Running an Offset BBQ Smoker is a Skill, there is a learning curve, and it is not for everyone.
The biggest issue people find with an offset is getting and maintaining the right “Thin Blue” smoke without upsetting the neighbours.
The second issue people have is Time. Running an offset requires dedication, the fire will need tending every 45 minutes or so, and on a 12-16 hour Brisket cook, this can get a little tedious.
What follows is the basic instructions for running a small “Backyard” Offset.
Scroll to the bottom and download my Offset User Guide as a PDF for more detailed info
Just use normal Firewood in small offset!
Start with two handfuls of lump charcoal, this will quickly establish a good hot coalbase. Do not use Briquettes, they are not hot enough and produce too much dust. Extruded “Robot Turds” are OK to use they burn Hot and are low ash.
When the coal base is established maintain your fire with wood. Wood burns hotter than charcoal or beads
Split your timber down to a matchbox size in the end (I use Jarrah Firewood)
Add 5-6 splits to the fire, you want them to catch fire quickly and turn to coals fast.
If you add a large piece of firewood, it will smoulder and coat your food with acrid smoke.
You want a clean burning RED HOT small fire. Every now and again add a handful of unlit charcoal to boost the charcoal base and maintain a strong hot coal base for the fire
Do not try to trap heat and smoke, offsets work best with the maximum airflow you can get.
Manage your heat and smoke with the fire, not the vents.