Originally Posted by coewar
Hey guys... since you're talking about putting in something to distribute the heat, thought I'd bring up this older post I put up with a picture of my previous versions of my smoker, but also my version of something to distribute the heat. The picture is the last one and unfortunately a little dark. I'm not talking about the first picture which is of 2 baffles I made. That does work, but.. it's a bit tedious to work with.
I made it by using a regular cooking grate, and some angle iron and bolts with big fender washers. The angle iron was cut and drilled and laid out on the grate. Then bolted to the grate. So this allows the meaty goodness to drip down and fall into the fire which is key; that creates for extra smoke and yumminess. :) But the thickness of the iron and its shape makes a huge difference in evening out the heat.
I think I'm going to try the angle iron trick on mine. I lost temp to 150* after I started up mine for the first time last weekend. When I finally got it back to temp of 225* it acted like it wasn't able to climb on up past that. That was even with 2 of the caps off. And it wasn't producing much smoke. I took the Loin Back rib meat off and put it in my oven to finish up in foil until it was done. At the time I shut it down, closing all the vents, it was finally starting to smoke again. The next morning I observed the juices were on the charcoal and might have contributed to the lower temp that occurred. I was trying to think of a way that wouldn't cut the flow of heat and smoke down in an unnatural way. I think the angle iron diffuser idea is a good one and I have an 18" grill from my old Charbroil bullet smoker that will be a good donor source for the grill to place them onto and permanently mount them. It would help burn the juices in a way that wouldn't possibly slow the charoal heat, and still allow for the juices to evaporate into the smoke for flavor enhancement in the cooking meat
In the first photo, you can see the lack of burn and the juices on top of the charcoal, and the second one you can see my coffee can that had the charcoal dumped into it from the chimney starter. It only used about 2" of charcoal by volume in a 5 hour burn. I believe if I could keep the charcoal packed in a pile towards the center, after the coffee can was removed to begin the minion method of burning, it might actually be more effective. On YouTube, I saw a video that just distributed the lit charcoal from their chimney around on top of the charcoal and that was the minion method they used to start the burn. I don't know which is the better method, center out or top down. I also noted that they used lump charcoal to light it off with. maybe that was part of my trouble - mixing the two in the basket. Maybe using lump to start the minion method which burns hotter (or it seems to be hotter) in starting the other Kingsford.