controling temps. HELP

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by rob sicc, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    This is my smoker.  It has a vent on the FB at the bottom and the smoke stake that I believe does not have a completely closed setting.  At the lowest level it is still opened a little.

    I am making beef jerky tonight.  I' have been making it  for over 20 years.  I have always used a dehydrator but now that I've found this site I've decided to try smoking some.

    From what I read in old threads I need to cmoke the jerky in the smoker at aboput 140F.  I used this once so far to make a pork but and even with the leaks the temp was 225F - 275F.  Now thats great for pork butt but not for jerky.

    So here is my question.  How do I get the temp to 140F and keep it there?  Do I use less coals?  Do I keep the vent 25 open?  is it a combination of both?

    I look forward to everyones comments as always.

     
  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Rob, the top exhaust vent should always be open for smoke and heat to escape. Fresh smoke tastes good but lingering stale smoke can make meat taste bad. The USDA recommends in the early stage of smoking, you get the meat to 160°F to kill bacteria, then you can drop the temp to 140°F. I would suggest you practice/play with your Fire size and fresh air damper to learn how to control the unit to maintain the desired temp before you add the expensive meat. A smaller fire generates less heat but you need to find how much fuel burns hot and clean for TBS but still keep the temp at 140-160. Hopefully a member with experience with that smoker or other SFB Smoker will be able to give more detail...JJ
     
  3. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Hi JJ,

    Thanks for the info.  one question.  TBS?  I had to build a list of new acronyms since I joined this site.  lol

    SO I was right about fire size.  that made sense.  I will play with this.  luckily I am experimenting with inexpoensive jerky meat and I am only going to try with probably 2 or 3 pounds.

    Thanks again.

    Ciao,

    Rob
     
  4. TBS = Thin Blue Smoke.  This is the good smoke.....light and not acrid.  White smoke = bad bad food and creosote.

    Scott
     
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    TBS, Thin Blue Smoke. SFB, Side Fire Box. Here is a list of most of the common used acronyms... http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/73935/acronyms 

    Just practice. Another option would be to get an electric Hot Plate and an AMNTS A-MAZE-N Tube Pellet Smoke generator or a small, 6-8" Cast Iron Pan with Chips or Chunks and put that in the Cook Chamber...JJ
     
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mine is an easy fix, set up your smoker for 250, vent full open, crack the door. Smoke like this for approx. 2 hours to de-water the meat. Then take it to either the dehydrator or the oven. Two hours of smoke while de-watering will surprize you at the flavor. Or after the de-water cycle you can shut the vents and starve the fire into submission (it will die) and just let it set till you are happy. 
     
  7. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Thats a neat tip.  Thanks JJ.

    ALso thanks for the list of acronyms.  it will make some of these threads make sense finally.  lol
     
  8. Try adding a few chunks of fuel at a time. Seal up all of the leaks you can find.

    Happy smoken.

    David
     
  9. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Hi David,

    That seems like the way I am goign to go.  I think I've sealed every link but one.  I just need a trip to HOme depot to get some bolts so I can attch a new clamp then I should be good to go.

    I am using lump coal and wood chunks.  it will be interesting.  Thanks for the reply
     
  10. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I wanted to give an update.  I ran my smoke last night for my beef jerky.  The small fire with a 25% opened vent worked perfect.

    I smoked the jerky for 2 1/2 hours then dehydrated to finish.  The smoke on the jerky is awesome.  Came out better than I imagined.

    Thanks everyone for you advice. direction, support, and friendly banter.  lol

    I have a thread for last nights smoke if you want to check out pictures.  I don't know how to put a link to another thread in a reply or I would have.
     
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I believe you must become a premium member to post personal links. I could be wrong.
     
  12. fatty patty

    fatty patty Fire Starter

    Top vent stays open. Use a smaller fire. Close bottom vent to control temp. Place a large water pan on bottom shelf and fill it. This will absorb your excess heat energy as water is a great heat sink.
     
  13. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just a question, if the top vent is more convient, easier to use, why always use the suction vent to regulate the air. Regulating the exhaust with a full open inlet would achieve the exact same affect would it not? As long as one is open and one is regulated, does it matter which you use?
     
  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The theory is valid but the problem is the various gases, particulate matter and tars, give the best flavor as they pass over the meat. If the exhaust is closed the smoke can become stale and allow the nasty flavors too much contact for too long a time. What Water tastes better a quick flowing Babbling Brook or a Stagnant Pool?...JJ
     
  15. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    If you are going to be doing this often, you may want to take a look at "BBQ GURU" temperature control system and find a way to in corporate one into your smoker.

    dcarch
     
  16. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Foamheart,

    What does Premium Member involve and include? 
     

  17. Nice analogy!!! Really effective!!!
     
  18. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  19. wngsprnt50

    wngsprnt50 Smoke Blower

    One little thing for that smoker too...make a baffle off the firebox to push the heat out into the cook chamber a bit more and the temps even up dramatically across the racks.  THis thing is a very nice smoker for the price and by far the least amount of modifications I've ever had to do to get good results.  Heat baffle and I put a longer screw with retention spring on the firebox damper since the original liked to tighten up when moved.  You could try to section off about half the coal basket and just use the far away half.  Cuts down on fuel which should help lower temps but will require more babysitting.
     
  20. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Can you direct me to somewhere I can see anexmple of what you are suggesting?  Not sure what you mean by a making a baffler for the firebox.  I am only on the site about 3 weeks even though I registered in 2008  lol).

    Also I like the idea of sectioning off the coal basket.  I kinda just threw in a small amout of coals and they went all over the bottom of the coal basket.  It would be more effecient if I was able to stak them close together.

    Thanks for the help.
     

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