Having issues with temps at end of loooong cooks

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by speedtoys, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. speedtoys

    speedtoys Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Ok..so I start up in the AM, and with every smoke, with at least 2 full loads from the chimney starter.

    No probs.

    But, about 7hrs into the cook, im having a HARD time maintaining temps..

    Is the old coal load so high, that I cant burn well enough in the firebox? Im not having to OVERLOAD to get temps, and that doesnt seem right.
  2. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Are you using a charcoal basket to help collect the ash away from the briquettes? In my old ECB I start replacing coals in the 4 hour zone, so 7 doesn't seem that bad to me.
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I don't know for sure but are your air intakes being effected by ash build up?
  4. speedtoys

    speedtoys Fire Starter SMF Premier Member


    To answer two questions:

    Air intake is not blocked.

    But..NO..I am NOT pulling out ash..not shure how I would do this in my setup..perhaps thats the next major mod..it doesnt look simple to swap that mess out without removing ALL of the coals.
  5. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is what I use in my vertical, allowing ash to fall thru to pan below.
  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    As Flash suggests a coal basket would be a good place to start
  7. speedtoys

    speedtoys Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Ok..ive got the generic 'grate' that is about 4" above the floor of the firebox.

    I hook the sides of it with my fireplace poker and knock it up and down to drop the ash..and I reach into the air inlet and sweep the collected ash to the sides with the poker as well.

    I do not stack up on the bottom of the firebox.

    But..I cant nail 200, and easily find 225 if I wanted to, right now, its all I can do to get 200.

    Here is a poor side view into the firebox vent, you can see the level of the grate, and its mostly very open under it:

    Here is looking down into the firebox:
  8. okie joe

    okie joe Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome ,speedtoys,What are ya cooking on? Need to have some Mod to get the ashes out ( i have a grill type wok that i can pull out and shake the ashes out and add coals ),,,But after 7 hrs whoh you are going to have to add more hot coals to keep temps up. you cant load for a 7 hrs burn (temps be high and taper off) Nice rig good fire base...how big cooking rack?
  9. speedtoys

    speedtoys Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Its the BBQ Galore Bar-B-Chef with sealing and tuner plate mods, and the pipe extended down to the grate.

    But..ive been playing, and I may have worked it out.

    Im aggressively banging down the grate, and shoveling old stuff to the front/back edge, and loading a new chimney into that bare center..and its coming back to life.
  10. earache_my_eye

    earache_my_eye Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I can't find the link now, but, I remember seeing posts where peeps made charcoal baskets out of expanded metal that fit inside the fire box.....some were suspended on angle iron....others done some way or another.....but the end result was the same......better temp control and fewer ash problems.

    Also, I believe most use lump charcoal instead of briquettes...for the better temps, and less ash.

    One other thing to consider.....are you sure your thermometers are accurate....you should never trust the one that comes with the smoker....most often they are waaaaaay off. Have a digital probe or two handy....small investment for peace of mind.

    Hope this helps,
  11. speedtoys

    speedtoys Fire Starter SMF Premier Member

    Ya..I boil test the therm I bought separate from the smoker every once in a while, and make sure that '225' is arrow straight up.

    Then I can peek from a long distance and know if im good or not, same with guages in the race car, when all you have is a glance, straight up is "good" on all of them.

    I use two oven thems on the grate to double check, those are usually 5d under the lid probe..being lower.
  12. jminion

    jminion Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    It's airflow, build up of ash in the firebox is your problem.
  13. roadrunr

    roadrunr Meat Mopper

    heres how i did mine...works great and it's fully adjustable up and down...


    here i cut 2 rods to length to catch the lip for the sidebox grate. this way its not permanent, i can slide the rods thru the basket higher or lower to accomadate more lump, wood etc.. depending on how long my smoke is..


    definately the way to go on a sfb......

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