Can't Get Temps Up High Enough w/Basket

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by solar, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I have a Brinkmann SnP with mods, I bought one of those Char Broil shaker baskets that others have used on this site with success. I put one chimney of un-lit RO in the basket with two chimney's of lit on top. Even with the firebox vent wide open and the stack vent wide open (always) I couldn't get my temps over 200°. I finally had to dump the basket of RO on top of the rack and spread them out to get my temps up to 225/250°. Even without the basket it takes about 45 minutes to get my smoker up to to 225°.

    The cooking temps are equal on both sides so the baffles seem to work, but I sure seem to use a lot more RO than other people I've talked to here. [​IMG]

    My rack in the firebox is raised just above the vent, so there's plenty of air flow underneth. Any ideas?

    Thanks, Brian
     
  2. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Try just lit coals or if you must..lit on one SIDE... nearest air supply..unlit on other. Be sure the lit portion goes all the way to the bottom of the basket on air side.
     
  3. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How about some pics of the baffles?
    Is your thermo accurate?
    Like Rich said, lit on intake side with unlit next to it, let smoker come to temp, should last a few hours like that easily.
    Sounds like the baffles may be the problem.
     
  4. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the reply guys, I'll try the side by side method and see how that works.

    Without the basket I get great even temps on both sides, but like I said before, I use a lot of RO and it takes forever to heat up.

    Here's a pic of the baffle BEFORE I added the curved side panels, the side panels sealed up the gaps on both sides so you can't see into the firebox from the inside of the smoker. I don't have any recent pics of my baffle and tuning plates, but the baffle is bascailly a 45° angled sheet and sheet pans along the bottom with some holes drilled in them.



    My therms are dead on, I boil tested them and I put a probe therm inside during on smoke to verify they're correct.
     
  5. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well...you don't wanna seal off the firebox, just direct the heat/smoke ACROSS the bottom of the food chamber.
     
  6. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    IIRC you did extend your pipe down into the chamber right? I have 3 baffles in mine with a space between each to let the heat rise. I used them as tuning plates until i got even temps. I think rich's idea should do the trick. I do the same thing, unlit on right and lit next to door/ air opening. It takes a bit longer to come up to temp on the left side because my first plate is cast iron. Once hot though the temps stay even and I think the cast helps control temp spikes on the firebox end. i think your unlit lump in the bottom of the basket is probably hindering airflow to the lump on top. JMHO.
     
  7. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Also.... do you have your stack and air intake wide open? Thats the way I start out and before long it's at 250 and I close the stack about 1/4 (3/4 open) and regulate temp with the intake. (usually about 1/4 open for 225)

    Ok reread your post and see you have em open.... oops. ;)

    BTW my baffles are higher in the pit. The downward angle of your first baffle may be slowing down the airflow too much. Probably just needs a little more room to breathe. :)
     
  8. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Right, the firebox isn't sealed off, just the gaps in the picture have been eliminated, and the heat is diverted across the bottom. I think I'm going to drill a few more holes in my tuning plates.

    Like I've mentioned before, I had no problems with getting it up to temp without a basket, but it takes about 45 minutes and I use a lot of RO. I was hoping that the basket would help extend the life of the RO because it burned pretty fast when it was laid across the firebox grates.

    Oh, and yes I have a extended chimey.
     
  9. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nooo..the basket INCREASES burn rates typically.. and heat production. Which is why I'm wondering about the baffle setup.
     
  10. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Yes I think maybe the baffles are too low. not much room for the heat to flow through there. You want to use the natural heat rise to induce a draft and create more airflow. then control it with dampers.
     
  11. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    How long does it take to heat your SnP up to 250 ?
     
  12. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    With a chimney of unlit on the right, chimney lit on left it takes about 15 - 20 minutes to get to 250. Depends on wind. RO lump burns HOT.
     
  13. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Yeah, something is wrong with my mods because it takes me much longer to get the temps up.

    Ok just so I'm straight here, a charcoal basket will burn more RO than if I just leave it spread out on the firebox grate? So the basket is used it increase temps even though you'll burn more fuel?

    I think you guys are right and I need to raise up my tuning plates to allow more air to flow underneth.

    Thank for all the input guys, I'm going to tweak it this week and see how it works this weekend.
     
  14. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The result of burning more fuel- or prolly more correctly, burning fuel faster- is increased temps.
     
  15. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What is the distance between your tuning plates and the bottom of the pit? I am wondering if mine are too low as well. Mine are about 3 inches from the bottom of the pit and about 5 inches below the cooking racks.



    My baffle extends slightly below the first tuning plate. I think I need to trim it a bit so it doesn't restrict the airflow.



    Here is a view of just the baffle.

    Dave
     
  16. smoking gun

    smoking gun Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Mine are probably 6" in the center but my baffles are curved not flat like yours. My first baffle, the cast iron one is probably 2 - 3 inches below the grate and it is flat. The next baffle goes from under the first to about 2/3 of the way across the last one goes from there to about 2 inches from the end.
     
  17. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    After looking at mine last night and your pics today, we about have the same set up. I believe the plates are to low and not enough air can flow under them. I'm going to raise my tuning plate and drill a couple holes in the baffle tonight and see what happens.
     
  18. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    UPDATE:

    I raised the baffle in the pit about 2" and tweeked my charcoal basket in my fire box to allow a bit more air.

    BINGO!!!

    I did a dry run tonight with some left over Kingsford and played around with my baffle and tuning plates. I can get my temps up to 225° in 20 minutes with a chimney and a half of Kingsford using the minion method to last almost 2 hours. I know that this will change when I have some mass on the smoker, but I know I have to be getting close because it use to take 45 minutes or more and a ton of fuel to get my SnP up to temp.

    If it wasn't for everyone here replying and giving me some ideas/tips I probably would still be burning to much fuel. Thanks guys!!
     
  19. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yer welcome. Now SMOKE SOMETHING fer crap's sake! ;{)
     
  20. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Yes sir!! 3 full BB's racks Saturday, should be done just as the Michigan/ Notre Dame game starts. [​IMG][​IMG]
     

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