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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 09-08-2013, 09:55 AM   #1
cousinconley
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Default Switching To Charcoal Pan For Longer Burn

Hopefully this post will help those with drafty smokers. Some of you may read and say duh! But, here is my story.

I have never used a charcoal basket. My experience has been with simple fireplace and charcoal grates. Also, I have used grill woks for charcoal. I can only control drafts through the smoker to an extent...so I decided
to focus on airflow through my charcoal container. The result, I went from a 2 hour burn to a 6 ~ 7 hour burn around 275 F. If I use a larger pan, I should get a longer burn.

Picture time...
Here is my verticle smoker:



This is a shot from the inside looking at the drafts through the front access and bottom air intake door. I have tried putting aluminum foil around the edges. That works some, but its a waste of foil.



Here is what I have used thus far...a Franklin fireplace grate. I bought it becuase the grate spacing is just right for charcoal.



Here is my $5 fireplace poker from Lowes for stirring the coals and ridding of ash.



Now, here is a simple $5 charcoal pan from Academy. I mounted 4 stainless steel bolts with washers for legs. I also drilled holes in the bottom for air intake. I didn't put holes in the side. I did not want to imitate a grill wok or charcoal basket. My smoker gets enough airflow...don't need to add anymore to the charcoal.





I can get 5 lbs of charcoal in the pan mixed with wood chips.



On a tangent, I wrapped a grate with foil as a deflector then put my cooking grate on the higher level.





Here is a shot through the front access door. I didn't use a charcoal chimney. I simply wadded a portion of paper sack and placed it in the top center of the pile for my starter. Although, I am not abandoning my
charcoal chimney.



So, I will use the pan for smoking, and the fireplace grate for grilling. I hope someone finds this post of value. Thank you for reading.
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Unread 09-08-2013, 10:53 AM   #2
HeSmellsLikeSmoke
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Looks like another good way to control the intake air flow. I suspect that you will have trouble going hot and fast though.
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Unread 09-08-2013, 11:32 AM   #3
cousinconley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
Looks like another good way to control the intake air flow. I suspect that you will have trouble going hot and fast though.
I can run it stable at 300 F. Have not tried full throttle.
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Unread 09-08-2013, 01:21 PM   #4
sliding_billy
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Good post. Best of luck with your "improved" smoker.
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Unread 09-08-2013, 02:47 PM   #5
Palm Leaf Pit Masters
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i have a bullet style smoker like that, that has a charcoal pan that i modified with air holes and such, but it burns terribly slow and never builds heat, almost like its not getting enough air? it will smolder at about 180degrees and smoke like a train but wont get get. im sitting here studying your pics trying to see any differences in what i can do. any suggestions?
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Unread 09-08-2013, 03:46 PM   #6
cousinconley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palm Leaf Pit Masters View Post
i have a bullet style smoker like that, that has a charcoal pan that i modified with air holes and such, but it burns terribly slow and never builds heat, almost like its not getting enough air? it will smolder at about 180degrees and smoke like a train but wont get get. im sitting here studying your pics trying to see any differences in what i can do. any suggestions?
From my understanding, the weber bullet is pretty air tight minus the vents. My situation I tried compensating for the draftiness by reducing the airflow around the charcoal...the only other place I could do so. My goal was to get a longer burn at a steady temperature. If I was to stack an equivalent pile of coal on a grate and place it in my smoker, it would rise drastically to near 600 F. Just trial and error on my part.

In your scenario...have you tried dumping in a pile of lit coals then closing down the vents to bring down the temp? Not sure how well that would work. Some of the mods I have seen in addition to drilling the holes is placing a grate in the pan to bring the coals a bit up from the bottom of the pan...trying to increase the airflow I think.
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Unread 09-08-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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I have a pan with a grate over the top of it, and have no air holes in the pan and I can get the temp anywhere I want it
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Unread 09-10-2013, 02:02 AM   #8
creekwalker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palm Leaf Pit Masters View Post
i have a bullet style smoker like that, that has a charcoal pan that i modified with air holes and such, but it burns terribly slow and never builds heat, almost like its not getting enough air? it will smolder at about 180degrees and smoke like a train but wont get get. im sitting here studying your pics trying to see any differences in what i can do. any suggestions?
I cut out most of the bottom of the fire pan that my vertical smoker came with and set a piece of expanded metal (cut just a little larger than the piece cut out of the pan--both with an angle grinder) in it's place, opening up the bottom a lot more than just punching additional holes would have. My smoker (a larger discontinued version of a Master Forge vertical smoker from Lowes) came with just a large hole in the bottom of the fire pan "holder" (bottom body section)...I stopped that up with a large "decor magnet" from Harbor Freight Tools and installed nipples with 3/4 inch conduits on the bottom sides instead. (Drilled one inch holes for the nipples.) I did basically the same thing as a guy working with the same model who posted YouTube videos, except that he used a Weber replacement grate instead of expanded metal, and I just use sheet magnets to close/regulate the nipple conduits. In case this might be any help, he shows what he did with the nipples in his first video, which is here:


--and he shows his fire pan mod here in part three:

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