Setting Up the Side Fire Box for Smoking

Setting Up the Side Fire Box for Smoking

Smoking with the Side Fire Box takes time but yields delicious results. This blog post will help you properly set up your Side Fire Box for smoking to ensure the best heat, even cooking, and more.

1. Light Charcoal

Fill a Charcoal Chimney halfway and no more than three-quarters full of charcoal. Place a fire starter or newspaper under the chimney and light. Let the charcoal fully ash over and wait until you can’t see any more active flames on the charcoal.

2. Fill the Side Fire Box

Place the fully ashed over charcoal in the Side Fire Box. Close the Side Fire Box lid and the lid of the main barrel. Open the damper on the Side Fire Box and the Smokestack damper halfway. Wait 10 minutes and then add any wood chips or chunks.

Tip: Do not add more than four handfuls of chips, three chunks or one log to the charcoal in the Side Fire Box to start. This will prevent temperature swings.

3. Add A Water Pan

Place a water pan either under the grates where your meat will be or in a loaf pan on top of the grates close to the Side Fire Box. The water will create a humid environment that will ensure moist meat, even cooking and, help maintain the temperature in the main barrel.

4. Check the Dampers Again

When using the Side Fire Box, the temperature in a large barrel is not supposed to get about 250 F (275 F at the very highest). Offset smoking with the Side Fire Box is designed for low and slow cooking of 6+ hours. If you need to or want to cook something faster, use indirect heat in the main barrel of the grill. 

Check the damper on the Side Fire Box and the Smokestack. If the grill is over 275 F, close the dampers to one-quarter open. If the temperature isn’t up to 250 F yet, open both dampers to the three-quarters open position.

5. Start Your Cook

Once the main barrel is at 250 F, place your meat on the grill and begin to smoke. You will have to monitor both the temperature of the main barrel and the temperature of the meat to ensure the grill is holding steady at 250 F.

6. Adding More Coals

If the temperature in the main barrel starts to dip, prepare another half chimney of charcoal. Wait until it fully ashes over and add to the Side Fire Box. Wait five minutes after adding charcoal and then add more wood.