I have a offset smoker that was built by hand that I purchased from a neighbor. It's my first smoker. I have used it about 5 times now and can never get the heat above 200 without putting charcoal directly in the cooking chamber. The fire box had no ventilation or dampers so I drilled a few holes to create some air flow hoping that would help get the temp to rise. I haven't seen any jump because of that. I'm a little stumped as to how to get the temp up to somewhere in the 270 degree range. You can see a pic of my smoker on my profile pic. I am using charcoal as my fuel. Should I be using wood as well? Thanks for any advice.
problems with heat
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Yes, this thing is pretty massive. I have drilled 1" holes on both sides of the firebox. I thought the same thing about air flow. I also have a basket for the charcoal raised off the surface of the firebox. I have not ever seen my neighbor use it. Door isn't insulated at all. I'm not using the therms, not even sure if they work. I have a digital therm I am using to check temp of smoker and meat. Exhaust stacks seem to be functional. Smoke comes out of them when in use.
yeh that firebox is prettty damn big, id say that basket ur using needs to be raised up on a couple bricks...i could be wrong tho. hopefully someone will chime in. hopefully Dave Omak will, hes a gene at smoker builds and requirements, i guarantee he'd have a little better insight than i do.
So the FB has no opening in the door where you put the wood/charcoal for air flow? Take a pic of the door on the FB so we can see how it's supposed to get air.
If it has no vent/damper of any kind you can leave the door cracked a bit so it gets air but it will be H*!! to regulate. The basket for your charcoal needs to be elevated so air can get underneath/around it . Gonna take a good sized fire to heat that baby up as big as the FB and CC are, so you may have not had enough fuel also, especially if the door to the CC doesn't seal well
It has to have air to burn and the holes you drilled aren't big enough and aren't in the right spot for combustion. That high on the FB they would help move the heat into the CC.
It should have some type of adjustable intake in the door
Think I am going to be forced to use the cook chamber as the firebox as well. It's plenty large enough to create a good hot zone and smoke my meat indirectly. I don't have the tools to start a big modify on the firebox.
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I am of the opinion that a substantial reason for the failure to get cook chamber temps up is the size of the firebox outlet. That thing is way too small to properly transition the heat and create adequate draft. I'd guess that it would need to be about twice as large.
Radio is right...i was gunna mention earlier that the holes for air are too high or just elevate it on sum bricks. That fires gunna need that air. For now your best bet would be what your planning to do in using the cook chamber for heat also. Just cook to one side til u can get that FB squared away.
Can you get the door off? If you can, you can take it to most any place that does welding and they can cut the hole and make a damper you prolly for 20 or 30 bucks. Any muffler shop could do it also if you catch them not busy
Or you can buy a damper online and have the muffler shop do the cutting of the door for you. Just do a Google search for BBQ air damper
Might even be a forum member close by that can help you out also
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All good advice above. You could raise the basket using four 3 inch bolts as legs. But you will still need 2 dampers in the door. One at the level of the bottom of the basket, and one at the bottom at the FB to CC. Daveomack came maybe help you with the sizes for them.
Also, you can use the pit calculator found on this site and enter the dimensions asked for to help with the required sizes.
I bet the door on the FB will come off, so no need to take the FB off the cooking chamber. On most home built smokers it's pretty easy to take the door off and that is where you need a damper to allow an adjustable amount of air into the FB for combustion. If it comes off just take the door only somewhere and have the damper opening cut
If you can post a pic of the FB door where you put the fuel in, we can make better suggestions