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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 02-22-2004, 08:16 AM   #1
kevanjc
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Default Temperature Control-- HELP please

I am having a hard time controling the temperature on my Bandera. I can't seem to get it to stabilize.

Outside temp is 42 at 9:00 am, High is supposed to be 58, and there is no wind.

All suggestions welcome.

Kevan
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Unread 02-22-2004, 09:29 AM   #2
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Temp too high? Too Low? Wood fire? Charcoal Fire?
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Unread 02-22-2004, 10:00 AM   #3
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What mods have you done? You got your smoke chamber vent wide open? If you don't then you should, and control the heat with the fire box damper. You gotta get the heat up off the floor of the fire box or you'll burn tons of fuel (learned that and fixed that here with the help of the Brethren).

Answer Saiko's and my questions and we got a good starting point of getting you to a better cooking experience.

If you go back to one of my earlier posts, you'll see I was there too!

http://www.bandera-brethren.com/inde...iewtopic&t=780
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Unread 02-22-2004, 01:01 PM   #4
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are you using the door thermometer?? it can be way off +-50 degrees. . drop oven thermos or probes into the chamber by the food to get a more accurate temp reading. Leave both dampers wide open and DONT open that cook Chamber door!!!! Then if temps climb, cut the firebox damper to 1/2-3/4. If its still to high after 15 minutes, you have to much fuel burning. Give us more detail on what you got. Temps and fuel.




I'm moving this thread into Qtalk.. You'll get more responses.
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Unread 02-22-2004, 01:39 PM   #5
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Read some of the mods in the file section. I use the heat shield to control temps in the box. I wrap an extra grate 3/4 in foil, use it to bring the size of the chamber down to a more manageble dimension when not packing it with meat.
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Unread 02-22-2004, 03:48 PM   #6
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Depending on how you bring up your fire, it can take as short as 30 minues to bring the chamber up to temp, but expect 45-60 minuts on average. Now then - you asked about control. Yoou do not need a large fire to maintain temp. Remember - it's easier to add to a weak fire than it is to reduce temp in a hot fire. If you keep your fire size consistent. you'll generally experiance consistent pit temps. We can keep Phil's piece of crap (needing to be given away) BYC going a stready 225 on a fire so small you wouldn't believe for the size cooker it is.
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Unread 02-22-2004, 07:08 PM   #7
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Oh yeah

And Welcome Kevan!!
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Unread 02-23-2004, 10:20 AM   #8
kevanjc
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Default Help Temperature Control

Hi all and thanks for the tips. I ended up with some really good food yesterday but really had to watch the Bandera.
In response to some of the questions that were asked about my origional question:

I am cooking with Kingsford briquettes which I light in a chimney.

The temp is running low. When I open the cook chamber damper it climbs rapidly and then as soon as I partially close it, the temp starts dropping just as rapidly.

I am using a door thermoter I bought seperately.

I Finally got the temp to stabilize at 230 but it required constant attention.

I got a better fire by raising the fire grate about 4 inches and I drilled a 3/8 inch hole in the bottom center of the cook chamber to add a grease cup. No other modifications have been done.

I have gotten very good with my Hondo and I had both of them going yesterday. The Hondo was dead on 235 degrees and only used about 2 chimneys of charcoal for the whole 12 hours. I fed about a bag into the Bandera but I realize that it is because I don't know the smoker yet. The food turned out great but it required alot of attention.

Thanks for all of the help.

Kevan
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Unread 02-23-2004, 10:24 AM   #9
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I may be jumping in where wise men fear to tread but:

I NEVER (almost!) adjust the chimney (chamber damper?) and use the firebox damper to control the fire. Now - I'm using a horizontal smoker but it seems we went through a lot of discussion last year about fire control and the general concensus was to leave the chimney damper alone because it will tend to smother the fire and result in nasty smoke.

Anyway, that's my $.02 worth. :D
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Unread 02-23-2004, 10:50 AM   #10
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Default Re: Help Temperature Control

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevanjc

The temp is running low. When I open the cook chamber damper it climbs rapidly and then as soon as I partially close it, the temp starts dropping just as rapidly.

I got a better fire by raising the fire grate about 4 inches and I drilled a 3/8 inch hole in the bottom center of the cook chamber to add a grease cup. No other modifications have been done.

I fed about a bag into the Bandera but I realize that it is because I don't know the smoker yet.
Smoke chamber damper, leave it wide open all the time. Its the fire grate that is your problem.

#1 modification is to buy/cut a piece of expanded steel and raise the fire grate up into the chamber. Cut the piece to fit the entire box, increasing your fire/coal bed size dramatically (20"and16")

#2 modification is to fashion a baffle to more evenly distribute the heat into the cook chamber.

Another mod, though not high on the list, is the use of the heat shield I mentioned earlier. Condense the chamber, to get more efficient.

Download the Bandera 101 file from the file section and look ad the mod pictures and files in the files and photo section too.

After these, and just a tiny bit of practice, you end up using half the amount of fuel and really increase your enjoyment.

I'm no expert, but the above helped me from the get go.

Good to have you aboard brother.
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Unread 02-23-2004, 10:54 AM   #11
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Oh yeah,

Get a couple oven thermometers and place in different locations inside the beast. It will let you know where the hotspots are and temps at different levels.

Pyrex probe thermometer down the chimney to the meat level. They're about $13 or so. Door thermometers are not always accurate, and only measure the one level.
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Bill-Chicago

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Unread 02-23-2004, 11:30 AM   #12
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Also, take a look at the For Sale Forum on our site, my baskets are there for the purpose of fire control.
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Unread 02-23-2004, 06:38 PM   #13
Solidkick
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Just about the same info Chi Bill gave me back in Nov.

Stay focused! It WILL come together!
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Unread 02-24-2004, 11:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
#1 modification is to buy/cut a piece of expanded steel and raise the fire grate up into the chamber. Cut the piece to fit the entire box, increasing your fire/coal bed size dramatically (20"and16")
I tried to do this about 2 weeks ago, i went to Home Depot and Low's niether of them had expanded steel. They told me i might have to go to some metal shop which they could not tell me where one was.
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Unread 02-24-2004, 12:24 PM   #15
chad
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Oh bull crap. Look for the small display area that has threaded rods, slotted angle (like used for the sides of metal shelves), etc. The expanded metal is right there along with thin gauge sheet metal and aluminum -- usually the aluminum and steel displays are side-by-side.
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