Need help with lower temps

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by shaneyb72, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. shaneyb72

    shaneyb72 Newbie

    I'm still sorta new at smoking and could use some help. I have a fairly cheap Master Forge propane smoker from Lowes. I love it and use it quite often. I really should upgrade to something better...but I do okay with this for now. I posted previously about having trouble getting temps I wanted and many suggested adding an adjustable regulator...which I did. So now I certainly can control the temps better...but it really allowed me to get to higher temps...not lower temps. I still have trouble maintaining anything under 200 degrees. I'd like to be able to hold 150-160 for jerky, but just can't. Right now I seem to be holding about 170-175 but the flame is "pulsing" and makes me think it's going to go out as soon as I walk away.
    So are there any suggestions on what I need to do? Replace the burner? Restrict the burner in some way??

    Thanks in advance!
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Is the exhaust vent wide open?

    You could also try opening the door just a crack.

  3. shaneyb72

    shaneyb72 Newbie

    I have the vent on the side of the burner chamber mostly closed (open a crack). The exhaust vent at top is mostly wide open.
    When you say leave the door open a crack...the lower door or the smoking cabinet door? I tried leaving the lower door open a bit and it actually ran hotter! I guess because I was feeding the flame with so much fresh air?
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you leave the smoker cabinet door cracked it will allow more heat to escape.

    It's kind of a crummy way to get the temp down, but other than adding another exhaust vent on the top I don't have an answer for you.

    Hopefully someone with your smoker will come on & give you a better answer.

  5. smoakhaus

    smoakhaus Newbie

    I also had that problem with my Char Broiler smoker. You can add an in-line needle valve to get down to lower temps. You can find them online fairly easily. I put mine between the regulator and the control knob on the smoker. Once you set the smoker to the lowest setting on the control knob you can further lower the flame by playing with the needle valve. 
  6. bigbrutus27

    bigbrutus27 Newbie


    How did you install the needle valve?  I saw the bayou classic brass needle valve but don't know what other fittings I have to buy to make it work.  Thanks in advance.
  7. May be easier and safer just to buy the assembly:  basic regulator w/needle valve and 3' hose shouldn't run you $15. 

  8. bigbrutus27

    bigbrutus27 Newbie

    I want sure about the fact it is a high pressure line with that product.  I actually bought the bayou classic 10 psi assembly last night.  I hooked it up and check for leaks.  When I turned it on the valve was barely open and the flame wanted to roar away like with a turkey fryer would. Seems extremely touchy.
  9. Explicitly states high pressure line in the description:  did you open the link?  This type of assembly is meant to have the tank valve fully open, and the needle valve feathers the flame up and down.  Don't use the tank valve for adjustments.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
  10. lamar

    lamar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    If you now install a needle valve, you will have three valves to adjust and will find you fighting for control. I suggest you install the original regulator and add a needle valve. Then turn the valve on the smoker to high and completely control the flame with the needle valve. I never touch the valve on the smoker. My gasser is very stable. I never have to move the needle over 1/8 of a turn to go from 200 to 275. I have not tried to run lower than 200, but expect it would work well. The more variables you have, the more trouble to control.
    Go with the KISS philosophy.
    Good luck
  11. I have a MB propane smoker and was having the same issue of trying to hold low temperatures.
    Here are a few things I did.
    Added a needle valve. Now when you use the needle valve you open your tank valve all the way the set your smoker valve to high (i have mine just a hair off high) make sure the needle valve is closed then slowly open it till you hear a little gas flow and hit the igniter. Make sure your doors are open when lighting. It takes a bit of time to get used to using the needle valve mine is very touchy in the sense that when I have my temp close to where I want it I only have to adjust an 1/8" either way.

    I would like others to weigh in on this one to validate my method of using the valve.

    I use a water pan to help keep my temps stable. Some might disagree with this.

    I added wind skirts around the base to keep the wind from blowing out the flame at low temp.

    This is definitely one I would like to see others weigh in on.

    I think the lighting of the burner is the trickiest part.

    My $.02

  12. You're spot on, r2.  Keep the flame protected from the wind, and your use of backer board for the skirts is very good.  Not only does it keep the wind out, it adds enough weight that overturning is not an event.  Only thing that I disagree with is the water pan:  sand for me for a couple of reasons.

    1.  Moisture (water pan) + heat + smoke = creosote.

    2.  Water boils out at 212, yet we're cooking minimally at 225, and usually higher than that:  doesn't take long for it to evaporate, and each time water is added, it sucks the chamber temp down in order to heat the water.

    3.  Water (imho) gives food a rubbery, mushy texture.

    4.  Sand is a "fill and forget" scenario, as it holds the chamber temp without having to constantly monitor.

    All that said, it still needs to be monitored to avoid flameout.  Cold food (at best), up to blowing up when relighting (at worst), are things that no one wants.  Still, the cooker that r2 uses very adeptly is quite safe when the precautions he takes (from what I've read) are kept in play.
  13. Thanks GrOuchO,

    I agree on the sand, as long as you have something to create a heat sink you're ok.

    I am holding temps steady below 200 degrees.


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