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Unread 10-10-2012, 12:16 PM   #1
chrisct
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Default First smoke in OTP with pics

Hi guys. New to the forum and new to charcoal in general. I have an old Genesis Gold but more recently bought a SJS and OTP off craigs list.

I smoked a boston butt this past weekend, and I wanted to post my pictures and ask some advice. I setup a ring of fire, with about 125 briquettes of Kingsford blue (5 times around the kettle). I sprinkled dry apple wood chips around the ring, including in-between the layers of briquettes. I got it it to 225* and put the butt on at 7:00am. Shortly into the cook I had a high-heat problem (see the spot from 5:30-3:00 in the ring that the briquettes are completely turned to ash, that was about 350*-375*). I closed the top down to just big enough to get a probe wire in, and dampered the bottom vents all the way.

Took the butt off at 5:00pm at 191*. Wrapped it in a foil, then a blanket, then into a cooler to rest for an hour. Pulled it at 6:00pm and it was fantastic.

Question: anyone have any ideas why so many of my briquettes were unburned/partially burned? The fire made it from 5:30 position to about 8:00 position (moving counter-clockwise), but it left a bunch of unburned briquettes.

Other than that, I think this first smoke went VERY well. The 5.5# butt disappeared before the Sunday night game came on tv! I'll have to go to BJs this weekend to grab one of their 9#ers.

Comments are welcome. Thanks guys.







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Unread 10-10-2012, 12:22 PM   #2
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Looks awesome!! The coals burn where the oxygen travels, pure & simple.. Cheers!!!
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Unread 10-10-2012, 12:36 PM   #3
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How did you light it? I usually fill up a starter with coal and use that.. Never fluid.. (*Yuck!*)
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Unread 10-10-2012, 12:43 PM   #4
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How did you light it? I usually fill up a starter with coal and use that.. Never fluid.. (*Yuck!*)
I only wanted to light 6 briquettes. I tried a chimney starter, but even when I banked them to one side, they didn't light. I ended up hitting each one with a propane torch to get it lit.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 12:49 PM   #5
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Ahhh..

Clever use of the torch!..
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Unread 10-10-2012, 12:53 PM   #6
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Looks good from here if yer happy thats all that matters
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Unread 10-10-2012, 01:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltont View Post
Looks awesome!! The coals burn where the oxygen travels, pure & simple.. Cheers!!!
Any tricks to get the oxygen traveling in such a way to more efficiently burn as it goes around the ring? It was going for 11 hours which was plenty for this 5# butt, but if I do a 9# butt or a brisket I'll need those coals to burn.

Thoughts?
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Unread 10-10-2012, 01:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisct View Post
Any tricks to get the oxygen traveling in such a way to more efficiently burn as it goes around the ring? It was going for 11 hours which was plenty for this 5# butt, but if I do a 9# butt or a brisket I'll need those coals to burn.

Thoughts?
Why do you think the coals won't eventually burn? Did these go out? If they went out then they either needed more O2 or there was something wrong with the coals. Cheers!!!

Oh, forgot to mention. Leave the top vent(s) open & control the temp with the bottom vent(s). In essence you snuffed the fire out by eliminating all O2 to the coals.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 02:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltont View Post
Why do you think the coals won't eventually burn? Did these go out? If they went out then they either needed more O2 or there was something wrong with the coals. Cheers!!!
I figured if I got around to 8:30 that all the coals previous to that would be ash.

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Oh, forgot to mention. Leave the top vent(s) open & control the temp with the bottom vent(s). In essence you snuffed the fire out by eliminating all O2 to the coals.

My kettle must not seal very well, because I was having trouble keeping the temp down below 250 unless I closed the bottom all the way and just cracked the top vent. One of my one touch blades is slightly bent, so it was getting very little air from the bottom.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 02:28 PM   #10
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225 isn't the magic number. If your kettle likes to cruise at 275, just roll with it and be aware that it will be a faster cook.

On the coals not burning, when you completely close the bottom vent, and almost close the top vent, there is going to be no air flow going through the kettle. You need to leave the top vent all the way open (or close to full open) and control temps with the bottom vent. Generally a pencil width on the bottom will get you in the 250-325 range depending on fuel used, and configuration. You had the vents choked down so far trying to achieve the non magic temp of 225, you snuffed out the fire.

Did I mention that 225 is not the only way to smoke food yet?

When you run out of chips, I'd suggest you get some wood chunks and bury them within your coals, instead of placing them on top. In that type of a setup, I prefer to cut the chunks down to 1/2 or 1/3 fist sized hunks.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 03:08 PM   #11
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El Ropo mentions a good point about wood chunks. I think the chips might have flamed up and contributed to the temp surge. A few more cooks & you'll get the hang of how your OTP wants to run. Cheers!!!
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Unread 10-10-2012, 03:40 PM   #12
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That Butt looks real nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisct View Post
My kettle must not seal very well, because I was having trouble keeping the temp down below 250 unless I closed the bottom all the way and just cracked the top vent. One of my one touch blades is slightly bent, so it was getting very little air from the bottom.

One thing I learned to help out my OTS 22 with a leaky lid is to use some heavy duty binder clips to tighten down the lid. They really help when you want to keep your temps under 250. Use 3 or 4 of them and you should be good.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 03:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
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That Butt looks real nice.




One thing I learned to help out my OTS 22 with a leaky lid is to use some heavy duty binder clips to tighten down the lid. They really help when you want to keep your temps under 250. Use 3 or 4 of them and you should be good.
Nice! Thanks for the tip sheepdad. Nice to see another yankee out there BBQing!
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Unread 10-10-2012, 05:23 PM   #14
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Nice smoke ring! Looks like you're off to a great start, I'd sure hit that! Ropo's vent advice is spot on and kettles LOVE to hang out around 275 with that setup. It's a great temp, many folks on here would say "275 is the new 225"!!
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