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Unread 08-28-2011, 01:06 PM   #1
DirtyDirty00
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Default Questions about Offset Smokers... HELP!

So i bought myself a nice new offset from pits by JJ. ive been cooking for the past 2 years (summers) on a cinder block built offset. (not very efficient) the smoker arrives tomorrow and i have a few questions....


A) What do i do with the damper and the chimney damper? should i keep them both all the way open when i start my fire? Do i let it burn until its the temp then close up the dampers? When do i touch the chim damper? What is that used for? ect? any instruction would be a great help. thanks guys.

B) the pit says it uses "standard logs" what does this mean and how big are standard logs? I have split wood that i use for my smoker now. just normal splits. are these standard logs? I would think they are too big for the smoker but maybe not.

C) also if anyone has any experience with a JJ, they have another damper between the firebox and the cooking chamber... should i leave this open all the way at first as well? if so when should i start to use this? Last resort?
thanks everyone.
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Unread 08-28-2011, 01:12 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by DirtyDirty00 View Post
So i bought myself a nice new offset from pits by JJ. ive been cooking for the past 2 years (summers) on a cinder block built offset. (not very efficient) the smoker arrives tomorrow and i have a few questions....


A) What do i do with the damper and the chimney damper? should i keep them both all the way open when i start my fire? Do i let it burn until its the temp then close up the dampers? When do i touch the chim damper? What is that used for? ect? any instruction would be a great help. thanks guys.



B) the pit says it uses "standard logs" what does this mean and how big are standard logs? I have split wood that i use for my smoker now. just normal splits. are these standard logs? I would think they are too big for the smoker but maybe not.

C) also if anyone has any experience with a JJ, they have another damper between the firebox and the cooking chamber... should i leave this open all the way at first as well? if so when should i start to use this? Last resort?
thanks everyone.

Congrats on your purchase.. What model did you get from JJ ?


A) Keep them both all the way open when you start.. Always keep the chimney fully open, regulate your temp with the firebox side but never close it down far enough that you choke air flow to the fire... better to control the fire with less wood than too little air supply.

I let the temps go slightly above my target temp as pit temp will come down a bit once door is open and relatively cold meat added.

B) split logs should be fine (depending on size of your firebox).. usually 15-20" splits.
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Unread 08-28-2011, 01:16 PM   #3
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i got the 20x48


thanks. when would i ever need to use the chimney damper?

the firebox is 20x20x18 so if i have 15" splits, i could basically only fit 1(?) in at a time. would this burn if it was just in there by itself sitting on coals? I feel that it would go out...
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Unread 08-28-2011, 01:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by DirtyDirty00 View Post
i got the 20x48


thanks. when would i ever need to use the chimney damper?

the firebox is 20x20x18 so if i have 15" splits, i could basically only fit 1(?) in at a time. would this burn if it was just in there by itself sitting on coals? I feel that it would go out...
I never adjust... always fully open. Others w/ offsets may have differing opinion, but I think the majority also keep fully open.

Something not right about the wood... basically a 3-6" wide, 15-20" long split log.. you should easily be able to fit several.

Think of the size you typically see sold in bundles at a gas station/7-11 store etc.. If you wish you can split those too.. same length, just split the width.
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Unread 08-28-2011, 01:57 PM   #5
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I never adjust... always fully open. Others w/ offsets may have differing opinion, but I think the majority also keep fully open.

Something not right about the wood... basically a 3-6" wide, 15-20" long split log.. you should easily be able to fit several.

Think of the size you typically see sold in bundles at a gas station/7-11 store etc.. If you wish you can split those too.. same length, just split the width.

yes this is the size. the pit hasnt arrived yet so im not quite sure how many will fit. i was just guessing. if i build an actual fire, lets say with 3-4 logs, wont it get too hot?


also, how to you start your fires in your offset? Small twigs? like a campfire? Or can i start with a chimney of charcoal to use as coals and throw a log or two on top?
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Unread 08-28-2011, 02:02 PM   #6
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The chimney damper keeps the water out when not in use. Also, you can use is along with the firebox damper to snuff out the fire at the end of a cook session.

I start my fire with either a bed of Kingsford (I have a large charcoal basket for my Kingfisher) or with a propane weed burner. This also helps preheat the cook chamber.

Best way in a smaller cooker would be to start with at least one chimney of charcoal and then start adding the wood.
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Unread 08-28-2011, 02:05 PM   #7
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thanks guys.

have either of you ever tried to use a charcoal basket and do the minion method in your stick burners?

i know thats not what is normally done, but CAN it be done for an overnight cook if desired?
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Unread 08-28-2011, 02:37 PM   #8
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thanks guys.

have either of you ever tried to use a charcoal basket and do the minion method in your stick burners?

i know thats not what is normally done, but CAN it be done for an overnight cook if desired?
I've not used a charcoal basket in either my current Klose or my first offset, Pitts & Spitts.. I know there are quite a few others who have and hopefully they'll reply when they see this.
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Unread 08-28-2011, 02:46 PM   #9
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thank you. BTW how did u guys do with the storm out on the island?
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