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Unread 06-27-2013, 07:22 AM   #1
biglag
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Default a little cabinet smoker help please

I recently built a cabinet style smoker out of hardie backer concrete board. I'm trying to get pics but email is acting up at the moment. The inside total size is 17"x25"x43". If i dont put any heat sink such as water or firebricks, the temps are about 25 degrees hotter on top rack vs bottom rack for about two hours then they even out. If i put firebricks or a water pan then the temps are about 30-50 degrees hotter on bottom rack than top rack for about two hours then they even out pretty good. About 90 percent of my smoking experience is on a UDS or weber kettle.
With this new build, im a little afraid of not using water because the temps ran away from me because i don't think the door is getting a proper seal along the bottom. Since then, I did add the oven gasket around the whole door but I still don't think it's air tight. I haven't cooked in it yet but I have ran it about 5 times total to burn it out and to season it and to practice. I've never used water in a smoker before this, so my question is: is there such a thing as too much water, humidity? Should i not use water and just use fire bricks? And my next plan of attack is to cover the rack just above the charcoal with firebricks and place the water pan on top of that. A little advice would be appreciated. Thanks
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Unread 06-27-2013, 07:28 AM   #2
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Unread 06-27-2013, 07:30 AM   #3
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and my other question is what's the best way to even out temps between top and bottom? and i usually like to cook at 250 which is why i may not be a big fan of the water. thanks
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Unread 06-27-2013, 07:41 AM   #4
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Well, heat rises! So, if you don't put a heat sink or baffle of some kind this is what will happen. I'd put a baffle in or a pan of sand and learn to work WITH the heat difference rather than "fix" it. YMMV! Nice looking job!
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Unread 06-27-2013, 06:30 PM   #5
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Thanks Chad! What about water? Is there such a thing as too much water/humidity? Or should I stay away from using water?
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Unread 06-27-2013, 08:48 PM   #6
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I haven't had any problems using water. It does take some time to heat up larger quantities though.
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Unread 06-27-2013, 09:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biglag View Post
Thanks Chad! What about water? Is there such a thing as too much water/humidity? Or should I stay away from using water?
I always use a water pan in my vertical smoker and it works great. It is a stainless steel hotel pan. I put about 3-4 gallons of water in it at the start of a smoke.
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Unread 06-27-2013, 09:30 PM   #8
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I use water in my modded ECB and only have control problems when it runs dry. With a full pan I can hold 250 for 4-5 hours, when it goes dry it'll hit 500-550 within 10 mins. I use hot water from the sink faucet and add about 2 qts of boiling water that I made on the stove and no probs. As far as too much water, ain't no such thing. It'll evaporate at the rate that it evaporates at, you may just have to add some once in a while if doing a long smoke.
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Unread 06-28-2013, 01:44 PM   #9
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Finally cooked on it. I'm a little disappointed. I used about 8-10 lbs of kingsford blue. Smoked two butts over night. It only lasted about 7 hrs, I was hoping for a bit more. The water seemed to hardly evaporate at all. I put the water pan on top of the firebricks. It got up to temp fairly quick, but uses a little more than 1lb/ hr. Of course I can try the fuse or the horse shoe next time. But how is it that the water never evaporated?
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Unread 06-28-2013, 02:01 PM   #10
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Next time you might want to try putting the water pan above the fire with the bricks as support/spacing.

What temp did you achieve with the smoker?

I use the minion method, load however much into the firebox with a coffee can-both ends cut out- in the center. Use a chimney to start the coals -roughly 16- and put them lit into the can with a set of cheap tongs. Pull out the can and the coals will start the ones they touch and spread as they burn. I can get nearly 14 hours at 250-275 with the UDS and 250-300 out of the ecb for about 8 hours.
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Unread 06-28-2013, 03:00 PM   #11
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Yes yes the uds is a champ for sure. I usually get about 10-12 hours without even touching the uds and that's set and forget for sure. I achieved 225-275 on the new cabinet. It was running like a champ for a little while at least. I had the firebricks directly over the fire, and the water pan sitting on top of them. I'm thinking the water sucked up most of the heat....because I burned it with very little charcoal at 450 for 5 hours on the initial burn. Hopefully next week I can try a couple different things. Thanks
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Unread 06-28-2013, 03:11 PM   #12
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Just an observation( I like this pit by the way) why not forget the water pan and just use the Fire bricks as a heat sink once they get hot and your temp is where you want it, it will take very little fuel to maintain it. Like a Cast iron skillet or putting a hot rock wrapped in your saddle blanket inside your fart sack on a cold night to keep you warm.
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Unread 06-28-2013, 03:17 PM   #13
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Haha...yes I'd like to forget the water pan...I may try that again next...I'm just afraid of the temps running away from me. That'd be great if I didnt need it. Thanks blu
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Unread 06-28-2013, 03:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Just an observation( I like this pit by the way) why not forget the water pan and just use the Fire bricks as a heat sink once they get hot and your temp is where you want it, it will take very little fuel to maintain it. Like a Cast iron skillet or putting a hot rock wrapped in your saddle blanket inside your fart sack on a cold night to keep you warm.
^ This is a very good common sense approach, wish I had thought of it when I was cooking in my SS vertical gasser.

What I did do and you might consider, especially if you want some extra moisture in the box, was take the built in full size drip pan, mine was 24" square and 3" deep, line it with foil, add about 2" of sand then add apple juice to saturate the sand and fill the pan to within 1/2" of overflow. It took a while (an hour or so) to get it up to temp, but once there it was rock steady & even. As the apple juice evaporated, the fats rendering from the product fell to the pan adding to the "steam". With all the fat and sugars from the AJ, after the cook and everything was cool, the sand had turned into a relatively solid "brick" making disposal and cleanup pretty simple.
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