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Wesman61 11-25-2012 11:48 PM

Closing Flue Damper?
Seems like I read somewhere that closing the flue damper is not a good idea. I'm sure it was in a smoking how-to book. I have trouble keeping the temp hot enough for poultry on my offset and was wondering about this. I've always kept it open but am wondering if that's part of the problem. I'll be smoking another turkey this coming week for the crew at work for a belated Thanksgiving potluck and will have a chance to try running with the damper closed.

BBQ Bandit 11-26-2012 12:09 AM

If you are running charcoal - be sure its a dry source and not from a partial burnt portion.
If the charcoal isn't hot enough- try lump... burns hotter.
If you're working with wood - seasoned oak splits will answer your need.

Keep that flue open for the cleanest smoke and better flavor too.

Bludawg 11-26-2012 12:18 AM

Closing down on the exhaust damper will case the smoke to back up into the firebox starving the fire for fresh air reducing your temp and make creosote. FIRE MANAGEMENT>>>>> build a bigger fire!

Wesman61 11-26-2012 12:29 AM

I generally use RO Chef's Select charcoal with hickory chunks. I have some mesquite lump still in the bags and some cherry wood splits. I'll try that. Should I skip the charcoal basket since it limits the amount of fuel I can use?

BigBellyBBQ 11-26-2012 02:52 AM

look at improving your smoker, insulation--double walls etc...block from the wind...smaller pieces of wood..but heat mangement is key

Wesman61 11-26-2012 03:12 AM


Originally Posted by BigBellyBBQ (Post 2281067)
look at improving your smoker, insulation--double walls etc...block from the wind...smaller pieces of wood..but heat management is key

I'm looking at that. I posted about it in another "thread" that didn't go anywhere. I am looking at ways to thicken the fire box by replacing the door with thicker metal and overlaying the rest of it with another layer of sheet metal. I have plans LOL. That smoker has sentimental value so it's gets treated well.

Bigdog 11-26-2012 07:44 AM

Do not close that damper. Air flow is necessary for a hot fire. All you will do is make the problem worse. Instead make sure you fire box is clean of all ash. Open all vents all the way. Build a hot coal base with charcoal, lump is hottest. Add a couple of logs if you can when coals are hot. Use chunks if logs wont fit. Put a third log on top or inside of the fire box if possible. Add that log when fire starts to drop (about 1 per hour or so). Only adjust the intake vent if too hot. Keep the exhaust wide open.

Your choice of fuel is also important. As I said, lump is hotter than coal. Oak and mesquite is the hottest common wood. Fruit woods are cooler. Smaller wood burns hotter than large but must be added sooner. They key is to get that baby hot and then reduce air flow with the intake. Also realize toy temps will drop when you add that big cold bird so get it too hot at first. Heat sinks like a water pan or fire bricks help maintain temps too. Fuel + airflow = heat.

Good luck man. Hope this helps.

Arlin_MacRae 11-26-2012 11:57 AM

This: ^^^^
The only time I used the damper was when I wanted to smooth out a temperature spike - and I didn't leave it closed for long.

Me, I'd look at your pit for air leakes that might be keeping your temps down. Rust holes, gaps where metal meets metal, etc., then plug the leaks. Use lump charcoal like everyone else has mentioned, with some wood on top of that. If the pit is in a windy spot, either block the wind or move the pit. You'd be surprised how much that helps, especially when you've got air leaks.

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