How to Control Your Fire and Temperature in Smoker


Smoking meat seems like a pretty fun thing to do – but that is only until you have to do it yourself! 

Don’t get us wrong, smoking meat isn’t an impossible job. But you do need a few tips and tricks to come in handy whenever you are doing it on your own.

One of the most important things to practice, before you can start smoking meat for yourself and your loved ones, is controlling the temperature, and of course the heat and fire, in your smoker.

We are here today to help you get a better idea of how to easily maintain your desired temperature while you cook yourself the juiciest BBQ. 

You can also check out our Smoking 101 article for more BBQ knowledge.

How to Control and Maintain Temperature in a Smoker?

To be able to create the best smoked meat that you have ever had, all you need is to know is how to regulate the temperature of your smoker to suit your meat cut.

Temperature regulation inside a smoker is a very important part of getting the results that you want. If the heat inside the cooking chamber is too high or too low, you will end up with meat that is either overcooked or undercooked.

Different types of smokers might need a little different and more specific advice for controlling temperature, but most of these tips do the trick for everyone every time!

Also Read: BBQ Stall Explained

1. Invest in a Dual-Meat Probe

It’s almost common knowledge that having an accurate reading on your smoker’s internal temperature is critical to good smoking. It’s always important to know how hot your smoking chamber is to know you are smoking your meat at the right heat level.

Many current BBQ smokers include built-in thermometers. However, many of them are unreliable.

As unideal as it sounds, even some good smoker brands do not invest in their thermometers and attach ones that are not accurate, sometimes even reading temperatures up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit off the mark.

Dual-meat probe thermometers have come a long way in recent years, and it has become almost necessary to own one. It makes your job much easier, and we say that with quite a lot of experience!

Dual probe devices are advantageous in that they provide two readings. One for the ambient temperature of the chamber, and the other for the internal temperature of your meat.

If you ask us, our favorite recommendation for a meat probe has to be the Wireless WiFi Grill Digital Thermometer by Inkbird

We love having it with us because it’s very convenient to use. It connects to your phone so that you can keep a check on your smoker’s temperature even when you are not standing right next to it. It is user-friendly as well as accurately functional, which is a great deal if you ask us!

2. Regulate With a Water Pan

Most cuts of meat, especially in pork and beef lose moisture when smoked or grilled, which affects their final flavor. 

This happens because when the heat is turned up high, moisture evaporates much faster, leaving dry meat on the outside and raw meat on the inside. So while it might seem like you are overcooking your meat, it could be still undercooked from the inside.

But this problem can be resolved with the help of water. Water can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the moisture in the smoker grill while maintaining the proper temperature.

Getting a water pan and placing it on the bottom is the best option. It will produce the steam required for the meat to reclaim the moisture lost to the hot air while also regulating the temperature of the smoker.

3. Avoid Opening the Smoker Too Often

We know that it is very hard to resist constantly checking on your meat inside the cooking chamber. 

One might even think that they are doing it to save the meat from overcooking or generally being ruined. But that’s not helpful at all.

Don’t keep peeping and checking on your food, no matter how delicious it seems or how much you want to cautiously cook it. When you open the chamber, both heat and smoke escape the smoker, causing the cooking temperature to fluctuate.

Make every effort to reduce these interruptions to a minimum. For example, if you need to replace the charcoal, try to do it while also refilling your water pan, to minimize the temperature fluctuations it is causing.

4. Use Air Vents

In the cooking process, smooth airflow is a very critical factor. You control the temperature of a smoker by maintaining the airflow through the opening and closing of dampers, chimneys, lids, intake damper vents, and exhaust vents, etc.

It’s essential to adjust vents during the cooking period. Most smokers feature two vents, one at the top and one at the bottom. 

The bottom vent is where oxygen enters the smoker and is commonly known as an intake damper. Similarly, the exhaust damper is the top vent that is normally situated near the smoker’s top section and lets the smoke circulate inside and out of the chamber.

How to Increase and Decrease Heat in a Smoker?

Usually, the easiest way to shift the heat and temperature of the cooking chamber in your smoker is by opening and closing the vents.

If you need to increase the heat, you should open the vents a little, and let more air reach the fire. This will ignite it more to produce more heat.

Similarly, if you want to cool down your smoker a little, you should close the vents a little. This will restrict the airflow to some extent, making the fire a little smaller and hence providing lesser heat to the cooking chamber

Wrapping it Up

Getting used to temperature fluctuations in a smoker can take a little practice on your part. But with that practice and our tips, you will become a grill master in no time!


Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.