Ok so I have two smokes under my belt now, since getting my new OKJ Longhorn offset smoker. Both turned out really good, however an observation regarding both.
Both smokes, were for spare ribs. The first smoke, was 1 rack for my wife and I, just to see how I did for my first time. This was after of course smoking for a few hours a few days earlier, to season it.
Now this first smoke with a rack of ribs, I had read up and used the minion method. I put a pile on the fire grate in my firebox, had arranged to where there was a hole going down the middle, then lit about half a chimney a coals, once those were ashed over, I poured them in the middle of the pile of unlit coals on the fire grate. It worked very well for me, was able to maintain temp and burn for app 3-4 hours, before having to add more coal. I used some chunks of hickory as well. ( 3-4 at a time). I smoked using the 3=2=1 method.
Now the second smoke - this was for 3 racks of spare ribs, as we had company. It poured the rain all day and was cooler than previously, only got up to about 69 degrees that day. I had a pop up patio cover over the grill, so it stayed dry for the most part.
Using the same minion method, and starting the coals the same way, I really struggled this time Keeping the temp up where it should be, and it really burned through some charcoal - I found I had to keep adding about every 45 minutes to an hour, just to keep the heat close to where it should be. I was so frustrated after getting through the first 3 hours, I wrapped them up and put them in the oven for the next two hours, and finished them off back on the smoker. They turned out great, but dang it was work and worry.
So why the big difference in the two? Did the weather make that big difference, and the charcoal to burn up that much faster? And since it was burning much faster, ash buildup was a problem as well, starving the fire eventually. I used Kingsford charcoal, for both smokes.
My OKH Longhorn is obviously still new, has some leaks , will be working on sealing it up better in next few days. I also have a custom convection plate and charcoal basket on order with Horizon, if they ever get here.
Thanks for any tips,