When using an offset smoker, you have a lot of options and considerations beyond the typical grill or smoker. If you’re not familiar with offset smokers, they’re also known as “Tailgate Smokers.”
They are typically larger than your average grill or smoker, and are insulated to keep smoke inside.
Most offset smokers also have a front access door that allows you to add wood chips or other smoking accessories without opening the lid on your meat. In this article we’ll cover some tips and tricks for using them in your off set setup.
Check the Dimensions of Your Offset Smoker Before Buying
The biggest mistake new offset smokers owners make is buying an offset smoker based on the features of their favorite model. While these features can be great, they’re not necessarily going to be a good fit for your offset smoker.
The most important dimension to take into account when choosing an offset smoker is the cooking chamber width. Any offset smoker that is smaller than the width of your cooking chamber will be too small.
If you’re unsure what size your offset smoker is, you can measure the inside of your smoker. Measure the inside of the smoker with a tape measure or ruler.
If you can’t find a tape measure, you can also just estimate the width of the smoker with your hands. It’s important to take the width of the smoker into account when choosing an offset smoker.
While there are offset smokers available in a wide range of sizes, most are between 24” and 32” wide.
Know the Different Types of Pellets
Many brands of pellets are sold as lump, briquette, cube, or pellet. The different types of pellets have minor differences in burning rate and taste, which can be important when choosing a particular brand for your smoker.
Lump Pellets: These are the pellets most often found in smokers. They have a very coarse texture, have a low melting point, and burn very hot. This can result in a lot of ash and a bad taste in the meat.
Briquette Pellets: These pellets are made from sawdust and wood shavings. They have a medium texture, melt at a lower temperature than lump pellets, and produce less smoke. Because they’re made from sawdust, briquette pellets often burn hotter than lump pellets.
Cube Pellets: These are whole, split, or cut up sawdust and wood shavings that have been compressed into a cube shape. They have a fine texture and produce less smoke than lump or briquette pellets.
Don’t Forget the Temp Check
The first time you use your new offset smoker, you’ll want to make sure it reaches the desired temperature. The easiest way to do this is with a digital or analog thermometer.
If you don’t have any type of thermometer, you’ll want to get one that can reach temperatures between 225° and 250°F.
You’ll want to check the smoker’s surface temperature first, before digging down into the smoker and checking the rest of the smoker’s components.
It’s important to check the smoker’s surface temperature first, as there are many misconceptions about how to check and maintain the surface temperature of an offset smoker.
Understanding the Consistency Principle
There are a few things to keep in mind when using pellets in your offset smoker. The first is the consistency principle. This is the idea that in order to get consistent results, you should use the same type of fuel in your smoker from the very beginning to the very end.
The consistency principle is particularly important when using chips, which are made from sawdust. If you use a different brand of chips for the first few weeks, the flavor of your brisket will be affected. When using pellets, you’ll want to make sure you use the same type of pellet throughout the smoking process.
If you light a new piece of wood, you’ll want to use that wood until the end of the smoking process. You should also make sure you’re using the same type of wood throughout the smoking process, as well. You can’t use your first piece of wood when you’re done smoking and then use your last piece of wood when you’re done.
Use Common Sense When Working With Your smoker
While it’s important to follow the consistency principle when using pellets in an offset smoker, it’s also important to use common sense. Many people make the mistake of thinking that pellets are so hot that they don’t have to think about maintaining the temperature of their smoker.
While pellets are a great way to get a good hot smoke, you’ll also want to maintain the temperature through the rest of the smoking process. If you let the surface temperature of your smoker drop too low, your meat can end up too dry and the smoke can end up too heavy. To keep your smoker at the desired temperature and maintain the consistency principle, you’ll need to:
* Check the smoker’s surface temperature at the beginning of each smoking session.
* Maintain the right temperature inside your smoker using the vents and water pan.
* Keep the meat moving and add more chips or wood as needed.
Wrapping Up: Is an Offset Smoker for You?
Offset smokers are great for many types of smokers. If you want to enjoy brisket, pulled pork, or other types of barbecue, an offset smoker will give you great results. Another great reason to consider using an offset smoker is that they are great family smokers.
Offset smokers are insulated and insulated, meaning that you can use them for hours at a time without worrying about the temperatures getting too high or too low. They’re also easy to use, meaning that you don’t need a ton of experience to get great results. If you’re considering an offset smoker, make sure you get the right one for your needs.