First a little background: I'm using a old country wrangler offset horizontal smoker. I have 3 tuning plates made from 1/4" steel. Each are 5"x15.75". I've used it with that set up 4 times with varying results. Sometimes I've been able to have consistent temps across the cooking chamber and sometimes had some pretty dramatic differences.
So.... I got another plate the same size and tried it this last weekend while I smoked 4 whole chickens. For fuel I used charcoal to start with then added pecan splits (western brand from academy sports) for the remaining cook. For the first hour I was having some of the big temp differences so I started cutting the splits in half into chunks and way better results controlling the temps. Average temp 250*
Fast forward... After 4ish hours, probes hit 165 in the breasts so I took them off. They rested covered in foil for 30 minutes. Skin wasn't crisp, which I didn't expect them to be at those temps, and the meat really didn't pull that well. Probably could have left them on a little longer.
Anyway... While I found the temps easier to control, I didn't feel like the chicken had that much smoky flavor. You could definitely taste the smoke...just not very much. Not like the first chickens I had smoked before with just the 3 tuning plates and using whole splits. My question is this: with the additional plate, could the smaller gaps between them cause less smoke to reach the birds before it was drawn out of the stack and the plates maintaining 250* actually cook the chickens? I guess I'm asking can you have too many tuning plates? Or could all of this been from using less wood with the halved splits (less smoke).
Thanks for listening and any advice is appreciated!