Hey everybody thanks for welcoming me and taking the time to help me get to the next level. Today i smoked chicken for the first time. i've smoked in the past but never with a SFB setup even though i've owned one for years i always grilled indirect in the main chamber for a slow and low kinda cook but today i broke in the SFB the correct way. the food was fantastic i know now i'm done grilling i'm doing a full conversion and eventually will build or buy a custom smoker. i do have a few questions mainly around my skin not being 'bite through' and i'm pretty sure i know the cause but i need your help with the solution!
1. Temp. my Char Griller would just not get up to 300 degrees at all at first. i believe it was a airflow restriction issue because even with it wide open it wasn't until i cracked the door to the SFB 1" did i get from 225 to 300 and that happened almost instantly. the airflow issue was due to ash i believe so how do people handle removing ash while still using it? will the 'minion' method help with this? i think i could just shake the box and make all the ash fall out helping with airflow. also i think i could rig it up so the box sits in the SFB but there is still room to remove the ash tray and dump it while cooking.
2. i loaded the SFB up with one unlit and one lit chimney of lump. i added some Western brand Apple wood chunks (not chips) the kind Wal Mart sells and i think they may burn a little fast due to size. at best the largest pieces were maybe the size of a small women's fist. using Larger log shaped pieces i would assume means less frequent need to add wood. based on the small sizes regardless of how many i add the thin blue smoke was non existent anymore within 30 minutes. 4 hours of smoking before i got 2 whole chickens and a pack of thighs up to 165 and i used 75% of a bag of wood. i just feel like had the pieces been bigger they would have burned longer maybe fixing this issue, am i right?
3. Water - i didn't crack my smoker open for 1 1/2 hours and when i did i noticed all the water was gone from all 3 pans i used. should i be adding enough water to make it the whole smoke somehow or should i be refilling them whenever i do open the smoker? i used 3 smaller ones and flipped my coal tray in my main area upside down and raised it above the opening from the SFB to help with tuning. i placed 2 6 x 8 pans on top of it right below the grate nearest the SFB to assist with temp as well. the 3rd one i put in below the coal tray right in the path of the opening from the SFB as close to it as possible again hoping all this would help with tuning.