Help with King Kooker 34 inch Vertical

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by arrow, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. Our Lions Club has decided on a "signature dish" of brat chunks wrapped in bacon with special spicing, smoked, and 4 chunks on a kabob skewer. Our first try was with a borrowed New Braunfels smoker, and it worked great. We were smoking 60 at a time and got rave reviews at our first event. So we decided to take the plunge and buy our own smoker, a King Kooker 34 inch model with 6 shelves. We liked the idea of propane because we needed easy setup and operation, plus the charcoal in the NB was expensive, and we get propane donated for free.

    Our next event is in two weeks, and since we sold out the first time, we are doubling our production. Yesterday I did a trial run to make sure I know how to run the process. I did one shelf of the kabobs, and 2 beer can chickens. With the NB, our run time was about 1 hour for the kabobs. With the KK, it took over 2 hours. After 4 hours, the first small chicken was half done with the juices still very pink, and finished it in the microwave so we could eat on time. I cranked the temperature up to 300, and the second chicken took another 2 hours. None of the beer in either chicken even started to evaporate.

    I calibrated the thermometer in the door before starting using boiling water, and checked it after the smoke run, it was right on. I had the temperature pegged at 270, and measured the temperature in the stack at 165.

    There was good smoke, but a lot leaked through the top of the door. I would guess that as much came out around the door as through the chimney.

    I called King Kooker customer service, but all she would tell me was that this is a normal time, this is a low BTU smoker, and live with it. I am an electrical engineer not a thermal engineer, but it seems to me that if I can regulate the burner from 220 to 360 degrees that I have plenty of BTUs. If I can hold the desired temperature at a set point, I don't have a BTU problem.

    Am I getting a cooling draft around the door? Would fireplace gasketing to seal the leak help? Another clue is that the bottome side vents don't do much to regulate temperature. My flame is a nice even blue.

    Any help will be appreciated. Our next event is in two weeks, and doubling cooking time is going to wreck our business model. I need to get this figured out.

    Thanks, Al
  2. bigwayne

    bigwayne Smoke Blower

    I am far from the expert on this, but the mass of the chicken is probably slowing down the cooking process significantly in that type of smoker. When I had an electric ECB I tried doing ribs at the same time as a pork shoulder and the ribs took much longer than they normally would.

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