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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 02-07-2013, 06:19 PM   #1
Steve-W
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Default Offset smoker efficiency..

Ok Guys, I have been using my offset smoker for over 3 years now, but recently found this forum, so I want to ask you a question.

Are those of you who are using an offset smoker, also experiencing extreem high coal usage? let me elaborate:
If I cook a 12 pound pork butt, I'll go neatly through 10 pounds of coals..and my cooker temperature never exceeds 250 F.

I'm loosing so much energy in every direction but the right one..how can I fix this.
to give you some more info, it's a cheap thing (german made Oklahoma Joe wannabe) so as far as being airtight...hmmm not so much.
If i compleetly close the vents and the exhaust,,the damn thing will continue to burn until it has consumed it's last coal.
that, in my opinion, is not normal..but I'd love to hear your experiences and tips how to improve efficiency.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 06:27 PM   #2
IamMadMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-W View Post
Ok Guys, I have been using my offset smoker for over 3 years now, but recently found this forum, so I want to ask you a question.

Are those of you who are using an offset smoker, also experiencing extreem high coal usage? let me elaborate:
If I cook a 12 pound pork butt, I'll go neatly through 10 pounds of coals..and my cooker temperature never exceeds 250 F.

I'm loosing so much energy in every direction but the right one..how can I fix this.
to give you some more info, it's a cheap thing (german made Oklahoma Joe wannabe) so as far as being airtight...hmmm not so much.
If i compleetly close the vents and the exhaust,,the damn thing will continue to burn until it has consumed it's last coal.
that, in my opinion, is not normal..but I'd love to hear your experiences and tips how to improve efficiency.

Cheap offsets and well built offsets and are very far apart from each other in many different ways including quality.

Try googling "offset smoker mods" these will help with heat control, conduction, and to seal up the doors for better controlled airflow.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 07:21 PM   #3
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I have a Brinkman offset that has been relegated to the corner of the backyard for that same reason. The time to make it right wasn't worth the effort. I chose to build a UDS instead.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 07:28 PM   #4
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You simply need a fiberblanket
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Unread 02-07-2013, 07:31 PM   #5
HeSmellsLikeSmoke
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I did the math and determined that I would save enough in charcoal and wood chunks by using a WSM instead of my Brinkmann SnP Pro that I would, in effect, get the WSM for free. So I got it.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 07:41 PM   #6
ozlites
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My offset is just rusting away while my Bubba Keg does all the work now. I did mods, baffles, brought the chimney closer to grill level, you name it, i tried it, it is what it is...
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Unread 02-07-2013, 07:41 PM   #7
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Search for ways to seal the sucker up, and get a charcoal basket and do a minion controlled burn. You might also check on building yourself a convection plate.... Which probably won't help fuel conservation (won't hurt it either) but it will allow you some ability to even the heat out.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 07:54 PM   #8
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You need to seal up the fire box if it continues to burn when the dampers are closed it is sucking air and feeding the fire. All the newer OKJ's I have looked at the door on the fire box did not seal you could see the ground when looking through the top hatch. as to the charcoal usage Cheap offsets are thin metal and don't retain the heat well especially in your corner of the planet. A thick blanket simply draped over the cook tube helps with this.I strongly recommend that you switch over to burning hard wood splits. Start off with about 2-3 lbs of charcoal and feed it split wood 1 stick every 30-45 min will give you better heat ( more efficient). Sealing up the fire box will tame the beast. I would not use charcoal basket on that pit the fire box is to small, off sets are all about good flow using a charcoal basket blocks the flow and will give you a whole different set of issues.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 08:19 PM   #9
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You have found the ongoing problem with thin-walled offsets. The same scenario why we insulate our household thru the attic... loss of thermal energy.
Check and seal leaks... and insulate via natural fiber (non-synthetic) blankets by draping over the smoking chamber.

Thicker steel (mass) helps with heat retention, too.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 09:53 PM   #10
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Running an offset(a cheap one anyway) is a lot like running a locomotive. You know the guy in the coal tender who's covered in coal dust and sweating, trying to keep that steamer going? That is YOU! No offense, but fukc offsets. UDS all the way man. My offset hasn't seen attention for a looong time and I don't expect it will either. Other than photos for a craigslist ad maybe.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 10:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-W View Post
Ok Guys, I have been using my offset smoker for over 3 years now, but recently found this forum, so I want to ask you a question.

Are those of you who are using an offset smoker, also experiencing extreem high coal usage? let me elaborate:
If I cook a 12 pound pork butt, I'll go neatly through 10 pounds of coals..and my cooker temperature never exceeds 250 F.

I'm loosing so much energy in every direction but the right one..how can I fix this.
to give you some more info, it's a cheap thing (german made Oklahoma Joe wannabe) so as far as being airtight...hmmm not so much.
If i compleetly close the vents and the exhaust,,the damn thing will continue to burn until it has consumed it's last coal.
that, in my opinion, is not normal..but I'd love to hear your experiences and tips how to improve efficiency.
How long does the 10lbs last? 8, 10, 12 hours? On only 10lbs of coals that seem like a good burn ratio. When I ran all night cooks on my OKJ trailer offset I would run through 60-80 pounds of briquettes because it is so big.

Try wrapping the door with the vents in foil to eliminate as much of the airflow as possible, if you find you need air you can always crack the door.

Insulating the cooker with a welding blanket can also do wonders, especially during cold weather cooks. The ambient air temp can affect the amount of fuel used.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 10:21 PM   #12
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Inefficiency is the nature of the beast my friend. Cheap offsets are tough to manage BUT IMO are worth the effort. Some of the meat I cooked on my old offset was the best I've had and never has been duplicated on my other cookers. I hated to see it go but, the amount of charcoal I went through was a money pit. I'd go through maybe 20lbs of lump in a 6-8 hour cook keeping a 250* temp. And that was with mods.

I am currently saving up for a trailer Lang 48 Deluxe because I love cooking on an offset.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 10:53 PM   #13
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My 1st Smoker was an Offset CharGriller with a Side Fire Box. It used a lot of fuel and was a beast to maintain temps. It did produce some great food, probably because of the attention it needed to cook.

I have now removed the side Firebox and blocked the hole. It really makes a good Grill for Steaks, Chicken and Hamburgers.
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Unread 02-08-2013, 07:09 AM   #14
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10#s of KBB for a 12# butt seems incredibly efficient to me.
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Unread 02-08-2013, 07:17 AM   #15
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I go through much less fuel since I bought a high dollar (relatively) quarter inch thick offset than when I was battling the NBBD I formerly had. The WSM is more fuel efficient and much less work than the offset, but sometimes you kust gotta barbecue something and nothing beats a brisket or load of ribs cooked over pecan logs on the big guy. I can't seem to generate much in the way of bark on the bullet, but if you have other stuff to do while cooking, the big WSM with the IQUE 110 and remote therms gives you more freedom than having to throw logs in the firebox every hour.
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