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VoodoChild 08-23-2013 10:39 PM

Smoked Spam and Altitude question
Hey Hey ,
Life in Phoenix is normally all good at about 1250' above sea level . within hour and half I can be in 7200' Pine trees etc. So Life at 1250' with my Mini WSM has always been good...First time taking to Mtns this past weekend ...Couldnt keep it above 200 at best every thing wide open .. used shovel full of mesquite coals from our camp fire and that was it ... I kept quiet about the temp while trying everything i could to get a fire ...
I noticed my friend had a collapable portable grill called a " Volcano " which was a three ring deal full of vent holes and it was about 14" diameter so I toss a shovel full of coal into that and put the tamale pot portion of the mini on it and walla ! Just a bad air flow on the Smokey Joe So I will post a pic of the Volcano So it could be an optional base for high altitude applications.
What Do you folks that live above say 5500 feet do or do you need to be at 7000 b4 things get wierd ?
By the way We made 5 small sammies out of the spam and it was good If you like Spam !!
There was no beer involved either .

rondini 08-24-2013 12:12 AM

Though I don't live or cook in the mountains it looks like the Volcano gets a lot more air than the mini. At that elevation there is probably not enough oxygen for the mini.

BecknCO 08-24-2013 12:33 AM

I live at 5,883' or so and cook on the mini just about every weekend. I have no problem getting to 375 during braising, and often get it under 250 easily. I use the smokey joe gold as a base too. It's favorite temp seems to be 250 with a 1/3 lit coals, top exhaust wide open and bottom vents completely closed - it will hold that steady for 3-4 hours.

My guess is that it's your diffuser if you are already using 1/4-1/3 chimney of lit coals and can't get it above 200. Are you using a clay saucer or something to that effect? Is your bottom cut out or do you have holes?

Mine has the bottom cut out, a charcoal grate sits on the lip of the steamer insert, and on top of that rests a 9" aluminum pie pan.

***that's also quite a bit of food on there at the same time - could also be restricting airflow, but I'm almost positive it's your diffuser being too big and/or diffusing too much

JLStout 08-24-2013 08:58 AM

I camp every summer at 6800 ft and have no problem getting my mini uds up to temp. It has a smokey joe base as well. Maybe not enough lit coals or not enough air. I have to rap the ashes out of the bottom every hour or two to keep it from blocking the vents.

BecknCO 08-24-2013 09:39 AM

JLStout brings up a good point - it could be that you have a lot of ash build up on the bottom that's causing a big heat sink too.

VoodoChild 08-24-2013 01:35 PM

AHHH ...Thanks for the Input ...I do have the bottom Cut out and I WAs using a 12" terra cotta dish as diffusser..:arrow:.:doh::thumb: I didnt even think that it was the terra cotta Makes total sense.I have a baffle to keep the lower vent clear ..I even dumped the fire and started over and same result. Next time Ill know better

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