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Unread 09-10-2004, 06:55 PM   #1
The_Kapn
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Default Combo smokers (Vertical and Horizontal)-Questions

I recently had my first experience with a combo unit.
It was an older SmokeMaster with a 16" horizontal section.
Basically, a Klose Back Yard Chef clone.
My son and I restored it and I did a "get to know ya" burn.
Horizontal was 100+ degrees hotter than vertical. To be expected.
SmokeMaster has a nice baffle from the firebox to the horizontal, so I laid Heavy Duty aluminum foil on the lower firegrate in the horizontal section.
This created a tunnel for heat/smoke to go to the vertical section and then back to the horizontal. Brought the temp differences to 50-75 degrees or so. Good start!
The next AM, I plugged some upper holes from the firebox to the horizontal with aluminum foil and added more wrapping to the horizontal firegrate. I was determined to tunnel heat to the verticle side.
Lit the fire and got the temps up. Very equal across the smoker, both sections. Maybe 30 degrees or so.
Loaded the first of a $105 load of meat and sat back to watch the fire.
At three hours my fire crashed- big time! Lots of white and black smoke and temps dropped rapidly. Got it re-lit and just struggled through the rest of the burn.
Crappy Q with black creosote. But, family don't cross Dad, so they ate it with a crooked smile.
After it all cooled down, I found a flap of aluminum foil had fallen down and blocked off most of the airflow through the tunnel
Now my questions:
1st question--Looking at the SmokeMaster, I can see putting a 1/8th steel plate or heavy sheet metal below the horizontal cooking grate to create a larger tunnel for heat to the vertical side. Then add a small (3" or so) exhaust vent to the firebox side of the horizontal section. This would allow the excess radiated heat to be dumped, if needed, and for smoke to be drawn back across the horizontal. This would make the horizontal section a reverse flow area. It also would add a new level of heat and smoke control to the cooker--I assume.
2nd question-- I have heard that the manufacturers consider the vertical to be a "warming area" and not the primary smoking area. Seems a waste of capacity if so. Anyone have historical knowledge of this?
3rd question--Has anyone really tried to "tune" one of these? Am I wasting my thoughts and energy considering it? They just seem to have so much potiential if they can be equalized a bit for smoking and then maybe adjusted to create a hotspot for finishing.
I plead guilty to being obsessive about temp and smoke control, but that is my role as the Pit Bitch for the Southern Brethren. Stable heat and quality smoke let DF free to create the recipes to win with. This could be a killer competetion unit with lots of capacity without being "huge" and unwieldly. Just gotta get control of it!
Thanks,
TIM
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Unread 09-10-2004, 09:38 PM   #2
BBQchef33
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Its jsut a matter of time before ya figure out how to use the vertical. took me about a year, but now i can load the entire cooker up knowing the temp variations. As I said in the other post, the middle of the vertical chjamber just above the opening to the horizontal is one of the hottest spots in the cooker. I can us ethe entire BYC for cooking.. At the comeptitions, the whole cooker is utilized and the warming spot is the far inside top right of the cooker.


as far as tuning, when i bought my BYC i wanted to have it tuned. Dave klose told me that the chance you take tuning a pit less than 24inchs diameter is that the in order to leave enuf room under the plates for heat to travel effecinetly without impeding draft, the plates have to be fairly high in the chamber. This puts the plates fairly close to the food grate and can cause a "grilling" effect when the plates start getting very hot during a long cook. He recommends against tuning 20 inch pits. 24 is the minimum.
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Unread 09-10-2004, 10:26 PM   #3
The_Kapn
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Phil,

Great info!!!
I would never expect absolute temp parity throughout the cooker.

My goal would be a level of control that would give me a predictable 200-250 degree range--on demand.

Never thought of the radiated heat from a plate under the horizontal smoke rack. I envisioned a plate about 1/2 way from the bottom to the grate. Lots of radiated heat from the firebox wall and the plate would add to that even more.

Any thoughts on a small smokestack to the right of the horizontal (firebox end) to dump excess radiated heat? Also would create a small reverse flow situation for smoke.
Or am I thinking too hard?
I sure love the concept of the combo, just a control freak.

Oh Yeah, the SmokeMaster Pro is 22"--kinda on Dave's borderline for tuning!
Thanks,

TIM
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"Flirtin' with Disaster" BBQ Team (RETIRED)
FBA and KCBS Cook and Judge.
Former owner of a WSM, a Smokey Joe, a Charbroil Commercial gasser (junk), the legendary "StudeDera", a Fast Eddy PG500, and Sherman.
Now cooking with a Yoder YS640
Proud Pellet guy cooking on real wood.
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