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Unread 04-18-2010, 09:56 PM   #9
KCMitch
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Join Date: 01-11-10
Location: Kansas City, KS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigabyte View Post
How many different bags of charcoal have you tried? You might have some bad charcoal that once got wet during shipment/storage.
I've used about 4 bags. That's another weird thing...I seem to be burning through a ton of charcoal and still can't get the temp high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
how much unlit charcoal and how much lit? Also, what is your target temp? It is much easier to catch the temp as it climbs than it is to bring it down.
Since I've been having low temp problems, I go overboard. Lately I've been filling a Weber chimney almost all the way up and then putting a ring of unlit charcoals around it. That's probably why my temp jumps up to 350+ when I built the smoker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ Grail View Post
I start with a full ring of charcoal mixed with about 5 fist sized chunks of wood. I create a small indentation in the middle of ring. Into the middle of the of the charcoal indentation I place 10 lit, ashed over briqs.

Bottom and top vents wide open. Once the grate temp reaches 195 degrees I close all the vents half way. As the temps start to rise a little at a time I close the bottom vents until the temp reaches the 225 degree range. At that point I let the WSM chug along for 30 minutes. Then I put the meat on. Some people will take the temp up a little higher than the desired cooking temp so when they put the meat on the temp doesn't fall that far. I don't normally worry about that.

Keep in mind that I do not use water in the water pan. I use a foiled 14 inch terra cotta saucer. This, in my opinion, allows me far greater control over my temps than using water.

Keep practicing, you'll get it...
Sounds like I'm probably wasting charcoal by filling my chimney so full. I'll try using less coals in the chimney to start w/ and let the temp slowly build.

Also, a lot of you are suggesting using something other than water to cool the smoker. I thought another benefit of the water was to provide humidity in the smoker which provides added tenderness/flavor/etc. Is that not the case?

On a side note, I removed the water from the smoker during my chicken cook tonight and it seemed to help a bit but the temp dropped after shooting up for a short while. I think that might be because the coals are on their last leg though and I don't have any more. I'll give it another shot tomorrow night.
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