Ultimate TEMP CONTROL mod on the Oklahoma Joe's Offset Smoker (2023)


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A big question that I get asked all the time is how to make fire Management on a small Offset Smoker.

A lot easier than it is for example, on the Oklahoma Joe's, Offset, Smoker, it's, very difficult to get low and slow temperatures of around 200 to 225 while still burning a hot, clean burning fire, where you're only burning sticks.

So you're, not just burning charcoal, you're burning sticks.

And that is the primary heat Source.

When people do this, they tend to be stuck in the temperature zones of 275 to 325.

They can't get the temperatures down, and they often have really big temperature spikes that Spike up to 325 and then back down to 225.

And then all the way back up again.

So in this video I'm testing out a potentially revolutionary new method that could make fire management easy, even for a beginner let's, get smoking in previous videos.

You'll see me sitting by the smoker and constantly tending to it to get steady temperatures.

But the reality is I don't always have time for that.

Now that I'm a dad, my time is really precious to me and I want an easier way to get low and steady 10 temperatures on my small offset now I could just burn all charcoal and close the vents down and get steady temperatures low and slow for hours, but I don't want to do that because I believe that the best flavor comes from burning actual sticks and having a live fire in that Firebox that is burning at all times that's.

What I do with my larger offset smoker and that's? What I want to do with my Oklahoma Joe's because it produces the best results.

But if I run the smoker with all wood splits, it just likes to sit in the temperature zone of 275 to 325 and to get it to 225 I really have to be watching the fire I have to use really small dry splits and add them like every 10 to 15 minutes to keep that low temperature going and still have a burning flame in the Firebox.

And it doesn't go out and produce smoldering, nasty smoke.

So the challenge I started thinking about is how do I stick burn in my Oklahoma Joe's while still getting low and slow temperatures of around 225 and not have to sit by the smoker all day and that's when I saw an Amazon ad on social media, the other day, you know, those weird ones where it shows a bunch of weird stuff that you can buy on Amazon.

You don't know what it is because it doesn't have a product name.

So you click on it to find out.

And it just leads you down a rabbit hole, maybe I'm.

The only one that sees these ads, but I actually clicked on one.

And what I saw was a transmission, cooler, basically, a small radiator that I actually had no use for at all or did I.

The next day I was tending to my smoker and trying to dial in the temperatures, but still getting temp swings and not able to get below 250.

But even with those challenges I was still daydreaming and I was thinking quite a bit about that ad that I saw yesterday about the radiator on Amazon.

And it made me think back to my Army days in Afghanistan I used to work with a bunch of tank mechanics and I actually learned a lot about engines while I was over there, let's use this whiteboard for an example.

So in the tanks, we had these massive radiators.

And in the radiators, we had coolant tubes that squiggled in the radiator like that they went in like there.

And then they went out like that.

So we'd have the power pack over here.

So that is is the engine power pack.

And we would have hot hot liquid coming out of the power pack all hot from the combustion of diesel fuel and the engine's activity.

And then it would flow through these tubes.

And what the radiator also had is these squiggly little things made of aluminum called cooling fins.

And that increased the surface area that was in contact with these tubes.

And it exchanged all that cold air that was flowing through the radiator with these tubes.

So we have cold air coming in from outside.

And then we have it being exchanged with this hot fluid.

And then we have cold fluid going back to the engine and the cycle repeats itself, but because thermodynamic principles work equally as well in Reverse, what happens if we have cold water going in instead so cold water or coolant going through these tubes, and we have hot air hot air going in through the radiator.

So the hot air is going in it's, exchanging with this cold water.

And then what we get out of the back end of the radiator is cold air.

And at the other end, what we'd get is hot fluid, and that would just be dumped into a bucket, for example.

So I thought in theory, I could install this into my smoker and I'd have the Firebox here with the burning fire, that's.

The Firebox all that hot air is flowing through the radiator with cold fluid.

In this case, water going through it it's, exchanging.

And then what I get in the cook chamber over here, oops cook chamber.

And what I get is cold air or cooler air.

So that if I'm getting, you know, 300 degrees air coming into the radiator, maybe I'm getting 225 on the other end, which is exactly what I want I'll just erase this and I'll put this back in That's supposed to be 225.


The thing I love about dry erase markers, they're quite remarkable.

But the big question is would all of this work and allow me to get the low temperatures I want with a hot burning fire in the Firebox or is it just a poorly drawn out plan on a whiteboard before I get to installing the radiator I want to thank the sponsor for this video established titles established titles is a Project based on Scottish custom, where if you own land, you are a lord or lady.

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Don't worry.


This thing is already a Frankenstein from all the experimentation.

I do so I wasn't really worried about it I then inserted the rubber tubes that came with the radiator, which might sound like a dumb idea.

But as long as there's cold water running in them, they won't melt.

Why is that? Well, here's an old thermodynamics experiment that you might have seen in high school, I have a bag here filled with air and one filled with water when I apply a very hot torch to the air filled bag.

You can see it melts, almost instantly.

But when I apply the torch to the water filled bag, it takes a long time to melt.

This is because the water in the water filled bag is absorbing all of that heat that's being applied to the plastic bag it's in contact with.

And the plastic is staying relatively cool as a result without getting too scientific about it.

This is because water basically loves heat energy, and it likes to steal that heat energy from other things it's in contact with like this plastic.

So as soon as the plastic gets a little bit hot from the torch, the water Wicks away that heat and keeps the plastic from melting.

Now, this bag still eventually melted.

Because usually this experiment is done with a lighter and I'm using a super hot blow torch.

But you guys get the point.

So even though I'm using a rubber hose in contact with the hot air in the smoker and the metal of the smoker next to the Firebox it's, not going to melt that being said, this setup is just a proof of concept if I improve on it and I start using it more I'll, definitely switch over to a metal tubing because I don't know what kind of chemicals are burning off the outside of that rubber hose and getting on my meat, but at least I know for now it's not going to melt now I'm hooking up a garden hose to one end of the radiator.

And the other end is emptying into a bucket.

You could also just empty this into the drain, the sewer or even your lawn or garden to make sure the water is not going to waste.

And after I turn on the flow of water, I'm starting up the fire with my grill gun and I'm monitoring the great level temperature in my smoker with my thermowork signals after a few hours of monitoring the smoker temperature.

It became apparent that it was a little bit too efficient patient at doing its job.

I could barely get temperatures above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

And when I tried adjusting the flow of water to just a trickle to try to bring the temperatures up a little bit that really didn't work.

And it was just too good at cooling the air from the Firebox that was going into the cooking chamber.

For example, with this big of a fire I was still only getting 170 to 180 degrees at Great level, which was way too low.

So back to the drawing table, I had to think of some ways to make the radiator less efficient.

The first option is I could have pulled it back from the Firebox, but then the hot air from the Firebox would just go up and over the entire radiator, and it wouldn't go through it.

So the option I decided to go with is making the radiator itself, less efficient and I did that by removing a bank of the cooling fins.

This would mean there would be less surface area for the aluminum fins to grab onto that heat energy and transfer it to the radiator coils with the cold liquid.

So more hot air would be allowed through the radiator and wouldn't get cooled down quite as effectively I did this by getting some tin, snips and I snipped out an entire Bank of fins between two coils and then I reinstalled it into the smoker.

The results were immediately successful.

Now I was able to run a steady 200 degrees at Great level with this size of fire or I was able to run a steady 220 to 225 degrees at Great level with this size of fire.

I was also able to adjust the flow rate going through the hose and with a higher flow rate, I could bring temperatures down.

And with a lower flow rate, I could increase the temperatures.

This provided just a little bit of extra control in any event.

I was getting a clean burning fire.

It was around 225 degrees and I wasn't having any temperature spikes up to 275 or 325 or anything like that.

So this proof of concept works with a radiator installed in a smoker I can burn a larger fire and still get a low and slow temperature of 200 to 225 degrees.

So at first blush, it appears to be a viable solution to the first issue I have with my smoker, which is getting low temperatures as for my second issue, which is getting inconsistent, flat temperatures for long periods of time and not having to tend to the smoker.

Well, it didn't do as great a job at that I could get lower temperatures, but I'd still need to tend the smoker by adding a split of wood every 20 minutes or so and I would still have to watch the fire read.

It see when a split was about to burn out, and then add another split and I'd have to use traditional fire management principles to manage the fire.

So it didn't really help me to save time or be able to be away from the smoker for longer periods of time.

But it did allow me to get low and slow temperatures of around 200 to 225 without having temperature spikes.

And while being able to burn with only splits with a small hot fire, burning the entire time, guys, if you're a barbecue nerd like me, then consider joining my patreon I'll link it in the description section below we got a really awesome Community there and you'll get access to a private Discord Channel where you can ask me any questions you want and get access to me in real time, we're having a good time over there.

So I hope you'll join us and I hope to see you in the next video, happy smoking.


How do I make my Oklahoma Joe smoker hotter? ›

Using lump charcoal will add more smoke flavor to whatever it is your smoking, because lump charcoal is made from pieces of wood burned down to be chunks of charcoal. Lump charcoal also tends to burn hotter and longer than charcoal briquettes.

How do you keep a 225 on an offset smoker? ›

Once the fire is going and coals are starting to form, shut the door on the firebox, leave the bottom firebox vent open but now close the chimney a quarter of the way. You want to have your temperature around 225-250°F/107-120°C for slow-cooking brisket, pork, lamb and even chicken.

How do I regulate the temperature on my offset smoker? ›

You control the heat and smoke flow in an offset smoker—in theory, at least—by adjusting the air intake and exhaust vents. (Open vents mean more oxygen, which produces a hotter fire.) In practice, temperatures vary inside the cook chamber, with the end nearest the firebox being the hottest.

How do you maintain 250 degrees in an offset smoker? ›

Maintaining the Temperature in your offset meat smoker
  1. Open up the dampers to allow more airflow if the fire is slowly going out and the temperatures are slowly dropping.
  2. Add more fuel i.e. charcoal or wood if your charcoal/timber is starting to run low.

Why won't my smoker get hot enough? ›

Feel like your smoker just isn't hot enough? First, ensure you still have enough charcoal in your fire box. If you've been running your smoker for several hours a gentle stir may be enough to get back up to temp. Sometimes you just need to add more fuel though.

How do I get my smoker to increase the temperature? ›

If you discover that your smoker's internal temperature isn't reaching 220 degrees Fahrenheit, you can turn it up a notch by adding more charcoal or wood. Charcoal, of course, burns hotter than wood, so it can quickly and easily increase your smoker's temperature.

What color should the smoke be on an offset smoker? ›

Smoke from wood or charcoal for cooking can range from bluish, to white, to gray, to yellow, brown, and even black. The most desirable smoke is almost invisible with a pale blue tint. You can see it below. Blue smoke is the holy grail of low and slow pitmasters, especially for long cooks.

Should the top vent of a smoker be open or closed? ›

The open vents will draw smoke from the charcoal and wood below so that it swirls over your food and out the top properly, giving you the best ventilation and the cleanest smoke. If the fire gets too hot, close the top vent almost all the way.

How do you stop white smoke from an offset smoker? ›

Translated into barbeque terms: white smoke is the sign of never-alive or nearly-dead fires. To counteract this, leave exhaust vents open to maximize oxygen intake to your coal or wood bed. This will increase the temperature of the flame and ensure your chosen fuel is fully combusting and creating only the good smoke.

What temperature do you offset smoke brisket? ›

Preheat to 275°F at the level of the cooking grate. 5. Smoke the brisket - Place the brisket pieces on the smoker and monitor the internal temperature with a remote probe thermometer. Put a half cup of beef stock in a spray bottle and spritz the brisket at the start and every hour until wrapped.

What is the snake method in offset smoker? ›

The snake method works by running a long ring of unlit charcoal briquettes around the outside of your weber. By then placing a few lit briquettes at one end of your “snake” you are able to keep a consistent low temperature for a long period of time as the lit beads gradually light the unlit beads.

How many coals for 250 degrees? ›

Usually around five lit coals will get you up to 225-250°F. Spread unlit coals evenly on one side of the coal grate. Place the lit coals evenly amongst the unlit coals. Place your food above the coals and put on the lid.

How often do you add fuel to an offset smoker? ›

Frequent refueling.

An offset BBQ smoker takes more incremental fire maintenance than some other types of charcoal-fired smokers, such as a Meadow Creek Box Smoker, Meadow Creek Pig Roaster, or Big Green Egg. As a rule, offset smokers need more fuel every 30–60 minutes (more on this below).

How do I get my smoker to 225? ›

How to Keep Charcoal Grill at 225°F
  1. Invest in a good temperature probe. To keep your grill stable at 225°F, you're going to have to keep an eye on the temperature. ...
  2. Light charcoal for fuel. ...
  3. Open the dampers. ...
  4. Set up a 2-Zone Grill. ...
  5. Adjust the vent as needed. ...
  6. Monitor the fuel.
Jun 20, 2017

What temperature do you smoke meat? ›

Smoking requires good temperature control. Meat smoking is best in the range of 200 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. To be safe, most meats need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees and poultry to 165 degrees. However, to get real tender barbecue you want a higher final temperature, say around 180 degrees.

What is the best temperature for a smoker? ›

The ideal temperature range for most smoking is 225°F to 250°F. A simple way to monitor temperature is to place a meat thermometer in the top vent of your grill, so the probe hangs down and measures the temperature of the air inside the grill.

Should brisket be fat side up or down? ›

Always smoke brisket with the fat side facing down. Fat-side down helps keep the seasoning on the brisket and makes it look better. Cooking brisket fat side up does not add moisture to the meat.

Does smoker get hotter with vents open? ›

Regardless of which vent you're messing with, remember that open vents mean hotter and faster-burning charcoal. Closed vents mean less oxygen, which in turn means less heat and slower-burning charcoal.

Can I leave meat in smoker to keep warm? ›

Safety-wise, as long as you keep the chicken above 140°F, you can keep it there forever. Once you get below 140°F, you're supposed to have it either eaten or cooled to 40°F within 2 hours. (It's actually safe a little lower—but it's best to leave a margin of error!)

How do I keep my smoker going all day? ›

Add More Wood As Needed

In addition to adjusting the dampers, as well as poking the coals, adding more wood will keep the fire going in your offset smoker. Whether you use cooking wood, smoking chunks or a combination thereof, they'll eventually burn to ash.

Should I use chips or chunks in my offset smoker? ›

The main difference is that chips burn faster than chunks. If you plan to add just a handful or two of chips for a light smoke over 20 minutes or so, then the burn rate is not a real issue. But if you want to smoke your food for an hour or more, it might be more convenient to use chunks.

What color smoke is too rich? ›

Black smoke is an indication that your air-fuel mixture is running rich. Gas engines are designed to run with just the right combination of fuel and air to create the most efficient conditions for combustion when spark is introduced.

Why is white smoke bad for smoking meat? ›

This is because this white smoke is a sign that your charcoals aren't ready to cook with. While this white smoke is billowing, you'll likely be at low temperatures and getting ash all over your food. Moreover, white smoke will cause your food to taste "over-smoked," bitter, and give it an oily aftertaste.

How far open should I set the vent on my smoker? ›

Control your vent position

As a rule of thumb, it is best to leave the vent fully open while you are applying smoke to your meat. By leaving the vent completely open, you avoid the risk of creosote building up on your meat.

Is it hotter at the top or bottom of a smoker? ›

The Golden Rule

Not all grills smoke at the same temperature, even when they read the same on the top. This brings up our final point- the thermometer is at the top of the lid, but guess what? The heats at the bottom so you're often going to have a hotter temperature on the grill grates.

How do you use vents on an offset smoker? ›

Open the air intake vent on the side of the firebox to really get the fire going nice and hot. For an extreme increase in temperature, you can also open the chimney vent. Close the vents as soon as the smoker is at the right temperature. Keep an eye on the smoker temperature while the vents are open.

Should I clean the inside of offset smoker? ›

After a lot of “deferred maintenance” or a long period of sitting idle, it is a good idea to rehab the smoker with a deep cleaning. If possible, leave the inside of the cooking chamber alone to retain the seasoning. But sometimes, you'll have to start over from scratch.

Why is my smoked meat bitter? ›

Some smoked meat tends to become bitter because of the formation of a substance known as creosote. Creosote is a rather thick and oily coating that covers the meat when smoking has gone on for too long. To strike a balance between heat and time is the ultimate key to getting the right amount of smoke.

How do you get blue smoke out of an offset smoker? ›

As we have discussed, a hot fire that achieves full combustion produces thin, blue smoke. Throwing wet wood on hot coals will affect the consistency of your fire's temperature. Remember, controlling the temperature of your barbecue is a key ingredient for success.

How long to smoke a 5 lb brisket at 225? ›

Smoked Brisket (5-10 lbs)
  1. Smoker Temperature: 225°F.
  2. Smoking Time: 5-7 hrs.
  3. Finished Temperature: 200°F.

How long to smoke a 12 lb brisket at 225? ›

For the initial smoke phase, I plan about 8 hours at 225 degrees F for my 12-13 pound briskets to reach 165 degrees F. However, your brisket will enter a phase in between 145 degrees F and 165 degrees F where the liquid evaporating from the surface of the brisket will cool it while your grill is trying to cook it.

What meat is best for the snake method? ›

The 'snake' method is commonly used for obtaining very low cooking temperatures for long periods of time. Great for low and slow cooking, think beef short ribs, pork ribs or brisket!

What is the best meat to cook on an offset smoker? ›

The best meats to smoke are meats with a high amount of collagen and fats such as pork shoulder, beef briskets, beef cheeks and rib. The connective tissues and fats breakdown during the cooking process which will keep the meat moist and tender.

What is the minion method? ›

The Minion Method allows you to cook for hours without having to add new charcoal halfway through your cook. It works by creating a circle around your charcoal grate with around 2kg of Weber Briquettes and then adding between 1 or 2kg of lit briquettes into the middle of the unlit briquettes.

Do you open vents to make smoker hotter? ›

Regardless of which vent you're messing with, remember that open vents mean hotter and faster-burning charcoal. Closed vents mean less oxygen, which in turn means less heat and slower-burning charcoal.

How do you adjust the temperature on an Oklahoma Joe pellet grill? ›

Control Knob - Set your desired cooking temperature, set timers and meat probes using the control knob. Pushing down on the knob will confirm selections.

How do I make my propane smoker hotter? ›

Control vents and airflow

Your smoke should have an intake damper at the bottom that allows air into the smoker; and an exhaust damper at the top that draws air out of the smoker. In simple terms, the wider your air vents are, the more oxygen will be fed to your flames and the hotter your cooking temperatures will be.

Should you smoke meat with vent open or closed? ›

KEEP THE AIR MOVING: Keep the vents on your charcoal grill open and position the vent on the lid on the side opposite the coals. The open vents will draw smoke from the charcoal and wood below so that it swirls over your food and out the top properly, giving you the best ventilation and the cleanest smoke.

Do you close the vents when smoking meat? ›

As a rule of thumb, it is best to leave the vent fully open while you are applying smoke to your meat. By leaving the vent completely open, you avoid the risk of creosote building up on your meat. Creosote is a compound in smoke, which, in small amounts, helps create the distinctive smokey flavor we love.

What temperature do you season a Oklahoma Joe smoker? ›

Allow the smoker to reach at least 275-300 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-3 hours. This'll ensure any leftover production chemicals and solvents burn off.

How long do I let my pellet grill smoke before turning it to the desired temp? ›

Within roughly 5 minutes you will hear the fire establish. Once the fire is established, wait another 5-10 minutes and close the lid. Set the temperature dial to your desired temperature and allow the grill to preheat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Start Traegering!

What temp produces the most smoke on pellet grill? ›

Smoking Temperatures Tend to Hover Around 250 Degrees

We've developed the chart as a starting point for your pellet grill smoker cook times. It's important to know that most smokes happen at around 225 to 250 degrees.

Is it better to smoke at 225 or 250? ›

When you smoke brisket at 250 degrees, it cooks faster but you do have to be careful as the meat can dry out too. While 225 degrees does create a longer cooking time, it is considered the ideal temperature by many – including me.

Should I smoke at 180 or 225? ›

If you prefer subtle smokiness, have high-quality meat, and have about 8-10 hours at hand to cook the dish, go for 180 degrees Fahrenheit. On the contrary, if you prefer a stronger smokey flavor, have a piece of meat with inconsistent marbling, and would like to cook fast, go for 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why is my smoker not getting hot enough propane? ›

If you're experiencing low flame and low temperatures, start by resetting your grill's gas regulator. All gas grills have a propane regulator that controls the flow of gas from the propane tank to the grill, and this regulator is one of the most common reasons why a bbq is not getting hot enough.

Should you soak wood chips for propane smoker? ›

In truth, soaking your wood chips and chunks isn't necessary and here's why. Wood chips and chunks that have been soaked have to get rid of any moisture before they can produce smoke. The water on the wood will have to heat to 212°F (the boiling point of water) and will stall there until the water has been evaporated.

How do you regulate the temperature on a gas smoker? ›

Dampers and vents: Because flames are fed by oxygen, the temperature settings on a gas smoker can be controlled by airflow. Heavy-duty dampers at the bottom of the unit can be opened, which allows more air to enter the device. The oxygen feeds the flames, and the temperature increases.

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