So I built a small RF late last summer and really only used it a handful of times before winter, so I haven't been able to learn all of it's quirks just yet. Decided to do a couple slabs of ribs today so I got her fired up but can't quite seem to get it to temp. Not really sure if it's the wind (20 to 30mph today) or my fuel. So far I've only used RO lump in this smoker and have had no trouble keeping temps. Usually I'll have my intake ports about 1/2 open to maintain 225 degrees. I was out of RO so I grabbed a bag of no name lump at Hy-Vee. It seems like decent lump, started good without any fireworks and seems to be burning a long time. However, I've had my intake ports 100% open the whole time and still cannot get to temp.
I started off with one temp probe in the center of my smoker. The highest I got it was 197 but I went ahead and threw my ribs on anyway thinking it would eventually come up. Finally I decide to try a different probe just to make sure it wasn't a bad probe. I put the second probe right next to the first one and then plugged it in. Well both probes read the exact same temp. After awhile I decided to move the probes to each end of the chamber. After the temp stabilized from opening the door, I observed a 20 degree difference from end to end. So far I haven't had a variation that great in this smoker. Now here's the really weird part, the firebox end was the cold end! Usually It's the other way around. I'm running 220 on the gap end and 190 on the firebox end. What do you suppose gives with this?