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View Full Version : Bandera style upright offset charcoal question


Wampus
05-07-2011, 12:36 PM
I've had my OK Joe Upright offset smoker for about a year now. I've ALWAYS and ONLY burned wood in it up until today. Here's the cooker:
http://i840.photobucket.com/albums/zz327/wampusbbq/OK%20Joes%20Upright/IMG_0076.jpg

Here's the FB:
http://i840.photobucket.com/albums/zz327/wampusbbq/OK%20Joes%20Upright/IMG_0080.jpg
NOTE: I don't use the top rack in the FB. I only have the bottom grate in.


I have a very large cook coming up in a couple of weeks, so I wanted to test out loading the FB up with charcoal today and see what happened as I plan on cooking 20 butts overnight the night before the party I'm serving at and really want to get some rest as I'm loading up all the next morning and taking smokers over to the party to cook 15 chickens and pull the pork.

HERE'S my dilema....


I loaded an entire bag of Kingsford Competition Briq's in the FB. Spaced a couple of large chunks of cherry within the coals. Used the Bernzomatic torch to light maybe 10 briq's on the top of the pile first thing this morning. I'm trying for a long burn that I won't have to babysit, so I only lit coals all the way to the right (against the FB door). Within about an hour, the smoker was purring at 230. :thumb:

Put on (2) 10 lb butts and a picnic and I've managed to find the sweet spot on the intake vent on the door (I always leave the exhaust full open) to keep it humming at 225. BUT...after only 2.5 hours, all the coals are now burning and I'm anticipating them all fizzling out soon.

I honestly thought this thing would burn from one side to the other and allow for a long burn without reloading. What gives?

I've not modified this thing at all. I know that mods will make it more efficient to some extent, but.....?

I could, of course, completely fill the FB up with 2 bags of briq's next time, but if that only gets me 5-6 hours then that's not nearly as good as I expected.


Any advice from the other bandera users out there? Should I be spending next weekend putting on fiberglass rope? I didn't really figure that fabricating a charcoal basket would help any with length of burn, but am I wrong?

:confused:

Logjammin
05-07-2011, 12:53 PM
Perhaps the exhaust is causing the problem since you're letting all your heat escape? I have a Brinkman off-set that will pur along for a good 3-4 hours if I close the exhaust about 2/3rds. If I open it all the way up then I'll get (at best) 2 hours. I know it's a different design and all, but I'm grasping at straws just like you.

Wampus
05-07-2011, 12:59 PM
Wondered that too. I like the convection I get from keeping the exhaust open. PLUS, if I try and close it down, the smoke just comes out around the door, which of course, would be solved by lining the door with stove gasket.

:rolleyes:

Mister Bob
05-07-2011, 01:05 PM
Judging from the picture, the exhaust is bigger than you need for that size cooker. I know the conventional wisdom is to leave the exhaust wide open, but that's only of the exhaust is the optimum size for the cooker, which I believe that one is not.

Get a better seal on the door, close the exhaust some (Jambo pits are controlled in large part at the exhaust by the way) and see if you can find the sweet spot on both the intake and the exhaust that achieves blue smoke, long burns and consistent temperature. It will take some experimenting, but you'll find it. Good luck!

Arlin_MacRae
05-07-2011, 01:34 PM
When I switched to charcoal in my Bandera I was appalled at the short burn-times I was getting. And I, too, only used the intake to regulate airflow: the exhaust was always wide open. Like the guys above said, try closing your exhaust part-way and I bet you'll see some longer burn-times, like I did. :)

Kevin
05-07-2011, 02:27 PM
By lighting the fire on the intake side of the fire box, you are directing the hot fire over the unlit coals causing them to ignite before they need to. On My BSKD I light the fire at the smoker box side of the firebox with the unlit coals on the intake side. And that's my .02 :wink:

Phesant
05-07-2011, 02:37 PM
By lighting the fire on the intake side of the fire box, you are directing the hot fire over the unlit coals causing them to ignite before they need to. On My BSKD I light the fire at the smoker box side of the firebox with the unlit coals on the intake side. And that's my .02 :wink:

I do the same with my Char-griller.... also try a basket made from expanded metal.... It helped with mine.... I don't know if it'll help on your smoker though.......

Wampus
05-07-2011, 03:40 PM
By lighting the fire on the intake side of the fire box, you are directing the hot fire over the unlit coals causing them to ignite before they need to. On My BSKD I light the fire at the smoker box side of the firebox with the unlit coals on the intake side. And that's my .02 :wink:


I thought of this exact thing. My original thought was that the draft would help light the coals on the cook chamber side. BOY was I right!!!:doh: Lit them right away!!! I'll try and light them opposite the intake next time AND fart aroud with the exhaust.

For this cook....I gave up on the charcoal. Got 3 logs lit right now. MAN I love that thing as a stick burner. Rock solid for an hour at 225. Smellin farkin GOOD!!! Once all my briq's were lit and burning out, I just didn't see the need to keep feeding the beast with the expensive stuff...:rolleyes:

Muzzlebrake
05-07-2011, 03:42 PM
I always used a Minion method in my Bandera but was never able to leave it for more than 3 maybe 4 hours before it needed more fuel even with the exhaust closed down some.

campdude
05-07-2011, 05:43 PM
I love my Bandera, but nothing I've tried gets me more than 5 maybe 6 hours tops. I run with the intake almost all the way closed and the exhaust 3/4 closed to keep it down at 225 or so. Opening up the exhaust increases the temp and how fast the fuel burns up. I have a 6 inch tall by approx 11 1/2 inch square FB made from expanded steel. I can fit a full bag of K blue plus some wood chunks/small logs. I put the lit coals from my chimney on the smoke chamber side. That gets me almost an hour more burn time over putting them on the vent side. I don't think you'll be able to do an overnight burn without re-fueling. I've never tried, but as I said I've never got more than 6 hours from 20 pounds of K plus wood.

Oldschoolbbq
05-07-2011, 08:33 PM
Does everyone enjoy your standard way of cooking? If so don't change in the middle of a deal,you'll lose faith of your peers.That's a lot of Butt(love saying that) to do. May I suggest doing in 2 or three smokes and hold them in a cooler,wrapped.You can't handle them thern anyway,too hot, and the rest will keep it moist and soft.

http://i1204.photobucket.com/albums/bb404/oldschoolbbq/My%20BBQ%20and%20Parties/Betty004.jpg

Batching is a good , takes a bit of your time, but with a timing plan you will do good.Don't fret the easy stuff,Butts are forgiving-Bark.:becky:
Have fun and,