Charcoal basket Woes...

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by rhaugle, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. rhaugle

    rhaugle Smoke Blower

    Hey guys, I got a sweet deal on a brisket last night so I decided to smoke it today.. I picked up some lump charcoal and some cheap briquets from academy last night since I used the rest of mine doing a test fire... I don't know if I did something wrong or what, but this smoke is becoming impossible. Temps will not come up, or stay up. I filled up my charcoal basket (11x12x6) with the lump, started a chimney with the briquets to put onto of the lump... nothing different from what I've done in the past, but the stuff will not stay lit!!! I had to leave the FB door open to even keep the stuff going, and that didnt even work. Had to end up putting a fan outside the FB to keep it going.. temps still falling. 

    Did I put to much charcoal in the basket?

    Does the brand really matter that much? If so, how do these people with crap fuel stay in business?

    As of right now, I will never use another brand of lump other then Royal Oak, unless I did something totally wrong?
  2. rhaugle

    rhaugle Smoke Blower

    Should I only fill the basket half full of charcoal and use blocks of wood to fill in the rest? 
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What kind of smoker are you using? Do you have any photos you can share? Not knowing what your smoking with makes it impossible to help.

    Some brands of lump and charcoal are not as good as others.

    In my WSM I fill the basket full, with unlit fuel. I also add 3-4 2"-3" chunks of smoke wood. Then I light with a propane torch. That's how I donut and never have a problem achieving the temps I want.
  4. rhaugle

    rhaugle Smoke Blower

    Ive got an OK Joe highland (the smaller of the 2). This bag of charcoal was B&B i believe. Im not sure if the just never really got lit up or what. I took the basket out, cleaned all the ash, and put it back in just to test. Thick, heavy smoke and only about 190 degrees. The coals on the bottom of the basket are going good, but non of the top ones.. how does that happen!?
  5. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    On my offset my grate sits 3" off the firebox floor. I would start a full chimney of charcoal and when it was fully lit, I then dump it in the firebox. Then add 2 splits, then once it gets settled to temp, when your temp starts dropping off add another split...keep repeating.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  6. rhaugle

    rhaugle Smoke Blower

    So you don't use a charcoal basket at all? With all the stuff I've read lately it seems that everyone does. 
  7. FWIW, I have done and un done mods to find the satisfaction I wanted.
    In the end I have removed the charcoal box and use the grate in the sfb!
    I have a BTMLE and have sealed it sufficiently and have used a welding blanket the last couple of smokes with great success!
    I felt the Charcoal basket was not allowing enough air circulation as the fuel turned to ash.
    I did a 22lb turkey for Christmas (ours Dec 27) and was worried about the possibility of rain or snow. It turned out to be 30 degrees and a blustery wind around 15 mph. I started the pit at 3 AM and could only get to 180 deg. tops! I realized that my blanket had blown off and the CC started to cool.
    After re- securing the blanket I finally got the bird on at 6 AM and we were eating at 1:00.
    Is it possible that you have an outside temp problem?
    As it stands right now, I will not be using the charcoal box for any smoke in the future
    On background, the expanded steel I used is 1/2", I might have been better served with 3/4" but I will hold off buying the bigger stuff for now as I am getting good temps with out the box.
  8. hardcookin

    hardcookin Master of the Pit

    I have always burned wood after getting a good bed of coals with charcoal.
    With good airflow under the grate I never have had problems maintaining temps.
    That's what works for me.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016

Share This Page