Trouble keeping coals on my Lang
Ive done about a dozen cooks now on my Lang 84, Ive been better luck with keeping the temp lower by the use of smaller splits, though my trouble since day 1 is that I loose my bed of coals usually around the 2-3 hour mark ( this is when all my charcoal has burned off).
I start with a whole lit chimney, toss it on the fire grate and then add a 3-5 splits and a chimney of unlit charcoal so that I get a roaring fire. I bring the cooker up over 300* and let it ride there until I can start knocking down some of the wood. I throw another split on and begin to throttle down my dampeners. My top grates run about 15-20degrees hotter than my bottom so normally I will let the top be in the 275-300* range, by turning all 4 of my pinwheels to 1/2 open and I will normally run my whole cook that was as anything lower chokes the fire.
I try to run a small centralized fire right in the middle of the fire grate. I find myself adding small splits every 20minutes. I start my cook with splits only about 2" wide in hopes they will burn down quickly to help create a coal bed so I can use larger splits later. If i try and add in splits that are a bit larger, they will engulf in flames and drive the temp nice and high, however when I go back to check in 20min or so it normally turns into a smoldering log because the coals have all burned up and there is not enough heat to keep the large split going. At this point, Im in trouble and fire up another chimney and blow as much oxygen into the fire to try and get the flames back up. Ill get it all sorted out before overall temps go below 225*, however I am back to square one again trying to build my coal bed.
I don't know if it is a wood issue, the standard lang grate is just too large or I am just doing something totally wrong. But I do know that I lit my outdoor fireplace finally last night and that had a bed of coals quicker than I could imagine and was maintenance free.
The previous owner of this Lang told me he never cooked higher than 225* degrees and it would ride there for 20hours straight. He was old school and had a fire bin where he would shovel coals into the cooker all night as needed and says I should never be burning wood in the firebox. Obviously we cook 2 different ways.