View Full Version : Temp control question

06-04-2017, 01:36 PM
Ok. I guess it's time to poll the experts here. I recently purchased a Oklahoma Joe Highland and I'm having the darndest time getting this thing up to temp. On my inaugural voyage, seasoning day, I decided to get a bit more scientific about how much charcoal I'd need to burn for how long using a minion method. I counted out 150 briquettes and wove them around to regular 'ol bricks standing on their sides. Lit'er up, and waited.......and waited.....and waited. Probably an hour 1/2 went by, with a complete row of coal ignited and beginning to turn the corner to the next row, before I realized I wasn't getting anywhere fast. Maybe 190 degrees, and my first sign that this was gunna suck. So in went more fuel, including some store bought wood blocks of Mesquite.....then more.....then more....out come the bricks I was using for the snaking of the coal.....then more....and more. Before I know it, I got the whole big sized bag of coal in there (ROARING). It seemed like it should have been hot enough to melt gold in there, even tore off some large chunks of the paint on the firebox. What temp did I get it to? About 300, for a bit, then the entire bag of fuel was exhausted and she started cooling down. (Holy Christmas, what have I got myself into)......

Checked around online for places like this. One thing I saw was "get the fire up farther off the bottom"........so I did. Got 4 bolts, 8 washers and jacked her up to almost the level of the hole leading into the main barrel. It maybe was an inch or so away from it when you added the charcoal. So, I gave it another whirl, this time with some chicken breasts on an extended grate/raiser (one of those aftermarket jobbies that essentially you set on top of the main grates and it gives you a shelf). This time, I skipped having a snaking minion method set-up, I went with just a U shaped and this time the fire was started at the other end of the firebox snug up against the hole into the pit. Did it help? Not really. After lighting it, I let the first part of the U get going enough so it was pretty much 75% and at least had it going the width of the hole leading into the pit. Shut all the lids and let the blower fan from the Qmaster do its thing (one of many modifications). I was shooting for a 250 range and struggled to get there. Once I did, it was on with the 4 pieces of chicken that took all of 20 seconds to throw on. There went all my heat and after 20 minutes of watching the probe barely move, out came the bricks again and it was building a full-fledged forest fire in the box again. I gotta be doing something wrong. Those buggers never got to 160, even being on the top rack. Into the oven after that. Three hours in the smoker and I made it to a whooping 145 internal temp.

Onto the questions I know you'll need answered. The modifications:

**Sealed airtight - I meticulously sealed this thing. Correct food-safe sealant in multiple beads. This thing doesn't have a whiff of smoke from anywhere that it's not suppose to come out of. Lid(s) included, complete with latches.

**Qmaster temp controller - Thing works just like it's suppose to. Plenty of airflow. Getting the firebox hot ain't my problem. It's a BaZillion degrees in there and charcoal is savagely consumed during my first two runs.

**As I previously said, the firebox grate is jacked up to where the coals would sneak into the pit, if it were any higher.

**BBQSmokerMods baffling - The two piece job.......and yes, that came out too at some point during the cooks. First, just the extended section, then whole thing. Kept things pretty even though, I must say. One end to the other was 20-30 degrees.

** Thermometers - The top one that came with it and 2 more at grate level were installed (and sealed). Plus the 2 probes from the Qmaster and an additional one I've always trusted......so there's 6 total.

** The dryer vent - I gave it a whirl, why not. It's adjustable, so I can just give it a spin and put it sideways, which wouldn't be any different than just taking it off completely.

I gotta be going wrong somewhere, but I cant figure it out. I practically have a sword-making kiln on one end and a refrigerator on the other end. One other thing......no, I wasn't opening the thing up every 5 minutes. I was trying to see how long it too everything to heat up on its own, being scientific about it..........but after 30 minutes goes by and you see little to no movement in temps, what are you going to do??

Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.