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Having Big Problems

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Started 3 7lb butts this morning around 1am, they are just now at 140 & 120(x2).

The wind has picked up enough that I can't keep the smoker at 225, I keep adding full lit stacks of charcoal but that just keeps it about 200 in the chamber.

Changing the orientation of the smoker has not helped at all.

What should I do at this point?
post #2 of 23
Are your air flow vents wide open? The wind should help fuel the fire and not put it out. Get the smoker going and try to get the internal temp into the 250-275 range. It's ok for butts to cook at that temp since they're so resiliant to the heat.
post #3 of 23
Are you using the stock temp gauge that came with the unit?
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
All of the vents are fully open. The fire isn't smothering it's burning quick.

The leaks in the smoker are whats keeping the heat out of the chamber I believe.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
During normal conditions I have never had a problem holding temperature, it is the 20m gusts killing me.
post #6 of 23
Best I can suggest is to make a temporary wind break.
post #7 of 23
Agreed - can you move that sucker or put a wall of stuff up around it to keep the wind out?
post #8 of 23
OKay, an unmodded SnP. Can you get it out of the wind? Make some sort of windbreak as one suggested?

If not, tunr the firebox strainght INTO the wind, with your chimney/exhaust stack downwind. This will minimize your profile and reduce the heat takeaway by the wind.

Pile on the fule (charcoal, wood) heavily onto the bottom of the two grates in your firebox. When you do this, make sure the small space underneath it is clear of ash. If it is not, take a metal spatula and scoop it out carefully into a metal bucket or can. Then, pile about another dozen briquettes on the top grate if you left it inside the firebox. If you did not, then do not worry about it.

Keep the firebox vents wide open and their side-door closed during big gusts. Don't be shy about opening it during lulls to keep your fire going.

With an unmodded SNP you are going to get big fluctuations in temp, but at this point you need HEAT to cook your meat. Do not be afraid of big spikes, the wind is carrying a lot of heat away and they are nothing more than temporary. It's not as if you are roasting your brisky at 400F for 12 hrs biggrin.gif

DO NOT opne the smoking chamber lid for at least two hours. There is nothing going on you need to see except cooking and you do not need to dump heat to peek at that. After 2 hrs, then temp the meat.

Keep your firebox well loaded with fuel. You are fighting wind, keep your ammo up!

Good luck for now and keep us posted.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am working on a windbreak now.

I had turned the firebox away from the wind which might be the problem now.

It is like this ( sorry for the crude text drawing )

<-<-wind<-<- (firebox)[smoke chamber] <-<-wind<-<-

So I need to turn the smoker completely around? so the wind is blowing into the firebox... now that makes sense the more I think about it.

I am using oven thermos that have been tested, as well as a wireless chamber thermo which I also pre-tested.

Will update.
post #10 of 23
Tin/aluminum foil around the cooking chamber lid should temporarily seal the heat loss from the lid opening.
post #11 of 23
YES turn the smoker around. Have the wind PUSH the heat INTO your smoking chamber. Put the firebox INTO the wind.

Excellent that you have wireless chamber thermo, but disregard it for now. Unless you have a meat probe - in your meat- it will do you no good in an unmodded SnP. Right now you need HEAT in the the cooking chamber, and any spikes are irrelevant to your purpose. Today's weather where you are at has thrown the "Steady at 225 F" notion right out the window.

Right now you just want your meat to be cooked. Period.

Do not open the smoking chamber to foil the edges. It is too late for that and you will waste too much heat doing so. That is for next time.

I will PM you some more info. Hang in there!
post #12 of 23
You have to get some sort of wind block up so start thinking outside the box use a couple of garabge cans, use a building , do as rivet said and put the fire box INTO the wind and have it push the air and heat into the smoke box. Do you have plenty of coals in the box cause they will start burning quicker. Keep us up on any changes good or bad. We will be here for along time.
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Turned her into the wind as described and move the truck to make a makeshift wind block. She's cooking like a champ now.

I pushed foil up into the spaces between the lid, I have the SNP that has the 1/2 barrel lid instead of the one with the normal style door on it, so it was fairly easy to accomplish.

Rivet, I appreciate all of the threads and help you have sent my way via pm. That means a lot.

I thought the wife was going to end up beating me for messing up the meat, looks like I might survive today after all.

My thoughts on the positioning was that if the wind was gushing into the firebox, it'd throw ash up on the meat. To ease my mind I made a makeshift foil baffle to prevent it.

I have roasting thermos in the meat so I don't have to open the chamber, just not wireless for now. And I also have stick thermos in them for double checking during the flip.

I really appreciate all of the help. I'll keep it updated and try to get some q-view up for it this time.
post #14 of 23
Sounds like it's under control now, good luck.
post #15 of 23
Hang in there Buddy! You all will have a feast yet! PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif

The unmodded SnP...... no better way to turn Pro, fast!
post #16 of 23
This thread is a VERY FINE example of how nice it is to have people come to the rescue. I was very impressed to see how fast he got help and with the right answers. :) PDT_Armataz_01_40.gif
post #17 of 23
This is why I love this forum. Great folks with nothing but help.
Glad to see success for you.
post #18 of 23
If you continue to have trouble you might want to take an old blanket and cover the smoke chamber to help hold the heat...
post #19 of 23
That has me thinking.... Anyone ever use a water heater blanket to wrap a vertical smoker? Did it work?
post #20 of 23
What ever happened???????? No conclusion......PDT_Armataz_01_03.gif
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