoking but it is one of the "softer" hard woods. Cals not long lasting. Try mixing a bit of maple, oak, harder woods to get a good bed of coals You can also try to use hardwood charcoal, larger splits mixed with smaller ones.

I put some fire bricks in the bottom of my firebox and foiled wrapped two that sit directly above my firebox on a RF cooker. Don't get discouraged, try different things and you'll get it sorted out.

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Have you looked into doing some modifications for better heat/fuel management? Here’s a thread you can check out, I’ve never had an Oklahoma Joe, but I had an old BBQ-Chef that was a great offset. I did some of these modifications and it helped. A Charcoal/wood basket would help with getting a good bed of coals in your fire box, baffle and tuning plates with reducing effects from flare ups and more evenly distribute heat.

you can buy some of these online if you don’t want to DIY.
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