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Hook'em Texans 11-22-2009 10:11 AM

I'm smoking for the first time today and am having trouble getting the heat up. I'm using charcoal, and I assume if I pile the charcoal on it'll get hot but how many bag will that take? I have the largest bag (18lbs, I think) and that doesn't seem like it'll be enough. I'm beginning hour three and am about half way through the bag. Thoughts?

Meat Burner 11-22-2009 10:14 AM

What equipment are you cooking on?

Hook'em Texans 11-22-2009 10:23 AM

I'm using a typical smoker with the firebox on the side.

Meat Burner 11-22-2009 10:28 AM

Hook'm, that is a WIDE OPEN variety of smokers. Do you have the manufacturer or a pic. Some offsets are fuel hogs and some are engineered to be very efficient. You will get some responses if you get more information. Good luck bro.

big brother smoke 11-22-2009 10:35 AM

^^^^ he said. WHat temp you shooting for? What position are your vents and do you have the grate raised in the firebox?

Hook'em Texans 11-22-2009 10:51 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I've attached a picture of the smoker. Chimney vent is close and the sidebox vent is halfway. The coals are raised on a grate and I'm shooting for 200 but can only get to 150.

deguerre 11-22-2009 10:59 AM

Are you using an internal thermometer to verify if the factory one is accurate?

Gore 11-22-2009 11:00 AM

With mine, the amount of charcoal has a very nonlinear dependence on the temp. If I'm running at 250, half a bag will run me about 3 hours. If I crank to 260, half bag lasts for about 1-2 hours. If I'm running at 210, I can go 12 hours+ on a bag -- very good for overnight butts. One other thing to check is the thermometer. Mine was off by about 50 degrees(!) when I calibrated it.

Kevin 11-22-2009 11:00 AM

Open the exhaust wide open. Open the intake vents until the temp starts climbing then start closing them down in small increments. Don't trust that thermometer in the lid. Your actual temp at the cooking grate will be higher.

BTW, Chargrillers are pretty much fuel hogs.

Hook'em Texans 11-22-2009 11:03 AM

I am not using an internal thermometer only the factory's. I'm beginning to think this is my problem. I'll need to make a run to the store.

Meat Burner 11-22-2009 11:05 AM

Hook'em, did you say the exhaust chimney is closed? If so, open that bad boy all the way open and never touch it until you're done. The exhaust is not allowing a draft over the fire and will never get very hot. Do all the adjustments at the firebox intake. Keep us posted bro.

Gore 11-22-2009 11:14 AM

What Kevin and Meat said! Open up that chimney and don't touch it again!
I see in the pic the chimney looks closed.

Hook'em Texans 11-22-2009 11:34 AM

IT'S OPEN NOW!! Rookie mistake, I was thinking the opposite.Thanks for the help, I appreciate.

BBQ Bandit 11-22-2009 11:38 AM

Yessir... open the top stack and side air (firebox vent) wide open ... allow the temp to build up (and it will)... slowly shut her down (side intake only) once the temp gets close to the target range.

Get a few oven temp thermos (baking section)... at the grocery store for the smoker racks until you can get a wireless thermo with two probes (one for the meat and the other to watch the smoker temps at the grate level.) Once the wired thermo probes are in place.. you'll greatly reduce the number of times you lose smoking temp, and adding trime to your meats.. the old adage... 'If you're looking... you're not cooking'.

Allow the charcoal to burn at least 1/2 hour to clear out the billowing white smoke (in the beginning) before putting the meat on.

Hook'em Texans 11-22-2009 12:30 PM

You guys are geniuses. The temp is climbing and the wife is no longer laughing at me. Great save!!

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