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Charcoal placement, maintaining heat, using a pan with liquid

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have only just started out smoking. In the basic course it does not discuss where to place your charcoal. I have a Kingsford smoker i bought for $30 on craiglist, the rack you put the coal has adjustable height. I read through the basic smoking course. How should i setup my charcoal? Do i need a tinfoil pan with liquid in the middle?  (didnt come with a pan). I tried chicken with jeffs rub and olive oil and it came out pretty good, but the skin/rub burned some (too much black i think). Are you generally trying to not have any meat positioned directly above coals? Wont i still get black on the pieces of chicken that are closer to the coals? I tried putting 4 small piles of coals on the corners (5 coals on each corner). I have to open the door and add chips (unsoaked) every 30 minutes or so and also add coals that i prelit in a weber chimney.  I have also made mini fatties and jerky so far as well. similarly more blackened that i think they should be on some pieces more than others.  Temperature (according to the grill thermometer), i have pretty much kept from 170 to 230, and majority of the time 200-230, (jerky 175 to 200 majority of the time).


post #2 of 9

The Kingsford H24 (your model) is a good grill.  It's biggest weakness is the huge air gaps at the lid, and at the ash-catch pan.  For it, low and slow cooking is best achieved by pushing all the coals to the left half of the bed, closing the vent on the lower right, closing the vent on the upper left, leave the vent on the upper right wide open.  Control your heat via the vent on the bottom left.  Place your chicken to the far right.  Have the fire box cranked all the way down.  Because of the large air gaps, the number of burning coals have more to do with temperature control, than the vent on the bottom left, but it has SOME control.  As for wood-smoke, use chunks and not chips in with the coals (which should only be single-layer deep for low and slow smoking).  Use your fire access door on the front of the grill to add coals and wood chunks, as it loses less heat than opening the lid.  Get a remote thermometer to measure the temperature of the breast meat, pull at 165, rest for 20 minutes, serve. 

You see the Kingsford in the background of many of my shots; it still gets some use.


post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Addertooth, thanks for the reply. I have a quite a few bags of chips to use up before i  can switch to chunks.

Do you think the chips burn up too fast? Soaking them help?

You never put a water pan in? The few things i have made so far have come out pretty good, they have all been shorter time things.

I will try your suggestions (minus switching to chunks for a while).


I may get a MES 30 Gen 1 to use for longer smoking times with less babysitting.

post #4 of 9

Water pan is optional. However, a drip pan under what you cook is advisable, to avoid grease flare-up.  It also acts as a guard wall to keep the briquettes from migrating under your meat.  Wrap your chips twice in foil, and poke some small holes in the foil.  Throw the foil pouch on top of the hot coals.  But in the end, chunks will work better.  Do not soak the chips. 

post #5 of 9

Paul, I'm not using the Kingsford model but I agree about the chunks and water pan.


Food for thought as you get dialed in on your smoker - I do throw in some chips now and then. Not sure it is enough to change the flavor but I sure like the smell the fruit chips put off, otherwise I throw a handful in during those occasional times when you lose heat suddenly and need a quick charge while getting a chimney ready.


Also agree on the water pan but I've now migrated to using the water pan as a catch pan as well, towards the end of the smoke I'll start letting the water level go down so it gets a bit thicker - then start making some sauces with it or using it to help reheating.


Enjoy the smoking and keep up with Adder - sounds like he has his Kingsford model dialed in pretty well

post #6 of 9


I got lucky the first time I tried a smoke on it.  The settings were a wild (but educated) guess; they turned out being spot on. Personally, if someone is serious about smoking on the Kingsford, they need to get some quarter inch thick Nomex adhesive gasket from E-Bay and apply it all the way around the lid.  This will make air control more precise.  This will allow a person to load more charcoal, and regulate the temperature by air supply, rather than coal supply with air to trim the temperature. The mini-WSMs I built spoiled me.  You can fill them to the gills with charcoal and perfectly control the temperature by damper adjustments.  Once he gets the Kingsford well sealed, he can use the Pitmaster IQ-120 to control his temperature, with the ease of an electric.  I almost feel dirty when I use a stoker; it is so easy.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

The lid on my kingsford seems to be pretty tight , i dont see any smoke coming out of it at all, in fact it sticks a little bit trying to open it. I will try the tin foil pouch instead of soaking the chips. Again, thanks for replying. I am glad i found someone else with the Kingsford, it looks pretty nice and for 30 bucks used you cant really lose. Besides using it for smoking i have also used it for Charcoal grilling (just move the tray up and add more coal),  I have stockpiled on Kingsford original charcoal, this past weekend lowes had the 2/20lb bags for for 9.95. (40 lbs of charcoal for $10)..


My brother in-law ( a louisianna native), is an awesome cook (not just outdoors), regarding smoking he once told me that the kind of wood you use is not important, also he thought less was better for the most part. Told me he had smoked countless briskets with banana peels(instead of chips /chunks),  and noone knew/thought there was any difference.



I  already had a high dollar ducane stainless grill (propane)  on my back deck which i have used for years for all my outdoor cooking (still using it as well). It sure is funny how I have made some different/good stuff on this kingsford grill .  I am anxious to try an electric smoker too , ( i placed an order for the 30" gen1 MES today , tractor supply has them still for only $149 right now).

post #8 of 9

The lid has two rubber buttons near the two front corners of it (from the factory), the buttons raise the lid about 1/8th of an inch, even when the lid hinges are perfectly adjusted.  If the previous owner removed the buttons, and adjusted the hinges, then a smaller gap can be achieved. 

post #9 of 9

Lol, Adder - then one day I'll be joining the feeling dirty party - a Pitmaster is on my wish list

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