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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 06-06-2009, 11:26 AM   #1
BarDev
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Default Need Help with Fire Size and Heat in Smoke Chamber

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for such a great website. There is a wealth of information here, but can not find what I'm looking for.

I have never used a smoker before, but love BBQ. I have a Bandera and I'm trying to get Smoke Chamber up to 225. Right now I can't even get it over 170.

With fear of creating a fire that is too hot, I may have created a fire not hot enough. I'm using hard wood charcoal. I used a chimney to create the fire and then add the coals to the Fire box. The temperature got up to 150 then went down to 130. I then start another chimney of charcoals and add them to the fire. After about 1.5 hours the smoke box temperature is around 170.

Here is my current setup. The air damper on the fire box is completely open. The damper on the chimney is about half way open.

When I use the Chimney to create the fire, I’m not sure when the coals from the chimney should be added to the fire box. I could have add the coals to the chimney to early, or maybe the the fire is just not big enough.

I'm probably doing many other things incorrectly. So if there is something I need to do different, please tell me. Any help is greatly appreciated.






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Unread 06-06-2009, 11:30 AM   #2
Goose
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I don't have that smoker, but 101 stuff, do you have your exhaust damper open all the way? Vents in fire box open? If so, I would start another chimney let it get white and add it, see what happens after a half hour.
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Unread 06-06-2009, 11:33 AM   #3
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open the damper on your chimney all the way. you'll create more draft & your food won't taste like creosote. also that looks like a pretty small fire-i'd double that but i don't own a bandera so i don't know. i'm sure some bandera owners will chime in soon.
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Unread 06-06-2009, 12:19 PM   #4
BarDev
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Default Great Suggestions

Base on the previous recommendations, I started another chimney of coals(but did not add coals to fire) and opened the chimney damper all the way, and within 10 minutes the temp went from 173 to 184. The reason for 10 degree jump was opening the chimney damper. Remember, I have not added any coals to the fire.

The temp hovered around 184 for about 15 minutes. Temp still to low, so I added coals to the fire box. With in 15 minutes the temp went from 184 to 214. Is a bit too low, but alot better then it was.

Thanks for the great suggestions. I will try to continue to update on the progresss of this experience.
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Unread 06-06-2009, 12:44 PM   #5
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i have a heavy guage offset,,& it takes extra fuel to get all that steel up to temp,& i have better luck keeping the exhaust vent wide open,,also helps when a hot sun is beating down on it...i got a weber kettle for smaller cooks,to save fuel..
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Unread 06-06-2009, 12:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarDev View Post
Base on the previous recommendations, I started another chimney of coals(but did not add coals to fire) and opened the chimney damper all the way, and within 10 minutes the temp went from 173 to 184. The reason for 10 degree jump was opening the chimney damper. Remember, I have not added any coals to the fire.

The temp hovered around 184 for about 15 minutes. Temp still to low, so I added coals to the fire box. With in 15 minutes the temp went from 184 to 214. Is a bit too low, but alot better then it was.

Thanks for the great suggestions. I will try to continue to update on the progresss of this experience.
What is the status of the firebox dampers? If they are wide open you might want to try closing them a little (or opening them some if they are closed).
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Unread 06-06-2009, 01:18 PM   #7
BarDev
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While posting my last update, the smoke box temp went from 184 to 236. Just about perfect. Well, thats what i read.

The firebox dampers have been completely wide open (see pics below). What I have read, is that the firebox dampers should always be open. So, that the fire does not smolder. If I have problems with temps, I will look into change the dampers.

The smoke box temp went to about 205, so I added another chimney of coals. Hopefully the temp will not get too high.

Thanks to everyone for their help.

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Unread 06-06-2009, 01:30 PM   #8
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once you have a good fire,,you will use the firebox damper to control your temp..try to keep your cooking chamber closed as much as possible,,just leave chimney damper open & adjust firebox damper as needed for target temp...good luck..
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Unread 06-06-2009, 07:48 PM   #9
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Agree with everything above on damper control. Check thermometer to make sure it is accurate. Then build a bigger fire. If it gets too hot control temp with vents on fire box.
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bandera, Beginners, Chimney, Coals, Fire, First Time, Novice

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