Hi guys. I've been a lurker on here for quite awhile now just soaking up new information, but I finally have a question of my own that I haven't really found an answer to yet.
I currently use a Charbroil offset smoker as my go to smoker and use a combination of wood chunks and hickory charcoal briquettes. After awhile, the ash from the charcoal begins falling through the grate to the bottom of my firebox and on long smokes, it really starts to build up and doesn't allow air through to keep the fire going. I find that it makes it incredibly hard to maintain temperatures and really begins to extend my already long smoke times. Being that on top of the grate is hot charcoal and wood chunks, I can't exactly take it off to clear out ash underneath. The only thing I've been able to do that helps at all is to take a long 2" wood dowel through the side door to push the ash up against the side to allow air to begin flowing again. This only works temporarily though because after awhile, there is so much ash I don't have any more room to push it to.
I guess my question is if anyone has any grand ideas that might allow me to take better control of my ash and more importantly, keep the fire burning hot.
Thanks for any help!