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Should I Add Vent/Vents to Firebox? Pics

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

My RiverGrille Farmers Smoker seems to have trouble getting to and maintaining temps much above 275.

 

 

It has a large firebox, but it seems like I shouldn't have to put that much wood/charcoal in it to get it and keep at 300 to 325. I have added wood stove gasket tape around the openings and sealed the cracks. I added a downspout so that the vent pipe is close to the grate. It has a diveter plate that directs the heat/smoke under the tuning plates which are 3/8" aluminum. The leaks are negligible, and if I crack open the side door to the firebox it helps, but as soon as I close it back, the temp quickly fades. Turning the firebox toward the wind helps, but on these hot summer evenings in Georgia there is normally no wind. It will maintain about 275 with some wind and the vents fully opened, but that's about it. I don't want to spend the money for some fancy blower if I don't have to, so would it be feasible to just drill a couple of 2-inch holes on the front and back panels of the firebox, down low and away from the smoker and put a swing-away damper over them?

That's all the firebox venting there is. The openings are 2 7/8" at the widest point.

The stack is 4" in diameter.

 

This gives you a better perspective of how small the vent is in relation to the size of the firebox.

 

It seals up tight. This is what's left of 10 lbs of charcoal and 5 or six splits after a 3-hour chicken smoke at 275 degrees. I just shut the vents and it went out. That isn't ash in the basket, it's coals from the lump charcoal and wood. You can't tell from this angle, but there is over an inch of clearance beneath the charcoal grate and the top of the ash pile.

 

Side thickness of 1/16th in. may be the cause, but when it is 90 degrees outside it shouldn't make that much difference, should it?

If side thickness is the cause, then I'll just have to live with it. But, if drilling a couple of holes will help, I'll do that.

 

If anyone has done a vent mod like this, I sure would appreciate your input.

post #2 of 4

First I would undo the exhaust vent mod, your exhaust vent is in the correct position and nothing else needs to be done to it.

Next it does appear that you fire box intake is too small, if by opening the fire box door gets you your desired temp then you can either just do that or add more area to the intake vent to get more air to the fire. Personally I have no problem with opening the door a little, it's a lot less work.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Leaving the side door open gobbles up too much fuel. It will get hotter, but too much heat escapes through the tall door opening.

post #4 of 4

Have you tried using just wood for heat? I just reread your OP and saw that you used 10 pounds of charcoal, this pit looks like it was meant to be a stick burner. That much charcoal will restrict air flow, especially with all the ash it creates. Try lighting the fire with a chimney of lump and adding a couple of sticks to help build a coal base and get the pit up to temp then add a stick as needed to maintain temps.

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