Originally Posted by Red Valley BBQ
If you run a backwoods with no water in it you run the risk of uncontrollable high temps. These cookers were designed to run with water in them. If you are concerned about soft texture with a water cooker, maybe you should look into a pellet smoker.
Bludawg said in a thread a few days ago that if water must be used to calm a unruly pit, then it's just not designed right. You should be able to run whatever temp you want without water, you just gotta manage your fire right. I have seen so many people complain about Pitmakers BBQ vault running Hott when ran dry, but I can run mine 225-450 dry any day of the the week. Those insulated verticals smokers operate totally different than a typical pit to where you warm it it and maintain it. I have had the best luck Hittin mine with a weed burner for 10 min, filling my pan with lump and just lighting 1 corner and allowing 1 hr to stabilize with 100% exhaust open and 25% intake and it settles perfect @275. If a backwoods is sealed properly, it should operate In a similar manner. If your just using coals to preheat, throttle your intake way back once you get 50 deg below your target cook temp, it will overshoot just a little but once you add cold meat, it will be dead on. If you let your cooker preheat with coals till you reach your desired temp and throttle it back, you will easily overshoot grate temps by 100 deg.