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Modifications
August 17, 2008
4:31 pm
jpatts
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Forum Posts: 6
Member Since:
July 20, 2008
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I had an issue with my fire getting snuffed out.  I made the modification using the shaker basket from Lowe's, no fire snuff out but I had trouble getting to and maintaining temp.  The basket is mounted on longer screws from the original, I have a Char-Griller offset.  Could the basket be too elevated?  Meaning could the basket be too high for the air flow adjuster on the offset portion?  The day was windy could the wind have played with the temp?

Another question what does the stack air flow control?   Sorry if this is a basic question.  But yesterday I was moving any knob I could to help the smoker get into tempand was unsuccessful.

I did about 24 pounds of pulled pork and cooked then close to 100 minutes per pound due to the temp issue.  However, when 190 struck, the meat shredded easy and the bark was nice and dark.  I consider the day a success and everyone on this site had a hand in it so……thank you

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August 18, 2008
10:31 am
Big Dan
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Forum Posts: 13
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June 26, 2008
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There are a number of things that could be causing your problem -- but my first guess is that your temp gauge is not functioning properly.  I say this because 100 minutes per pound for pulled pork is pretty much an average cooking time - which means you were cooking at right around 220 -- the perfect temp.

Also -- did you remove the football-shaped knockout between the firebox and the cooking chamber?  If not, do so right away otherwise you will always have a problem coming up to temp and you will increase fuel consumption considerably.

One other thing -- there seems to be an obsession lately with charcoal baskets -- they are completely unnecessary in most smokers (some smokers that are made with lighter gauge steel need a basket to prevent the sides of the firebox from eventually "burning through" -- but your smoker is not one of them as it is made with a heavy guage metal).  Use a top quality hardwood lump charcoal and you won't have any problems with the fire choking itself out -- all you need is a few inches clearance between the charcoal grate and the bottom of the firebox -- that's it!  A charcoal basket is useful only for refueling and certainly is not necessary even for that.  I have never used a charcoal basket -- my smoker is 12 years old and as good as new -- and I never have a problem with the fire choking itself out -- I use the best lump charcoal I can find and typically get 6 to 8 hours steady 220 without having to tend the fire -- when I can get my hands on the best lump (hard to find in AZ) I can hold a steady 220 for 10-12 hours.

Keep on cookin'!

Big Dan

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August 18, 2008
11:26 am
Big Dan
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Forum Posts: 13
Member Since:
June 26, 2008
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Ooops -- I missed your second question.  The chimney stack controls the air flow through your smoker -- as you close it down it slows the air flow across the charcoal lowering the temp -- but is also slows the convection of heat through the smoker.  Thus, you should always control your fire with the air intake first leaving the chimney vent wide open.  If you find that with the air intake completely shut your temp is still too high then you want to begin closing the chimney vent -- and you should only close it enough to get the temp down to 220.  Sometimes I find in my smoker that I need to close both the air intake and the chimney vent all the way -- this is not a problem so long as there is no visible smoke.  If there is any visiible smoke must have the chimney vent wide open until the smoke disappears.  This situation occurs in my smoker because there are a lot of gaps -- the lids and doors don't fit real tight so even when everything is shut down, there is air flow inside the smoker.  However, your smoker (from the ones I've seen) seems to be better constructed than mine with fewer gaps.  However, there may be times when you find you need to close the chimney vent to get the temp down.

Keep on cookin'!

Big Dan

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August 25, 2008
12:38 pm
beltwaybbq
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Forum Posts: 53
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July 10, 2008
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There has been a lot of talk on the web about charcoal baskets that's true.  One of the reasons is because they fit so well in the Char-griller side fire box.  The Char-griller is well made as Big Dan said, but in my opinion and as a Char-griller user, the basket is a great retrofit.  The grate that came with it doesn't hold lump coal very well because so often, they come in small pieces.  The basket stops that from happening and will hold both large and small pieces of lump coal.  Since the basket has a tight weave or woven pattern, it also sort of sifts any ash that accumlates and moves that ash down to the ash pan which allows great heat with zero chance of your fire snuffing out.  In my view, the basket's function is mainly one of coal containment more than anything else.

One thing I have learned is that some changes, tips, modifications, whatever, aren't for everyone.  Trial and error is the only way to make it work for you and your rig.

Happy smoking!

JAC – beltwaybbq

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August 25, 2008
12:52 pm
Big Dan
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Forum Posts: 13
Member Since:
June 26, 2008
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JAC,

I cannot argue with anything you said.  Smile

Keep on cookin'!

Big Dan

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