first time recap with questions, help me improve!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by macboogie, May 12, 2013.

  1. macboogie

    macboogie Newbie

    Hey everybody thanks for welcoming me and taking the time to help me get to the next level. Today i smoked chicken for the first time. i've smoked in the past but never with a SFB setup even though i've owned one for years i always grilled indirect in the main chamber for a slow and low kinda cook but today i broke in the SFB the correct way. the food was fantastic i know now i'm done grilling i'm doing a full conversion and eventually will build or buy a custom smoker. i do have a few questions mainly around my skin not being 'bite through' and i'm pretty sure i know the cause but i need your help with the solution! 

    1. Temp. my Char Griller would just not get up to 300 degrees at all at first. i believe it was a airflow restriction issue because even with it wide open it wasn't until i cracked the door to the SFB 1" did i get from 225 to 300 and that happened almost instantly. the airflow issue was due to ash i believe so how do people handle removing ash while still using it? will the 'minion' method help with this? i think i could just shake the box and make all the ash fall out helping with airflow. also i think i could rig it up so the box sits in the SFB but there is still room to remove the ash tray and dump it while cooking. 

    2. i loaded the SFB up with one unlit and one lit chimney of lump. i added some Western brand Apple wood chunks (not chips) the kind Wal Mart sells and i think they may burn a little fast due to size. at best the largest pieces were maybe the size of a small women's fist. using Larger log shaped pieces i would assume means less frequent need to add wood. based on the small sizes regardless of how many i add the thin blue smoke was non existent anymore within 30 minutes. 4 hours of smoking before i got 2 whole chickens and a pack of thighs up to 165 and i used 75% of a bag of wood. i just feel like had the pieces been bigger they would have burned longer maybe fixing this issue, am i right? 

    3. Water - i didn't crack my smoker open for 1 1/2 hours and when i did i noticed all the water was gone from all 3 pans i used. should i be adding enough water to make it the whole smoke somehow or should i be refilling them whenever i do open the smoker?  i used 3 smaller ones and flipped my coal tray in my main area upside down and raised it above the opening from the SFB to help with tuning. i placed 2 6 x 8 pans on top of it right below the grate nearest the SFB to assist with temp as well. the 3rd one i put in below the coal tray right in the path of the opening from the SFB as close to it as possible again hoping all this would help with tuning. 
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mac, evening.... Was the exhaust stack wide open during the time you were cooking ???   It sounds like an air flow problem for sure.....   Folks here have been installing an additional air vent above the firegrate....  that is supposed to move the heat from the firebox through the cook chamber..  firegrate should be 4" or more above the firebox floor...  ash collecting place so it won't choke off the air flow to the fire....
    macboogie likes this.
  3. macboogie

    macboogie Newbie

    thanks for the insight! 

    yep stack and intake were wide open the whole time. i'm going to have to look into the second intake because cracking the door for removing the tray while it is above the fire gate i don't like having it that wide with so little control. i did do the dryer vent mod to extend the stack to the smokers grill surface i can only imagine how bad it would have been without that. i think i will look into tuning plates of very think metal or some sort of stone like i've seen so it helps hold the heat in also. 

    Man the food was so good i think i need to just break down and build a monster i know i'll never cook outside my kitchen any other way again. 
  4. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

     Hi Mac. On my SFB I added a charcoal basket then fill with lump charcoal and mix in 4-5 chunks of wood. Also I use a pan of water on the cooking grate next to the firebox to help controll temp spikes.

      Exhaust vent wide open . Once cook chamber reaches temp, I close firebox intake nearly all the way and it holds temp well. Just have to play with your particular smoker. That means more smokes! Enjoy!

  5. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

     Ahhh, just looked back. To get chicken skin crisp, try to put on gas/charcoal grill at high temp for a few minutes if you can not get smoker up to 350 degrees.

    macboogie likes this.

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