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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 03-06-2018, 08:05 PM   #1
Av8er
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Default Maintaining temp!!

So the first time I was playing around with temps on the new to me Lang 48 didn’t go well. Temps were all over the place and she was billowing white smoke the whole time. It was suggested that I was using too large of sticks. Today I come home and split some hickory sticks I bought from Walmart this morning to give it a go again. I started a small chimney of kingsford and put in three sticks about coke can diameter and 12” long. After 45 minutes to an hour the temp was at about 285. It started dropping to about 270 and I added another split. It stayed there for about 15 minutes and started dropping again to about 250. I added another stick and it was just maintaining 250. Shortly after I added another stick trying to get the temp up to 275. It started blowing white smoke again and the temp came up a little. I finally just shut her down and come in for the night. What am I doing wrong? Did I not have a large enough coal bed? If you get below the temp you are shooting for, how do you get the temp back up without making it blow white smoke for a while? Each time I add a split I would leave the door open for about 3-5 minutes depending on split size. Any input on what I am doing wrong is appreciated. This is my first stick burner so I know there will be a learning curve.


Excuse the sideways pic!! I am not sure why mine are doing that nor do I know how to fix it. :(
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Last edited by Av8er; 03-06-2018 at 08:06 PM.. Reason: Sideways pic!!
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:14 PM   #2
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Hard to say. I have a Meadow Creek TS250 so similar in design. It sounds like an airflow issue. On my stick burner it took me several times to learn how she liked to run. I now run her with the firebox door open a bit instead of using the damper vents. I put a log on about every 45 minutes to an hour. She runs like a dream that way. I cooked on a Land once and had a hard time getting things to temp after a long cook. It turned out to be ash build up preventing air flow. Any time you have have heavy smoke issues look at air flow.
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:19 PM   #3
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Make sure you have good airflow coming into the firebox. Also, looking at the grate, you may want to add some expanded metal to keep more of the coals from falling through and help maintain a good coal bed.
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jousting Pigs View Post
Make sure you have good airflow coming into the firebox. Also, looking at the grate, you may want to add some expanded metal to keep more of the coals from falling through and help maintain a good coal bed.
The smoke looked good until the end. Especially if I left the door open for a few minutes after adding a stick. You are suggesting to add a second piece of expanded metal? It has one already.
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:26 PM   #5
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I don't see a deep enough coal bed. Buy a piece of expanded metal from Home Depot and cut it to fit the fire grate. Set it in with the patterns in the EM opposing each other. It'll hold a coal bed longer.

How long are you letting it warm up before recording temps? I've got a Lang 36 stretch and it takes an hour or more to get all that steel hot. I might read 300 at the factory thermometer but the far end is still only warm to the touch.

To me it looks like you are measuring temps too soon and without a decent coal bed. Your temp swings may be following your pattern of a burning fire and not a truly hot cooker.
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:45 PM   #6
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I started my Lang with about six cris crossed sticks, and the cook chamber door open. Let those sticks burn down most of the way with everything open. Once they burn down a bit, smack them with a poker to start your coal bed. Close everything up, and set your dampers about half to 3/4 open. It will come up to temp fairly fast. Should have to add a split or two every 35 to 45 minutes.

Short answer is I don't think you started with enough coals, so you were chasing the whole time.
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:47 PM   #7
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The smoke looked good until the end. Especially if I left the door open for a few minutes after adding a stick. You are suggesting to add a second piece of expanded metal? It has one already.
I think you just sort of answered your own question. I have an offset smoker and I typically have to keep the door cracked open a bit and damper wide open. I only see smoke on ignition. Otherwise, it's clear w/ an occasional thin blue while I add more wood.

All that I can say is, don't get frustrated. It took me a couple of summers to figure things out where I felt the product was presentable!
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Old 03-06-2018, 08:48 PM   #8
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Get a bbq guru and set and forget it.

Cracks me up ppl will spend over a grand or 5 on a smoker, and not want to spend a few hunnit on a guru.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:00 PM   #9
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For a lang 48 I would use about 2 full chimneys to start and maybe 1 to 2 sticks to preheat. It may overshoot at first but should have a good coal bed. You started with 1 small chimney.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:00 PM   #10
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Get a bbq guru and set and forget it.

Cracks me up ppl will spend over a grand or 5 on a smoker, and not want to spend a few hunnit on a guru.
There’s no reason to just go out and buy a guru. I have had one on an egg and yes it was nice but I would rather learn to use the stick burner as it was meant to be used. It’s just a learning curve that I am asking for assistance on understanding.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:01 PM   #11
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For a lang 48 I would use about 2 full chimneys to start and maybe 1 to 2 sticks to preheat. It may overshoot at first but should have a good coal bed. You started with 1 small chimney.

Yep!!! One small chimney. I will up it the next go around to see if that helps.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Av8er View Post
There’s no reason to just go out and buy a guru. I have had one on an egg and yes it was nice but I would rather learn to use the stick burner as it was meant to be used. It’s just a learning curve that I am asking for assistance on understanding.
I agree on no guru. You will be adding wood every 45 minutes to an hour allowing frequent adjustments to airflow if need be.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:08 PM   #13
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0Azfvya6n4Y

My favorite vid on fire management
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:08 PM   #14
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Your loosing a lot of coals through that grate. Like others suggested a piece of expanded metal on top 9f your existing grate will help. On my Shirley I start with a buck of small chunks of wood and 3 to 4 splits and let that get the cooker hot and build my coal bed. Normally that gets my initial temps to around 350 then it will drop into my cooking temp. Then I only need to add a split ever 40 minutes to an hour to stay in my temp zone.
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Av8er View Post
There’s no reason to just go out and buy a guru. I have had one on an egg and yes it was nice but I would rather learn to use the stick burner as it was meant to be used. It’s just a learning curve that I am asking for assistance on understanding.
No offense, but you are the one posting you can't control temps. I mentioned a sure fire way to solve your problem. I will continue to enjoy my sleep and perfectly cooked briskets.
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