I'm gonna need some help!!

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by cromag, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. cromag

    cromag Smoking Fanatic

    I seasoned my chargriller using the SFB this sunday and I was only able to reach 250* for a couple hours and my intake and stack vents were wide open. Shouldn't I be able to get it hotter running wide open? I was only using 2 chimney worth of charcoal since I only needed to run it a couple hours. I'm sure I'll run into major fuel problems when I go to smoke for the first time and all I can acheve running wide open would be 250? Any advice on how to maintain 250 and not burn out in a couple hours?
  2. coyote

    coyote Master of the Pit

    you might try adding a couple three or so sticks of wood on the coals. and what type of coals are you using? that might help. also and just maybe were the coals damp? that would keep temps down.

    and as for maintaining temps at a consant. close the vents to 1/4 closed and do not keep opening the smoker door and if you do make it quick.

    good luck. am sure some one else has more.
  3. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What charcoal are you using? What elevation are you at?

    Should go way up above 250 F
  4. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Have you done any mods to it? An elevated basket goes a long way in that type. Try some lump instead or with the coals, more lump than coals. Royal Oak is good & at your local WalMart if you have one.
  5. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    If you measured that using the built-in thermo, your actual temps were probably a bit higher.
  6. cromag

    cromag Smoking Fanatic

    I have a basket which I made legs for using 2 inch bolts washers and nuts, baffle and 2 tuning plates, vent to grate level, 2 aftermarket therms attached to holes I drilled through lid, stubbs briquets completely dry, I live in TN so no mile high alt. The only thing is my basket is level with the holes between chamber and sfb it was really windy and cool and I don't have anything sealing the lid better
  7. cromag

    cromag Smoking Fanatic

    Also the sfb intake was opposite from the direction of the wind and a put another piece of dryer vent off the top of the stack curved down to keep the wind out
  8. timtimmay

    timtimmay Action Team

    As coyote said, if you are using the built-in thermometer, its worthless. The coil in the thing is right behind that paper-thin glass and you get a temp that is somewhere between outside and chamber temp. I use the maverick ET-73 and stick the probe in one of the rotisserie holes on the left side.

    Did you knock out the knock outs? I've seen a few guys have the SFB connected without knocking out the knock outs so the only air flow is through the butterfly wheel.

    I have no problem maintaining 240ish for hours at a time when smoking on mine
  9. I'm having the Same problem with my SNP. I removed the baffle midway through the process just to see if it helped and it did. So I am redoing my baffle. I think it may have been too restrictive. Keep us posted and I will do the same.
  10. cromag

    cromag Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah remark I removed the two footballs of metal and I installed 2 new thermos to my lid. I'll try messing with my tune plates also
  11. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    Have the same smoker and no problems holding temp for a few hours...but wind makes it a huge battle. Build some kind of wind break. I have the vent mod, and a charcoal basket that the top sits even with the knockout. I dont know why you cant rach temp...other than the wind. I have no other mods to mine other than the charcoal pan flipped.
  12. cromag

    cromag Smoking Fanatic

    Do you run with your stack wide open?
  13. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    Stack always wide open, and let my smoker come to temp with intake half open...then make adjustments as needed from there. With the fresh load of fuel at the beginning i usually end up dampening it down to only about 1/4 inch gap in intakes. I havent done anything to make it more air tight...have gaps in lid as well as stock holes not being used still open, and the annoying gap around the ash door. But again...wind is your worst enemy with these. I turn a 10x10 easy up awning on its side for a wind break when it gets real windy.
  14. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I had the same smoker for about a year. In all honesty I could rarely get over 250° for an extended amount of time. I did the majority of my smokes between 225°-250° - wich is actually a very good temp to smoke at. But for any high heat stuff I had to use my weber kettle.
  15. timtimmay

    timtimmay Action Team

    I'd say adjusting your tuning plate is what to focus on. Sounds like your heat might be going up and out the stack without lingering.

    I flipped my charcoal basket over and have it on the highest setting on the right, and it sits directly on the bottom of the chamber on the right.

    I can maintain 240-250 less than half open. I use a mixture of lump, briq, and oak.
  16. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    Please don't take this as me trying to be a smarta$$, but there is so much info on mods to CGs out there sometimes new owners go overboard before they ever even fire the unit up. Each person's situation is somewhat unique. I suggest you go back to the basic setup with just the charcoal basket & do a couple of burns to establish a baseline for YOUR smoker. One you have a baseline to work from, add the mods one at a time to see what effect it has. Yes, it is time consuming, but it is the only way to learn your smoker & how to make it work the best for your unique conditions.
  17. Ok. I changed my damper/convection plate...it helped...but not enough? Stuck a Candy thermometer in the grill(that I know is accurate) and found out the 2 brand new thermo's I bought at Lowes are off by 50*. Thermo closest to the sfb said 200* and the candy thermo said 250*.
  18. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The therms may be fine.... a lot of times you will get large differances between the middle of the racks vs. near the sides of the smoker.
  19. then how the heck do I know what temp Im cooking at?
  20. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Get a digital therm and set it on grate level. I use a piece of wood with a hole drilled in it for the temp probe, works great.

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