Well this morning I enthusiastically followed the directions for a test run on a Smokenator in a Weber Gold and...nothing worked correctly. Specifically the temperature was not measured correctly and the charcoal burned way too fast.
Per the instructions of a test run I closed the bottom vents half way, opened the top vents to 3/16 put 40 coals in the smokenator, used 12 coals to start it, and added water. I put the thermometer with 2.75" from the tip to the clip in the dome and awaited things to act according to the instructions.
At 11:26am the lid was closed and we're off.
At 11:36 the dome thermometer read 225f and for a moment it looked like all was well.
At 11:51 dome temp was 350 and rising...at which point I closed the bottom vents to 5/16 to keep the temperature down and then I noticed the top vents for some reason were more 3/8 than 3/16 so I closed them to 3/16 again.
At 12:47 the dome temp was still a little over 350f. Suspicious, I put a polder thermometer through two radishes on the cooking grate and the temp was 247f. That's interesting!
At 2pm almost all charcoal had been burned and temp on the grate was 217f.
So did I do something very wrong in measuring the dome temperature? The instructions say there should only be a 20 degree difference between the dome and grate temp. Why did the charcoal burn so quickly? From the instructions the cook should have lasted 5 hours and this lasted 2 1/2 hours.
The only good news is maybe the temps were 225-250 on the cooking grate.
Another question, is it ok for there to be a small gap between the kettle wall and the rounded top of the smokenator?