Two lessons learned this morning

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by papad, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. papad

    papad Smoke Blower

    Well, I decided to smoke a couple of butts today. Last night I got the smoker cleaned up and ready to go. While I was doing that I decided to raise the charcoal basket a little higher in the firebox. My thinking was that it would put it closer to the level of the opening to the smoke chamber and therefore would let more heat into the chamber.

    NOT SO! I could barely get the temp to 200 degrees no matter how much charcoal and wood I put in. Couldn't figure out what the problem was. Then it occurs to me that the only thing that has changed since the last smoke was raising the basket. So, I pulled the basket out, (not easy to do with a fire going in it) and set it back down to where it was before. Within 10 minutes, the temps started going up. I was finally happy with it.

    Sadly, it didn't last long. The wind started to pick up, not a lot, just a light breeze. Now I had heard that the wind can affect temps, but I always thought it meant WIND, not a breeze. Temps started falling again. I moved that smoker all over the place, facing every direction and nothing helped. Finally I moved it behind the garage and managed to cut the wind down quite a bit. Temps came back up within fifteen minutes and have been holding steady for two hours now. And that is 6 1/2 hours into the smoke. Needless to say, it has put me a bit behind on my plans.

    So, lesson #1: Don't bother to raise the charcoal basket higher than the bottom of the smoke chamber opening.

    Lesson #2: Build a wind break. It really does make a difference no matter how much the wind blows.

    Hopefully, I will have some Q-View later on to show off a succesful smoke.
  2. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Glad to hear you got it going your way now my bad wind day was yesterday thank goodness I'm not smoking today because the wind is from the same direction as yesterday and blowing even harder
  3. phrogs4ever

    phrogs4ever Fire Starter

    When I read the title, I was wondering if one of the lessons learned was "just because I put the temp probe in barehanded, I can't pull it out barehanded." At least I wasn't barefoot.
  4. northern greenhorn

    northern greenhorn Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Third Lesson : The hole in your underwear goes in front, I've had to mention this to our youngest on more than one occasion.
  5. I'm glad to see you posted your lessons learned papad. I just inherited an ECB and once I clean the birdsh*t off it I was planning some mods. I'll keep your lessons learned in the back of my head.
    PS-Greenhorn- Thanks to you too, you could've mentioned that 34 years ago, but better late than never.
    This is what I love about SMF, always learning.
  6. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Glad to see you are figuring things out. Some times the best way we learn is by trying different thing and finding what doesn't work. And yes the wind sure can play tricks on you. Sounds like you are doing very well though.
  7. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the confirmation Papad . I did a brisket Sunday and had trouble getting above 230° and was thinking it was because I raised the charcoal basket. I'll lower it and see what happens...and yes the wind gave me fit's too.
  8. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Learning is what its all about, if you don't experiment then whats the point.
  9. athabaskar

    athabaskar Smoking Fanatic

    Learned the same lesson on my New Braunfels.

    "You gotta keep it in the draft to make it go anywhere." (Dale Earnhardt, 1982).

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