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New Rec Tec Mini Temperature Issues

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi All!

 

I am a long time lurker here and based on my reading of posts, I ordered a RecTec Mini. Unpacking and setting up was very simple as others have said. However, I am having temperature problems at the lower end of the spectrum (over 250 everything is fine). What happens is that I set the desired temp to 225 and when I switch over to the actual temp, it is over 250. So I called RecTec and they said the "idle" feed needs to be turned down. So they nicely walked me through the various button presses (ending  up the the "C-4" variable) and adjusted the feed downwards. This only lowered the actual temp about 10 degrees. Called back and we changed the feed speed variable again downwards. Regardless of what temp I set (I have tried 185, 200, 225), the actual temp is 234 to 236.

 

Apparently, there is an issue with the Mini when you have high ambient temperatures like we do in the Desert Southwest (Tucson, AZ) where the outside air temp is 105. According to RT, if we adjust the C-4 feed speed downwards any more (from 5 to 4 let's say), we will run the risk of "flame out". They also felt that the direct sun is playing a part in this. However, I also have this problem at night with no sun (although the air temp is 95+). I am using Pacific BBQ "Gourmet" Pellets and in this case it was a combination of apple and cherry.

 

So, the question I have is there a significant difference in smoking meat between a temp of 200 and 235? I did try a pork butt (14 hours at 245) to an internal temp of 197 which came out fine. Not having to reload the wood is a real plus. My other smoker is a Bar-b-Chef Offset Smoker from the long departed Barbeques Galore chain which I need to visit every 45 minutes to add wood. Of course, I didn't buy this for the top end temperatures, but the ability to smoke low and slow.

 

Any suggestions are welcome if others have this issue (or even don't have this issue :biggrin:).

 

Thanks so much!

 

Peter

post #2 of 6

So I too have a Rec Tec Mini and while I do not live in AZ (CA) I also get higher temps even with lower ambient (75-85).

 

The main reason I wanted to be able to smoke at 180 was because there is higher smoke production at lower temps. However this has NOTHING to do with the actual temperature and more to do with how often the auger and fan are running when set to a lower temp.

 

So if I set my mini to 180, and it holds 225, I could care less. I am getting the "smoke production" from 180, yet its cooking at 225. 225 is a very common temp to smoke at. 225-275 is all fine for the most part. Actually a higher heat you get more fat to render than at lower temperatures which for some cuts of meat is actually better. Usually people with a pellet grill do not go at 275 without a supplemental smoke producer (amaz-n tube or other) because the smoke production is very low at that level. However if you can get that temp without actually having the auger and fan working that hard, its almost the best of both worlds.

 

Just my .02....

 

Let me know if you have other questions, only had mine for about a month now but done 6-7 cooks and trying to figure things out as well.

 

David

 

Edit: Also make sure you are placing your probe in the middle above the grate. I have noticed a couple of random spots on my grill (especially the edges) are significantly hotter since that is where the air is coming from the combustion below.


Edited by westcoastbbq - 8/3/15 at 4:18pm
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Howdy Neighbor :biggrin:

 

Thanks for the reply. I haven't had a chance to use my ET-733 probe in the smoker yet since the first one shipped to me by Amazon was defective and I just received the replacement today. Will try to see what the temp is via that also.

 

It seems to me that there might be a bit of a design problem here, which didn't really occur to me until now. If you watch the RecTec Mini Youtube videos from them, they make a big deal that the firebox, etc is exactly the same as their larger unit (the 680). Shouldn't the parts be scaled down to meet the smaller heating requirements?

 

Also, how often does your fan turn off and on? I have noticed it turning on for 5 seconds and off for 3 seconds. It seems that is rather often for such a small area (in comparison to my Bar-b-Chef Offset Smoker (which has served well for at least 10 years of moderate use), it is very solidly built).

 

Thanks for the answers and observations David!

 

P..

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgde View Post

Howdy Neighbor biggrin.gif

Thanks for the reply. I haven't had a chance to use my ET-733 probe in the smoker yet since the first one shipped to me by Amazon was defective and I just received the replacement today. Will try to see what the temp is via that also.

It seems to me that there might be a bit of a design problem here, which didn't really occur to me until now. If you watch the RecTec Mini Youtube videos from them, they make a big deal that the firebox, etc is exactly the same as their larger unit (the 680). Shouldn't the parts be scaled down to meet the smaller heating requirements?

Also, how often does your fan turn off and on? I have noticed it turning on for 5 seconds and off for 3 seconds. It seems that is rather often for such a small area (in comparison to my Bar-b-Chef Offset Smoker (which has served well for at least 10 years of moderate use), it is very solidly built).

Thanks for the answers and observations David!

P..

I timed mine today and it was about 4 seconds on and 4 seconds off. Probably same as yours. I heated mine up to set temp of 180 in 70 degree ambient when it finally held around 215. Not the end of the world but I won't be doing any cold smoking on it.

I disagree about the design flaw. I think its more about what you feed through the firepot than how big the put actually is. I think the minimum feed rate on a mini is about 6 and on a full size its about 12. A Ferrari engine can still go 40 mph if you don't push the gas you know what I am getting at? Who knows maybe I am just wrong.
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by westcoastbbq View Post
 

So if I set my mini to 180, and it holds 225, I could care less. I am getting the "smoke production" from 180, yet its cooking at 225. 225 is a very common temp to smoke at. 225-275 is all fine for the most part. 

 

For BBQ, 225-275 is fine. But if you're planning on smoking bacon or sausages, you really need to get it down to 180-190. From what I've seen, it's just difficult to get these smaller body smokers to operate in the lower ranges.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

According to RecTec, I have the auger setting (C-4) at the lowest reliable point (5.0). You can go lower (according to them) but your risk of flameout increases dramatically below 5.0. I haven't a clue how to get it lower than what I already get.

 

I just re-tested with my new ET733 (finally got one that works) at the C-4 5.0 setting (not in the direct sun) and get a consistent 216 at the 200 degree setting. The Rectec's "actual temperature" matches perfectly with the ET733.

 

Thanks for the post, if bacon and sausages are the only "losses" I am okay with that.

 

Regards,

 

P.

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