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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 06-30-2012, 12:35 AM   #46
El Ropo
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I don't see a reason to have a mass of water in a nice insulated cooker to keep the temps down.

An air leak is an air leak. You should be able to limit the oxygen enough to control temps. Just like a UDS, or a WSM or BGE for that matter, with no water. I'm confused, and would really like to see one of these setups in person, or at least see pics of how the draft controller connects to the intake, etc..

Something is out of whack, and I refuse to think a mass of water is gonna fix the problem.

For the people who are using these, have you tried to run them sans draft controller? I haven't seen an answer to this question yet. Ya should be able to control air via the intake manually.
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Unread 06-30-2012, 04:09 AM   #47
BigDaddyJT
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I own a PM Safe and have tried many ways to keep the temp below 250. The pits are well made, extremely insulated and they love to cook hot if you don't add water. The only way I have found to keep temps @ 225-245 is to use Kingsford Blue and water in the pan. You don't need much fuel. They are very efficient, especially once they reach your desired cooking temp. For instance, I cooked (2) 13lbs briskets @ 235-245 last weekend (11 hr cook) and used a total of 9-10lbs of briquettes. The key to low and slow on these units is how you start your fire. It is critical that you catch your temp on the way up. Once the pit passes your desired temp, the only way to bring it down is to open the cook door to cool off the chamber and remove the burning charcoal from the unit...No bueno. Below is the method I use for a 235-245 deg fire. I do not use a forced air draft system (Stoker, Guru, etc). I've found these pits work better w/ out forced air systems.

1. Open your exhaust 100% and open both air intakes 100% as well. My unit is one of the original models and has 2 sliding air intakes. The newer units only have 1 sliding air intake.
2. Fill your water pan w/ water (I like use boiling water if possible).
3. Add 10-15 briquettes to the back left corner of the ash pan and start w/ a weed burner. If you do not have a weed burner, start the charcoal in a charcoal chimney and when they start to turn grey add them to the charcoal tray as noted. Leave the charcoal door open 2-3 inches to allow a good flow of air into the coals.
4. Next take the weed burner and heat the cooking chamber for 2-3 minutes. Pass the wand over each cooking grate. This will help to clean off the left over grease and fat and get your temps going. Again if you do not have a weed burner, you will need to increase the amount of briquettes to approx 20-25, leave your charcoal door open 5+ minutes and allow more time for the pit to get hot.
5. Close your cook chamber and charcoal chamber door.
6. By now you should see your temps close to 150-160 degrees on the door thermometer.
7. When your thermometer reaches 200, close your exhaust to 1/2 open and close one of your air intake sliding doors completely and the other close to 1/2 open. If your pit only has the 1 sliding air intake, close it to 1/2 open. Once your temp hits 225 close your exhaust to 1/3 open and close your air intake slide to 1/2" (thickness of a book of matches) and your on the right track. At this point all 10-15 charcoals should be glowing and ashed over.
8. Next, add a single row of charcoals along the inside edge of your charcoal tray making sure they touch each other and that 1 briquette comes in contact w/ the lit charcoals. It should form a U shape. This will start the "domino" affect. You can add small chunks of your favorite wood every 5 coals. This will keep you in the 235-245 area for about 3-4 hours. Once you see the temp drop to 225, open your charcoal door, move all the remaining lit charcoals to the left back corner and make another single row of briquettes creating a U shape. At this point you will need to add water to the pan again. You will see some 10 degree spikes during the cooking process, but I've been able to hold consistant temps using this method. PM me if you need any additional info, always willing to help if I can. Good luck. They do cook some good grub once you figure them out.
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Unread 06-30-2012, 04:09 AM   #48
BigDaddyJT
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I own a PM Safe and have tried many ways to keep the temp below 250. The pits are well made, extremely insulated and they love to cook hot if you don't add water. The only way I have found to keep temps @ 225-245 is to use Kingsford Blue and water in the pan. You don't need much fuel. They are very efficient, especially once they reach your desired cooking temp. For instance, I cooked (2) 13lbs briskets @ 235-245 last weekend (11 hr cook) and used a total of 9-10lbs of briquettes. The key to low and slow on these units is how you start your fire. It is critical that you catch your temp on the way up. Once the pit passes your desired temp, the only way to bring it down is to open the cook door to cool off the chamber and remove the burning charcoal from the unit...No bueno. Below is the method I use for a 235-245 deg fire. I do not use a forced air draft system (Stoker, Guru, etc). I've found these pits work better w/ out forced air systems.

1. Open your exhaust 100% and open both air intakes 100% as well. My unit is one of the original models and has 2 sliding air intakes. The newer units only have 1 sliding air intake.
2. Fill your water pan w/ water (I like use boiling water if possible).
3. Add 10-15 briquettes to the back left corner of the ash pan and start w/ a weed burner. If you do not have a weed burner, start the charcoal in a charcoal chimney and when they start to turn grey add them to the charcoal tray as noted. Leave the charcoal door open 2-3 inches to allow a good flow of air into the coals.
4. Next take the weed burner and heat the cooking chamber for 2-3 minutes. Pass the wand over each cooking grate. This will help to clean off the left over grease and fat and get your temps going. Again if you do not have a weed burner, you will need to increase the amount of briquettes to approx 20-25, leave your charcoal door open 5+ minutes and allow more time for the pit to get hot.
5. Close your cook chamber and charcoal chamber door.
6. By now you should see your temps close to 150-160 degrees on the door thermometer.
7. When your thermometer reaches 200, close your exhaust to 1/2 open and close one of your air intake sliding doors completely and the other close to 1/2 open. If your pit only has the 1 sliding air intake, close it to 1/2 open. Once your temp hits 225 close your exhaust to 1/3 open and close your air intake slide to 1/2" (thickness of a book of matches) and your on the right track. At this point all 10-15 charcoals should be glowing and ashed over.
8. Next, add a single row of charcoals along the inside edge of your charcoal tray making sure they touch each other and that 1 briquette comes in contact w/ the lit charcoals. It should form a U shape. This will start the "domino" affect. You can add small chunks of your favorite wood every 5 coals. This will keep you in the 235-245 area for about 3-4 hours. Once you see the temp drop to 225, open your charcoal door, move all the remaining lit charcoals to the left back corner and make another single row of briquettes creating a U shape. At this point you will need to add water to the pan again. You will see some 10 degree spikes during the cooking process, but I've been able to hold consistant temps using this method. PM me if you need any additional info, always willing to help if I can. Good luck. They do cook some good grub once you figure them out.
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Unread 06-30-2012, 08:15 AM   #49
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Just so you know, every pitmaker I have seen (5+) the door thermo is off (not the thermo itself, its due to placement of it) by at least 20-40 degrees. So add that to the temps you are cooking at, which makes sense looking at your cooking times.
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Unread 06-30-2012, 09:32 AM   #50
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Mine is off 20-25 degrees on the high side. 275 at the door thermometer is 250 at the middle of the center cooking grate. 250 @ the door is 230 at the at the middle of the center cooking grate. For me as long as I'm between 250-275 at the door, I'm golden.
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Unread 07-01-2012, 07:55 PM   #51
Kenny Rogers
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Great thread! Green Drake was right, I'm paying close attention!
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Unread 07-01-2012, 07:59 PM   #52
El Ropo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDaddyJT View Post
Mine is off 20-25 degrees on the high side. 275 at the door thermometer is 250 at the middle of the center cooking grate. 250 @ the door is 230 at the at the middle of the center cooking grate. For me as long as I'm between 250-275 at the door, I'm golden.
And the problem is where?

I don't see any problem. 250-275 is the sweet spot.
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Unread 07-01-2012, 08:00 PM   #53
rabeb25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Ropo View Post
And the problem is where?

I don't see any problem. 250-275 is the sweet spot.

Nope not a problem, but something worth noting.
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Unread 07-01-2012, 09:48 PM   #54
BRBBQ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddieh70301 View Post
I think the water pan helps stabilize the heat in the cooker. I don't have a pitmaker but I have a Stumps. Different concept but I've never had issues with temp control. I set my guru and it stays at the set temp the entire cook.
You might want to talk to some owners of Backwoods cookers. Those cookers also use a water pan.
When I was in the market for a cooker, I looked at the Backwoods but I didn't want a cooker with a water pan. So that's one reason I chose the Stumps.
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Unread 07-05-2012, 07:34 AM   #55
whiteboycustom
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does anyone have some photos of a guru adapter installed on a pitmaker?

the reason i ask is i have a contender jr from pits by jj and would like to add a guru to it

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Unread 07-05-2012, 09:04 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WineMaster View Post
Try a bag of stumps briquettes. Lump burns hot and not as even as briquettes. Might be worth a try.
Do you mean Stubbs briqs?
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Unread 07-05-2012, 11:03 AM   #57
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Over $2,500.00 and modifications/very special attention is required to make this cooker perform properly????? Pretty has nothing to do with it!!!!
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Unread 07-05-2012, 04:50 PM   #58
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It's all about learning your tools. I tried BigDaddyJT's charcoal loading method this weekend (u-shaped charcoal instead of just filling the basket to the top) & used significantly less fuel... I've always been a stick burner, so I had to learn how to cook low & slow with charcoal while also transitioning from an offset smoker.

My Safe cooks at a very stable temp with no fuss. There isn't a single thing I would change about its design & I would recommend it to anyone (though I bought mine used for a lower price). My only complaint is that they don't answer emails.
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Unread 07-07-2012, 07:08 PM   #59
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Well after last weekends smoke of 10 St Louie's the temp never spiked. Although getting it up to 225 was a chore. This had a alot to do with me being gun shy of the temp spiking. Also I found that leaving the fan damper wide open until I get up to temp and then shutting it down to about 25% about 25° below your target temp.

I am ordering a new cyber q wifi unit next week because I am tired of running outside and checking the temp all of the time. I expect I will find the sweet spot sooner or later, I guess I was spoiled by how easy my UDS's were.
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Unread 07-12-2012, 09:48 PM   #60
Kenny Rogers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rball5 View Post
It's all about learning your tools. I tried BigDaddyJT's charcoal loading method this weekend (u-shaped charcoal instead of just filling the basket to the top) & used significantly less fuel... I've always been a stick burner, so I had to learn how to cook low & slow with charcoal while also transitioning from an offset smoker.

My Safe cooks at a very stable temp with no fuss. There isn't a single thing I would change about its design & I would recommend it to anyone (though I bought mine used for a lower price). My only complaint is that they don't answer emails.
Try calling them, they are always willing to help out, but email seems to be a weak link sometimes...

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