• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Raised Charcoal Grate in Firebox?

Cheese Burger

Joined Sep 18, 2021
Hello Everyone

What are your thoughts on whether to have a raised charcoal grate in the firebox?

I came across an interesting article on a smoking meat and sausage website. The article talks about the various ways of setting up a fire in a firebox with the various air inlet. This is the page I'm referring to - https://www.meatsandsausages.com/smokehouse-plans/smokehouse-firebox

What got me interested was that, for smoking meat, the author advocates no fresh air under the charcoal grate, and only fresh air being introduced into the fire, above the grate. The temperature would be controlled by adjusting the wood positioning, etc. And for cooking meat, the author likes to introduce fresh air under the grate to control the temperature.

Is this why some pit masters, pizza ovens and some off-set smoker manufacturers do not utilise a charcoal grate in the firebox? Maybe I'm not seeing the whole picture here.

I would love to hear from anyone that has tried both methods.

Mr. Zorg

Fire Starter
Joined Aug 26, 2021
One of the first mods I made to my first offset, a Bar-B-Chef, was to raise the fire grate in the firebox. I used some stainless steel carriage bolts, nuts & washers and it looked rather like the platform of an offshore drilling rig. This allowed me to experiment to find what I decided was the sweet spot, then lock that into place.

My current 16" doameter patio offset and my 24" diameter combination horizontal and vertical offset both have raised fire grates that in addition to helping optimize combustion air vs ambient "tramp" air also allow me to perform ash management if / as necessary during longer cook sessions.

As always YMMV.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Jan 27, 2015
I have both types on builds at the house....for a reverse flow I’m 100% raised but air at fire level not below. This is how the copper pot is designed......I wouldn’t change a thing on it’s burning geometry!

Now with my “boys” X-fire grill, it is on the floor and air at fire level.....again I wouldn’t change a thing on this unit. I LOVE LOVE this unit!!!

so I would say the fire application should be designed to fit the form and function of the cooker. Ie for a reverse flow a nice clean burn to help with air flow is ideal. Pizza or Santa Maria grill on the floor is ideal in my book as you are looking for a different type of fire.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Feb 25, 2018
Its easier to run a hotter fire with a raised grate, the air gets to the hot coals easier and the air flow is critical to keep it from getting too hot, 1 small leak can mean a lot depending on the size of the fire/fuel bed, need a good seal so you can dial it in


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Dec 1, 2019
I'm with civilsmoker civilsmoker in that the smoker design, along with the draw and draft will dictate the use of a raised bed of coals or not. It should be easy to rig up something for some trial cooks to see what works best.


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
My Lang came with a raised grate for the firebox. I’m with Smokey, you can have a lot of ash buildup & not have it affect the fire if you have a raised grate

Cheese Burger

Joined Sep 18, 2021
Hey guys

Thank you so much for the advice. I think I'm going to have a raised charcoal grate with the main air supply under the grate and a smaller air-vent above.

I think I may be overthinking this, but when I read the article, it gave me the impression that the fire would produce better smoke with the air-vent above the grate. An air-vent under the grate would create an efficient fire resulting in less smoke. I had a pallet smoker before and it didn't produce enough smokie flavour. I didn't want to go through the hard effort of building an off-set smoker and not producing the desired smoke flavour.

Thanks again.
Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.