Changing My Offset Smoker to a Reverse Flow Offset Smoker

by Backyard BBQ Blog

in BBQ Pits and Tools

So, my ribs last week weren’t all that good.  Too much smoke and I had to finish cooking them in the oven.  I started to do a little research to find out why and to learn some ways to skew the odds in my favor. I came across a website called  Its loaded with a lot of information from recipes to BBQ thermodynamics.  The website looks well put together and seems to be highly original and well thought out.  Not just another recipe website that churns out slight variations of recipes found on other websites.  It recommended that cheap offset smokers be converted to work similar to a reverse flow offset smoker.

The article that I ran across that recommended the conversion was advising readers not to buy an offset smoker at all unless its at least $500. This being due to the fact the metal is cheap and thin and the way the heat travels through the cooking chamber.

My Brinkman smoker was ~$299 but, I ain’t getting another (at least for now).  The metal isn’t as thin as the others I saw at the store but, based on my experience last weekend, it definitely has a large difference from one side of the pit to another as far as heat distribution goes.

I decided to take “Meathead’s” advice on and make an attempt at changing my offset smoker into a reverse flow offset smoker to help with heat distribution but, I needed to do it on the cheap.  My checking account was a bit depleted after my recent move and buying my new pit.  So, I converted my offset smoker into a reverse flow offset smoker poor man style.

All it took was an old brick and a bit of tin foil.

Reverse flow offset smoker brick

I took the lower grills and slid them toward the firebox, angling the grill closest to the firebox at an almost 45 degree angle so that the hole to the firebox would be below the level of the grill.  To keep them from sliding, I placed an old brick at the opposite end, between the grills and the far left wall of the pit.  After that, I took tinfoil and used wadded pieces to plug the holes between the grills and the front and back of the pit, and used sheets of tinfoil to line the grills so that air wont flow through.

reverse flow offset smoker firebox

Simple enough.

One problem that I’m not sure how to resolve is that the chimney is on the wrong side of the pit.  It may not allow enough smoke to get to the meat.  If I have problems getting enough heat to the cooking grates then I’ll have to revisit my set up.  I’ll either have to get rid of the foil, or maybe use aluminum flashing to lower the chimney.  I’m not quite manly enough remove the chimney, plug the hole, and mount it lower and on the opposite side.  And, my welding skills are roughly equivalent to what one would expect of an upper middle class second grade girl.  So, it’ll have to stay as is. My chimney is mounted on the side, so maybe it’ll work.

Reverse Flow Offset Smoker

Everything is converted now. We’ll see how it goes when the next batch of ribs goes on.


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