New smoker is kicking my but!!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by fastalkintn, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. So I got a new smoke hollow 4 in 1 from sams the other day. Today is my third smoke on it and I can not for the life of me get the temp to regulate. I am having 30-40 degree temp swings. Does any body have any tips or advice on this smoker, or smokers in general to help me regulate the temp? The first time I tried the minion method and temps stayed way to high. Next two times tried just adding charcoal and wood chunks a little at a time and having big temp swings.

    Thanks in advance for your help...
     
    biged likes this.
  2. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It may some experimentation in getting the right amount of base coals and how much to add and when, right down to the briquette or size lump and wood chunk..  Once mastered, you'll smooth out your temp swings more and more.
     
    biged likes this.
  3. jace

    jace Newbie

    Some mods I did to mine are as follows:  Extended chimney to cooking surface.  Removed rubber stoppers on lids and bought green egg lid gaskets and put on charcoal and smoker boxes.  Sealed up weld seems with stove sealer before I seasoned. I flipped the log grate in the firebox upside down and bought a cooking grate to put on top of it and it works great for a charcoal basket now.  I also use welders blankets on the cooking box and firebox when I'm smoking to help save fuel.  I can maintain 250 - 275 degrees for about 2 hours.  I think thats pretty good for a C.O.S.  

    I use Lump charcoal instead of briquettes.  I found it's easier to maintain temp.  They burn hotter so I found its easier to choke it down, then to be trying to stoke it up with the draft.   I  leave chimney vent wide open and usually adjust draft with the door vent.
     
  4. Hey Fastalkintn,

    I don't know anything about those fancy Grillin/Smokin machines. Especially the Smoke Hollow 4 in 1.

    I'll attach a picture so we can all drool over how pretty it is. It really is.

    What confuses me is the design;

    1) why is the stack coming out at the halfway point?

    2) I see the flue handle where the smoke box connects but what is that intake-looking thing under the Rt. hatch?

    3) What do those drawers do?

    4) Semi Flow or Semi-reverse flow? THat Chimney position has me stumped.

    I'm really not trying to throw snow on your firebox, I just want to understand what we're looking at.
    Maybe then someone will come up with an answer.

    Best wishes for success, we're all in this together.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
    biged likes this.
  5. Thanks to every one for the reply.  Hope I can answer your questions. The smoke stack is in the left rear of the smoke chamber, the other lid covers the gas grill portion and is seperated from the smoker. On the right side one handle is to raise and lower the charcoal basket when grilling and the other is an air intake, they both close off for smoking. The drawers are drip trays for both sides of the grill. I guess I would consider it a direct flow smoker, it is for sure not a reverse flow.

    After reading different things online about it I have began the mods. First I removed the rubber stoppers and "fabricated" a charcoal tray the raises it higher to allow better airflow much like Jace stated above. This made a world of difference in the temp control. I have bought some aluminum flashing to extend the smoke stack but have not put it in as of yet. I also need to get some JB weld and close a few of the gaps in the fire box.

    All in all I am very happy with the rig, just takes time and practice to figure everything out I guess.
     
  6. sscrib

    sscrib Fire Starter

    I've done pretty much everything Jace has recommended, along with a couple of other things. I have detailed my mods on my blog, in case you're interested. The 4-in-1 is a decent smoker if you are willing to put a little work into improving it.
     
  7. Fastalkintn,

    Thanks for the education. I would never have guessed about gas and charcoal in the same machine.

    That helps me understand it better.

    TW
     
  8. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    A record of each time you use the Smoker will help you hone your skills . Write down everything you do, Time,Temp, weight of meat , cooking heat ,internal temp. tracking and so on , the best learning curve one can use(IMHO). Meathead has a good form to use on the Webber site.

    Hope this helps and...
     
  9. Only time I see a temperature excursion is when the sun moves to the south west side of the house and throws direct rays on my black painted smoker.

    It goes up a solid 50 degrees which I bring back down by further reduction of gas heat on my new (this season) Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24 inch wide model. Wind is a factor also. Had to shut down the smoker when a dust storm kicked up the wind last week.
     
  10. Did you ever get the Smoke Hollow figured out?
     
  11. Kind of, I extended the chimney to grate level and also made a charcoal basket. These seem to make a big difference. Also lots of trial and error, with adjustments to the dampner. At least you can eat your mistakes when it comes to BBQ.
     
  12. droops

    droops Newbie

    Hey Guys,

    I just joined this forum so that I could get some help.  It seems I am having the same issues as everyone.  I also can't get the smoker and keep it at temp.  I got it up to 225 today and would have loved to keep it there, but came back in half an hour and it was barely warm over the smoker section.

    I guess I am wondering if the mods are working.  Does fixing the sealing issues make it possible to keep it at a smoking temp?  I guess I will extend the chimney down as well, as that seems to be the second most common fix.

    This is my first charcoal smoker.  I had an electric one before this, and didn't realize how easy it was until I got this one.  

    Any help would be appreciated for this noob.  And thanks for the advice in advance.
     
  13. sscrib

    sscrib Fire Starter

    droops,

    I have posted a couple of articles on my blog on how to modify the Smoke Hollow. Scan through the "cooking" category to find them: http://blog.truthdialogue.com/category/cooking

    The Smoke Hollow is a nice smoker, but it does require mods to make it easier to use. Also, whenever using an offset smoker like this one you have to accept that it'll be a bit of a challenge to maintain your temps. It's the nature of the beast. I use a Webber kettle for almost all my smoking anymore just because of how dead simple it is. But when I need to smoke a lot of meat, I use my SH.

    Anyway, I hope that all helps. Be sure to read the comments section for those articles as there is some really helpful discussion there. Good luck.
     
  14. I am on my second smoke hollow 4-n-1. I enjoyed the first one so much when it died I bought another one. It does take some time to dial it in but it is worth the effort when it all comes together. By no means is this thing going to preform like a Lang but it will produce some tasty BBQ!

    I sealed all the seams in the firebox with JB Weld, took me about 3 tubes to do this. I also used green egg gasket on the fire box and smoke chamber (made a big improvement). Also extended the chimney down to grate level and made a charcoal basket. With these mods I can hold 225-250 for 2-3 hours without much effort and can get about 5 hours of cooking off of one load of charcoal (all this assuming a good weather day). I burn kingsford blue in mine with wood chunks, not chips. 

    You can find easier smokers to cook with I'm sure, but thats one of the things I like about smoking! The challenge and effort make the food taste better to me, like I have earned it.

    Hope all this helps, hit me up if you have any other questions.
     

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