how to get offset smoker hotter

Last Updated on: 20th April 2023, 08:51 pm

Offset smokers are usually used for smoking for longer time intervals which they can do efficiently. But the problem arrives when you want to heat up the smoker to a higher temperature for grilling or smoking.

 This article will provide you some valuable nuggets on how to get offset smoker hotter.

Let’s get started.

how to get offset smoker hotter

Temperature is the most important factor when it comes to cooking with an offset smoker. But sometimes you may not be able to hit the right temperature to smoke your meat effectively. 

Then you may consider making different adjustments in your smoker to heat it up.

Temperature in a smoker is not the result of just the fire burning in the firebox. It’s actually the byproduct of different factors that need to be adjusted carefully to achieve the desired temperature. 

If your smoker is not heating up then you might consider following guidelines to get the most out of your smoker.

Provide maximum airflow

The most important factor in heating up a smoker is airflow within the smoker. If the airflow within the smoker is reduced then it can lead to the drop in the temperature of the smoker and  stopping the fire. 

If the air flow is increased then the temperature also increases.

Oxygen is required for the combustion of fuel and burning of fire. If the airflow is maximized in the smoker then it will provide more oxygen for the quick burning of the fuel.

 If the fuel is burnt quickly then more heat will be produced in less time.

To maximize the airflow to increase the temperature , you will have to wide open all the vents of the smoker. 

Most of the offset smokers come with two types of vents, a bottom vent that provides the route for the entrance to the air and a top vent which provides exit to the air.

To increase the temperature you will have to open the bottom vent so that more air can enter the smoker at once. The intake of more air will result in the increase of oxygen composition in the smoker due to which the temperature will increase.

In addition to the bottom vent , you should also open the top vent. Although some heat will escape from the smoker when air leaves the smoker, it’s required to remove the combustion gases present in smoke. 

The flammable gases get burnt and remaining gases are removed  through the top vent.

Remove water pan

Water pan is an essential  component of the offset smoker which provides humidity to the internal air of the smoker. 

The humidity inside the smoker helps in maintaining the temperature of the smoker and avoid drying out of meat during cold smoking for a longer time.

Although a water pan has many advantages, it can be a problem while heating up your smoker . The evaporation of water is done by absorbing heat, due to which the heat of the smoker is reduced or can’t be increased because more heat will lead to more evaporation.

To heat up the smoker, you should remove the water pan from the smoker and allow the smoker to heat up to your required temperature. 

After the smoker has achieved the desired temperature you can then add the water pan if you want to increase humidity.

Use bigger charcoal basket

When smoking for a longer time, your charcoal pan can run out of charcoal which can lead to the unexpected drop in temperature. 

It will be difficult to heat up the smoker again and if you succeed in increasing the temperature ,your meat will be affected by continuous fluctuations in temperature.

To avoid this problem, you should consider modifying your smoker with a bigger basket that can contain enough charcoal to carry out cold smoking. 

These kinds of charcoal baskets are not easily available commercially but you can make one for yourself as long as it’s heat resistant.

Provide insulation

The heat produced by your fuel will be wasted if the smoker is not insulated. If the smoker is built up of thin metal and is not insulated then the weather can affect the internal temperature easily.

 If the environmental temperature is low then it will be difficult to get the smoker hotter.

You should consider upgrading to an insulated smoker or modifying your current offset smoker with an Insulation blanket to make sure that the heat produced is maintained within the smoker without being influenced by the environmental conditions.

Smoke in warmer weather

The weather conditions can affect the temperature of the smoker to a large extent. Even if the offset smoker is insulated, they can still prolong the process and burn more fuel to maintain the temperature. 

So it is better to see the weather forecast before planning the smoking and make sure weather conditions are favorable for smoking.

Clean the ash

Cleaning the ash is also important for getting your offset smoker hotter. When charcoal or Wood is burnt in an offset smoker they can lead to the building up ash in the firebox.

 If this ash is not cleaned frequently then it can lead to the obstruction of airflow inside the smoker and smothering of fire.

This ash can also damage the build of your smoker and lead to development of rust. Most smokers come with a removable charcoal pan which makes the cleaning of the ash more easy. 

In addition to that you can also use aluminum foil to make it easier to clean.

Avoid using wet charcoal

Using wet or damp charcoal is another mistake done by pitmasters that can affect the temperature of a smoker.

 Using the old and decaying charcoal may save you some bucks; it will not produce heat constantly to smoke your meat.

Sometimes the charcoal Is in good shape but it is destroyed by spilling water over it when adding water into the smoker. It can also affect the heating of smokers.

 If you are using wet charcoal then it will take you ages to heat your smoker to required temperature.

If that’s the case then you should consider replacing the wet charcoal with the exact amount of dry charcoal. 

In case of using old or wet charcoal, if you can’t afford to buy a new bag of charcoal then you should pre lit the available amount of dry charcoal and then add the damp charcoal later over it.

Use accurate thermometer

If you are using a good quality smoker but are not able to heat up at higher temperature, then you may consider checking your thermometer, if it’s giving the accurate reading to you. 

Most built in thermometers are inaccurate and provide reading that is different from the actual temperature of a smoker.

If you find out that your thermometer is inaccurate then it is better to modify your smoker with a digital dual thermometer which can provide you the accurate reading of the internal temperature of the smoker and the internal temperature of food. 

You should consider buying the thermometer with longer probes to provide the accurate reading of internal temperature.

how hot can an offset smoker get

The temperature of a smoker varies from smoker but most of the smoker can heat up to 400F° which can be useful while grilling.

 But to smoke meat efficiently while retaining its tenderness it’s better to smoke it at 225-275 F° . Cooking at a higher temperature can lead to uneven cooked meat and fluctuations that are too sudden to be adjusted.

Offset smokers are usually used for smoking . These are designed to smoke meat at low temperature for a longer time without fluctuations. 

Fluctuating temperature can affect the taste of your meat and its tenderness. You should preheat the smoker and add meat once it has achieved the required temperature.


Various factors contribute to the heating of smokers. The adjusting of these factors is a continual process that is done throughout the smoking process to smoke meat evenly while retaining its tenderness at the same time. 

You can heat up the smoker by maximizing the air flow and continuously providing the fuel to avoid drop in temperature. It can be complex at the start but you can only master heating up a smoker by practicing it over time. 

Jakob miller