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here's how a chimney ought to look!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
for those new to using chimneys, you might not be letting them charcoal get to the right stage before adding to the smoker. this was my problem and it caused a lot of trouble until i learned to just wait until it looked like this:

this has briqs rather than lump and is only haf full, but it's burning just right, i'd say.
post #2 of 13
Beautiful Pic! Thanks for the help on this and by the way, that looks like an old chimney...real good quality handle, not what I've seen at store nowadays.
post #3 of 13
Now that's a fire!

That is exactly how briq's that I use look. I have said it before, sometimes (at least IMHO) I think briq's they have an odd smell when igniting that goes away once they have ashed over. Consequently, that is how they look beore going into my firebox. Great Pic Taz!
post #4 of 13
The Weber chimneys are still quite good IMO.
post #5 of 13
I second that. My weber handle doesn't even get warm, and it has that lever that helps steady things when you dump.
post #6 of 13
Exactly as they should look Tas, though I will admit that many, many times I have thrown them on a bit sooner than the top coals whitening. Need to get the smoker going, thanks for the bit of motivation.
post #7 of 13
x2...... I do the same thing. I try and be patient and when I do I get rewarded with a chimney of coals like in the pic. Good job.
post #8 of 13
What is the draw back in not letting the top coals get white? On the Virtual weber bullet site, it said to dump them when the middle is orange and you get small flame tongues, but nothing about white coals.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
herky - when i see the orange middle and the small flame tongues, i also add them sometimes, but this seems more efficient. i don't think there is much problem with adding tehm at the stage you mention, but i do think it will take your unit a little longer to get where you want it to be. no big deal as long as a person is aware of it.

by waiting a bit and allowing them to get so they look like the picture above, i've noticed that because of the good airflow of the chimney they can get to a working temperature faster, which in turn helps your unit get up to a working temperature faster and more efficiently because you use less fuel to get to the same place. if you put them in before you are ready, the decrease i air flow (for me at least) leads to more "fiddling around" trying to get to the right temp or a longer wait. the wating isn't so bad, but i tend to get up later than i intend to and am constantly running about an hour alte on my smokes. this makes dinner time alte and mrs. taz is not happy. not good. as for the fiddling around, this can lead to overshooting your mark and your temp curves will look more like saw teeth.

these are my observations and experiences that seem to work well in my latitude (climate) that comprises morthern montana. as i always say, experiences vary and if anyone has a method that works well for them, they might want to consider this but ultimately should go with what works best for their needs.
post #10 of 13
Just bought a new Weber chimney today!

My old one rusted out on me. I was happy, cause the old one was some crappy generic version that didn't have the good airflow of the Weber. I wanted to replace the old one, but couldn't justify buying a new one when the old one still worked. I was so happy to see the old one break!
post #11 of 13
Here is how I like my chimey to look. icon_lol.gif
post #12 of 13

Cool Pic!
post #13 of 13
IMHO, it depends what type of smoker you're using and what type of cook you're doing.

If you're aiming for a low and slow 250* long-haul on the WSM, that amount of fire and flame is much more than needed.(and the VWB advice is right on)
-so if you add that on top of some unlit a la minion, you'll have to choke it like crazy to keep your temps down, meaning whitish smoke and unpleasantness and fighting the coals for up to an hour until you've tamed them.
If you want to do some chicken pieces at 375 on the WSM (with an empty water pan), then it's about right maybe, just dump right on the grates, leave all vents open and let it go.
With the WSM, it's best to catch the temp and fire on the way up, so you want to Undershoot on the amount of pre-lit coals you add so you get a chance to dial in the air control as the temps in the cooker rise.
Aside from all that, it makes sense to minimize the amount of BTU's lost to the air - the cost of even briquettes adds up.
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