Originally Posted by wayada
The other thing relates to the 24" from bottom of charcoal basket to first cooking grate. I have seen some insist that this should not vary much from that. I do understand the importance maintaining distance from heat source to delectable flesh. But I'm not sure why that the 24" +/- generally accepted grate to flesh distance isn't, at least somewhat, charcoal basket or more specifically charcoal height dependent?
i.e. if you are running a 15" dia by 12" high charcoal basket and start will a full load, uncommon I know, you start you cook 12" from the heat source If you are running a 18" by 8" high basket (roughly same full load volume) you start your cook 16" from heat source.
If a 24" grate to grate height works for the first scenario why won't a 20" grate to grate height work for the second?
I'm not disagreeing with the general 24" rule, and I understand maintaining proper distance to prevent flare ups, over smoking, and maintaining consistent cooking grate temps is all part of it, just trying to figure out why that seems to be somewhat of a hard and fast rule regardless of basket size and distance from flesh to heat source when you start you cook?
I've only built one and it hasn't even been alive for a week, so please don't run away with my answer as truth, as it's only an assumption. I'm not a pro at this.
Any way, I'm guessing the 24" rule has to do with being an absolute distance. You can start with different heights due to the amount of fuel you're using, but 24" will always remain constant throughout the life of your smoker. Save for any intentional adjustments on your part.
Surely someone with a bit more knowledge on the topic will come along and correct me if I'm wrong or touch up on why 24" is the magic number (lost/wasted heat any distances greater than that?).