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New to Smoking - Phoenix, AZ

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Greetings. I've been browsing the site frequently since I received my first smoker as a gift for Christmas. I have a Char-Broil vertical charcoal smoker and I've used it quite a few times already. I've tried several different types of meats including chicken, pork and beef. The biggest issue I have so far is that my temperature is generally too hot! It's hard for me to keep the temperature below 280F.


I've been using a vegetable wok pan to hold my coals, as I have read those help with airflow. Before switching to this, it was hard for me to keep a fire going because of the ash build up. I use the minion method and start a small batch of coals in my chimney, and then transfer them into the pan with the other unlit coals. This works great at first, but eventually all of the coals start to burn and I get a fire that lasts roughly 2 and a half to 3 hours sitting around 280F. 


I've tried using less coals, but the problem there is that I don't get a long burn at all. I'm using a typical Kingsford Blue Bag Charcoal Briquettes. Not pretreated or anything, just standard briquettes. Any help or advice is much appreciated. Also, it's cool here in the winter so I'm not dealing with extreme outdoor temperatures, yet. Thanks and happy smoking!

post #2 of 11
Welcome to the site from a Lil south of you ( old Pueblo ) when I used a vertical I followed some of the mods available for your type smoker. I ended up drilling holes in my coal pan which allows some of the ash to fall and also helps with ventilation. Also I think by working on the minion method some that would help alot. Ya 280 is much to hot. Good luck.
post #3 of 11

Welcome to the group!  Try the search bar for your model smoker to see what mods come up.  I control the temp of my WSM bullet style smoker by limiting the intake air.  I always keep the exhaust wide open.



post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

I should mention the model of my smoker, it's a Char-Broil Vertical 365 Charcoal Smoker (http://www.amazon.com/Char-Broil-14201876-Vertical-Charcoal-Smoker/dp/B00FVBNEGU/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1454600484&sr=8-6&keywords=Char-Broil+Vertical). I'm also using this wok as my charcoal pan as it has plenty of holes for ventilation http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008DHPE?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00. Finally, I'm using this thermometor to measure my meat temperature as well as the smoker internal temperature http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000DIU49?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00.


desertlites you mention working on the minion method, can you elaborate? I've tried placing many coals around a coffee can and then I put the hot coals in the coffee can after they heat up. I remove the coffee can and throw it in the smoker with the bottom vents closed and top vents open. Usually I start out around the desired temperature (225-250) but then as the other coals light it quickly rises. I have a full water pan and I'm using wood chunks. I generally try to keep the chunks from catching a flame as well.

post #5 of 11

Welcome to SMF!


I'm not familiar with your smoker so I can't help with your problem.


I'm sure you will get plenty of advice from those who have them.



post #6 of 11
Oops.....guess I misread, but if you do lower the amount of charcoal you use and then use flavoring woods - maybe the following comments would help you..........Have you tried soaking your wood? Or at least some of the wood for at least a day?. I normally would take about 1/2 of the wood chunks I intended to use and soaked them... And put them in my pan ( I use an old rusted cast iron skillet ). The ignition/smoke times varies and I had been pretty pleased overall with keepin temps down. I don't have your brand smoker but do have a vertical. Fun to experiment huh? All that being said I just bought a GMG Daniel Boone pellet smoker 2 days ago - the older I get the less work I want to do, but still want some good smoke. We shall see how the pellet smoker does !!
Edited by Buck1949 - 2/6/16 at 7:26am
post #7 of 11

texas.gif  Good morning and welcome to the forum, from a beautiful sunny and cool day here in East Texas, and the best site on the web. Lots of great people with tons of information on just about  everything.




post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I loaded the smoker up this weekend with some Ribs and I tried some new techniques. I don't think my wood was the problem of it getting too hot, it's just the amount of coals that are in there. I'm not sure why but the Minion method just doesn't seem to work for me. Initially it's great, but after a little bit of time it seems all of the coals get lit and that's when the temperature spikes. I need to figure out how to keep the least amount of coals going at once. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again all!

post #9 of 11
One more thought. Just looked at your 'wok' pan. I wonder if the pan is getting too much air flow with all those holes. Maybe close them off (aluminum foil maybe?). On my vertical I got rid of the vented pan and went with a solid cast iron skillet. It worked much better in my case. Good Luck !!
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks Buck. I'm going to try a different pan with less holes. The one that came with the smoker had no holes and ash piled up and put the fire out after a while. Maybe if I mod it to have a few holes at the bottom rather than the side it may help. Ribs still turned out pretty darn good. I like using Hickory wood the best for ribs.

post #11 of 11
Can you post a couple of photos of the inside setup? I have a vertical smoker and as I mentioned i changed out the pan altogether, which sounds like you may have also. I am in no way an expert at all but have monkeyed around with the heat source a little since I bought mine a couple of years ago.

Of course if your ribs came out good - you got it right enough for your liking. Maybe just a couple of small tweaks will do the trick. grilling_smilie.gif
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