# Temperature variance across reverse flow offset smoker

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#### FJ88

##### Newbie
Original poster
In a reverse flow smoker, Is it normal to have a 35 F temperature variance between one side of the smoker and the other side? Is there a way to resolve this problem? what techniques can be used to go around it?

I have had An Oklahoma Joe Reverse Flow Smoker for quite sometime and I have used it a number of times as well. So far, I have only used it to cook a single or a couple pieces of meat, which means I only used one side of the smoker and it produced really good meat.

This time I wanted to use the entire surface of the smoker and before that, I wanted to check the temperature across the smoker. So I did a dry run and I placed 2 temperature probes in both sides at the grating level and the third one is the one fixed to the door. I noticed as the temperature rose, the difference between the two probes is up to 35 F or higher.

For instance,
Right side probe (closer to the fire box) was reading 229 F
while the Left side was reading 198 F,
the top left was reading 225 F

Another moment;
Right side (close to fire box) = 246 F
Left Side = 208 F
Top left ~ 240 F

Pictures provided

So is this normal? How to resolve it or go around it?

Last edited:
JLeonard
I've never used a reverse flow but I think any type offset or just about any smoker you'll have hotter spots, I would worry about 35 degrees just rotate your meat once in a while. I'm sure others will chime in.

JLeonard
Most pits have their own temperature signature. The easiest way to map your cooking grate is to buy a tube of biscuits, and tear little squares of tin foil. Fire your pit and after about an hour, open the biscuits and put one on each tin foil square. Then set them on the cooking grate and check them in 10 or 12 minutes, go longer if some are not browning. Anyways, the degree of browning shows you the hotter areas. Dont forget to take a picture or a sketch for future reference.

In a reverse flow smoker, Is it normal to have a 35 F temperature variance between one side of the smoker and the other side? Is there a way to resolve this problem? what techniques can be used to go around it?

I have had An Oklahoma Joe Reverse Flow Smoker for quite sometime and I have used it a number of times as well. So far, I have only used it to cook a single or a couple pieces of meat, which means I only used one side of the smoker and it produced really good meat.

This time I wanted to use the entire surface of the smoker and before that, I wanted to check the temperature across the smoker. So I did a dry run and I placed 2 temperature probes in both sides at the grating level and the third one is the one fixed to the door. I noticed as the temperature rose, the difference between the two probes is up to 35 F or higher.

For instance,
Right side probe (closer to the fire box) was reading 229 F
while the Left side was reading 198 F,
the top left was reading 225 F

Another moment;
Right side (close to fire box) = 246 F
Left Side = 208 F
Top left ~ 240 F

Pictures provided

So is this normal? How to resolve it or go around it?

View attachment 659324View attachment 659325View attachment 659326View attachment 659327
I have the same smoker. being gullible I did all the mods (gaskets,RTV,additional top thermometer.) first couple of cooks i did the left probe right probe test. I didn't document my my old ass brain seems to remember about a 15 degree differnce in right to left. After a bout 6 wood chucking cooks I determined I was too lazy and susceptible to alcohol effcts to continue

regular cooks on an
offset. The food was great, but it's a b\$%ch finding good wood in the Miami area. Mine is sitting covered and well oiled to date.

I don't have a reverse flow - but I do have an OKJ Highland with even temps. Maybe some of these ideas in the post below will help - maybe not. Good luck.

What thirdeye said. thinner RF like the OK Joe will vary as the fire varies but what you showed above is nothing to worry about, as a general rule it's always a bit hotter on the fire box side but once you do the biscuit test you will understand the "general" heat profile of your smoker and then you can use that to your advantage.

BigBryanSr
There are temp differences in everything! My WSM can have a 25°F higher temp on the grate under the top vent because that's in the heat flow. Heck, even my kitchen oven has a 15°F difference between the bottom shelf and the top one. Thankfully it's only 5°F difference front to back.

Now that you know your smoker, you can place meat and rotate accordingly.

jaxgatorz
Any smaller backyard offset stick burner is going to have temperature variance across the cooking area - there is no getting around it. With time you can figure out how best to mitigate that fact by regulating your fire, finding the best location to place your food, and learning when to rotate it to cook it evenly. As stated above I would start with a biscuit test and go from there.

And the temps from left to right were less than 5 deg the entire time minus the span when I was playing catch-up. Then it was still only about 7 deg!

Now I am truly convinced you don't need a flap or dampener between the FB and CC. It's holding temps steady at 80 deg left to right. I'm a true believer in DaveOmak's calculator.

Marknmd
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