Re: Need immediate help with getting heatWell, I finished my first smoke. I can't say I met with a lot of success, but do have a number of ideas for improving my equipment.
Thanks, Pigcicles, for the help.
I began with heating problems. It didn't seem that I was getting any heat into the cooking chamber. After turning over the charcoal rack, I drilled holes into it, because it seemed to be blocking the heat, rather than diffusing it. This didn't seem to help a whole lot, either, so I tilted it. I lowered the end closest to the firebox so that it would pull part of the heat out into the chamber. It still didn't seem to be getting very warm, but then I found a small oven thermometer, and set in different areas on the grill. I found that I was actually getting more heat than I thought. Some areas were actually almost 225. By this time, I had already burned up over three hours and most of my charcoal chunks. So I decided to go ahead and throw on the cheap St. Louis style ribs and the fatty. I moved the fatty over closer to the firebox, because I was measuring about 230 there. I moved the ribs closer, as well, where I was getting between 200-225.
The family LOVED the fatty! It had some good smoke flavor penetrated into it. This is a definite do-againer.
I finished the ribs using the 3-2-1 method. Again, I had to keep it closer to the firebox to keep good heat. They turned out okay. Good flavor and some tenderness. One daughter sucked it all the way to where there was just cartilage and bone.
Midway thru the process, I purchased a three-inch flexible duct and attached it to the smoke stack. I left about a foot of duct, and extended it to about the center of the cooking area. This seemed to help disburse the heat better. I also watered down some old denim and used it to plug the gap between the hood and the base, where I was losing a lot of heat directly from the firebox. The jeans caught fire after a few hours, but these two improvements did seem to help maintain the heat for the rest of the burn.
I have found some furnace sealer cord, which I plan to attach along the edges of the hood. This should really help hold in the heat.
I think I will also see about lowering the charcoal grill in the firebox about 1 1/2 inches.
I was hoping to be able to do it in the morning, as I had already rubbed the pork loin, and wrapped it in Saran. It is still sitting in the fridge, as I was afraid to smoke it, yet. I don't know how long it will be okay with the rub on it. Any suggestions? My wife is wanting me to take the girls to the park in the morning, and then I have to work, so I may have to wait until Tuesday.
In the meantime, I will work on the improvements, try them out, and if successful, will send some pics.
Thanks again, PigCicle. It was great help.