Best Fuel For Offset Smoker – List of Fuel

best offset smoker grill

Check out the best Fuel For Offset Smoker. Within the cooking world, fuel is everything. No fuel means no fire and no fire means cold food. Here’s a rundown of different fuel types for those who use an offset smoker.

What is the Best Fuel for Smoking Meat?

The eight best fuel sources for smokers are: 

  • Wood logs
  • Wood chips
  • Wood pellets
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Hardwood charcoal lumps
  • Propane
  • Natural gas
  • Electricity


A classic fuel type, charcoal can be found in briquettes or as lump charcoal. Lump charcoal burns hotter than briquettes and does not contain any chemicals or additives. Both must be lit with lighter fluid prior to cooking unless you have a chimney starter, which makes lighting coals easier and cleaner than matches and/or lighter fluid.

charcoal fuel for offset smoker


Wood comes in many forms, such as chunks (larger pieces meant to burn longer), chips (smaller pieces that create more smoke quickly), and pellets (sawdust compressed into fuel pellets). Wood is by far the cleanest fuel source to cook with, but be sure to soak it in water before use. More importantly, you MUST have a metal smoker box for cooking with wood chunks/chips/pellets. Wood should never be put directly on the coals or placed in an aluminum foil packet under the cooking grate!


An electric smoker produces smoke through a heating element that’s heated up to produce smoke from either soaked wood chips or an alternative fuel source (such as electricity). The advantage of this fuel type is its ease of use and danger-free design, but most electric smokers are small enough to be used only for smoking meat for personal enjoyment. Large commercial smokers are not electric.

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This fuel type is the most popular for many reasons, including its fuel efficiency and convenience. Like an electric smoker, a gas smoker produces smoke from soaked wood chips or alternative fuel sources. The most common fuel is natural gas, but fuel propane is just as effective in most cases.

Natural gas:

If you use a fuel smoker, your fuel type of choice is natural gas . It burns very clean, heats evenly and runs on pressurized fuel sources (which means less risk for leaks). Most fuel smokers are equipped with fuel regulators that allow the heat to be adjusted based on weather conditions or meat size/type.

Oil vs. Natural Gas


Like charcoal smokers, propane fuel smokers run best when fueled with lump charcoal . The fuel emits little to no unwanted chemicals during combustion and burns hot, allowing large cuts of meat (such as beef brisket) to cook quickly without burning or drying out.

When using any fuel source in an outdoor smoker, take care to keep the fuel source properly pressurized. Follow fuel manufacturer recommendations for fuel tank maintenance; fuel that is not stored or used correctly can turn into a flammable hazard during grill use.

Propane/Electric Hybrid:

For those who want both propane airflow control and electrical temperature regulation in one fuel smoker, a propane/electric fuel smoker might be a viable option to consider. These fuel smokers allow the user to control their fuel source, so they can switch from electric power at low temperatures for slower smoking and then turn to propane when the higher heat is needed.

Electric fuel :

Electric fuel smokers are one of the most popular fuel smoker types on today’s market. Like other fuel smokers, they vary in price based on features included with them; however, all models offer push-button ignition, airflow adjustment, and temperature control capabilities.

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Best Smoker Grills

Lump Charcoal:

Lump charcoal is an easy-to-light fuel source that burns hot and clean without releasing unwanted chemicals into the atmosphere during combustion. Lump charcoal also provides good airflow regulation in fuel smokers, making fuel smokers that use lump charcoal easier to control than fuel smokers that use propane.

Wood Chip fuel:

Wood chips are an easy-to-use fuel source because wood chips require no additional ignition before smoking. Wood chip smokers do not allow constant temperature regulation like other types of fuel sources; however, this lack of regulation does make them resistant to temperature swings at lower temperatures.

Briquette fuel:

fuel briquettes are created from compressed wood/sawdust and other chemical agents. These fuel briquettes burn hotter than other fuel sources but can produce creosote, a dangerous chemical associated with cancer and heart disease if the smoker’s temperature is not monitored correctly.

Briquette fuel

Pellets fuel:

Pellets burn very hot and consist mostly of hardwoods like hickory and oak. Pellet fuel smokers also require little maintenance and airflow regulation compared to charcoal fuel smokers. On the other hand, pellet fuel smokers still release some organic materials into smoke that may be carcinogenic over time.

Tips For Cooking With an Offset Smoker:

It’s easy to get started with an offset smoker if you follow these simple steps!

  • The wood chunks should be added between each hour and half-hour depending on how hot your smokers burnin’ fire gets. If you’re using a stick burner, let it run at full power until the flames die down enough that they are no longer licking at the edges of the metal container. Once this occurs, add your food-grade wood chunks around every half hour. Use tongs to move them around so they don’t fall into the fire pit when adding more smoke flavoring.
  • Try to keep the temperature between 220 and 240 degrees. If your smoker gets too hot, open the firebox door so that it lowers and doesn’t radiate as much heat back into the smoking chamber. Too cool? Close the door farther or consider adding more wood chunks every half hour.
  • If you use a water bowl inside of your offset grill, replenish the liquid every four hours by pouring warm water over it, letting it absorb for 30 minutes, and repeating this process until all of it has dissolved into smokey goodness.
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Fuel For Offset Smoker with fire


The best fuel for offset smokers is natural gas. Natural gas burns cleaner than other fuels, which means you’ll get better tasting meat and more even cooking temperatures. Plus, this type of fuel offers significant cost savings over propane or electricity.

If your off-set smoker doesn’t have an existing connection to natural gas, it’s not too difficult to install one with the help of a qualified plumber. Once installed, all you need to do is turn on the valve at the tank and light up! Contact us here if you’re interested in getting set up with a new supply of natural gas so that your next BBQ will be perfect!

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