For the wood, I usually use chips and I chop off chunks from some pecan and oak logs I have. The chunks I use are usually about 3-4 inches long and about a half inch thick. I like the chips to get the smoke started and the chunks to keep the smoke going for a while. IMO, the 7-in-1 has a huge design flaw in that there is barely any space between the water pan and wood bowl, so I try to avoid frequently refilling the wood pan.
The problem I have been having lately is that I get a lot of flare ups from the bigger chunks, which send the temps in my smoker to 300+ degrees. This is a huge pain because I have to either wait for the chunks to burn out or douse them with water – which emits a burnt smelling smoke. And I do cover my wood with hole-poked foil.
The supplied fire bowl is steel and has 3 vents (my smoker can also be used as a charcoal smoker so I am guessing the vents help keep the charcoal burning). I can try to take a picture to show what it looks like. Should I replace the stock wood pan with a cast iron skillet and cover it with foil or some type of metal cover with a couple drilled holes?
The other major issue I have is that if it is windy, the propane burner tends to blow out. I’ll be doing something and come back to check on my smoker to find that the propane is spewing out unlit and the temp is down to like 100 degrees.
So all in all, smoking has been a frustrating experience lately. I don’t expect to throw some meat on and leave for the day, but I really don’t want to have to worry about babysitting during the entire smoke and spend 8 hours sitting in front of the smoker. I am wondering if it is time to retire the 7-in-1 and move on to something different. It would be a shame though to have spent so much money on a useless smoker.
If anyone has a 7-in-1 that has modified it to overcome these issues, your advice is appreciated. And I am sure some of the smoke experts who don’t own the 7-in-1 can offer some suggestions. Thanks in advance.