Newbie Help, First smoke tomorrow

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by atcbob, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. atcbob

    atcbob Newbie

    I inherited a Char-Broil Silver Smoker from a friend at work. Tomorrow I will be smoking 3 Pork shoulders. I plan on use the minion method, but have no idea where to start the 2 side vents.

    My research tells me to keep the smoke stack open to let out the smoke. But I have no idea where I should start the 2 vents on the fire box. Thanks for any help.

    P.S. I did modify the smoke stack so that it drops all the way to meat level, added a baffle, and a thermo near meat level. Any other modification/set-up tips appreciated.
  2. wood river bbq

    wood river bbq Smoke Blower

    Here's how I start a Lang. You can pick out the parts that might work for you. I start with lump charcoal (wood is hard to come by and expensive) and a couple of small pieces of camp fire wood, which burns hot and fast. You don't want to cook with camp fire wood. Both fire box vents are fully open as is the chimney vent. The cook lid is open as is the fire box door. Once I get the draft going -- you'll see the smoke going out the chimney - I close the fire box door and the cook chamber lid. I don't start the cook until I have a good bed of coals. With both vents open, the cook chamber temp will be at it's highest.To back the cook chamber temp down, I close one of the vents and fine tune the temp with the remaining vent. 

    So, to answer your question, you control the cook chamber temp with your fire box vents. It's all about oxygen. My cooker is air tight and 1/4" steel -- your cooker is not and that's part of your temp control problem. You'll be leaking heat/smoke all over the place and letting oxygen in. You'll probably be "chasing" your temp through the entire cook.

    If I were you I'd try a test run TODAY to see how your cooker performs. If your cook chamber temp starts to get away from you just lift the cook chamber lid for a few seconds to bring it down. I don't think high temperature will be your problem -- maintaining a steady temp will be a chore and you'll have to monitor your cooker through the entire cook.

    Your smoker is going to require some getting used to but once you figure it out you'll be able to cook some good product.
  3. atcbob

    atcbob Newbie

    Thanks for the advice.  I'm too impatient to try a test run. I can also see the advantage of having a more tightly sealed fire box. Lifting the lid helped a few times to bring the temp down.  I messed up at the start and dumped my chimney starter too early and the temp spiked up to 400 before I got the meat on.  Once I got it under control I have been able to maintain 225-250 pretty easily with small adjustments.

    Wife is out now getting me some more lump charcoal as I didn't plan enough, or burnt up too much at the start.  I also noticed that lifting my side box lid, really reduces the cook chamber temp, so I have had some temp drops when adding more hickory wood.  Over all it seems to be going well, I'm 4 hours in and the meat is around 125 internal temp.

    Thanks again for the tips. 
  4. atcbob

    atcbob Newbie

    EDIT for double post
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014

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