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View Full Version : Some Questions for Backwoods Smokers Owners


Produkt
12-13-2017, 12:34 PM
I recently got myself the Chubby 3400 and used it for the first time yesterday. I made a risky choice and cooked prime rib for my first cook. I followed the instructions from the Backwoods YouTube video on how to light it.
I filled a charcoal chimney 1/4 full of Kingsford briquettes, let it burn until the edges of the coals are white, then poured it into the back left corner of the charcoal pan, and covered the rest of the bottom of the pan with unlit charcoal.
I opened up both side dampers and the top chimney all the way while the heat built. Once it got to about 210 I closed the side dampers down until they were each open about a centimeter. The temperature continued to rise until it steadied at about 259. This is hotter than I wanted to cook so I tried topping off the water pan with cold water, tried closing the vents completely, but it stuck to 259 for the duration of the cook.
Another thing I noticed is that even though the charcoal pan was mostly filled up with charcoal, by the time my meat hit 130F it seemed most of the charcoal has been completely used up. It only took about 3 hours to burn through. Shouldn't it last a lot longer than that?
My questions are:
1. Any tips to keep the temperature closer to 225?
2. Any tips on how to make my charcoal last longer? I'm aware that longer cooks may require refilling the charcoal but I think they claim that one full pan of charcoal should last around 8 hours.
3. Any tips for removing a full water pan after cooking? I let it cool down a bit but the pan is very heavy and has to be lifted from the bottom, making it almost impossible not to slosh water everywhere, including into the firebox. I'm thinking of just using a length of hose to siphon it out most of the way and then I can lift it out easier.

I appreciate any help you guys can offer.

JDM46
12-13-2017, 01:47 PM
I have had similar experience with my Piglet Plus.
Loaded with 18 pork butts I have learned to add another 18# bag of Royal Oak and top off the water pan.
after running 3 1/2 hours.
Temp is running about 265-275 F.
Product is excellent.
To get the pit closer to 225 F I have closed down the back vent to about 1/4 inch and the front vent to being just barely open. I run the exhaust wide open.
This is just my experience with my particular Backwoods.

Right on Q
12-13-2017, 01:53 PM
I'd say close the vents down more and you can get it down to 225. I wouldn't be worried about cooking at 250-260 though. Same as cooking at 225 and saves lots of time!

As for the charcoal, I always loaded my charcoal pan pretty full which helped get a long burn time. (I used a Humphrey's which is similar to a Backwoods)

Produkt
12-13-2017, 02:32 PM
I'd say close the vents down more and you can get it down to 225. I wouldn't be worried about cooking at 250-260 though. Same as cooking at 225 and saves lots of time!

As for the charcoal, I always loaded my charcoal pan pretty full which helped get a long burn time. (I used a Humphrey's which is similar to a Backwoods)

Normally I'd be fine with 260 for a pork butt or ribs or whatever, but I smoke a lot of fish and would prefer to reach the lower temperature limits of my smoker for that. They claim that its range is 180-300, I'd love to be able to get it to hit 180.

pjtexas1
12-13-2017, 03:52 PM
you used all the charcoal up heating the water. sounds like you need to start with less lit charcoal or close the intakes/exhaust sooner. try a maze in the charcoal pan...that will keep the lit charcoal under control better.

toddu
12-13-2017, 05:33 PM
I used to light my Party front right corner. Open that vent full, exhaust full, water pan empty. When smoker reached about 150, hot water in the pan, close right front vent to about 1/2”. Could run 225 for maybe 6 hrs before needing to top off. Never opened the back vent. Would take about an hour to go from “cold” to 225-250. Don’t use lump if you want cooler temps.

Todd

Todd

Jason TQ
12-13-2017, 05:45 PM
I have had similar experience with my Piglet Plus.
Loaded with 18 pork butts I have learned to add another 18# bag of Royal Oak and top off the water pan.
after running 3 1/2 hours.
Temp is running about 265-275 F.
Product is excellent.
To get the pit closer to 225 F I have closed down the back vent to about 1/4 inch and the front vent to being just barely open. I run the exhaust wide open.
This is just my experience with my particular Backwoods.

To be fair a Piglet Plus is a "smidge" bigger than a chubby 3400 so you'll go through a lot more charcoal. :becky:

I had a G2 Chubby and Party I used for over 4yrs. My chubby was a little deeper and would hold more charcoal, but I'd run lump for 6-7hrs with water in the pan running 225 and had leftover charcoal at the end. I'd fill the charcoal pan and really shake it to get as much as I can in there and light the back middle with 2 weber cubes.

When not running a guru it did like to settle in to that 250 -275 range, but backing down dampers and you can close down the top as well early on. Sounds like you tried that though.

CentralOhioBBQ
12-13-2017, 10:03 PM
I’ve got a backwoods and have some suggestions.

- the snake method works. I put 2 firebricks north south in th charcoal tray, effectively making a U pattern (an upside down U) that 1) allows the smoker to run lower because the whole tray isn’t lit and 2) conserves charcoal. Anything other than a shoulder or brisket should only require one tray full of charcoal, and you won’t get any temp spikes. I always open the vent damper all the way, open the sides up about 1/2 inch to an inch, put all the charcoal in lining it around the firebricks with exception to the front right corner. Then, get 10-15 or so briquettes going in a chimney, then dump then in the front right spot. Takes close to an hour to get up to 225ish. It will purr around 220-240 for hours on end.

- as far as the water, if it’s only going to be a 3-4 hour cook, don’t fill th pan up. Fill it half or so. Suprisingly, adding cool water to the pan do ant really drop the temp much. The ambient heat in the cooker holds well. What you don’t want to do however, is let all the water in the pan burn off, you’ll get a temp spike of 100+ (or 200��). Whatever’s left, just let it cool off completely and lift the pan from the bottom side. Either way it’s going to be a bit messy...

Good luck - you’ll find a routine you’re comfortable with.

rvaliente
01-01-2018, 09:10 PM
I have had similar experience with my Piglet Plus.
Loaded with 18 pork butts I have learned to add another 18# bag of Royal Oak and top off the water pan.
after running 3 1/2 hours.
Temp is running about 265-275 F.
Product is excellent.
To get the pit closer to 225 F I have closed down the back vent to about 1/4 inch and the front vent to being just barely open. I run the exhaust wide open.
This is just my experience with my particular Backwoods.

I just picked up my Piglet Plus last week. 1st cook was butts and they turned out great.
How do y'all do jerkey in the BWS? does the water pan make the chamber too humid for good jerkey?

Rocky Branch BBQ
01-02-2018, 08:51 PM
I have loaded my chubby with a full chimney of charcoal and opened vents a quarter inch or so and it locks in at 250 until my Butts reach 198 -200. Instead of water I put 10 or 12 layers of somewhat crumpled tin foil in place of the water. It diffuses the heat and I don't have to mess with all of that greasy water. Yeah, I know it's water smoker but I didn't like all the loading unloading cleaning. Works great for me and no problems with the smoker after many! cooks.