Using a Side Fire Box Grill for the First Time

A side firebox grill is also known as an offset smoker, horizontal or pipe smokers or cookers have been used for several years to cook the perfect tender piece of meat. Since the introduction of grills, the demand for barbecues has risen as you can organize them both outdoors and indoors. Although people are familiar with many other types of grills, there is one that they are not aware of, the Side firebox grill.

If you have a side firebox grill at home, you can become the master of grilling in just a few months. If you are someone who likes to barbecue regularly, then a side firebox grill will suffice all your grilling needs. In this article, we are going to discuss using a side firebox grill for the first time so that you get an early start towards becoming the best griller out there.

How do Side Fire Box Grill or Offset Smokers work?

The most common types of offset smokers or side firebox grills consist of two connected boxes or cylinders that are sized differently. The smaller amongst the two boxes is called a firebox. The firebox consists of wood fire or charcoal and is usually installed at a lower position as compared to the large container. The design of the firebox is such that it forces the rising smoke from the fire up, into the larger box which is called cooking space or oven. Then, the smoke makes its way through the larger chamber and helps to cook the meat before exiting through the chimney.

In addition to that, some side firebox grills also consist of an additional vertical cooking chamber through which the smoke passes before exiting the chimney. This is done to increase cooking capacity.

Types of Side Fire Box Grills or Offset Smokers

Traditional Offset Smoker

Traditional offset smokers are the first type of offset smokers. These grills feature a design in which the cooking chamber that is the closest to the firebox is naturally the hottest. As a result, the meat you are cooking will prepare unevenly. Therefore, you will have to constantly turn the meat or position it carefully so that it is prepared evenly. The point is that the larger the offset smoker is, the higher will be the temperature disparity.

Reverse Flow Offset Smoker

If you are tired of rotating the meat constantly, you can buy a reverse offset smoker. Even though there are different ways to solve the issue but the most popular is buying a steel baffle plate. This plate allows the meat to prepare evenly while protecting it from direct heat. In addition to that, it allows the smoke to revolve around the barbecue, adding more flavor and taste.

A key difference between a traditional offset smoker and a reverse flow offset smoker lies in the chimney positioning. In a traditional offset smoker, you will observe that the chimney is installed farthest away from the firebox. However, in the case of a reverse flow offset smoker, the situation is the opposite. The chimney is installed closer to the firebox.

Things to consider when buying a Side Fire Box Grill/Offset Smoker

Regardless of the type of Side Fire Box Grill that you intend to buy, there are some features that you need to consider.

Heavy Gauge Metal

A side firebox grill with thicker metal will feature better heat retention and cooking. This allows the meat to cook and grill evenly. If you want to opt for the best offset smoker grill, a ¼ inch thick metal is considered to be the best option. It is able to withstand harsh conditions better and does not warp as well.

Quality Dampers and Seals

Offset smoker grills with high-quality seals have better temperature control, improve the retention of smoke, and reduce the usage of fuel as well. When buying an offset smoker grill, inspect the seals, there should not be any gaps. Furthermore, check the damper seals as well.

Temperature Gauges

There was a time when the only way to observe the internal temperature was by opening the lid. However, gone are the day, today, offset smoker grills feature temperature gauges that display the internal temperature without having to open the lid. Look for a side firebox grill that includes accurate temperature gauges. Select the one that comes with two gauges.

Where to Buy
AmazonBasics Charcoal Grill - Compact Size, Table Top Grill and Side Fire Box, Black
Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro 830 Square Inch Charcoal Grill with Side Fire Box, Black
Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker, Black
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker


Recommended Products

AmazonBasics Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box

This Charcoal Grill and Side Fire Box from AmazonBasics is a 250-square inch chrome-plated grilling grate. It is lightweight and features a compact design for easy portability, making it the perfect option for picnics, tailgating parties, and backyard cookouts. Furthermore, it comes with an integrated venting system that allows heat controlling. With so many features available at a reasonable price, this grill should definitely be amongst your options.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry
  • Integrated venting

Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro 830 Side Fire Box

The Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro 830 Side Fire Box is a traditional charcoal grill designed for Texas-style barbecue. It comes with a grill barrel and side firebox supported by heavy-gauge powder-coated steel construction. Furthermore, it features a temperature gauge, 2 wheels, and a storage rack for carrying items along. Lastly, the Smokin Pro 830 includes a 580 square inches of cooking space with 250 square inches dedicated to the side firebox.

Key Features:

  • 580 square inches cooking space
  • Removable charcoal drawers
  • Traditional charcoal grill

Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker

Based on impressive customer ratings, the Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker is Amazon’s Choice. Featuring a massive 800 square inches of cooking space, this Offset smoker is designed for heavy-duty grilling. The cooking grates are made from porcelain steel whereas the heavy-duty lid ensures that the internal heat is properly retained. Moreover, it comes with a professional thermometer as well along with an adjustable damper for better air flowing.

Key Features:

  • 800 square inches of cooking space
  • Porcelain steel cooking grates
  • Professional thermometer

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

If you are in search of a vertical offset charcoal smoker then this grill from Dyna-Glo is the best option as it carries Amazon’s seal of approval as well based on price and customer ratings. The vertical design of this grill allows a natural flow of heat, improving smoke flavor, and achieving greater efficiency. The offset design ensures that the heat remains away from the food so that it is cooked slowly. With a humungous 1176 square inches of cooking space, the Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker comes with a Porcelain-enameled steel charcoal chamber. Lastly, the built-in stainless steel thermometer with the ‘Smoke Zone’ feature indicates the ideal temperature for optimum cooking.

Key Features:

  • Built-In stainless steel thermometer
  • 1176 square inches of cooking space
  • Removable steel ash pan

Final Word

Using a side firebox grill for the first time should not be an issue once you have gone through this guide. When looking for the perfect side firebox grill, consider the cooking space and construction quality. Since you will be keeping it for the long term, consider additional features as well. This will help you become a grill master in no time.