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Unread 12-01-2012, 11:53 PM   #16
Pig Nutz
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My first post haha. If you put a full weber chimney of lit kingsford coals, you will be at 350 or so initially. If not your thermometer is off. I like lump charcoal. It seems to be more consistent and quicker to change from my adjustments. I have three 3/4" intakes also. I started using Cowboy lump a year ago and like it. Used blue bag for thirty years and again the last month or so. Blue bag is tough on controlling temps compared to the lump. It seems to be starving for oxygen then eventually gets really hot. You should be able to run 250 temp with one hole about 3/4 open. 400 to 500F with all three open.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 09:52 AM   #17
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I have never,... ever ,had a problem maintaining a constant temp in any of my UDS's
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Unread 12-03-2012, 02:42 PM   #18
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Alright, thanks for all the tips guys, I did a lot of what was recommended earlier in the thread on saturday, and still it took quite a while and I never really got over 210 or so while smoking 3 chickens.

I didnt get a chance to add a stack yet (because I messed up cutting the hole I have to figure out how to do it), but I did raise my basket about 1.5" off of where it was, and it's sitting ~4" off the bottom of the drum now.
I used fresh charcoal as well. I'm not dead set on re-using old briques, I just happened to last time because they were all still pretty big - I think they were part of the problem.

This time I lit the fresh kingsford charcoal in the chimney (I have a homemade one out of an old coffee can), went to the store to pick up the chickens, and when I came back all the coals in the chimney were orange. I put them into the center of my basket, put the basket in the UDS and went inside to spatch the chickens and spice them. When I came back out, the temp was around 150, so I let it continue to build to about 175 before I put the chickens on. This is where I think Ive been going wrong. How long do I need to wait between when I put the chimney fired coals on and when I can put my food on the grill? I usually give it an hour or so, but is that not enough time, or is it too much?

I tossed the chickens on at about 175, and let them go for a bit over 2 hours - every one loved them! I didnt however, have the lid fully on during the smoking, I left it cracked a small amount because of what I had learned from the turkey debacle. There wasnt much of the lid open, but it did seem to get the temp up. I was using a few mesquite chips, and 4 apple chunks.

Here are some pictures of my current exhaust. It was supposed to be about 2" dia, but since I messed up the cut, It's a bit bigger than that. The other two are of my charcoal basket.

I do have an analog thermometer that I bought from lowes. How would I go about testing that for accuracy, use the oven?
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Last edited by Wyobbq; 12-03-2012 at 03:02 PM..
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Unread 12-03-2012, 02:58 PM   #19
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1st, welcome to the zoo....

2nd, welcome to the drum corp....

3rd, I think you answered your own quesiton...

[QUOTE=Wyobbq;2285167]Hi All

I figured that this would help, but after I let it ride on that for another 30 mins or so, I had to raise the white flag, and go to plan b and put the turkey in the oven. The chickens were still in the pit smoking away, and the temp didnt seem to change at all. After a while, I went out and cracked the lid (had been operating with my ~2" hole fully open) and within 15 min, the temp shot up to 325.

I obviously have an airflow issue of some kind, I'm just not sure where. My dad suggested that I put an exhaust pipe on the lid (right now it's just flat and covered with a piece of metal that slides), though I'm not sure that will work.
/QUOTE]

After you opened the lid, the temp went up... tells me you have an air flow issue. I have both of my drums with 3 3/4" inlets and have no issue with temp control.... I use the lids off of Weber kettles to give my room for two cooking racks, and usually only crack the exhaust on the lids so they are abt 1/8 of the way open, but of course I am using an Ique110 temp controller too. But before those, I would open the vent all the way open, then control temps with the inlet valves. I use RO lump and find that I can control temps a lot easier with the lump as well. Give a good grade of lump a try as well.

Bill
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Unread 12-03-2012, 03:01 PM   #20
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BTW, my charcoal basket is abt 2 1/2 to 3" off the bottom of the drum.... I will dump in abt 7 lbs of lump, light it with a weed burner, and it will burn for abt 12-16 hrs with no problem and have lump left over after closing down the inlets and vent.
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Unread 12-03-2012, 04:47 PM   #21
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Stop with the Kingsford already, I suspect wherever your getting it it is not stored properly and is damp. Switch to lump( burns hotter with less ash) and sart with a bigger fire. From the time I dump the coals on my basket until the meat hits the grate is 20 min average and I run in the 275-350 range. That leaves air, in Cheyenne your around 7000 ft the air is less dense and doesn't support combustion like it does at a lower elevation. I used to have the same problem years ago when I worked the Diamond R up in Sheridan cooking on an ECB. It sounds just the opposite of what is preached but close down on the exhaust a little or go to a larger intake opening to get more air to the fire.
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Unread 12-03-2012, 08:44 PM   #22
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Check your thermometer by putting it in boiling water to see if it reads what it should for your elevation. In Denver it should boil around 202 F. You can put a stack on your lid but it is unnecessary. You likely do have an airflow issue. Make sure your intake isn't plugged with ash or something and make sure the thermometer isn't touching your grate or the food and that it is under the grate between the grate and the fire. An inch under is about right.

I cooked some ribs yesterday on mine. Lump charcoal lit on the gas starter on my performer grill in a weber chimney. I filled the chimney 3/4 full and put some pecan wood chunks on top of the coals. When the wood was starting to catch fire I dumped it. My lid has the small and large bung hole with no exhaust stack. I just remove the cap from the large bung for exhaust and open my 3/4" ball valve about 80 percent open. It took ten minutes to light the charcoal and when i dumped my smoker was at 250F within a couple minutes. ten minutes later my smoke starting turning blue and I threw the ribs on. The temp dipped to 220F but was back to 250 fifteen minutes later. My ribs were cold actually frozen (an experiment) that caused the temp drop.
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