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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 06-28-2012, 09:05 AM   #31
4ever3
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I can't believe a guy spends that kind of money then has to do mods to make it run right... I hope it works out for you!
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Unread 06-28-2012, 09:07 AM   #32
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Tagged. I have been saving up for a Vault. My teammate is heading to Houston to pick up his shiny new Pitmaker trailer next week, full on decked out with everything so I am sure he will find this thread and have input once he gets that beautiful thing home. I have been flipping back and forth between the Vault and the Long Rifle Sniper.
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Unread 06-28-2012, 09:09 AM   #33
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I spent Memphis In May with the owners of Pitmaker and cooking on all their products. They make an amazing product and I can't wait to buy a vault. I didn't rad through the entire thread so I don't know all the issues but if you have specific questions PM me them and I'll call George and get the official response. I'll post the questions and responses here.


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Unread 06-28-2012, 09:13 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ Grail View Post
I spent Memphis In May with the owners of Pitmaker and cooking on all their products. They make an amazing product and I can't wait to buy a vault. I didn't rad through the entire thread so I don't know all the issues but if you have specific questions PM me them and I'll call George and get the official response. I'll post the questions and responses here.


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Thanks, and I dont want to knock the product it is beautiful and built like a tank. I am hoping the temp spikes are something that I have not mastered yet. In all fairness I have not contacted the factory yet. After my cooks this weekend I hope to have tried some more tricks that have been suggested here and that I have come up with. Although, if those dont work I will take you up on your offer.....Thanks!
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Unread 06-28-2012, 09:15 AM   #35
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I found this thread from a brethern. Sorry to say I dont know how to transfer a quote from another thread but he had the same problem and this is what he found out
From podidol

"Thanks for the reply. I may have just answered my own question. I'm five hours into it since I lit it for a dry run, four hours after closing the dampers and its almost to 325. I put a firebrick over the exhaust to try to choke it out more in the event the damper had any gaps (intake is already blocked by guru plate and plug). When I did this, I could see smoke blowing out under light pressure. It getting dark and having a flashlight actually helped me out. I decided to try to do a reverse smoke test. A smoldering piece of wood and a flashlight gave me my answer. After checking all the door seals and the damper, it looks like the culprit is the closed damper. It was sucking in the smoke like nobody's business. I don't really see any gaps in it, but the draft is so good that its sucking it through somehow. I guess that amount of draft with the heat produced with lump is enough to keep her cranking. It's just a little strange; I'm used to closed dampers = no fire."
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Unread 06-28-2012, 09:54 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephan View Post
I found this thread from a brethern. Sorry to say I dont know how to transfer a quote from another thread but he had the same problem and this is what he found out
From podidol

"Thanks for the reply. I may have just answered my own question. I'm five hours into it since I lit it for a dry run, four hours after closing the dampers and its almost to 325. I put a firebrick over the exhaust to try to choke it out more in the event the damper had any gaps (intake is already blocked by guru plate and plug). When I did this, I could see smoke blowing out under light pressure. It getting dark and having a flashlight actually helped me out. I decided to try to do a reverse smoke test. A smoldering piece of wood and a flashlight gave me my answer. After checking all the door seals and the damper, it looks like the culprit is the closed damper. It was sucking in the smoke like nobody's business. I don't really see any gaps in it, but the draft is so good that its sucking it through somehow. I guess that amount of draft with the heat produced with lump is enough to keep her cranking. It's just a little strange; I'm used to closed dampers = no fire."

Thanks, I think I will try a heat tape over the intake damper and make sure it is sealed tight arount the guru adapter.
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Unread 06-28-2012, 10:07 AM   #37
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I'd say that if a smoker is designed to use water then I'd try it. It may require a heat deflector to manage temp spikes and the water will help keep the meat moist. At comps I always cook on my UDS with water especially when I sleep and use my IQ101.
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Unread 06-28-2012, 10:50 AM   #38
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Check out this thread from a fellow Brethren. He has identified the problem as a leaky damper door. This was suggested in the thread above also.

He has a nice solution that he says works well.

I do agree that for the price you should not have to do any mods for the smoker to hold a temperature, but this looks relatively easy and effective.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=129770

I'm also in the market for a new smoker and really wanted a Vault, but I've heard too many bad reports on their customer service, and my limited experience has convinced me that I don't want to deal with Pitmaker no matter how good their product.

I've sent 2 e-mail messages with some basic questions. Both were delivered and opened by Pitmaker, but I never received a reply. I guess I could call, but if a company has a customer service e-mail address I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a reply a week after receiving confirmation that they opened your e-mail.

For me it's going to be a Backwoods Gater once my budget can handle it. Less expensive, great product and wonderful support. Not as pretty as the Vault, but I'll learn to live with it!

Good luck.
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Unread 06-28-2012, 10:51 AM   #39
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I have a Backwoods smoker and have had the same problems you're having. With my Backwoods it is almost impossible to hold the temps down without water. Also, I found that I had to use a maze in addition to the water. After these two techniques were combined I was able to hold temps very well. I also use an Auber system with a 6 cfm fan. I used three bricks and made an upside down "U" shaped maze. When I have time I will have a removable steel maze fabricated which will give me some additional space in the firebox and increase my burn time before I need to add charcoal. I hope this helps solve your problem, as I know how frustrating it can be to see the temps keep rising past your set point time after time!
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Unread 06-28-2012, 11:20 AM   #40
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Its good to see someone has found a solution to this issue but these units are not cheap in fact they are more expensive than most. I would not be a happy camper if I have the same issues and then have to spend more money to make it right.
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Unread 06-28-2012, 06:02 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkissell View Post
Check out this thread from a fellow Brethren. He has identified the problem as a leaky damper door. This was suggested in the thread above also.

He has a nice solution that he says works well.

I do agree that for the price you should not have to do any mods for the smoker to hold a temperature, but this looks relatively easy and effective.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=129770

I'm also in the market for a new smoker and really wanted a Vault, but I've heard too many bad reports on their customer service, and my limited experience has convinced me that I don't want to deal with Pitmaker no matter how good their product.

I've sent 2 e-mail messages with some basic questions. Both were delivered and opened by Pitmaker, but I never received a reply. I guess I could call, but if a company has a customer service e-mail address I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a reply a week after receiving confirmation that they opened your e-mail.

For me it's going to be a Backwoods Gater once my budget can handle it. Less expensive, great product and wonderful support. Not as pretty as the Vault, but I'll learn to live with it!

Good luck.

Yea that's me, it's still out of control...the planets must have aligned that night.
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Unread 06-28-2012, 06:18 PM   #42
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Talking about air leaks one thing one of us did was put a brick on the exhaust then lit a piece of wood and went around the doors and such looking for leaks. Once we got to the intake slide door smoke was sucked in like a vacuum. It was drafting so well and with the slide door having a little play air is getting in.

Whiskeypig I will get you some pics when I get back over where the pit is stored
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Unread 06-29-2012, 05:55 PM   #43
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Well fired up the Pitmaker this morning to do 3 shoulders. I used high temp duct tape to seal the intake around the guru adapter. I lit using only a chimney of lump and I gradually moved the Guru temp up to make sure the pit temp wouldn't shoot over the temp I had the guru set for. When I reached 225 I put water in as reccomended. I have been playing with damper on the fan all day trying to find a sweet spot. I have had to reload the lump twice using a chimney at a time. I just wrapped the shoulders and look to be on the home stretch.

The good thing is the temps never spiked! I did hover over the pit all day but that is to be expected when learning a new smoker. Tomorrow I am loading it up with ribs and we will see how that goes.
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Unread 06-29-2012, 09:47 PM   #44
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I had the same experience as you on my first couple cooks. After that, I found I could control the temp to below 200. Here is my routine:
1. Clean the cooking area
2. Fill the water pan completely full (until it starts to spill over).
3. Fill the charcoal box to the top leaving a small amount of room in the back corner.
4. Fill the back corner with 8 briquettes started in a chimney.
5. Put the charcoal basket in & close the intake to about 1/8, leave the exhaust fully open.
6. Temp stabilizes around 200, slowly open a fraction of an inch to get desired temp.
7. Add wood chunks & meat.

That's it... I burn through a full basket in about 4 hours & use a full 20lbs last cook (1 brisket & 2 racks of ribs).

It takes a long time to heat up with the full water pan and a barely opened damper, but it doesn't overshoot temp. I add water every time I add charcoal. Without water, it's gone as high as 450 degrees.

I don't use a controller, but emailed pitmaker to ask about buying one along with any instructions that may come with a new safe (bought my safe used) and had zero response... If you can't answer email, don't publish an email address.
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Unread 06-29-2012, 09:49 PM   #45
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Oh... When I add charcoal, I push the lit coals to the back and fill the basket with unlit coals. I was worried at first, but haven't had any off flavors from doing this.
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