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Still New - havingTEMPERATURE PROBLEMS

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Here is my issue(s) and wondering if someone can pass on tips, advice, links to answers ..

 

I am still new to the smoking world .. Smoker of choice is Weber Smokey Mountain

 

My main issue is that I am having a hard time maintaining smoker Temperature for any sustainable period of time. The max amount of time my smoker is holding temp for is about 2 hours ..

 

It seems like my smoker gets to temperature and then dies down after 1 hour or so .. I have tried both the Minion method and just adding hot coals to a full tray of unlit coals ..

 

When I start, I have most of the lower vents 1/2 to fully open and the top vent just slightly open. I light the coals in Weber starter, and let them all get hot for a good 20-30 minutes.

 

I am wondering if this is just a charcoal problem? This is the charcoal I have been using ..

 

"Duraflame 100% natural lump charcoal burns hot and fast to sear in flavor of meat. It lights quickly and easily using a charcoal chimney. Our lump charcoal is environmentally sustainable, made from renewable resources and uses 30% less charcoal per fire than briquettes."

 

After last weekends attempt (Ribs - 3-2-1 method), I came out frustrated. My heat/temp followed suit from most recent smokes .. got up to temp quite fast (240 ish) .. maintained for 45 minutes or so, then started dropping and had a hard time getting past 200 ..

 

I looked inside (took off side panel) and there was lots of unlit charcoal so I mixed it up ... about 2 hours later with very little difference in temp, I lit more charcoal and added to existing + added NEW to smoker

 

A few other things to consider ..

 

I have tried using both Blocks of wood for flavour and soaked wood chips

 

I have tried smoking with Water in the WATER PAN and without - what is preferred???

 

Help .. any advice please .. please

 

THANKS!

BB

post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by beedsboys View Post

Here is my issue(s) and wondering if someone can pass on tips, advice, links to answers ..

 

I am still new to the smoking world .. Smoker of choice is Weber Smokey Mountain

 

My main issue is that I am having a hard time maintaining smoker Temperature for any sustainable period of time. The max amount of time my smoker is holding temp for is about 2 hours ..

 

It seems like my smoker gets to temperature and then dies down after 1 hour or so .. I have tried both the Minion method and just adding hot coals to a full tray of unlit coals .. Minion will work for you after you get the air right.

 

When I start, I have most of the lower vents 1/2 to fully open and the top vent just slightly open. I light the coals in Weber starter, and let them all get hot for a good 20-30 minutes. top vent wide open all the time. use bottom vent to control heat

 

I am wondering if this is just a charcoal problem? This is the charcoal I have been using ..

 

"Duraflame 100% natural lump charcoal burns hot and fast to sear in flavor of meat. It lights quickly and easily using a charcoal chimney. Our lump charcoal is environmentally sustainable, made from renewable resources and uses 30% less charcoal per fire than briquettes."

 

After last weekends attempt (Ribs - 3-2-1 method), I came out frustrated. My heat/temp followed suit from most recent smokes .. got up to temp quite fast (240 ish) .. maintained for 45 minutes or so, then started dropping and had a hard time getting past 200 .. you may need to slow down getting it up to temp some. that will help to keep the burn steady

 

 

I looked inside (took off side panel) and there was lots of unlit charcoal so I mixed it up ... about 2 hours later with very little difference in temp, I lit more charcoal and added to existing + added NEW to smoker

 

A few other things to consider ..

 

I have tried using both Blocks of wood for flavour and soaked wood chips  i prefer chunks

 

I have tried smoking with Water in the WATER PAN and without - what is preferred??? i put sand in mine then wrap with foil

 

Help .. any advice please .. please

 

THANKS!

BB

 Hope this is a little help.

Happy smoken.

David

post #3 of 11
I would do some test runs with e few diffrent brands of charcoal/lump char. Fill a water pan half way full and see what works best. Like mule said keep exhaust vent fully open control temp with intakes .
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by beedsboys View Post

Here is my issue(s) and wondering if someone can pass on tips, advice, links to answers ..

I am still new to the smoking world .. Smoker of choice is Weber Smokey Mountain

My main issue is that I am having a hard time maintaining smoker Temperature for any sustainable period of time. The max amount of time my smoker is holding temp for is about 2 hours ..

It seems like my smoker gets to temperature and then dies down after 1 hour or so .. I have tried both the Minion method and just adding hot coals to a full tray of unlit coals ..

When I start, I have most of the lower vents 1/2 to fully open and the top vent just slightly open. I light the coals in Weber starter, and let them all get hot for a good 20-30 minutes.

I am wondering if this is just a charcoal problem? This is the charcoal I have been using ..

"Duraflame 100% natural lump charcoal burns hot and fast to sear in flavor of meat. It lights quickly and easily using a charcoal chimney. Our lump charcoal is environmentally sustainable, made from renewable resources and uses 30% less charcoal per fire than briquettes."

After last weekends attempt (Ribs - 3-2-1 method), I came out frustrated. My heat/temp followed suit from most recent smokes .. got up to temp quite fast (240 ish) .. maintained for 45 minutes or so, then started dropping and had a hard time getting past 200 ..

I looked inside (took off side panel) and there was lots of unlit charcoal so I mixed it up ... about 2 hours later with very little difference in temp, I lit more charcoal and added to existing + added NEW to smoker

A few other things to consider ..

I have tried using both Blocks of wood for flavour and soaked wood chips

I have tried smoking with Water in the WATER PAN and without - what is preferred???

Help .. any advice please .. please

THANKS!


BB

Your top vent is the problem.. as the others said.. leave it WIDE OPEN... Read this thread from Craig.. it will explain a lot.. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/135116/how-i-start-and-use-my-wsm
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

thanks for the feedback .. will read the tips!

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

how do you go about "Slowing down the temp" - just by controlling air flow?
 

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by beedsboys View Post

how do you go about "Slowing down the temp" - just by controlling air flow?
 

it takes air and fuel to make heat. the more air it has the faster and hotter it will burn. if you have plenty of fuel and limit the air. you will get a longer burn time.

Happy smoken.

David

post #8 of 11

"Mule" is right on.

Keep your exhaust pipe 1/2 to fully open and control temp by closing or opening Firebox vent.

this will get easier after you seal up the cooking chamber. Also lower the stove pipe or exhaust pipe

 

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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by beedsboys View Post

how do you go about "Slowing down the temp" - just by controlling air flow?
 

With the WSM it is important to catch the temps on the way up, otherwise they are a pain to get down.

 

Like Mule said - top vent 100% open, and use the bottom vents for temp controll.

 

  • Fill ring 1/3 full, put 5 fist sized chunks of wood on top, fill ring rest of the way and put 5 more fist sized chunks on top.
  • Light 1/2 a chimney of charcoal and let it get fully lit. Dump it in the middle of the unlit - use tongs to keep it piled in the middle.
  • Assemble the body with the water pan empty and all vents 100% open.
  • When the lid therm hits 200° fill the water pan with HOT tap water, and place the lid back on.
  • Wait for the lid therm to hit 200° again, then close off two bottom vents completely, and the third vent about 50%.
  • Temps should settle out around 250'ish - adjust the third vent (open additional vents if needed) to hit target temp.
  • Add meat!

 

That set up will run for 18-20 hrs. on a nice warm day without a lot of wind.

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by JIRodriguez View Post

With the WSM it is important to catch the temps on the way up, otherwise they are a pain to get down.

 

Like Mule said - top vent 100% open, and use the bottom vents for temp controll.

 

  • Fill ring 1/3 full, put 5 fist sized chunks of wood on top, fill ring rest of the way and put 5 more fist sized chunks on top.
  • Light 1/2 a chimney of charcoal and let it get fully lit. Dump it in the middle of the unlit - use tongs to keep it piled in the middle.
  • Assemble the body with the water pan empty and all vents 100% open.
  • When the lid therm hits 200° fill the water pan with HOT tap water, and place the lid back on.
  • Wait for the lid therm to hit 200° again, then close off two bottom vents completely, and the third vent about 50%.
  • Temps should settle out around 250'ish - adjust the third vent (open additional vents if needed) to hit target temp.
  • Add meat!

 

That set up will run for 18-20 hrs. on a nice warm day without a lot of wind.

Like he said.

 

i only do a couple things different with mine. I fill the charcoal basket and place a charcoal lighter block in the middle. It takes about an hour to get up to temp but I find I get a very even burn and I do not go through a lot of charcoal.

 

The water pan I place on as when i assemble. so right after the ignitor is out.

 

I keep all vents 100% open until about 200 degrees than I control temp with the bottom vents. I use all three. If I close one 75%, the other two join.

post #11 of 11

Once you figure out your vent settings to run around 250°, make note of that setting as it will be your setting for most of your smokes -  but wait till you get up to temp before closing down vents.

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