A smoker often consists of two booths, the firebox where the fuel is ignited and the cooking chamber where the meat is prepared indirectly. Because there are two booths you will always have an indirect preparation. In the cooking chamber you can also add coal to the bottom so that you can always carry out the direct preparation, but I do not recommend that. The advantage of separate booths also has the fact that the fat does not get on top of the fire and therefore never gets flares or the wrong smoke development.
Which fuel do you use in your offset smoker?
You can read that here!
CHARCOAL / BRIQUETTES
Charcoal or briquettes are very suitable for use in an offset smoker, provided you add some smokewood to it. An offset smoker is and remains primarily a smoker, so you will smoke your meat or fish in it and not grill it.
Wood is very suitable for the smoker, better than charcoal and / or briquettes.
The offset smoker is built to stoke with a wood fire and thus give the flavor of the fire to your dish.
Which wood you use in your smoker can best suit your dish. Below a table with different dishes and their optimal type of wood.
Everyone knows the 2 barrels of an offset smoker, but what are they for and how the hell do you light this thing?
I'll explain that to you in the next section.
START THE FIRE
By far the easiest way to start a fire in your offset smoker is to light a coal starter with a little charcoal / briquettes. When these are red-hot, cut them out in your firebox and place a block of wood on top. Open the door on the side of your firebox and the exhaust on your chimney fully, so that the wood gets more oxygen and it catches fire faster.
MAINTAIN THE FIRE
You have a fire in your firebox, now you need to maintain it. Keep a close eye on your firebox and temperature, if your temperature drops, this means that your fire is extinguishing. Open your firebox for a moment and put some new, dry, wood on it. It should catch fire right away and your temperature will rise again.
An offset smoker does not differ that much from all other BBQ's in the case of temperature control. You just need to know how to work with the air supply and exhaust and you're off.
MEASURING IS KNOWING
As always, it is important to have an accurate reading. For this you can calibrate your built-in thermometer in a jar of boiling water.
With an offset smoker, your thermometer is in the middle of your cooking chamber and not above the heat source as with a bullet BBQ. As a result, we will not put an extra thermometer on the grid.
WORKING WITH AIR SUPPLY
As on most BBQ's, an offset smoker has an air inlet and outlet. These can be in the form of a slide or a door. By playing with this you can keep the temperature of your smoker at the right temperature.
You use the door at the firebox to roughly regulate the temperature, by opening the door a little, your smoker will get more oxygen and the fire will increase. If you close it a little more, you get the opposite effect.
There is usually a valve on the chimney of your smoker to regulate your air discharge. You can fine-tune with this valve.
Your session is over and now your grill looks dirty, or your BBQ has been outside for too long and it starts to see some dirt. How do you best approach this?
In this section I'll explain how I clean and maintain my offset smoker.
An important part of your BBQ is of course your grill. If not clean it can be annoying flavors are added to your meat and mold can develop when you do not use your BBQ for a longer period of time. That's why it's important to carefully clean your grill after each session while it is still warm.
Cleaning your grill is very easy, you take a stainless steel brush and go over the grill surface thoroughly. This way you ensure that all coarser pieces are off your grid. Make sure you use a good quality wire brush, otherwise you run the risk of steel hairs coming off your brush and sticking to your grill. In this way, these hairs can end up in your food and thus also in your body with all its consequences.
Then you remove the grill from the BBQ and put them in a soaking bath to dissolve the smaller impurities.
You shouldn't really do much about the firebox. After the session you have to make sure you remove all ashes nicely. Ashes attract moisture resulting in rust. That is just something we want to miss.
THE GARDEN ROOM
After a few sessions, your cooking room can look very dirty. The best thing you can do is scrape out all the fat and then scour your cooking chamber with hot water. Make sure you do not use soap, this can soak into the metal and give it a taste at your next cook.
You can also try to prevent your cooking chamber from becoming dirty by lining the bottom with some aluminum foil, which you can remove after every cook and you will always have a nice smoker.
There is no paint that holds well under the influence of direct heat. Most heat resistant paint can withstand up to 600 degrees. When a firebox is fired, this temperature will certainly be exceeded. The paint will then burn white or, if not burned in properly, flake off. Rub with boiled linseed oil and the Smoker will turn black again. It is best to do this when the Smoker is still warm (not hot) then the oil will absorb well. Once or twice a year is sufficient for the cooking box. This will be necessary after every 2 times for the fire unit. In this way the Smoker will be well maintained for a long time. After use, place the smoker / BBQ dry or cover it with a protective cover.