The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS.

The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS. (https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/index.php)
-   Q-talk (https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=5)
-   -   I desperately need offset fire management help. Very frustrated. (https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=278365)

93_confirmed 01-20-2020 11:34 AM

I desperately need offset fire management help. Very frustrated.
 
Long story short, I've been cooking and bbq'ing for about a decade. I've cooked on the kettle, wsm, OKJ highland/Bandera, electric, rotisserie, etc. Done it all. For the most part, never had issues with getting to/maintaining temp.

Just these past few weeks, my OKJ is STRUGGLING badly to get up to temp and I haven't made any major changes to my setup. I've had it for a few years by the way. I run well seasoned cherry for the majority of the cook, I haven't modded, I have tried Franklin's firebox setup, small fires, big fires, using charcoal to boost the fire, and have also used various combinations of grate/charcoal bin configurations. I can barely crack 200F at best. At worst, I'm 175F.

I have researched old threads here, watched dozens of videos, read articles, and prayed to the BBQ Gods and still I can't get this ******* smoker to operate properly. There are no major leaks, weather is OK other than some wind and the position on my patio hasn't changed.


Can I get some guidance on what could possibly be going on here? For those with the OKJ Highland, can you give me a detailed step by step on how you are getting it to 275+?

zippy12 01-20-2020 11:52 AM

I run 5 inch pieces on a smaller diameter
I place the fire at the fire box door
I make sure my exhaust stack is wide open(make sure your stack is clear)
lay in new wood with plenty of air flow around it....
Thin Blue Smoke... no white stuff!

I can get to 500F if I want
http://www.waxhaw.net/sm/20191116_182111.jpg

creek bottom 01-20-2020 12:50 PM

Just curious, are you going by the thermometer on lid? Have you checked with a different thermometer at grate level inside the cooker?

morningwoodbbq 01-20-2020 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by creek bottom (Post 4263880)
Just curious, are you going by the thermometer on lid? Have you checked with a different thermometer at grate level inside the cooker?

Yeah, don't go by the lid thermometer. I use a probe jammed in a ball of foil on the cooking grates to give me the temp.

Any issues I've had it has been with rubbish pieces of wood. I lay them on top of the firebox to get them nice and warm (or hot) to help combustion when they eventually go in. Some just do not want to light so I have to pull them out and put a different log in.

This is on an Oklahoma Joe Highland Reverse Flow.

93_confirmed 01-20-2020 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by creek bottom (Post 4263880)
Just curious, are you going by the thermometer on lid? Have you checked with a different thermometer at grate level inside the cooker?


No, I learned that very early on. I have a grommet on the side and am running the Thermoworks Smoke with a probe at the center rack. I just tested the probes yesterday and they are on point.

93_confirmed 01-20-2020 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by morningwoodbbq (Post 4263883)
Yeah, don't go by the lid thermometer. I use a probe jammed in a ball of foil on the cooking grates to give me the temp.

Any issues I've had it has been with rubbish pieces of wood. I lay them on top of the firebox to get them nice and warm (or hot) to help combustion when they eventually go in. Some just do not want to light so I have to pull them out and put a different log in.

This is on an Oklahoma Joe Highland Reverse Flow.


The wood is good and I not only preheat, but I also make sure the splits are small to avoid a long smolder.

Kmm 01-20-2020 01:24 PM

What have the ambient temps been? Cherry is great for smoking, but it doesn’t burn with the same btu value as the denser hardwoods. You might try mixing a hotter burning wood in with the cherry and see if that helps. Ash would be a good choice, burns hot and fast, very light smoke that will not overpower the cherry. If you can’t find ash, try some white oak or even Osage orange (hedge).

Stlsportster 01-20-2020 01:31 PM

Have you checked the exhaust? It can get built up with creosote and grease. Needs to be brushed or burned out occasionally.

Edit

Also check under the reverse flow plate. Can get full of ash.

SmokinAussie 01-20-2020 01:31 PM

A bird has made a nest in your smoke outlet.

93_confirmed 01-20-2020 01:52 PM

I checked the exhaust, checked for birds nests, etc and all good. Also, I've been using this cherry with great results and the guy I split the cherry order with cooks on the same Joe with no problems.

morningwoodbbq 01-20-2020 02:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 93_confirmed (Post 4263905)
I checked the exhaust, checked for birds nests, etc and all good. Also, I've been using this cherry with great results and the guy I split the cherry order with cooks on the same Joe with no problems.

Sneak over his house at night under the cover of darkness and swap cookers.

zippy12 01-20-2020 02:28 PM

http://www.waxhaw.net/sm/20191012_150808.jpg


and I agree with others on grill grate therms....

hottest part of the cook chamber is the top half

Swine Spectator 01-20-2020 02:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 93_confirmed
Just these past few weeks, my OKJ is STRUGGLING badly to get up to temp and I haven't made any major changes to my setup. I've had it for a few years by the way. I run well seasoned cherry for the majority of the cook, I haven't modded, I have tried Franklin's firebox setup, small fires, big fires, using charcoal to boost the fire, and have also used various combinations of grate/charcoal bin configurations. I can barely crack 200F at best. At worst, I'm 175F.

If I am understanding correctly:
  • You have verified your thermometer is correct.
  • You have been able to achieve higher temps in the past.
  • You have confirmed that your intakes and exhaust are clear.
  • You haven't made any other changes.
Correct?

Then I am going to assume that something is wrong with your wood. I'd try a burn with just lump charcoal. The only other thing I can think of is if your pit is positioned in a way that there is a breeze dampening your airflow.

During one cook on my Klose, I couldn't keep temps below 325. After a while I realized that there was a slight breeze coming up the driveway that was hitting my intakes and stoking the fire. I turned the pit 90 and was abler to control the pit as usual.

Pedro7 01-20-2020 02:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 93_confirmed (Post 4263905)
I checked the exhaust, checked for birds nests, etc and all good. Also, I've been using this cherry with great results and the guy I split the cherry order with cooks on the same Joe with no problems.

I know I'm not helping you here, but where do you get the cherry from in NJ? We burn exclusively Cherry as well.

checkrd past 01-20-2020 02:50 PM

Man, I'm a pellet guy but this has me seating on the edge of my seat to find out what gives.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:24 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
2003 -2012 BBQ-Brethren Inc. All rights reserved. All Content and Flaming Pig Logo are registered and protected under U.S and International Copyright and Trademarks. Content Within this Website Is Property of BBQ Brethren Inc. Reproduction or alteration is strictly prohibited.