Weird temps in the RF today

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by turn4fun, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. turn4fun

    turn4fun Fire Starter

    So I built a small RF late last summer and really only used it a handful of times before winter, so I haven't been able to learn all of it's quirks just yet.  Decided to do a couple slabs of ribs today so I got her fired up but can't quite seem to get it to temp.  Not really sure if it's the wind (20 to 30mph today) or my fuel.  So far I've only used RO lump in this smoker and have had no trouble keeping temps.  Usually I'll have my intake ports about 1/2 open to maintain 225 degrees.  I was out of RO so I grabbed a bag of no name lump at Hy-Vee.  It seems like decent lump, started good without any fireworks and seems to be burning a long time.  However, I've had my intake ports 100% open the whole time and still cannot get to temp.  

    I started off with one temp probe in the center of my smoker.  The highest I got it was 197 but I went ahead and threw my ribs on anyway thinking it would eventually come up.  Finally I decide to try a different probe just to make sure it wasn't a bad probe.  I put the second probe right next to the first one and then plugged it in.  Well both probes read the exact same temp.  After awhile I decided to move the probes to each end of the chamber.  After the temp stabilized from opening the door, I observed a 20 degree difference from end to end.  So far I haven't had a variation that great in this smoker.  Now here's the really weird part, the firebox end was the cold end!  Usually It's the other way around.  I'm running 220 on the gap end and 190 on the firebox end.  What do you suppose gives with this? 
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The wind.

    Did you move your smoker to a calm area, behind a building or wind break.  If you have 30 mph winds blowing across a firebox with dampers fully  open there is no telling what is happening.  The wind could also be passing over the exhaust vent and pulling out the heat.  I believe when you get to winds in that range all bets are off.
  3. turn4fun

    turn4fun Fire Starter

    There was no place I could move it to get it out of the wind today.  I think I may have figured it out.  Since my firebox is partially inset into the smoke chamber, it tends to get a little bit hotter on that end.  I usually don't put water in the RF plate reservoir and if I do I just use a little bit.  This time I filled it, and remembering that the firebox end had gotten hotter the last time, I slipped some 1/4" plate under the front legs so the water would slope towards the firebox.  I think that having more water over the firebox end than the gap end may have been what kept that end cooler.  I noticed that once the water had finally all steamed off, I no longer had any trouble getting up to temp and then I only had a 2 degree difference end to end.  Next time I'll go back to using little or no water.
  4. fourashleys

    fourashleys Smoking Fanatic

    Glad ya got it figured out. The wind can be a serious pain sometimes, especially wind that strong.

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