How to find hot and cold spots in your smoker

Even though your smoker probably has a temperature gauge to provide the temperature of your smoker, there are zones where the heat and smoke are more and less intense as they move across the smoking chamber. Luckily, there is an easy trick to find out where these zones are located. This tip is not expensive and will give you really good idea of how your smoker can affect the protein as it cooks.

Print How-Tos > How to find hot and cold spots in your smoker


  1. All you need is a can of refrigerated biscuits and about an hour of your time. Light your smoker just like normal and bring it up to the temp where you will be smoking the most. Space the biscuits across the grates of your smoker, close the lid and wait about 20 minutes. The biscuits will turn brown and give you an idea of where there may be a hot or cold spot in your smoker. The darker the biscuit, the more heat and smoke that spot of your smoker is getting.
  2. In this test (see bottom photo) I made sure to place a biscuit directly in front of the exhaust to show that in most smokers this is typically a hotter spot. As the heat is drawn closer to the exhaust, it is funneled into a smaller service area creating this hot spot. You will also notice that the biscuits get darker closer to the firebox. Of course, this should be the case since it’s right next to the fire.
  3. If you ever find yourself running short on time and your meat is not quite done, now you know exactly where to move it in the firebox. I hope this helps the next time you run into a jam.

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