Originally Posted by ccarter
Thanks everyone! I'm glad my first showing didn't disappoint!
Tom72 - I'm still a little confused about the charcoal consumption too. The only thing I can figure is that I'm wasting a LOT of energy bringing the smoker up to temp. I've done 2 cooks and both times I've used a propane torch to lite 2 opposite corners of the basket, let is sit until there's an area about the size of a softball going at both ends, then put the basket in and add (HOT) water to the pan but leave the diverter out until it's up to temp. I think that a lot of energy is going into heating the cold space of the cooking chamber slowly around the water. On my next cook I'm going to try putting the charcoal in and leaving the water tray out for a few minutes to see if it'll heat the chamber more efficiently. When I started this cook it was 8am, and the smoker had been sitting in the cool night air (relatively cool - it is summer in Georgia after all) all night long. The smoker hadn't been out warming in the sun or anything. I'm also going to get to work on modding the basket to hold some more charcoal. You can definitely pile on the briquettes and make it work, but I do enjoy my lump and have about 10 bags to burn. I also enjoy not having to clean up enough charcoal ash that it could be measured in pounds. By the end of the cook, the ash had nearly choked out the bottom of the basket.
I don't know if this will help you or not....this is just what I do. I have the water pan filled with lava rocks and balled up foil all the time. I cover the top of it with new heavy duty foil before each cook. I don't like to use water throughout the entire cook; I put in a foil pan with water when I get to where I feel I'm past the halfway point.
I leave the heat diverter in when I start, and I light the front right corner...probably about the size of two softballs. It usually takes me about 35-45 minutes to get to temp, and then I throw the meat on.
I typically will fill the charcoal box, but not to overflowing. I usually don't have to add any more until the 10-12 hour mark. I just have to shake the charcoal tray after five hours or so to get the ash to fall to the bottom and not choke out the coals. I definitely don't have everything figured out, but I hope that helps some...