Originally Posted by spareheat
Help. I've done three burns now and can't get a blue smoke burn below 350 degrees. I have a 2" X 7" tall exhaust. 1" valve and a 3/4" valve then added another 3/4" hole. Tried opening the 1" bung also for more exhaust--little temp increase 15 degrees. Fire basket is 17" round and 10" tall, normal 3/4" expanded metal side and weber fire rack, 2 inch legs with ash pan. I used a mixed charcoal and lump the first two times more lump than bricks. Third time about 50/50. Putting 4 fist sized Hickory chunks on top of coal, but not on hot pile. Lighting 10 bricks in a chimney and pouring them in one six inch area( 2 and 3 burn). The first time I put them in a 10" area. OK so here's the problem---220 to 300 degrees only white smoke produced. Opening air to get a Blue smoke produces 350+ temp. Cannot get blue smoke AND 225 to 250 degrees. First burn was ribs, spent two hours trying to get above 225,finally got to 275, ribs not good. Second burn did two whole chickens--yo-yoed between 280 and 350, white smoke the whole time--chicken was terrible. Lots of juices in bottom of drum, had to clean and reburn out for bacteria. With a basket of hickory and the lid ajar, 700 degrees is possible. Third burn for chicken breasts and potatoes. Could not get above 250, white smoke. Added 3/4" hole,blue smoke acheived followed by 375 degrees. Reduced air = 300 degrees and light white smoke. Increase air = 350 dgrees and Blue smoke. Chicken was better but dry.
Any help appreciated.
Sounds like your exhaust and valve setup is rather suspect. I think you will have better results if you just stick to the accepted norm from the beginning of this thread. Three 7/8" holes evenly spaced around the bottom of the barrel, with 2 close nipples and 1 valve, or just the magnet approach. I have both versions, and they both work equally well.
Your 2" exhaust should be fine.
I use the same setup you are describing as far as charcoal starting,etc. I open all three holes all the way, and dump in the coals.....I leave the valves open until the temp hits about 200 at the grates. Then close two holes and leave one open........it will cruise around 225 for 14 hours. Maybe you have some air leaks or too much smoke wood.