Maintaining Temperature

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bruce71, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. So when you are smoking at a given temperature, what is the best way to maintain your temperature?  I'm finding that I'm running outside every 15 minutes to add wood, open or close the side or top dampers, or even to open the firebox lid to let some heat out.  I'd like to get to the point where I'm not an indentured servant to the smoker all day long (I'd like to clean the garage today too).  Just prior to starting this post it was at 190F so I added a FEW wood chunks, and then 10 minutes later it was at 230F (I'm aiming for 225F). 

    I have a CharGriller with side firebox.  Please just tell me what you do, and I will take the most applicable advice for my setup and will go from there.

    Yes, I'm very new to smoking.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Hello Bruce.  HEY! HEY!  Ain't this smokin thing a blast??  [​IMG]   [​IMG]   I have not used your particular smoker but there some basics that should help.  First seal EVERY leak you can see.  If smoke is coming from any place other than the exhaust, SEAL IT!  High temp silicone works great.  Second: I'd bet you are opening and then closing vents, all the way one or the other.  Start with the exhaust fully open and the intake fully open.  Then close down the inlets a little at a time until the smoker reaches the desired temp.  If you choke off the air the heat drops, more air and the temp rises.  How are you building your fire?  An explanation of the method you use may also help us explain temp control.  Do you have a GOOD CALIBRATED therm you are using for smoker temp?  If not, get one.  Don't rely on the gauge that came with the smoker.  NOW!  So long as you are not cold smoking or smoking something like homemade sausage don't over stress about the smoker temp.  225 - 250 is pretty much an agreed optimum temp for smoking low and slow ( I don't always follow that ) but if it drops to 200 for a short period or rises to 300 for a short period no harm will be done to the finished product.  Hope this helps.  Keep Smokin!

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  3. Danny, thanks for the reply!  

    Yeah, there are a some leaks, but they are mostly around where the lid meets the body of the smoker. I will look closer at it and see what can be done to fix them.  And yep, you nailed it... I open and shut the dampers constantly.  I'll take your advice next time and throttle them down slowly, and not like I have been.  I use a chimney to start the fire and once it is good and ready, I dump it in.  I don't have a calibrated thermometer, but have been relying on the gauge in the lid.  I will get one soon.  Thanks for the advice.  I'll let you know how the spare ribs come out.  

    One more piece of advice for myself.  I need to stop drinking home brewed Imperial Stouts while I am smoking.  One hobby at a time!
  4. Hello Bruce.  Get a good quality dual probe digital therm and use it.  One probe for smoker temp and one probe for meat IT.  Seal the leaks and leave the doors closed, no peeking.  "Throttle" the air intakes and I think you will be surprised at the results.  I expect to see you giving advice to new members VERY soon.  It ain't rocket science, just need a little guidance.  [​IMG]   Good luck.  Hope this helps.  Keep Smokin!

  5. NO PEEKING?  lol  Okay, I'll try...

    Thanks, man!
  6. Hey Bruce.  I forgot to add:  If you follow through with the suggestions and things don't improve then feel free to PM me and we can figure this thing out.  If I don't know the answer then I;ll  bet I know a member who does.  Here is something that we may need and something that will help you with future smokes:  write down everything you can think of!  How you built the fire, rub used, windy or no wind, EVERYTHING!  It can help us to help you and it allows you to recreate a good smoke or slowly tweak it ( one thing at a time ) until you get the final product you want.  For us to help, pictures are VERY helpful! I recently help a U.K. member from the picture.  From his description I was baffled but when I saw the picture I finally saw he  was building his fire wrong.  He didn't know.  So pictures help a bunch.

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  7. Wecome, don't sweat it, relax and pour another stout. Plenty of info on door leaks (mods) in search bar. All info above is crucial in getting to know your smoker. I usually give any air adjustment, 15-20 minutes to play out starting with firebox first. Door leak would be first on my list to take care of, to learn your air /temp control. Just remember-have fun with it and take notes. Smoke'm if you got'm.
  8. As said above fix air leaks. Top vent wide open. Make small adjustments and give them time to take. AND KEEP THE LID CLOSED!

    Happy smoken.

  9. A charcoal basket filled with lit charcoal with some mini wood splits for flavor is the way I go. The best charcoal for me is KINGSFORD COMPETITION BRIQUETS.


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