Can't figure which variable to adjust

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by simsfmly, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Did my first food smoke today on my new MF smoker.  Looked at the previous thread about mods, but let me tell you what we did/didn't do and see which variable we should work on.

    I did the no food burn for two hours using a bag of Kingsford briquettes.  One of those light the bag deals, took the temp right to 250 where it stayed for over two hours with no mods.

    So today, I got Royal Oak lump charcoal which I had read is the best (variable #1).  After seeing the amount of briquettes that took it to 250, I didn't want to over load it so I started a small amount (variable #2) in the chimney.  Couldn't get it up past 200 for hours.  Added more, etc. couldn't get the temp much over 225 at any point.

    Did a beer can chicken and ribs if that makes a difference.  Chicken only got to 162 IT after 7 hours smoking.  Had a friend over (bad idea for a first smoke in a new smoker), and we decided to elevate the grill on concrete blocks (variable #3).  

    Didn't do much, so we undid the snaps, moved all the Royal Oak towards the center, then we put small sticks (variable #4) between the charcoal bowl and the upper chamber.  Within 5 minutes we gained 100 degrees, from 200 to 300.

    The ribs were over done, the chicken was barely done.  The Mac N Cheese we cooked on the top was OK.

    Should I go to briquettes for this model?

    Should I have put in more lump charcoal to begin with to start with a hotter base?

    Should I have the smoker elevated from the beginning to get more fire to it?

    Should I somehow try to get more air to the charcoal bowl?

    Should I try to do the modifications with the vents, etc.?
  2. 2010ultra

    2010ultra Smoke Blower

    that's a lot of variables for the first smoke. im fairly new to smoking too. first off id concentrate on your temps. then your cook times. once you get your temps down everything is a snap.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Were you using a pan with water in it.....  

    are there any air vents in the bottom section of the smoker...  

    did you have the upper air vents open....


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