Jumped right in with the horizontal smoker - Question about temp regulatin'

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by steelpeart, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. So I started off with some pork spare ribs and a pork shoulder (pulled pork) and WOW.  The results were pretty darned good:



    The ribs and shoulder came out great - I used the three hour smoke on the shoulder (to 150 degrees) and transferred to the oven to continue to about 204 degrees.  The shoulder just fell apart and the pulled pork looks great!

    My only question and problem right now is that of regulating the temperature on this type of smoker...I felt like I had to babysit this thing all night long - either too high or too low...and couldn't get this thing above 200 unless there was a lot of new wood on fire in the burn box.

    Suggestions?  Comments?  I started off with a few pcs. of charcoal to light the first few chunks of wood, and used about 4-6 chunks of wood at a time adding slowly to the box. 

    This particular model has grates in the burn box...do I take those out and add more wood for more coals and a hotter burn, or is there another trick?

    Woods used; hickory and mesquite - the bagged kind from Wal Mart in the charcoal section.
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The more you use it the better you will get a keeping a constant temp, but you will always have to stay with it.
  3. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    Small offsets are difficult to control and need almost constant monitoring.  The best way I have found is to use a bed of charcoal and add wood for flavor.  If you can keep it with 10 -15 degrees of where you want it you are doing well.  You also need to keep an eye on the wind direction, the more wind the faster the heat gets drawn out.  If the breeze is lined up with your dampers it can act to stoke your fire....I have heard of people finding a thermal blanket to help moderate temps and a well sealed cooking chamber is a big advantage.

    Just bear with it and you will get to where you can make great Que but you will have to tend it.  BTW nice looking first attempt

  4. Welcome to SMF. There are mods that you can do to this smoker to make it perform much better. Use the search bar up top to search char-griller mods. I have the same smoker basically and I can keep mine at 250 no problem without using tons of charcoal. I know if I insulated the thing it would be even better. Good luck.
  5. Yes, you HAVE to play around with it. I have a smoker like that and on my last

    smoke (9/10) I started with a liberal bed of charcoal and added hickory just before

    I put the meat on. I didn't have a problem keeping it at 230-240 consistent.

    The only thing I did was put more chips in every 45 minutes or so. The ribs and

    whole chickens came out nice and juicy.

    I have mods to do of course but I'm still in the playing around faze as I've only had

    the offset for a month and a half now. You'll lose some food and some will taste great.

    That's playin' around, but in the end, you'll be able to control your heat in your sleep...literally.

    Have fun and smoke 'em if ya' got 'em...James
  6. I have a 20x42 off set and like others have said your going to have to stay with it, its the nature of a stick burner. I can go 30-45 min with out tending to it on a good day. So stick with it you will get the hang of it. 
  7. kosmo

    kosmo Fire Starter

    I just try and keep it within a moderate range of what I want. Some days depending on wind, temp, barometric pressures you'll have no problem....then there are other days you work to keep it close. Relax and enjoy low and slow ! Kinda like the thorazine shuffle ........

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