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Wok/2 + 60 + 1/2 = 5+ hour burn

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Did a couple racks of babybacks and 2 chickens on Sunday. Outside temps hovered around 60 degrees with a variable breeze from 3-10mph. Set up a couple lawn chairs as a wind break, and pointed the firebox side that way.

Warmed up the CGSP with 1/3 chimney of Kingsford briquettes. When the smoke chamber temp was hitting 150, I put on the divided wok full of Cowboy lump (gotta use up those reserves before I start tapping into the new R.O supply). Took a couple of the lit Kingsford briqs and put them on top of the near corner of the wok, so the lump was lit from the briqs underneath with an assist from the top.

After the temps restabilized at 150 I put the ribs on. Within 10 minutes temps had climbed to 230 so I cut back the intake damper halfway. It burned at @ 220 from 11am to 2pm before temps started to fall. Then I shook the ash out of the basket and condensed the remaining burning lump on the side closest to the smoke chamber, and reloaded the other side with fresh lump. That proceeded to keep the smoke chamber at 220 for another 2+ hours.

NOTE: I did not have a baffle immediately at the firebox/smokebox opening. I let the heat come into the smoke chamber unobstructed. As long as you're not parking food immediately at that opening, there is no negative effect whatsoever! Both the ribs and the chickens were completely moist and delicious. I did mop them a couple times, but I have a feeling that was not necessary so next time I'm not even gonna do that.

I took the ribs off after 3 hours and put them in a tray with a tiny splash of apple cider; I covered it closely with foil and put that back on the smoker while the chickens cooked. When I took the ribs off, that tray was FULL of juice and rendered fat!

Lessons learned:

a) I will make a better coal box this spring. However, the divided wok works extremely well, gives sufficiently long unattended burn. If I never get round to building the new box, I'll be just fine.

b) Based on multiple experiences over the winter, a baffle is a serious hindrance to getting heat into the smoke chamber. It forces much heat loss from the firebox directly into the atmosphere. The smokestack extension seems to do most of the work of evening out temps within the chamber... so unless I'm doing a very large summertime cook where I have to have food right at the firebox opening, I'll be foregoing the baffle. Doing so will seriously reduce my fuel consumption. (Considering that I can fit 3 full racks of babybacks PLUS 6 small chickens without coming within 3 inches of that opening, I suspect I won't need the baffle at all.)
post #2 of 3
sounds like you have all figured out , way to go PDT_Armataz_01_34.gifwink.gif
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Not ALL yet, but I'm getting there. It's immensely helpful to be able to pull out the drawer to dump ash while leaving the lump burning in the basket; it's a design element that ought, in one form or another, be in ALL charcoal smokers.

And I may yet return to the concept of a baffle, but it has to NOT block the heat from getting into the smoke chamber. My guess is that the baffle has to be (duh) higher than the smoke coming in, and angled slightly upward as it goes into the smoke chamber. But on the CGSP that puts it within an inch or so of the cooking grates, and I'm not sure that serves well from a circulation standpoint.

Of course if it doesn't improve the cooking process/result, why bother? lol The stuff I did Sunday was as good as I could want.
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