How to Use a Side Fire Box

How to Use a Side Fire Box

Did you know that the Char-Griller Side Fire Box Fits on all the Char-Griller charcoal grills? Yes, even the Dual Fuels. This makes it easy to turn any Char-Griller grill into an offset smoker.

Never used the Side Fire Box or Offset Smoked before? We’ve got you. Here’s our quick start guide to using the side fire box.

1. Attach the Side Fire Box

If your Char-Griller charcoal grill doesn’t have a Side Fire Box yet, you can add one easily. Here’s a quick video to help! We made it simple to turn any Char-Griller charcoal grill into an offset smoker.

2. Season Your Grill 

If you haven’t seasoned your grill and Side Fire Box yet, do that before you start smoking. Wipe down the entire grill with warm water and then completely dry it. Coat the whole grill with oil. We recommend using a spray bottle full of vegetable oil. 

After the whole grill is coated inside and out, open all the vents and light a small fire in the Side Fire Box. Burn it for 30 minutes. Let the fire gradually die out and you’re ready to smoke!

3. Light a Chimney of Charcoal

Fill a Charcoal Chimney and light it. Let it burn until the briquettes or lumps begin to glow and ash over. This should take about 15 minutes.

4. Dump the Coals into the Side Fire Box

When the coals are ready, dump them into the Side Fire Box. Ensure the vent on the right side of the Side Fire Box and the chimney vent on the left of the barrel are at least halfway open.

This is the step where you would add wood chips or wood chunks to flavor your food.

A note on wood: While you can make a fire of wood in your Side Fire Box, we do not recommend it because it is difficult to maintain the temperature of a completely wood burning fire.

5. Bring Smoker Up to Temperature 

The ideal smoking temperature is between 225 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. We like to stay right around 250. Make sure that you keep the lid to both the barrel and the Side Fire Box closed when you are preheating the grill.

6. Add Food

Now the fun part: adding the food. Once you add the food you want to cook, you might have to adjust the vents to ensure everything is at the proper temperature. A pit thermometer can help you know when you need to go check on the smoker without having to babysit it all day.

7. Add More Fuel As Needed

It is a common misconception that you can simply add charcoal to the Side Fire Box whenever you want to raise or maintain the temperature. We recommend starting a new chimney of charcoal each time as adding the already burning coals will help maintain the temperature better than adding unlit charcoal.

8. Rotate the Food

To ensure that everything cooks and smoked evenly, you will want to rotate the food once every 2 to 3 hours. Move the pieces of food that have been closest to the smoke further away so that you can move the food that has been farther closer.

With big pieces of meat, rotate them in a circle to ensure even smoking.

9. Keep Your Food Moist

 If you are worried about your food drying out, you can add a pan of water under the food to both catch the drips and keep water circulating in the chamber. Another option is to mist the food with apple juice, water or beer every hour or so.

That’s how you use a Side Fire Box! What are your tips and tricks? Add them in the comments below!

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Russ April 16, 2019

I like to soak a few 3" pieces of my smoking wood and place them, one at a time, over the charcoal fire.
These tend to smoke longer and burn more evenly at a constant temperature. They also add nicely to the ash pile and help light the charcoal as I add it unlit, a couple hand-fulls per hour.

Willie arrowood April 16, 2019

I want the fire box without legs that u put on the side of the grill how can I buy one

MATTHEW July 26, 2019

Does the smoking wood go directly on the coals or does it sit on the grill above the coals?

Bill Collier October 16, 2019

Can’t you use wood instead of charcoal in the side fire box? I want to try my hand at making pulled pork using my side fire box and wood instead of charcoal, I also want to use pecan wood chips in the little metal wood chip box I bought with my smoker/grill combo, but I don’t like the idea of slow smoking with charcoal instead of wood, I mean don’t the big boys who are famous BBQ Kong’s using wood to smoke on their smokers? Anyway I don’t want to have the taste of the lighter fluid or charcoal in my pork shoulder so I need to know how to use the side fire box with wood


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