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BBQ Guru installation....

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Just got the BBQ Guru NanoQ on wednesday and I'm planning on using it tomorrow so I decided to get it all set up today. While I fully expect it to function as advertised there were several shortcomings involved with the installation of the draft inducer and deflector plate that I would like to discuss.

 

The very first thing I noticed was that they were very skimpy on the aluminum tape. The kit included about 3.25" of tape that is supposed to cover the other 3, roughly 7/8" holes, on the damper being used. Granted this is the kit that covers the Weber kettles and the smokey mountain smoker; I think some models only have 3 vent holes. But my 22.5" WSM has 4 vent holes for each damper. So adding a little more tape might be something that they need to look at. But I was able to make it work. Not a big deal really.

 

 

3 pieces just big enough to cover up the other holes....

 

 

The next thing that seemed a little odd was the fact that the instructions tell you to tighten the screw on the deflector plate hand tight. Hand tightening it didn't even come close to sealing it up on the inside. The deflector plate is a stamped piece of metal that is flat around the edges and the bottom of the WSM is curved of course. I had seen videos online that stated that they needed to use more tape to seal it up but I was able to get it tight enough to seal it up pretty good, which is good considering the fact that I didn't have any tape left. I just hope that I didn't over tighten it....but it should never need to be moved so that shouldn't be an issue either.

 

 

Here's what it looks like from the inside.....

 

Overall it was pretty simple to get things set up. A couple of curve balls along the way but nothing that couldn't be overcome. Tomorrow I'm taking it on it's maiden voyage with 3 racks of ribs and an 8 lb boston butt....The butt should be a great test of the Guru's ability over the long haul. I'll let you guys and gals know how it turns out.....


Edited by Damon555 - 2/8/13 at 3:48pm
post #2 of 19

Damon, morning....  I pretty naive about the Guru and charcoal smokers.... that being said, are you familiar with the minion method for burning charcoal ???  A bunch of unlit briquettes are placed in the grill and a few lit briquettes are added to the pile....  that allows the fire to creep through the pile for an extended burn and lower cooking temps....    Dave

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hey there Dave! Yes sir, I am an avid user of Mr. Minions method. It has worked very well for me and my WSM. I purchased the Guru for use on overnight smokes when the weather is on the cold side. I had to stir the coals a few weeks ago because they ashed over pretty good trying to keep up with the cooler temps and the smoker had dropped a few degrees. The WSM is darn good at holding temps for the most part but I just wanted a little insurance. I'll be using the Guru today just to get the hang of it.

 

As you can tell I'm not in a hurry. Today's smoke is mostly for freezing not eating. I work rotating shifts and start midnights tomorrow so the plan is to stay up as late as possible. An 8# pork but will see to that!

post #4 of 19

Well, you are ready.....   let's get a report on how it works for you...   icon14.gif ...   

post #5 of 19

Damon, that is good information!

 

Thank you for sharing.  I plan to get a power draft set up for my WSM soon, just haven't done it yet.  

 

Again, thank you,

 

Bill

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Okie dokie. Got the smoker all set up. I'll spare most of the details about setting up the smoker but as stated above I use the minion method for my charcoal ring.

 

Once things got going I hooked the BBQ Guru NanoQ and turned it on to the default setting of 225 degrees which is what I plan on using most of the time. Let me tell you this....that 10 cfm fan got my smoker up to temp faster than ever. I usually use the warm up time to get everything ready to put on but luckily I had the meat all prepped and ready to go by the time the smoker was running. That sucker had me all warmed up and ready to go in less than 10 minutes! That's at least 20 minutes faster than normal. This isn't the reason that I bought the unit but it's a very nice feature on the plus side of things.

 

I don't plan on opening things up for at least 5 hours...It will be time to check the ribs then. No spritzing, mopping, foiling or any kind of futzing around for me. After that is when I hope the Guru will start to shine. If I can go at least 12 hours without stirring up the coals then I will have accomplished my goal.

 

More updates to come....

post #7 of 19

Maybe the fan will keep the ash from choking off the fire.... that would be cool..... 

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

Maybe the fan will keep the ash from choking off the fire.... that would be cool..... 


I think that will be the case Dave....I bet that the Guru can provide enough air to the charcoal that it will continue burn despite having ash on it.

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

I bumped the temp down to 210 to see how the Guru would react....It worked perfectly. The temp dropped by exactly 15 degrees! Since checking my temps with my maverick I haven't used a thermometer to measure grate temp. My lid thermometer reads about 20 degrees higher than the grate temp so I know that it worked like a charm.

 

The coals are starting to ash over but there is plenty of fuel left....The temp has been rock solid steady at the set point the entire time. In an hour or 2 I would have needed to stir them up a little...the way it looks I probably won't need to do that.

 

I also used less charcoal than I normally would have. In the past it's been a whole bag for a 12+ hour smoke. This time I only used 3/4 of a bag between the chimney stater and the WSM itself. It would be nice if this thing can save me some fuel too!

post #10 of 19

Sounds like a good investment....    time and money and ease of cooking grub.....  

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

10 hours in and the WSM has just about used up all the charcoal. The butt is at about 185 and should be done by the time the last ember has burned out.

 

This Guru NanoQ test has been a great success. The 2 things that I was looking to accomplish with this unit were rock steady temps no matter where I set it and keeping the charcoal burning despite ash accumulation...both achieved with no real effort on my part (just watching to make sure everything functions as advertised).

 

For longer smokes I'll be sure to use more charcoal. I just took a shot in the dark at how much I would need to get this butt smoked. Good enough for government work.

post #12 of 19

One way to get charcoal ash out of the way is to raise one leg of the kettle about an inch off the ground and let it drop.that will dislodge most of the ash.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linguica View Post

One way to get charcoal ash out of the way is to raise one leg of the kettle about an inch off the ground and let it drop.that will dislodge most of the ash.


I usually just poke around a little to knock it off but I do like your method. Part of the idea of using the Guru was to be able to leave the smoker unattended for long periods of time and still maintain the smoker temp...even with ash build up. It worked great. The charcoal burned down to ash completely without knocking any of it off.

post #14 of 19

Damon,

 

You are going to love the Guru.  I've been using a DigiQ-II model for years on my 18.5" WSM.  I would not smoke without it unless it was broken (and it's build like a tank, so I don't foresee that happening).

 

I've never had any problems with the pit being choked by ash covered coals using the guru.  Also I don't think the "sealing the inlet port" thing is critical and has to be super tight.  The bulk of the air will flow out of the open area in the interior by design and if there is a little side leakage due to the round shape of the bowl I don't really see that as an issue.

 

Not sure if you have a 22" or 18" WSM, but on my 18.5" I've done so many overnight smokes of 4 pork shoulders for pulled pork, I know when to add fuel and sleep all night without bothering to check on the pit.  I usually have fuel left over but charcoal is cheap and I like my sleep.   You can stretch it out to the last flickering coal, but like I said charcoal is cheap so I let the guru tend the pit with plenty of fuel for the overnight part of the smoke.

 

Once you get a few smokes under your belt with the Guru you will wonder how you ever lived without it.....

post #15 of 19

I just purchased the DigiQ-DX2 for my WSM and wonder if anyone has ever considered using metal cap plugs for the 3 vent holes that need to be sealed?

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 

I don't think that that will be an issue. As long as they aren't galvanized.....it gets plenty hot down there

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Den60 View Post

I just purchased the DigiQ-DX2 for my WSM and wonder if anyone has ever considered using metal cap plugs for the 3 vent holes that need to be sealed?

You need those operable to get up to temp..

 

  Craig

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by fpnmf View Post

You need those operable to get up to temp..

 

  Craig

 

I think you misunderstand me. I'm just talking about the holes you seal with the aluminum tape.

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damon555 View Post

I don't think that that will be an issue. As long as they aren't galvanized.....it gets plenty hot down there


 Good point. I think the one's I use for work are stainless.

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