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MB 7in1 won't get hot using charcoal & water

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I got the Cabelas masterbuilt 7-in-1 smoker for my birthday and have used it twice, both times I've had trouble maintaining the temperature. The first time I got it up to 225 but after a few hours it wouldn't get over 200 no matter how much coal I added. Second time I loaded up the bowl with coal and it wouldn't get above 175, then gradually dropped and held at 125. I'm using B&B oak lump and used the propane to light the coals. I also used a full water pan and the exhaust vent was fully open. 

 

I may try the minion method next, maybe I'm overloading the coal. I could also switch to sand in the water pan, but it seems like another issue. Any advice? 


Edited by bchaney - 1/20/15 at 8:42am
post #2 of 12

Have you checked your thermometer to see if it is correct as most are way off? It takes air and fuel to make heat. Water boils at 212° after you get to that temp it is eating up the BTU's. That is why a lot of people put sand or gravel in the pan then wrap with foil. some just leave the pan empty. Since you don't have your location on your profile I don't know if you are in a warm or a very cold area.

I see this is your first post. When you get a chance will you drop by roll call so everybody can give you a proper SMF welcome?

Happy smoken.

David

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by themule69 View Post
 

Have you checked your thermometer to see if it is correct as most are way off? It takes air and fuel to make heat. Water boils at 212° after you get to that temp it is eating up the BTU's. That is why a lot of people put sand or gravel in the pan then wrap with foil. some just leave the pan empty. Since you don't have your location on your profile I don't know if you are in a warm or a very cold area.

I see this is your first post. When you get a chance will you drop by roll call so everybody can give you a proper SMF welcome?

Happy smoken.

David

Sorry, I should've mentioned that I replaced the stock thermometer so I think that it's accurate. I also have a meat thermometer which confirmed the meat temp was rising verry slowly. I'm near Dallas TX and the outside temp was in the 50-60s while I was cooking the second time. There was some wind gusting but I also have a smoker blanket. 

 

I may try lighting less coals to start next time. If that doesn't work I'll switch to sand but I'd prefer to keep the water for the smoke flavor if I can. 

post #4 of 12

That type of charcoal creates a ton of ash. Once the ash builds up it drops down and plugs your bottom vents. Lose the water in the pan. If you are doing chicken just run it dry. If you are doing pork or beef fill it up with sand and double wrap in foil. Use Kingsford Blue Bag next time and see if your situation improves. Even a new replacement thermometer can be bad. Check your remote thermometer in boiling water. 212 degrees give or take depending on altitude and barometric pressure. The double check your unit therm. with that one a few times. In low and slow cooking the meat temp will rise slowly especially if you are doing a large hunk of pork or something. You may have to fashion a charcoal basket out of expanded metal or drill some more holes in the one you have. Take some pictures of your setup as most of us don't have that particular smoker and maybe we could help dial you in a little bit. Happy smoking. Timber

post #5 of 12

Another note. Lump charcoal does not smoke meat much. The flavor of the wood was burned out of it at the factory for the most part. Get some wood chunks and use the minion method. You will get much more smoke flavor from wood. Your top vent should be all the way open during cooking and you adjust the bottom vents for temperature. You might also get yourself a chimney starter and start the coals from the top rather than the bottom. I am going to go with that the ash is your main problem. In those warm temperatures you should have no problem getting and keeping any temp you want. I could not even imagine it getting that warm here where I live this time of year. I smoke year around.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by timberjet View Post
 

That type of charcoal creates a ton of ash. Once the ash builds up it drops down and plugs your bottom vents. Lose the water in the pan. If you are doing chicken just run it dry. If you are doing pork or beef fill it up with sand and double wrap in foil. Use Kingsford Blue Bag next time and see if your situation improves. Even a new replacement thermometer can be bad. Check your remote thermometer in boiling water. 212 degrees give or take depending on altitude and barometric pressure. The double check your unit therm. with that one a few times. In low and slow cooking the meat temp will rise slowly especially if you are doing a large hunk of pork or something. You may have to fashion a charcoal basket out of expanded metal or drill some more holes in the one you have. Take some pictures of your setup as most of us don't have that particular smoker and maybe we could help dial you in a little bit. Happy smoking. Timber

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by timberjet View Post
 

Another note. Lump charcoal does not smoke meat much. The flavor of the wood was burned out of it at the factory for the most part. Get some wood chunks and use the minion method. You will get much more smoke flavor from wood. Your top vent should be all the way open during cooking and you adjust the bottom vents for temperature. You might also get yourself a chimney starter and start the coals from the top rather than the bottom. I am going to go with that the ash is your main problem. In those warm temperatures you should have no problem getting and keeping any temp you want. I could not even imagine it getting that warm here where I live this time of year. I smoke year around.

 

Good ideas. I will double-check the thermometer tonite and try a new charcoal next smoke. I have been mixing in some Applewood chunks for smoke. This smoker doesn't have an adjustable intake vent but I had the exhaust fully open. Here's what it looks like: http://www.amazon.com/Masterbuilt-M7P-Smoker-Grill-Basket/dp/B000A09SQW

post #7 of 12

That link won't work for me. Something about a redirect and my antivirus program won't let it open.

post #8 of 12

Ok I checked it out. It looks to me like you may need to modify your smoker to work as a charcoal smoker by adding a damper or 2 to the bottom of it. I can't see any other way to regulate the temperature for smoking with charcoal. It looks to me like the smoking function of that unit is achieved with propane and wood. Even grilling hot how would you control air to the coals? You could install a couple of weber daisy wheel type dampers or maybe a couple of ball valves. I bet someone who has that smoker will come along to help you out but to me it seems you might have to bust out some tools to make it work like that.

post #9 of 12

Take a look at the Mini Weber section of this website. That will maybe explain what I mean better by looking at how they are setup while using the Weber Mini Silver edition where you add ball valves to control your airflow above where the ash collects.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by timberjet View Post
 

Ok I checked it out. It looks to me like you may need to modify your smoker to work as a charcoal smoker by adding a damper or 2 to the bottom of it. I can't see any other way to regulate the temperature for smoking with charcoal. It looks to me like the smoking function of that unit is achieved with propane and wood. Even grilling hot how would you control air to the coals? You could install a couple of weber daisy wheel type dampers or maybe a couple of ball valves. I bet someone who has that smoker will come along to help you out but to me it seems you might have to bust out some tools to make it work like that.

Charcoal smoking is one of the 7 advertised functions. I think it should work, I must be doing something wrong. I checked the thermometer in boiling water and it looks good. 

post #11 of 12

Nope, your smoker needs some modifications to do this correctly sorry. You have no control over how the fire is in the fire part of the smoker period. Use propane and  struggle or get a smoker. This is a really good turkey fryer. that is about all. If you can't control the air to the fire then you are screwed.

post #12 of 12

 I went through all the stuff I could find about that unit. The last post was a few years ago. Don't believe everything you read. or are advertised to. I am not nocking cabellas as I have some of their stuff but if you want to smoke with charcoal you are going to have to come up with something else. Look at my posts. Look around on this site. If I were you and unless you deep fry for most of your meals then get yourself or build yourself a smoker.

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