Originally Posted by Meat Burner
Bastid, I would agree with MushCreek. Maybe 8 - 10 lbs of charcoal and only a 12-15 lit placed in the middle of the unlit. Make SURE you catch the temps short on the way up like Harbormaster mentioned. Also, if you leave the lid off for any length of time, you will have a major temp spike that may take hours to get back down. Good luck bro and keep us posted!!
Edit: Bastid, I actually start my drums 55-60 minutes early to make sure the temps are stable. 200 degrees on the side thermometer should be around 225-235 at the center of the grate.
Thanks Meat Burner/Mush Creek,
Just got back from an afternoon at the mall. When I left at noon I was steady at 225. When I came back at 4:00pm, it was down to 150 - having burned through the charcoal pretty significantly.
Lesson learned? I didn't put nearly enough charcoal in my basket. I probably under-bid by at least half. And it occurs to me that it really shouldn't matter how much charcoal is in the basket. So long as the oxygen flow is maintained appropriately, I should be able to steer it to 225 degrees regardless of how much fuel is in there.
Burning the rest of it off now so that I can start fresh again for another test. Gotta have this down since I'm having 30 idiots over for Thanksgiving and I want to have at least a LITTLE confidence. Btw - anyone have a good smoked turkey recipe?