Hello all nice to be here talking about smoking with all of you. I have a few questions about the results of my first smoke I did this weekend. First off let me say my pulled pork was very tasty and my homemade rub was not too spicy according to the wife, all in all very happy.
My problems occur during the smoke, I use a brinkmann smoke and pit (the one in my avatar) with the chimney extended down to the grill surface and a charcoal basket (i built) in my firebox the exact dimensions are 11" by 11" and is 7 inches deep with 2 inch legs so the basket sits 4 to 5 inches off the bottom of the firebox. I burn natural hardwood lump charcoal with hickory chunks for flavor. So I wake up at 3 am and take my pork shoulders out of the fridge, then i go outside and light my weber charcoal chimney and another charcoal chimney thats about half the size. I dump the chimneys and adjust temp accordingly so its about 3:40 am by now I go and put the meat on the initial temp of the meat was 48 degrees. Alot of adjusting the first 1 or 2 to get the temp stable but i remain between 240 and 200 and finally stabilize at 215. 1 hour in meat temp is up to 80 degrees and climbing, hour 2 meat is 110 and by hour 3 meat temp falls into 130 to 140 range. I had to add 1 chimney full the first 5 and half hours and i'm happy with how its going. So I go into the house around 8:00 as the temp is holding at 215, meat temp was 150ish and as i just added a chimney full. That would be number 2 6 hours in almost not bad. So I am watching tv and fall asleep thank God for kids as they woke me just before 9 am, so I go out to check my smoker and I noticed it was very breezy. I look at my smoker temp and its 150 I look at the firebox and notice my coals had burned down quite a bit. So I start 2 chimneys and dump them, weird my temp goes to 180 and stops. So I light another chimney and dump it still nothing 180 and temp starts to fall again full basket but it appears the coals are suffocating and not burning hot at all. By this time its 10 or 10:30 and I make a hasty decision to take my basket out and put in my original grate I then dump the coals from the basket onto the grate and change direction of my smoker. My temp is back up to 210 and appears stable but within 30 minutes it is dropping and I'm adding more coals from this point on i'm adding coals every 30 to 40 minutes and the temp is anywhere from 150 to 210, on average id say I kept it around 180 to 210 for the most part. The funny thing was the temp on the side furthest from the box was hotter then by the box. The coals on the left side of the firebox were orange and hot but the coals to the right were white and not real hot at all. Now I will say this the ash build up underneath was to the grate so I was thinking they werent getting the air that the ones on the left were. But why did my charcoal basket stop burning hot as no ash build up was underneath. Was the ash being held in the basket suffocating the coals? The dome thermometer said ideal for what good thats worth. Why did I have so little problems the first 6 hours but the remaining six I had a heck of a time and burned through almost 40 lbs. of lump charcoal. Does this seem right if not what did I do wrong? If it wasnt me what can I do to improve my results for next time?
Sorry about the length but wanted to give all the information any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
PS I love the taste and am hooked on this, It is alot of work but well worth it