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Need help advise--new smoker

 
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CLEMSONRAMSFAN
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Joined: 09 Apr 2009
Posts: 31
Location: North Carolina, Home of BBQ

PostPosted: Tue Aug 11 09 7:46 am    Post subject: Need help advise--new smoker Reply with quote

Hello all, so I got a new smoker/grill a few months ago. Its built like a tank, I really like it alot. I got the 20X24 all charcoal grill with smokebox. Here is a link to check em out http://www.coastalenterprises.net/. My problem is im having a heck of a time maintaining a consitent 225-250 temp. I contanstly have to monitor the thing (add more fuel) which is a tad bit frustrating. Im using a full chimney of OCC bricks and then throwing some RO lump on top, it gets up to around 235 but after like 20 minutes the temp starts to drop. My air intakes are wide open as well as the exhaust. This smoker doesnt have a stack, the vents are on the back and the side. My thoughts are that the coals are not getting enough air, but my intakes are wide open so Im really not sure what to do. If you look at the smoker do you think the vents are allowing enough air in? Also form looking at where the coals sit its almost impossible for any air to get underneath, and I dont think I can alter that any. This is not an cheapo smoker, so Im assuming Im doing something wrong. Im putting out decent food, but Id like to get a little bit more burn time without the attention. Any advice yall can pass along would be appreciated.

Thanks
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whitey
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Joined: 25 Apr 2008
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Location: washington state

PostPosted: Tue Aug 11 09 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does the fuel sit flat on the bottom or up off the bottom on a elevated shelf/grate

If its on the bottom build a shelf/grate.


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purplewg
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11 09 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clemsonramsfan, from what I can see on that site they sell grills and not smokers. Can you post a picture or two of the unit you have?
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CLEMSONRAMSFAN
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Joined: 09 Apr 2009
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Location: North Carolina, Home of BBQ

PostPosted: Tue Aug 11 09 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a picture of the cooker. You can see the charcoal grate sits pretty low but the grate is raised a bit from the tray.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/progrills/3516367470/
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zysmith
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Joined: 27 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11 09 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would recommend looking into the Minion Method. You create a pile of unlit coals in your firebox, creating a depression in the middle, and place ~ 1/2 chimney full of lit coals on top. The lit coals slowly ignite the surrounding coals, creating a long lasting stable burn. I have a small unit and have gotten up to 2 hours of steady temps. I have heard of folks with a higher charcoal capacity getting much longer times.
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purplewg
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not an expert by no means but, the grate in the firebox looks like there is not near enough space for good circulation. It needs to up higher. JMHO
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MaryB
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Joined: 16 May 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get the fire grate up off the bottom! There isn't any space for air to get under the grate(at least thats what the picture looks like).
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CLEMSONRAMSFAN
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Joined: 09 Apr 2009
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Location: North Carolina, Home of BBQ

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok i think I have a solution for this. I can take out the charcoal tray and put in a couple bricks and rest the grate on that. There should be plenty of room for air between the bottom of the firebox and the and coals. Ashes will just fall to the bottom on the firebox and not in the tray, makes cleanup a bit harder but oh well. Also may not smother the fire as much....

Any problems with placing two solid bricks in the firebox?

Thanks
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Teleking
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about putting the grate in the side fire box on the supports about half way up. Use all wood.

just my $0.02

Bricks will deteriorate over time unless they are fire rated.
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CLEMSONRAMSFAN
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Location: North Carolina, Home of BBQ

PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a bad idea, only problem is its real hard to add more fuel when its in the top brackets. I wont use all wood, I like lump or OCC rancher and then throw some hickory chunks on. I have a huge supply of bricks so I could replace every few months....

Hopefully this might help.
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Teleking
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want longer burn times research the minion method and a David Klose charcoal basket that burns charcoal in a zig zag pattern similar to this.



I drop some lit coals in the front left corner and can burn 4 to 5 hours in the bride.



here it is with no coal:





you could build one (or 2) that slide in and out when one comes to the end use the rest of the coals to dump in the next one and so on.
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Rojellio Es Caliente
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Joined: 15 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12 09 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CLEMSONRAMSFAN wrote:
Here is a picture of the cooker. You can see the charcoal grate sits pretty low but the grate is raised a bit from the tray.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/progrills/3516367470/


The Charcoal Shelf under the main cook chamber looks like a BIG wasted space, or in other words adds a lot of extra indirectness. Indirect cooking is one thing.. but that is extremely indirect. OR at least it looks that way to me.

I would love that degree of indirectness for fish, jerky or cheese.

The air situation under the grate probably isnt helping things either.
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