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New to smoking, need tips from Horizon owners or anyone really.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
About a year ago, I really got into backyard grilling and smoking. I started smoking on a cheap Lowe's brand vertical smoker. After learning the basics and finally putting out some quality meat, my family pitched in on my birthday and bought me a Horizon 16" Classic. I love the smoker, and have done ribs, butt, brisket, and salmon on it. I come here because my BBQ is okay to good, but I want it to be great. I finally perfected my homemade bbq sauce, now i want to perfect the flesh. I want to make my Horizon smoker proud. Here are my concerns:

1. I use charcoal with wood chunks. I know it's a "wood burner" but dang it if charcoal is just so much easier and cheaper. I don't have access to much good wood in VA Beach. So without getting into charcoal vs. wood, I have a question. With a full chimney of coals, my unit maintains a temp range from 270-260 at first then leveling off at 245-255 for about 1-1.5 hours. This is with my intake fully closed then gradually oopening it as the temp drops. This is verified with a quality digital gauge. This range seems to be working ok for me, but I'd like to get in the 225 range. The problem I have is it takes a half chimney of coals to get lower temps, but that half chimney just burns out so fast....30 min before it drops down to 200. Any tips on this or should I just suck it up and baby it if I want a lower temp? I get good temp control using my intake baffle, but the temp range is just too high. My intake is almost always fully closed. I was thinking a foil pan with water to act as a heat sink. Would a convection plate help?

2. Would a charcoal basket extend my burn time without having to keep coming back to add coals? I haven't had luck with the minion method in my firebox so I'm curious if a charcoal basket can work in an offset like the Horizon. It sucks getting up at 3am to start a butt. It'd be nice to put it on when I hit the rack at 12am and still have a temp 5-6 hours later. Is this feasible in my unit?

3. Thanks so much for bearing with me.
post #2 of 3

I moved this to the Charoal Smokers thread for you, you should get more answers here!

 

You may want to post pictures of your unit so others not familiar with your unit can advise you; they will be held in moderation but the moderator should release them soon for you; don't multiple post them, please!

post #3 of 3

 Truthfully, it's not realistic to try and prolong a burn, wood or charcoal, with this type of cooker. Having to maintain a fire is an essential part with the Horizon smokers. No matter the fuel you won't be getting much sleep with an overnighter.

 

If you want to put a product on and go and get some rest look at getting a WSM or building a UDS. They can do over night cooks no problem. I use a WSM when I'm looking to do overnighters. 

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