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Newbie alert! I Need ANY and ALL advice for pellet smoking in a non-pellet smoker


New member
Hello everyone,

I have a regular barrel smoker with chimney on one end and displaced firebox on the other end. The outside is 'broken in'... ie, nice and rusted and the smoker has been used alot over the past several years. I have grilled (direct heat), and smoked, indirect heat with wood chunks. The hardest part is constantly babysitting the smoker and maintaining ideal temperatures.

This is why I joined PelletSmoking. I want to learn techniques where I can use my current smoker (I am unemployed and cannot afford a new pellet smoker) with pellets, that will hopefully allow me to do extremely low and slow (165-180 deg. for 14-16 hrs) with less constant babysitting and more reliable temp control.

Is this possible? I invite responses from any and all!


New member
You should be able to make a smudge pile with pellets and it should work fairly well. I have no idea if that will get you the heat you want or if it will just make lots of smoke but it will have some effect. I hope you have good luck and lots of fun trying it out.


New member
You have the most difficult smoker to use and control.... The offset. People who have never used a smoker buy these units and find them so difficult to smoke with they get turned off on smokers in general.

The only way you will be able to almost completely reduce babysitting with that cooker is using a air controller. You can get one between $100 and $200

The key is to control the air to the lump or charcoal. By adding a gasket to the lids and playing with the air shutters you can try and control those temps a little better. You can also set up a chain burn with your coals to help control the temps.


Meube is 100% dead on correct! I spent a lot of time & a good deal of money modifying my offset with a good gasket around the lid, extending the smoke stack down to the grate level and working with some cookie sheets to create a baffle/tuner to level out the heat across the grill.

With all the Mods & using the "Minion Method" of lighting charcoal I was finally able to achieve some decent control.

But, the only way to get close the kind of control pellet grills enjoy is with a air/temp controller like Muebe mentions. You will however still have to contend with adding charcoal at some point for long cooks. You cannot get away from that.

Here's a good video showing some mods including an air/temp control system.

Offset Smoker Mods - YouTube

As far as using Pellets, with a charcoal setup I like using pouches of pellets with one small hole punched in the top. You can create a few and either stagger them along the a line of charcoal or stagger them down into the charcoal if using the method where you light the top layer and let it burn down.

As long as your charcoal is burning cleanly, Pellet pouches will provide a very clean smoke for your food.
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