Hello, Brethren! Looking for some advice, especially from the BWS owners of the group, on controlling temps on these smokers. I recently got my Backwoods Competitor, which has been turning out some great Q, but I'm having difficulty keeping the temps down around 225 or so. Running a full load of Wicked Good briquettes, I start the back-left corner of the box with a few lit briqs from a charcoal chimney starter and gradually bring it up to around 210 with both vents and exhaust open. Once it's just below my target temp (225), I close the intake vents down to about a 1/4" each, per the instructions that came with it. Meat goes in, the temp resettles, but over the next few hours it gradually keeps rising... 250....260. I close one vent and dial back the exhaust halfway, which seems to temporarily slow the rise, but within a few hours its at 260-280-300, and I can't get it back down. I look in the firebox, and it's lit from end to end... Not exactly the minion-method burn I expect. This has happened a few times now. BWS's have the reputation for solid temp control, so what am I doing wrong? Do I need a charcoal maze mod? Guru / Stoker? No problem with either of those options, but I want this thing to hold 225 on its own... Thanks in advance for your help!
01-20-2013 12:26 PM
That's alot of mass to get to temp. Start closing it off earlier. I take your running it dry as well?
01-20-2013 12:37 PM
Start closing them earlier. I have been messing around with mine since I got them. If I want to smoke at 250 I run it wide open till 200 then completely shut the back vent (I light my charcoal in the back) and leave the front open till it hits 225, then close the front vent to halfway, then just before 250 I close it to about 1/4".
Also like Untraceable asked, do you have water in the pan? Mine definitely spike without water.
After finally getting used to manual temp control I used my cyberq II for the first time yesterday and it is awesome.
01-20-2013 06:05 PM
Thanks, guys. In answer to your question, I'm running it with a full water pan each time, which makes it even more difficult to understand the high-temp problem. I'll try dialing back the intakes sooner, as suggested.
Red Valley BBQ
01-20-2013 06:11 PM
I have the same problem with my Piglet when I burn briquettes. Try using lump charcoal. The briquettes are denser than lump and take longer to burn. By the time the bricks you lit to start it burn off, the entire basket of charcoal is at a full burn, and by then it is hard to control. Lump does burn faster, but is easier to control by starting with one of your intakes completely closed. This causes the pit to come up to temp a little slower, but it is easier to control. I always leave my exhaust vents 100% open, and control the temp by adjusting the open intake vent.
01-20-2013 06:41 PM
Thanks, Red Valley. Interesting point about how the density of the briqs can actually work against you... Hadn't crossed my mind, but it makes perfect sense. Definitely explains why the temp rise is delayed and then so hard to bring down. Guess i just need to keep experimenting (no complaints about that!)