you have the wrangler i see. i thought you had a pecos due to the title of this thread haha. i am using 5 of them right now. i am still messing around with them. if you notice there is a hot spot on the exhaust side. i think our stacks are so wide in diameter it creates big suction so sucks all the heat to that side. it also depends on the wind that day. i thought i had it going good with it being more spaced out by the firebox and less by the exhaust. yes backwards. and the heat was pretty even. then the next time i was working with it before i put a brisket on it changed on me. it got all hot by the firebox again! please let me know if you find whats working good for you. by the way i use two probes from a maverick et 733. and it drives me nuts trying to get even temps. i might take out the plates and see how it is without the plates. maybe old country designed it with the big exhaust to suck the air that way and it creates a good flow with decent temps?
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i have been wanting a larger smoker now so i can use the different temps in the smoker without tuning plates. as in throw a brisket on the end of a big ol smoker and load up the firebox and take a nap! or maybe a reverse flow smoker. but as of now the old country smokers are good for what i am trying to achieve. not feeding big crowds of people. just the family. but it would be nice to set it and forget it with a stick burner but that is not the point of a stick burner. that would be a pellet grill or electric.
Yeah I should have told you I had a wrangler. I toyed with getting a pecos, but I like the heavier gauge steel on the wrangler. I've been lurking this thread and an actual wrangler thread. The wrangler has similar issues. I ran the fire all day, two different times to test out the heat with the old fire grate. I just took the cooking grate above the fire box and now use it for the coal grate. So it gets better airflow, which in turn makes the heat go up faster. The temp on the end close to the stack was consistently 50 degrees hotter. And yes, I believe you're right there's a lot of air flow that's making it hotter. I won't get to mess with the tuning plates today, but tomorrow I plan on experimenting with them to try and get the temp even throughout.
I hear ya on wanting to throw something on and forget about it. I toyed with the idea of getting a pellet smoker a while ago, but there's something about a stick burner that keeps me there. I just want to get this thing dialed in to turn out really good and consistent brisket and pork butt for family and friends. I don't think I'll ever need a bigger one.
Either way, these are top quality smokers and I'm very happy I got one.
Keep me updated with your progress! I'll do the same.
I've been tinkering with it all day and got it dialed in pretty well.
Clean smoke here:
And three tuning plates (4 made it too hot on vent side) I moved these around until I got it to 250 on each side
That link to stickburning 101 really helped. I maintained a small fire with the stack open all the way and the door cracked to 1/3 of the way open. I spent all morning splitting logs with a 4 lb sledge and splitter. Then cut them to size with a miter saw. I'm really pleased with the results. I'm off Monday so that will be my first brisket on my new wrangler.
How are you making out?
Yes, and 1/4" thick. I had 4 plates in there, but the one by the stack got too hot and made it 50 degrees hotter on that end. Good luck today.
Ok, here's a couple top shots. It's hard to tell in these pictures, but if you are looking straight down into the main chamber, the first plate has a 1/2" gap.
And here's the side door. I was able to peg 250 for about 50 minutes to an hour this way before adding another stick.
These are the stick sizes. It's post oak I picked up from a guy in Mesquite. I split and cut them to size.
Keep me updated! Good luck.
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Well I finally pulled the trigger on the Pecos. After cranking it up for about 5 hours and chucking on some beef ribs for fun, I'm happy so far.
I'll have to put some gasket sealer around both doors, I'm losing smoke in a few spots. There's gaps in the side door but I'm not worried about that. I just ran it stock, decided not to fool with tuning plates this time around and figured with a probe at each end I'd just see what I had out of the box. I tried running with the door at least partially open as much as I could, and doing so I had TBS all day no problem. Never got dirty as far as I could tell. There were times where I could get each end within just a few degrees of each other, other times (like after opening the lid or adding a split) they'd be off by between 10-20. Not a big deal until I need to fill the whole cooker but by then I'll probably have tuning plates.
I still just have to get to know her. I think I'll be able to get it down after a few runs. I think I had probably a little too small a fire and I couldn't keep a good coal bed. I was able to keep it between 225-275 between each end but I was definitely up and down the whole time, and had to fool with the side door/damper a lot. Some of that was intentional just trying to get a feel for what would happen if I tried certain things. I did notice I could get both ends of the cooker within a few degrees the more I had the door open. When I tried closing it more to bring down the temperature, they would be off. At times it also seemed like the ends would trade off getting hotter/cooler. I wasn't able to discern a pattern with that just yet but I know it has to do with the door. Some of what I experienced may not be the best benchmark because it was a pretty windy day and I'm thinking that kind of played hell with the draft at times and may have burned through my wood quicker. What I may try next time out is using the stock charcoal grate as a tuning plate and just having my fire in the bottom of the firebox. The ash might build up more but I'm thinking if I run with the door open it might be ok and keep a better bed of coals instead of the smallest pieces falling through the grate.
Like I said, I think I had too small a fire because I couldn't get more than 40-45 minutes at most of consistent heat until my temperature would start diving and I'd have to add more. The wind might have played a role in that too, though. Hopefully it'll be a little less of a fuel hog as I get better at it. Side note, I bought a bag of the oak mini logs from Academy and they seemed to burn pretty well. They are kiln dried so maybe some actual seasoned wood with a little more moisture in it would last a little longer overall.
After seasoning (with bacon grease) for a couple hours I threw on some beef ribs just to have something cooking. They turned out well. Good smoke ring, and I didn't use a water pan at all but they were nice and moist.
Overall I'm happy and excited to get this cooker down. Stick burning is fun.
looks good man. if you take out the charcoal support and put the fire on the bottom of the firebox you might burn a dirtier fire. you need some oxygen underneath the fire. let it breath. and its easier to scrape out ash under neath the grate.
Looks really good Jburn. I just finished my first brisket on my Wrangler and it was a pain in the butt. Over the course of 10 1/2 hours, I had to add a stick every 20 minutes to keep the temp at 250. I too think my fire was too small and I cut my wood pieces too small as well. I had the stack open all the way and the side door open 1/4 most of the cook. The wood is seasoned perfectly, around 9 months and it burned really well, I just wish I could have figured out a way to keep the temp steady for longer than 20 minutes. Stick burning life I guess. Just have to figure out a better fire.
The brisket was incredible, the best one I've done yet, but man it was a ton of work and I burned a lot of post oak. At least my friends loved it. I was ready to fall asleep after. I wrapped the brisket after 6 hours and smoked for an additional 4 1/2 to 200 internal and kind of winged it since I don't have a good thermometer yet. I rested for an hour and was really pleased with the results. Super moist, fat was rendered perfectly, point had a little tug to it, and the taste was incredible. By the way, what thermometer are you using Jburn? Do you like it?
Here's a few pictures: Beginning to slice it:
Point and flat cut:
How much does that sucker weigh? My wrangler is only 3/16 inch steel and weighs 275lbs. I bet that brazos weighs a ton.