Trying It Again . . .

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by ddave, May 10, 2008.

  1. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well, first smoke since the frustration festival a couple of weeks ago. This time I'm using WGC Weekend Warrior Blend instead of Cowboy. Got the tuning plates in and things seem to be going okay. Temps are holding right between 220 to 235 with the damper wide open -- which would be great if I was doing pork. But since I am doing a meatloaf, I would like to see the temps higher.

    Wind is up a bit so I bulit an ugly windbreak.

    So far I like the WGC. Seems to burn hot and clean. If the wind shifts I am sure the temps will rise but if it stays stuck at 230 I figure that will be perfect for doing some ribs without having to babysit it.

  2. coyote

    coyote Master of the Pit

    just wondering. if you wanted the temp to rise..more heat is needed. larger bed of already burning lump. or a couple pieces of burning peacan or oak. not sure but what the heck. I would add more fuel. and O2
  3. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Face the end of the firebox, into the wind always!
  4. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Coyote, actually I think you nailed it. I was putting too much unlit in the basket first before adding the lit thinking it would catch and burn. But the WGC seems to be fairly uniform size pieces so I don't think the airflow through the unlit pile was enough to really make it take off. Once I started adding chimneys of lit, the temps came up some.

    Capt. Dan, thanks. That is a great idea. Don't know if you can tell from the picture but to the right of the smoker is kind of a canyon formed by the end of my house and a 5 foot retaining wall with a 6 foot board fence on top of that. If I point the firebox end that direction I should have no problem with airflow. Kind of like forced air induction for the smoker. As it was, I was having to open the firebox door to get the temps higher.

    After about 3 and 1/2 hours I moved the meatloaf to the Charbroil Masterflame to finish. It came out pretty good. The kids loved it. We were snacking on some bits and the way they were going after it you'd think I made homemade ice cream or something.

  5. smokin out the neighbors

    smokin out the neighbors Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Glad it went better for you Dave. Any Qview to share?
  6. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No, unfortunately. It's all gone and no Qview this time. Although the day after when I went to clean out the firebox I noticed about a 2" to 3" layer of ash in the charcoal basket that did not fall through. I was tapping and banging the heck out of it during the smoke. Don't know why it built up so much. The WGC stuff is pretty uniform in size but smaller chunks. Will put much less unlit in to start next time and will just stoke it with chimneys of lit.

  7. jet_deck

    jet_deck Fire Starter

    In your picture, the smoke looks like it is blowing left to right. What good is the wind break where you have it? What are you breaking from the wind ? Really curious.

    I'm not trying to "whip a dead horse", but hasn't wind direction been covered? PLMK if i am wrong.
  8. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good point. In that particular location where I like to park the smoker, there is the retaining wall behind the smoker and the board fence on top of that. Looking at the smoker, you are facing north. To the right of the smoker is a long breezeway formed by the end of my house and the retaining wall and board fence. The width of the breezeway is about 7 feet wide. If you were standing facing the smoker, behind you would be a 30' by 15' covered patio whose roof line ties in with the house roof. When the north or south wind blows, it blows over the opening in between the fence and the patio and seems to create a vortex of swirling wind. Our house faces south east and when the wind blows from that direction, it comes right down the breezeway but swirls a bit at the end. That is the direction of wind I was trying to protect the smoker from. If I had snapped the picture a little sooner or later, the smoke would have been going a different direction. Video probably would have been a more useful illustration.

    That is the best spot for the smoker as far as the layout of my yard and patio is concerned but likely the worst spot for it on a windy day. I am either going to have to find a better spot for it when the wind blows or get a welding blanket or something to cover it with when the wind blows. And try to keep the firebox pointed into the wind as Capt Dan said, although to do that I may need to put 4 swivel wheels on the smoker or put it on a freadkin' turntable the way the wind swirls around back there!!

  9. jet_deck

    jet_deck Fire Starter

    Thanks for helping me understand what I'm looking at, that makes more sense. I've read a post of someone that put an air intake on the bottom of the firebox. Located near the front (nearest the end that your existing air intake is on). All of his fuel (wood/charcoal) sits on a "shelf" keeping it off of the bottom of the firebox. He originally had problems with the wind (venturi effect) pushing and pulling heat out of the cooking chamber, but by opening the bottom air inlet, he has had no more problems. Just food for thought. Thanks again for the location description.
    <Even though the smoker appears to be running up-hill, left to right, it is just an optical illusion right? If not, that could cause crazy things to happen also>
  10. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Heh... kinda makes ya proud eh? Good job... POINTS!
  11. kookie

    kookie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good job, glad your meatloaf turned out...........They are great almost as good as a fattie.................
  12. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I suppose so but this was the first smoke since then so I was trying to block the wind rather than facing the smoker the other direction.

    Yes, that is an optical illusion caused by camera tilt.

    Thanks Rich and Kookie.

  13. funh2o

    funh2o Meat Mopper

    Hey Dave...I'm glad you stuck with it and tried again with better results. The wind can really be a bugger when you are trying to smoke. I'm sure it is a lot harder with your smoker than with my gas burner. None the less, I have still had trouble with the wind affecting my smoke temps.

    Happy your smoke turned out better this time.

  14. chargrilled

    chargrilled Meat Mopper

    Keep with it, I had 40 mph wind with gusts over that this Sun. that destroyed my session. I couldnt even get er near 190!!! Had a chair blockin some of the wind into the firebox but other than that, no where to run, no where to hide.

    I kept with it, ignoring the "danger zone" until dark then into the oven with everything[​IMG] . No one got sick, and there aint much leftovers.[​IMG]

    It did turn out really good, smoke ring and all but by the end I wanted to scrap that damn smoker. I got this week to pump myself back up by readin all these posts, including this one that reassures me that I am not alone with this wind problem!!
  15. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes, it does get frustrating but the encouraging support here sure helps. My hat is off to the guys and gals here that can fire these offset firebox types with charcoal long enough to do briskets and butts. When I got this thing, I figured, Hell, I used to run a woodfired boiler. I know how to build a fire in a container. But the boiler had a lot of computer help keeping it going. I haven't had much luck lately but will keep trying. Am leaning towards an Afterburner though.


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