Originally Posted by willkat98
Holy **** Batman.
Sorry Mr. Kick.
You live in Missouri I see. Do you have Meijer stores by you? If so, I will give you a different set of tips.
10-15#'s in my opinion, is too much to start with.
First off. Do the first grate mod. I have a 3/4 inch expanded metal, cut to 16" (I think that is what it was across) by 20 inch long. Covers the entire firebox. For support, I sacraficed a grill grate (ordered 6 extra, so I dont miss it)
So here goes. Oops, now wait. Before I start, let me first point out that Mark, and a few others, have contributed nicely to a recent thread on using wood only. In my case, and in people like Josh, it just isnt' practical, so charcoal is a necessity. Wood versus charcoal is a whole nother thread.
Okay. I take a chimney of lump, and start it on my gas grill side car. While that is starting, I try to carefully place an entire layer of briquettes (unlit) in the beast. I then add a second layer, only around the outer ring. On the corners, I build up a third layer. I now have a "bowl" of unlit charcoal in the beast.
When the lump is hot, I pour it in the bowl. All dampers full open, water pan in with hot water. digital probe in middle of smoke chamber down the chimney.
about 45 minutes later to 1 hour, I have reached 240 in the smoke chamber.
about 20-25 minutes in, I start assembling splits on top of the fire box (or large chunks) to preheat them. I am about to lose all my heat as I load her up. When I hit 230-240, I start loading. If water pan is on rack 1 (for discussion sake) the pork loin and turkey breast on rach #3, then ribs on 5-10, then chicken and pork on 11-14.
I use the heat shield. Check out a quick pick in the Brethern Bash, Bills camera at the end.
simple shelf covered in foil 3/4 th of the way.
Okay, so you've loaded it up, and you see your temp is now at 160 since the door was open and closed so much. Don't panic, and don't over add fuel. You now have 2-3 splits or chuncks preheated as noted above. Leave the firebox top CLOSED. Use the side door, along with some gloves, to add a split of two to the top of the coals. You should get instant ignition.
2 more things. 1, do you have a Menards in Missouri, and 2 you said you raised the fire grate, but did you raise it to the first level of notches in the firebox?
So now the splits ignite, and your temp quickly goes back to 240-250.
After an hour or two, I would pour out some charcoal on the patio. I then grab 2 at a time, and start filling in the space close to the firebox door, from the top, closing after each open, drop, close, technique.
You now have about 15 ulit briquettes in the back, which will back burn. Time for another split or chunk or two. After another hour, all the coals are lit. Some from the first batch are gone. So this is now at nearly hour 4. I take the bag of lump, and pour a 1/4 bag in. It's not alot, in weight, since it is light, but 1/4 to 1/3 bag is a ****load.
Watch the smoke!!! The purpose of pouring in lump is to continue a good coal bed. Temps will go down a little, and you will need to raise the firebox lid is white smoke appears until ignition.
But after it gets lit, you will have a **** storm. Watch those temps, and add a split or couple chunks. Whenever it goes above 260 during initial burn, I'll open the smoke chamber door, and the firebox, then close her up. She'll go down to 190, then slowly rise. When she stops spikeing to more than 260, you don't open anything, just sit back and wait.
When she comes down to 220-230, check the coal bed (quick peak) throw on a split or two, then sit back and monitor temps.
The beast is a fuel hog, but with the damper, and with putting coals in back of the fire versus in front of it, you can get some decent burns.
Just hit PM private message if you would like to have my number to call me this weekend (or the next Q weekend) of you need help.
Disclaimer, I am the furthest from an expert as you can get, but I love Q, and I love playing with fire. If I want to put it on and forget, I use the WSM. If I want to fark with it, (usually do) then I go Bandera.
Hope tis helped, even a little.
I asked a couple questions in there. if you answer them (with a yes) then I have even more tips.