Can you use an offset smoker as a grill?

Last Updated on: 26th June 2023, 02:30 pm

Offset Smokers are the most efficient for smoking whether we talk about temperature or taste.

But they are quite expensive than other smokers ,which might limit your budget to buy a separate grill for grilling.

So we have gathered all the important information required to start grilling with an offset smoker. 

As a general rule, offset smokers can be used for grilling . To use offset smoker as a grill, you will have to place your meat near firebox.

which means your meat will grilled by direct heat .

can an  offset smoker be used for grilling?

The short answer to the question whether you can grill or not in an offset smoker is yes.

But there are different modifications involved to use an offset smoker as a grill. Let’s first understand the working mechanism of the offset smoker to make it easier for you .

The offset smoker consists of two Chambers or boxes, one is bigger in size than the other. The bigger box is also known as a cooking chamber.
Related:5 Best Offset Smoker Grills of the Year

It is the place where smoking occurs. the smaller box is known as firebox of the smoker , the fuel is burnt here. 

So if we connect the dots then the fuel is burnt in the firebox and the heat produced flows through the firebox into the smoking chamber, which is later expelled out through the chimney.

Based on this mechanism, there are two ways to grill with an offset smoker.

Direct grilling

First method is to grill directly in the firebox. In this method the meat is placed directly over the fire to grill at the maximum temperature.

To grill in the firebox of an offset smoker, you will need to grill on a grilling grate. The firebox should be large enough to fit a grilling grate in it.

Most of the smokers come with a grilling grate for grilling in firebox but in case your smokers don’t have one then you may need to buy one for grilling.

If you can’t find a grilling grate then you can also use a cooking rack . But make sure it is heat resistant so that it doesn’t melt when exposed to direct heat .

Now that you have placed the grilling grate within the smoker , place the meat on it. The grill should be placed 3-4 inches above the fire . Now lit the charcoal to start grilling in the offset smoker.

Indirect grilling

Indirect grilling cooks the meat in the cooking chamber rather than firebox. It is more convenient than direct grilling and is done when you want to control the temperature at which the food is grilled .

To grill in offset smoker, you first need to place the meat in the smoking chamber. you can use the already installed grates for indirect grilling.

You need to make sure that the grates and firebox are cleaned properly to maximize the airflow.

After that ignite the charcoal and open all the vents to maximize the airflow. When the airflow is maximized, it will provide more oxygen for combustion which will increase the burning rate of fuel.

Due to which more heat is produced. This heat moves from the firebox into the smoking chamber where it grills the food .

The main difference between direct and indirect grilling is that in direct grilling,meat is directly exposed to fire , while in indirect grilling,the meat is grilled indirectly without being exposed to the fire.

It’s important to keep in mind that an offset smoker can’t Grill the meat with the same efficiency as a charcoal grill does.

Offset Smoker is versatile and can perform grilling but the meat might require a bit more time to be grilled completely.

Grilling is dependent on the temperature retention for maximum time due to which other type of smokers like reverse flow smoker are a bit better than offset smokers in this aspect.

Can we lit fire in a smoking chamber?

Some people find it more convenient to ignite the charcoal in the smoking chamber and directly grill in the smoking chamber without the hassle of adding a grilling grate in the firebox. We personally don’t recommend it .

There are multiple reasons to avoid direct grilling in the smoking chamber. The first one is that when you start a fire in Smoking chamber, it may not be as heat resistant as the firebox.

If the temperature is raised higher which is indeed required for grilling, the build of the smoker is damaged.

Secondly if the charcoal is burnt in the smoking chamber,it can produce ash in the smoking chamber which needs to be cleaned immediately .

Related :Food choking statistics 

If it stays there for some time then the smoking chamber may start to rust. Moreover the build will start to destroy due to seasoning after some time.

Which fuel do you need to use for grilling in an offset smoker?

In an offset smoker two types of fuel are used normally, which are wood and charcoal. If you want to produce more heat for grilling then you might use charcoal as a fuel source.

Moreover charcoal also helps in getting the best flavor while grilling. But in case you don’t want to use charcoal or only have wood to use for grilling, then it’s better to use hardwood for grilling.

The hardwood produces more heat and lasts longer than the softwood. When using wood as a fuel source, you should keep in mind the type of meat that you want to grill.

if you select wood randomly without any research then it can affect the taste of meat.

Tips for grilling in an offset smoker

  • While grilling in an offset smoker,it’s better to open all the vents to maximize the airflow within the will provide more oxygen for combustion and eventually result in higher temperature.
  • Its recommended to out smoker in a ventilated area to allow can continuous supply of air.
  • While grilling with an offset smoker, it’s better to remove the Water pan. Water pan is usually used for smoking but in case of grilling,we need higher temperature rather than humidity.
  • The suggested fuel source for grilling in an offset smoker is charcoal because it produces more heat than wood and also enhances the taste of food .while in case of wood ,you can destroy the flavor of food by just selecting wrong wood as a fuel.


So thats how you can use your offset smoker for grilling. But it should be kept in mind that it’s better to be master of one rather than become jack of all.

The charcoal grill specifically designed for grilling can grill the meat more conveniently and quickly than offset smoker.

You should give try to the both of grilling techniques and see which one works well for you.

Hopefully this guide will help you in getting the most out of your offset smoker. If you have any other tip for grilling in an offset smoker then we will love to hear it in comments.

Jakob miller