Vertical smoker temp issues?

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by taterbutt, Jan 31, 2016.

  1. taterbutt

    taterbutt Newbie

    Hey ya'll. Have smoked on my Dyna Glo vertical propane smoker 4 times so far. Some questions if you would?

    1) when I have things on multiple racks is the top rack supposed to cook at lower temps than the one on lower rack? I got one pork butt to 195 and the top to 170. Pulled them and both were juicy and pullable and delicious...? That's happened twice now! My ambient temp reader on my igrill2 says there is about a 30-40 degree difference between top and bottom rack...

    2) any mods folks would suggest on this unit?

    I live in Northern Indiana and have been smoking outdoors at 10-40 degrees... Haven't been able to get temps above 250.

    Thanks everyone!

  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If the meat if perfectly cooked on the top and lower racks, at the same time.......  and you see a temp difference......

    2 things.... Your thermometers may be off ...    or what difference does it make.... the foods perfect and delicious......

    Unless I misunderstood your post....
  3. taterbutt

    taterbutt Newbie


    True! I was pleased with the end result, just wondering the science behind it so that I don't roll the dice every time!!! I am going to experiment with my meat probes to see about temp regulation...

    Thanks Dave!
  4. smokinal

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

    It seems a little unusual that they would be the same if the IT's were that much apart. It's a little hard to believe that a butt with an IT of  170 would be easy to pull. Did the bone come out clean?

    I think your therms are off. 

    Even at 195 they don't pull that easy. Most go to 205 before resting & pulling.

    If your smoker has parts that are hotter than others, then use that to your advantage. 

    taterbutt likes this.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There is another possibility.....  The stall.....  It's caused by evaporative cooling...  The lower roast, being hotter, could have been in the stall for longer than the upper roast...   higher temps tend to drive out moisture faster than meats at a lower temp....  the upper roast "could" have been in a higher moisture zone from the lower roast, due to proximity... thus the upper roast did not experience the stall and was at a higher temperature longer than the lower.....   

    Reading that seems to make sense, but I doubt there is any probable cause for it to be correct...   Just sitting here with my coffee coming up with ideas....    wait till cocktail hour....  I'll find some doozies... 
    taterbutt likes this.
  6. taterbutt

    taterbutt Newbie

    Good stuff Al. I have the igrill meat probes. I'll get an instant read to see about accuracy. Any recommendations on instant reads?

    I have gone off looks a little as well when fat is like gelatin and it jiggles. That's what prompted me to take off when I did on both. Bones came out pretty clean without much effort. Didn't fall out however.

    Thanks Al!
  7. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    Well you can never have too much data or too many thermometers so if you're close to an Ikea I'd pick up a couple more of their $8 "Fantast" thermometers.  Plus I'd rig up a test experiment with paper clamps and clothes pins to put all your probe tips in a pot of water on the stove and bring it to boil.  When the water is boiling vigorously, they should all be reading 212F.

    You said you also took ambient air measurements that confirmed a 30-40F temperature variation from top to bottom?  They seem to confirm your top is too cool.  Any reason to doubt those readings?  Were they taken midway between the meat and the wall?  And not right after opening the door?    Also I don't think you said, but was the cooler piece of meat also the bigger piece of meat?  It's always going to take longer, at the same temp, to cook the heavier piece of meat.   Although the elevated ambient temperature is what's cooking the meat, the meat is also what's "cooling" the ambient temperature, so the bigger, cooler piece could be playing a role there.   

    Also most propane vertical chest smokers are not well insulated--the idea is you have plenty of BTUs in that bottle to not worry about insulation!  But in cold weather, you're losing a lot of heat through those walls so that can make the bottom significantly hotter than the top.  If putting the thing in a box (to reduce the heat out the side walls) isn't feasible, turn the flame up make sure your top and bottom vents are wide open instead.    You're using more fuel then, but it's going toward the top of the smoker; and the fraction lost out the side walls is then less.  
  8. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    One idea.  If you have had your vents wide open, try closing them a bit.  I find it is typically hotter at the top in most cases if your vent isn't letting out too much air/heat at the top of the unit.

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