Maintaining Temps - Way too high!!!!

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by wowmiata, May 13, 2016.

  1. wowmiata

    wowmiata Newbie

    Hey guys, I am new and just did my seasoning smoke today and I was planning on seeing what kind of temps I was going to get on my smoker.

    I am extremely discouraged right now! My temps sky rocketed to close to 350 F for a good 45 minutes! What on earth did I do wrong???

    Cheap Offset Smoker - Char-Broil -

    I have a baffle in place to direct the heat further into the cooking chamber, I had a water pan in place, and I had a dryer vent attached to the chimney to the height of the cooking surface.

    My temps were up and down and up and down and I couldnt get a consistent cooking temp (225-250) for more than 15 minutes or so.

    Below are some pictures of my setup. I have some aftermarket temp gauges installed at cooking level.

    I thought I prepped and modded enough to be able to have reliable temperature for the 'cook' but now I dont know what to do...

    The temp outside was probably 80* no wind, southern Mississippi, normal humidity.

    Put about 20 charcoal in the chimney and got them going for awhile. Made a hole in the middle of the fire box out of the unlit coals, added the lit coals to the middle of the hole. I'd say in total about 150 coals.

    I guess I just used too much charcoal to start off with? probably cut the total number of coals in half? It seems like I am going to have to babysit this smoker to keep my desired temp.

    Please any input would be appreciated.

  2. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Try using less charcoal and let it make a bed of good coals. Then switch over to wood splits. Pre-heat the splits for good ignition and keep a small hot fire instead of a large hot fire.

    Try this out. Good luck, Joe
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You could even make up your fire basket with unlit coals and chunks. Just light a corner with a torch, alcohol wipe or weber wax starter. Way easier to add air to a small fire to make more heat than try to choke off a big Hot fire...JJ
  4. wowmiata

    wowmiata Newbie

    I was able to just cut the number of charcoal by about 2/3 and had a nice, reliable fire. Started with coals and then switched to hickory wood chunks for the remainder of the burn. When temps rose higher than 260 I would just open the lid to the fire box and let it settle for a bit.

    Then i'd let it fall to 225 or so and close the lid, and close the intake.

    Ended up with a good smoke.

    I never really saw much of a 'thin blue smoke' but the temps were perfect and across the entire cooking grate i only had a 10* variance.

    Rack on the left I did 3-2-1, rack on the right i just basted every 45 mintues.

    3-2-1 for the winnnnnnnnn all day.

    wrapped them with a little brown sugar, butter, and honey - fan freaking tastic. became very tender and fell off the bone. im not competing and thats what i like!

    you can see the that the meat was falling off the bone towards the top of the picture. i lost the meat for two of the ribs!

  5. gitaryzt1985

    gitaryzt1985 Fire Starter

    I have the same smoker as you do, and I have the exact same problem.  What everyone says so far should work, and I have had to really dial back on how much charcoal I use.  But, it never fails that it either loses or gains heat very quickly.  I have to babysit mine all day.

    I really have a feeling that this smoker is just not a very good smoker.  It lets air into the firebox even with the vent closed and it isn't very well insulated.  I'm going to make some mods to mine and try to use some heat resistant silicon to seal up the air gaps.
  6. wowmiata

    wowmiata Newbie

    This smoker is absolutely not a good smoker. The firebox is a joke. The door shut still wiggles loose about a half inch. The hinge is so weak.
    Very thin sheet metal. Smoking with this smoker in cold weather, I'd imagine it's a nightmare.

    Having said that, I didn't expect much more from it at $150. It's got plenty of space and with the mods it's not bad.
    As for the temps, I was able to get the temps under control with 1/3 the amount of charcoal. Then I'd just throw a chunk or two of wood to keep the temps right when they would start to dip.
  7. i just bought the small version of the one you show and had same issues. small firebox. ended up with ash choking the fire. will add lump charcoal or all wood from now on. still ok for the price
  8. wowmiata

    wowmiata Newbie

    I think I've figured it out. What I do now is use about 35 briquettes up as close to the smoke chamber (all the way to the right) as possible. And then I put in unlight briquettes when needed to the left, not on top.
    Depending on the smoke, once I make it all the way to the far side, then I will zig back on top of all the burnt coals.
    But I've got a set of tongs that I use to clear out the ash from the bottom of the fire box so there is always a channel for the oxygen to go through.

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