how to improve offset smoker

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Last Updated on: 19th October 2022, 02:40 pm

The efficiency of an offset smoker can be improved by modifying various parts of the smoker. But most of the beginners panic about how to improve offset smokers. 

There are various modifications possible in an offset smoker which can help you get the most out of your smoker. In this article we will discuss the most important of those.

how to improve offset smoker

The offset smoker can be modified and improved by working on their weaknesses . The most common parts of offset smoker that need modification are discussed below.

Seal the smoker

Usually offset smokers come in parts which need to be assembled to make the working instrument. When assembled , there may be some gaps left which can lead to heat loss during the smoking process. 

This may lead to smokers not getting hot enough.

Smoking in an offset smoker that is not properly sealed is like fighting an uphill battle. You will need more effort than a normal smoker to get your meat smoked.

 The most common leakage points are the lid of the smoking chamber, gaps between smoking chamber and firebox and the door of the firebox that is used to add charcoal.

To avoid leakage, you should first consider buying an offset smoker with durable steel to reduce the chance of leakage at other points. 

  • After that you should seal the leakage points with a silicon seal that should be durable to heat.
  • For sealing the lid of the chamber you should keep in mind to use FDA approved chemical that should not produce any toxin upon heating. 
  • Many seals are commercially available that are food grade, that means that they don’t contaminate the food in the chamber.
  • For sealing the gaps between the firebox and chamber you can use any seal as long as it can reduce the heat loss.
  •  For sealing the door of the firebox, you should use a heat resistant seal that can withstand high temperature because the temperature of the firebox can go up to the extent of 1000F° during grilling.

The goal of sealing the gaps of the smoker is to minimize the heat leakage when the lid of the chamber and firebox door are closed. It aims to help offset smoker work as a whole when it’s assembled.

Add solid support

Budget friendly offset Smokers often come with thin and weaker wheels that can’t hold the weight of offset smoker and are broken.

 Sometimes these wheels are held at unequal levels which can affect the heat distribution within the smoker.

To tackle this situation you can upgrade to higher quality wheels that are durable and can withstand the smoker weight. 

If you are on budget and can’t afford to buy new weeks then you can simply weld metal bars to provide support to smokers. In case you can’t find suitable bars then you can add concrete blocks under it to elevate the smoker from ground.

Increase ventilation

The tenderness of meat smoked inside the offset smoker and the temperature control depends on the airflow within the smoker.

 Offset smokers often have an excellent design which provides ventilation and maintains airflow within the smoker.

But in case you are using a bullet smoker or an offset smoker that is not ventilated then you will have to increase ventilation to make the temperature control easier.

 The simple method to do this is just drill some holes at the bottom and on the top of the smoker near the lid to increase the airflow.

 But you should keep in mind the build quality of the smoker so that it should not be damaged during the process.

Modify thermometer

Most smokers come with built-in thermometers that keep you updated of the internal temperature during the process.

 But the readings provided by them are often inaccurate. Which means you will just shoot arrows in the dark.

You should consider modifying your built-in thermometer with a digital thermometer that can give you accurate reading of the inner temperature . 

While choosing a thermometer you should consider buying a thermometer with longer probes to give you accurate reading.

Tighten the bolts

As discussed above the offset smokers come in separate parts that need to be assembled. These parts are held together by bolts.

 But these bolts can loose after some time and lead to heat loss from the should tighten these bolts once in a couple of months to make sure they are tight.

Although this modification may sound odd but you can’t imagine how useful it is when it comes to retaining the heat within a smoker. 

Moreover it is a easy method which doesn’t require any expertise in smoking and on top of that it’s free 

Tuning plates

Tuning plates are an excellent modification for an offset smoker which can help the smoker in different ways. These are added at the bottom of the smoker which can help reduce the heat loss .

 Moreover they can also reflect the heat produced within the firebox to be distributed throughout the smoker evenly. And last but not the least ,it also retains heat which can help in maintaining the internal temperature.

This is an inexpensive mod for offset smoker which can help maintain the internal temperature of a smoker. They don’t require much effort while setting up. 

They just need to be washed and added at the slits in the bottom of the smoker.

Provide insulation

Most offset smokers have a thin build due to which they can be easily affected with temperature changes in the environment. 

If you are planning to  smoke in a cold environment or environmental temperature decreases during the process then it can prolong the process if your smoker is not insulated.

To modify the insulation of your offset smoker, you can add a welding blanket to make sure that the environmental temperature doesn’t affect the smoker. 

Welding blankets are inexpensive and easily available commercially. They can be a huge relief in cold weather.

Upgrade to Bigger charcoal basket

Offset smokers are usually used for cold smoking,which means they should be able to keep going without much effort. 

But if the charcoal basket of the smoker is smaller than the smoker might run out of charcoal during the process which can cause a sudden drop in temperature.

You should modify the charcoal basket with a bigger basket so that the smoker should be able to keep going for a few hours without checking the fuel frequently. 

The charcoal baskets are not available commercially and you have to make one for yourself.

While making a charcoal basket you should keep in mind some considerations. First it should be large enough to contain enough charcoal for smoking. 

Secondly, it should be heat resistant so that it should not melt when exposed to direct fire.

Why to modify your offset smoker

Offset Smokers are usually modified for two reasons. First one is two equip it with more effective components to increase its efficiency. 

Second reason for modifying an offset smoker is to decrease or eliminate the malfunctioning caused by low quality or broken parts of the smoker. 

Here are the most common malfunctioning caused in offset smoker

Thin construction

Often offset smokers are made up of thin steel , due to which their efficiency is affected. Thin steel can’t retain heat for longer time and inner temperature is easily affected by environment conditions. Moreover it also makes it less durable.

Having a thin build can help in moving the offset smoking easily but it can’t help in maintaining temperature inside the smoker. 

This is the most common problem in the cheap quality smokers due to low build quality.

its better to build your own smoker at home rather than going for cheaper ones. the cost of them will be nearly equal.

Heat loss

Heat loss can also be a problem with most of the offset smokers . The most common reason for the heat loss is low build quality but it can also be caused due to leakage of heat from the firebox or the lid of the chamber if they are not sealed properly.

This heat loss can affect the taste of the food being Cooked inside the smoker. If the Temperature keeps fluctuating continuously then it can lead to unevenly Cooked meat. 

Moreover if the heat is continuously escaping from the smoker then it will be difficult to heat up the smoker to a higher temperature.

Wheels at different levels

Most of the cheaper smokers are built with low quality material to reduce the cost. These low quality components can be a problem when using offset smokers for smoking. 

The most common component that has poor build in all of cheap smokers is the wheels.

The wheels of the smoker provide support to the smoker and help in moving the smoker outdoors or around the backyard. 

When these wheels are made up of low quality material then they can’t withstand the weight of a smoker and are easily broken.

Small charcoal capacity

Some of the budget friendly offset smokers come with smaller charcoal baskets which can contain only a little amount of charcoal at once. 

So during cold smoking you have to refill the basket with charcoal frequently to keep the smoker at constant temperature.

If the basket of the charcoal runs out during the smoking process , then it can lead to a sudden drop in temperature which can affect the taste of the food being smoked inside. 

If the charcoal basket is smaller than the temperature keeps fluctuating depending on the amount of charcoal in the basket.


Another problem that is faced in offset smokers after using for sometime is rust. Offset Smoker works at higher temperatures and when the external weather accompanied with water comes in direct contact with the smoker then it can cause rust.

Most of the low quality smokers have thinner steel and are prone to rust. Thinner steel can be damaged easily and leads to the development of rust.

 If the rust development is not stopped then it can destroy the build of the smoker and decrease the durability of the smoker.


Modifications are important for offset smokers to keep them going for a longer time . Even if you have acquired a new smoker,there will still be some room for improvement.

 By modifying the offset smoker, you increase the efficiency of the offset smoker while decreasing the chance of malfunctioning at the same time.

You should keep in mind the build quality and read the manufacturer instructions before modifying your offset smoker. We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any other query then ask us in comments.

Jakob miller
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