What are you using for a therm? I'm usually suspicious of therms. Hold your hand over the exhaust and see how that feels.
I haven't used charcoal in my offset for a long time, but I did use a couple different baskets and I never got more than a few hours out of 'em myself.
IMO there are no adverse consequences to a small temp spike, but there can be adverse consequences to chasing temps. Just pick a range (I like 270-300) and go with that, especially on a stick burner - trying to nail one steady temp will drive you nuts.
As far as I know, there are no toxins or poisons associated with putting unlit coals in a cooker. If that were the case, we'd all have arms growing out of our foreheads, 3 legs and whatnot.
50" Klose BYC, 22.5 WSM, Backwoods Chubby, UDS, 26" & 22.5" Weber Kettles, Jumbo Joe, WGA, WSJ/MUDS, Jumbo Old Smokey, a piece of expanded metal I throw over the fire pit sometimes, Stealthy Black & Vol Orange
Displaced East Tennesseean
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Former outlaw MOINK baller, now IMBAS Certified, but still lookin' over my shoulder.
Golden Goose Egg
- Got 2 in the nest baby!
Mayzie's keeping an eye out for you!