Did my first food smoke today on my new MF smoker. Looked at the previous thread about mods, but let me tell you what we did/didn't do and see which variable we should work on.
I did the no food burn for two hours using a bag of Kingsford briquettes. One of those light the bag deals, took the temp right to 250 where it stayed for over two hours with no mods.
So today, I got Royal Oak lump charcoal which I had read is the best (variable #1). After seeing the amount of briquettes that took it to 250, I didn't want to over load it so I started a small amount (variable #2) in the chimney. Couldn't get it up past 200 for hours. Added more, etc. couldn't get the temp much over 225 at any point.
Did a beer can chicken and ribs if that makes a difference. Chicken only got to 162 IT after 7 hours smoking. Had a friend over (bad idea for a first smoke in a new smoker), and we decided to elevate the grill on concrete blocks (variable #3).
Didn't do much, so we undid the snaps, moved all the Royal Oak towards the center, then we put small sticks (variable #4) between the charcoal bowl and the upper chamber. Within 5 minutes we gained 100 degrees, from 200 to 300.
The ribs were over done, the chicken was barely done. The Mac N Cheese we cooked on the top was OK.
Should I go to briquettes for this model?
Should I have put in more lump charcoal to begin with to start with a hotter base?
Should I have the smoker elevated from the beginning to get more fire to it?
Should I somehow try to get more air to the charcoal bowl?
Should I try to do the modifications with the vents, etc.?