Tuning plates, does it block smoke?

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by fisher6688, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. I was wondering since my tuning plates are very close together near the firebox. Does it affect the amount of smoke and flavor that the meat gets versus the area that has more opening where the smoke will come up more. I have a old country wrangler.
  2. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Tuning plates can be tricky.

    Depends on how how much of the grate space they equal and how they are placed.

    They redistribute heat and smoke accordingly.

    There will always be some heat and some smoke in the chamber.

    They also re-direct air flow, heat, and smoke to the exhaust, and how they do that can differ depending on your type of smoker and how the tuning plates are employed.

    I would recommend experimenting with moveable plates to see what you think?

    Good luck and good smoking.
  3. yeah i have been playing around with some that i got made. 1/4 inch thick ones. unfortunately every time i think i have the heat distributed evenly it will change on me and i have to play around with the plates again. i might just take them out and let the smoker work like it was made. I have the old country wrangler. my exhaust is at grate level from the factory. and it has a heat baffle right by the firebox. the diameter of the stack is probably around 5 inches to 6 wide so it has a good amount of suction power sucking the heat out. I think that is why i keep having a hot spot near the exhaust. i been playing around with closing the stack a little bit which sort of helps make the heat stay near the firebox. I would like to leave the smoker at factory settings as im sure they made it with the heat baffle and stack low to the grate and tested it out that way before manufacturing it. must work like that somehow. 
  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    With a new unit, I would always do a couple of dry runs to see how it performs out of the box before knowing what if anything might need changes.

    Also most of us like the exhaust open.  Adjusting with other of the many influencing factors.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  5. I'm also still feeling my way around my new brinkman Trailmaster. Out of the box, I made tuning plates out of 3/16 steel, including a baffle plate.

     After a week of rain I finally got to give it a test run and was not happy with the performance.

    I started moving and and adjusting the plates through the next couple of smokes. A fellow smoker that I met at the Home Depot and he turned me onto the ceramic briquettes and he said he bought his trailmaster the week before and a bag of them was sufficient to distribute the smoke and heat. Three rows across and the length and evenly spread.  I left the baffle plate and a 6 in tuning plate and a 4 inch plate stacked on it  in case I need it I can just slide it over with my tongs. I did gain ground with the last set up but I am going to go with out any mods except the seal and the extended exhaust that I have done. I am going to do a dry run and then add the briquettes exclusively as the guy told me and see what happens. It is a game, I get it close then it goes to the other extreme. Wind and temp seems to be a major factor in the control but over all I am happy that I can control the smoking process, not as well as my propane smoker but better than the little cheapo Char broil  that I paid 25.00 for at TARGET when they were clearing space for xmas items and the display went cheap.  I had no mods on the Char broil though!
  6. Pellet I also have a BrinkmanTrailmaster that I recently bought at the Depot, I also bought an adjustable heat diffuser from Lowes for $17.00 that goes from 12"to about 18" long with stainless steel screws for the corners that act like legs. So you can go out horizontally and up or down!! The nice part is that it is louvered for heat (and smoke ) and it isn't the full depth of the grill which allows smoke to roll up both sides. I have a 1/4 " plate at the fire box side of the grill and I'm still in the experimental stage, I smoked a brisket 5 lbs. last weekend and had problems with the temp due to inconsistent wind conditions, after 8 hrs. I pulled it off and I had a beautiful smoke ring and the beef was good. The crazy part is that the internal temp never went above 148 degrees , I had trouble with the grill temp and I think part of the problem was buildup of briquette dust in the fire box and lack of a breeze.I hope this helps!!
  7. I am going to look into the louvered heat diffuser. I have had success with all the set ups but each set up required attention. My first brisket on the BTMLE turned out great and took about 7 hrs. It a 3-1/2 LB'er. I took it to 210 IT, pulled it off, wrapped in foil and a towel and rested it in a cooler for a couple hours. What a treat it was, melt in your mouth good.
    I can get my gas smoker to give me good results every time but I've concluded that the charcoal smoker just needs to be watched and to have patience. I cant say that I'm disappointed but I will get the charcoal smoking mastered. I can till eat what I smoke on it.

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