smoker setup questions

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by jkee1533, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. jkee1533

    jkee1533 Newbie

    I'm new to the world of smoking meats and I have a very small trailer unit. I've used the smoker about four times now and I am really struggling to keep my temp consistent. my biggest issue seems to be when i am trying to add a log to the fire. I can have it running along smoothly at 275 but when I add a log to the fire it drops 25 degrees immediately when I open the door. 

    Is that pretty typical with most smokers or is there a reason/smoker setup issue that its causing it to drop temp so quickly when i add a log? 
  2. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    What type and brand smoker do you have? Would be easier for others to give some tips.
  3. keithu

    keithu Fire Starter

    Any time you open a door you're going to drop temp. No way around it, except maybe move to Iraq where the air temp is about the same inside and outside the smoker.

    I'm always chasing people away when I smoke. Everyone wants to see the food so I'm constantly yelling, "Don't touch that smoker!"

    When I do have to open a door I try to announce it so people can run over and have a look, snap pics, etc.
  4. drunkenmeatfist

    drunkenmeatfist Meat Mopper

    Man, I started into smoking with the $70 portable Masterbuilt propane smoker. You jumped right into a unit that requires a vehicle to be moved. I wish I could have done something like that. 
  5. jkee1533

    jkee1533 Newbie

    i actually started on one of those little weber up right grill/smokers years ago but could cook anything large like a brisket. When i decided i wanted to get an actual smoker i had $400 lined up to buy an old country pecos and a guy from work said his dad had this smaller trailer smoker. I told him i had $400 to spend and he said he would take it so we drug it out of the weeds in his back yard and a couple used tires later and a power washer I was good to go!
  6. jkee1533

    jkee1533 Newbie

    i'll post some pics tomorrow. its a hand made smoker. the guy who sold it to me something like a shop class built it
  7. smokedcaveman

    smokedcaveman Smoke Blower

    yeah, anytime you open a door, you're gonna lose heat. just kinda the way of it. once you get your temp dialed in, you want to avoid 'fiddling' if at all possible. that means 'opening to mop, opening to add logs' etc. I had that problem a lot with my MES analog. had to add chips every 20 minutes (makes face) 

    if you've got pictures of your smoker, some of the more experienced guys here might be of more help. welcome to the forum and best of luck!

  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That's pretty unusual in a stick burner.

    When I add a split to my offset the temp tends to go up, not down.

    Are you keeping a nice coal bed going?

  9. kam59

    kam59 Smoking Fanatic

    As Al mentioned typically when you open the firebox door you are adding an abundance of oxygen and your temps climb some. This is true with offsets with side doors but if you have a round firebox and are loading from the top that could cause a loss in temps.

    If you notice temps are dropping after you add the log then as Al mentioned your coal base may not be sufficient enough to ignite the new log quickly. If this is what is happening it is merely a timing issue on your end. To correct this just add a log a bit earlier.

    I hope this helps. :)
  10. jkee1533

    jkee1533 Newbie

    well i think i am keeping a good bed of coals but you may be right. when i first build my fire I get the smoker up to about 500-600 and let it come down to 275-325. that coal runs great for about 3 hours and when i add a log it ignites quickly. after 4-5 hours is when i feel like I am fighting it to keep temp and wood to ignite quickly. 

    The fire box isn't insulated at all and has a top lid that seems to leak smoke and heat a good bit. I'm sure this isn't helping. I'm asking these questions mostly because i am planning to make some modifications to make it more efficient but wanted to run it by more experiment people who could help me decide the first modification to make. 

    i don't have it setup where ash can fall through a grate like I've seen on some smokers. Is it possible that after several hours the colder ash is causing the coal bed to weaken? 

    i think my wood is okay its probably been sitting around about 18 months so it should ignite well. I've attached some pictures of my smoker to help. 

  11. Adding fresh wood will require heat to burn.  It obtains that heat from the unit until up to temp. That's one reason for the temp drop. The other is opening the door too often.  

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