Can't keep the heat

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by modernmanbbq, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Hello everyone, I am new to the forum and the proud owner of a new cheap horizontal offset smoker.

    I am having issues maintaining any type of heat and I would like some tips. I have created a vented baffle, I have fire bricks in the cooking chamber to distribute the heat evenly, I have extended my exhaust 1" to the cooking grates, and I have insulated the edge of the cooking chamber. In my side firebox the lit lump charcoal sits on the bottom; so I may have an issue with air flow underneath the coals.

    Whatever it is I can not maintain any time of consistent heat. What am I messing? What am I doing wrong?
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do you have an elevated fire grate which allows for sufficient air flow AND ash fall-out from the coals? If not, that's the next change I'd make. Judging by what you wrote, the fire gets hot, but won't stay hot...sounds like the fire is getting snuffed out by add more hot coals, only to find it cools down again shortly afterwards.

    Also, be sure your vent damper is fully opened or it will reduce the draft through the fire box to the point of nearly killing the fire, and won't allow heat to flow freely through the smoke chamber, either, especially with modifications to the smoke chamber which might impede the flow of heat (baffle plates, thermal mass, etc).

  3. I'm in the process of getting an elevated charcoal box; I figured that might be an issue. My friend is a welder and he said he would make me one. The dampers are fully open and I may have over modified it. The first time I used my smoker I was successful with maintaining heat and it was fresh out of the box with no modifications. I made the baffle from the grates and metal pan that were in the bottom of the cooking chamber. They were originally there if I wanted to do direct heat grilling but I have no intentions to on this smoker. So, I flipped it over and drilled holes through the metal pan that runs the length of the cooking chamber. The intention was to even the heat throughout the smoker.

    In my original successful smoke I used an upside down aluminum foil pan as my baffle; and that worked. Maybe I should go back to what worked.

    Thanks for the help.
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Aaaaah, is this a Brinkmann Smoke n Pit 40"? I have one...well, had...I removed the sfb to eventually make a dedicated grill out of it. I did a similar mod to mine with a full length/depth tuning it to where the grate temps were within 15* anywhere in the smoke chamber, but I paid the price for all that useable grate space...took loads of fuel to heat up and keep a 20lb bag of briquettes in less than 12 hours...efficiency went right out the window.

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013

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