Better Know A Smoker Part Two: The Offset Box

23 Jan

There is one main reason why people what an offset box smoker…because they look really f*cking cool! You look like a serious BBQ professional with one of these big bad boys in your backyard.  Lets figure out what an offset box smoker really is, and the pros and cons of owning one.


On the left you see where the barrel where charcoal or wood is burned, we use ours almost exclusively as a stick-burner.  The larger barrel is where you cook all of that delicious meat.  One can imagine that the obvious problem with these grills is one side ends up much hotter than the other, this can lead to some pretty depressing sunday afternoons when you end up eating takeout staring at all of the beautiful meat you ruined.  There are dozens of cheap offset box smokers out there, and you really do get what you pay for.  Cheaper metals, and poorly designed leaks and gaps around the door and chimney can cause you to lose heat, and have temperature variations of up to 100 degrees from end to end.

Don't use your good bone-broth for this, as you are just going to discard it later

Our big boy BBQ

If you already have one of these you are in luck, you can use any heat safe silicone sealant to close up the gaps.  Remember, the only place smoke should be coming out of the smoker is the chimney, so if you see it leaking out the door, run to the hardware store as fast as you can and seal that thing tighter than a pair of hipster jeans.  There is also a great way to test for hot-spots found here, those can easily be fixed with a convection plate in the bottom of the smoker.  If you are in the market for one of these smokers but don’t feel like doing modification, there are several high-quality brands that will make a great addition to your backyard.


Ok, maybe you don’t have to go that high-end, but please consider that a smoker is a serious investment.  If you get one that does not work properly, you will not use it, and then you have just wasted a substantial amount of money on something that will turn into a rusty eye-sore that could probably get you fined by the home-owners association.

Don't be a victim!

Don’t be a victim!

Horizon and Oklahoma Joe make an incredible product, definitely worth the investment, or you could swallow your pride and get yourself barrel smoker, you wont have the ego inflating large size that we love to brag about in this country, but you get consistent temps and a very user-friendly design with little to no modification needed.  If you still have your heart set on an offset box smoker, look for one that is made out of thick metal, to help keep temperatures consistent.  A little shopping around at any BBQ store and you can feel which ones are made with high-quality materials and which ones are Chinese pieces of crap.  Thin metal simply cannot hold the heat the same.  Inspect the smoker and look for tight seals, or prepare to modify the smoker yourself with a little sealant, it really takes less than an hour to give yourself a superior meat machine.


And remember…BBQ is not a hobby, it is a way of life


Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Barbeque, Random


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8 responses to “Better Know A Smoker Part Two: The Offset Box

  1. Patrons of the Pit

    January 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Agreed, nothing looks quite so manly in the backyard than a big, greasy off-set, puffing away. They’re almost worth getting for aesthetic value alone! But we have found that anything under around 500 dollars, you’re going to have to be in a tinkering mood. Lots of mods to make as you said. But if you spend around a thousand minimum, you should be able to get a good off-set pit. That 1/4 inch steel is where it’s at, along with superior gap control.

    Good post!


  2. urbanpaleochef

    January 24, 2013 at 7:01 am

    I have an offset. Any suggestions about how to shore it up?

    • Primal Smoke

      January 24, 2013 at 9:15 am

      Next time you fire it up look for any places smoke leaks from. Usually the doors, firebox, and chimney are the biggest offenders. You can pick up a heat safe gasket or sealant like JB Weld epoxy, or any heat safe silicone caulking material and fill in the gaps. If you are leaky anywhere, it is best to just create a barrier around all of the openings. Next a disposable foil pan filled with water placed on the side near the firebox can help with the temperature variations if you are noticing any, as well as add hydration to the meat. A commercial convection plate is a good investment if you find you are really uneven or losing heat, or just some bricks in the bottom of the smoker can work in a similar fashion if youre on a budget. My husband also wants to put a thermometer installed on each end of the smoker with a drill and some of that sealant you can install as many as you like. We have even done with with our Weber grill for dual zone cooking. Lastly, if you are really desperate, a water heater blanket can be wrapped around the outside, we usually only resort to this when Qing in the winter because you lose heat so quickly. I hope that helps.

      • urbanpaleochef

        January 24, 2013 at 9:51 am

        It does, thanks! I’ve been using a water pan anyway; I find it’s a great way to add a secondary flavor without having to baste/paint the meat in the smoker, or to reinforce the primary flavor (ground up hickory chips in water is a great way to really drive home the hickory flavor!).
        I already used the caulk; and there’s no obvious leaking. I read online that that was a must-do when I bought it. But I’ve discovered over the past 2 years that it’s a relatively low-grade iron, and it leaks too much heat. I’ve been messing around with the idea of adding a second layer of tin, and insulating with leftover ash… What are your thoughts on a second layer? And how would you do it?

      • Primal Smoke

        January 24, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        I dont know a damn thing about welding, but if that seems practical for you then by all means do it! Another layer would certainly help keep the heat in and the wind out. I think a convection plate or firebricks will help hold heat too without having to break out any serious equipment. Sorry, I do not know much about doubling up the metal, it sounds like it would require a lot of molding and welding though. If you do try it, let me know how it works out!

  3. Megan

    January 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I can not WAIT to be out of an apartment and start buying some grilling equipment.

  4. Paleo Plan

    June 15, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Of course, the idea behind the Paleo diet recipes Olive oil, garlic and lemon chicken Black olives, lemon juice and garlic chicken
    saute regularly give you an extra zing. It really frees up a lot of vegetables for this beef stir fry- celery, carrots, mushrooms,
    or fruit and avocado, or a mixed green salad with sliced strawberries and sliced almonds.


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