Temp Control Issue

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by martin, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. martin

    martin Fire Starter

    Today is a maiden voyage for my Gar-Griller Super Pro (with SFB). I am mid-way through the day one learning curve but have a question as to wind. I am having trouble getting the temp up to 200 [​IMG]. I had it at 215 for a while and then it dropped again.

    When I assembled the grill I included a number of the offered modifications; extended stack to the grill, thermos, baffel, and I raised the coal basket up to the mouth of the pass through from the fire box to the grill. I started off with lump and wood chunk by using the minion method. I have the side damper open full and have even opened the ash drawer a little to get more air into the chamber. My stack is full open.

    So, the wind here in the battle born [​IMG] state of Nevada (Northern Nevada) is rocking today. I am estimating 15-30 MPH gusts with a pretty steady 10 MPH breeze. Can the wind affect the temperature that much. I would think that the wind may set the fire off more but it looks like it is draining the heat out of the main chamber?
  2. irishteabear

    irishteabear Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The wind can really screw up temps even on hot days. Is there some way you can form a barricade for the wind? A line of garbage cans, some solid fencing, a large piece of carboard or anything big will help block some of the wind.
  3. trashcan

    trashcan Smoke Blower

    Yes. Wind can affect temps very much. The walls of the chargrillers are thicker than most in the price range but are still thin enough for them to act like a heat sink when air moves over them. I put mine on my patio. Fabreeze shmabreeze I prefer maple...
    Now, are you using a potato to hold a digital thermo at grill level on the interior? If your only temp readings are from the walls of the smoker you may have much higher temps dead center on the grill.
  4. martin

    martin Fire Starter

    Good stuff so far! I have two calibrated thermo's lid mounted at the grill level. I have two digital probes inside at the grill level (used wood rather than a potato) and an oven guage on the grill between the brisket, onions and ribs. Kind of overboard but they are all coming in a little different and with this being the virgin [​IMG] run on this baby I want to see what the temp differences are in the chamber.

    I will try to build a wind block with something...
  5. trashcan

    trashcan Smoke Blower

    Did you wait until the smoker was up to temp before you put the meat on?
  6. martin

    martin Fire Starter

    You got it Trashcan. Even at the start I could not get it up (temp wise). It took about an hour to get it to 200 so thats when I put the brisket on. The ambient temp was at 74 at the time and close to 82 now.

    I built a windbreak of sorts out of cardboard but am not seeing any temp increase. Thinking about adding more fuel...checking now
  7. martin

    martin Fire Starter

    Looks like the wind-break is starting to work. Temps are now in the low 200's.

    One question left; any thoughts on the viability of the meat? The brisket was on about 4 hours at 160-170. The ribs were on about 1.5 at about 170. I know about the critical temps with chicken. Have I run into any issue in regards to meat spoilage?
  8. taterdavid

    taterdavid Smoke Blower

    did you add the baffle, i made one for mine and it actually works too well alot of times so i take it out if i wanna smoke over 225
  9. martin

    martin Fire Starter

    Yes sir, I have a baffle installed with tuning plates. This first attempt has a temp variation of about 5-10 degrees from the SFB to the opposite side. The temp variation looks okay, it is just getting the temp up to smoking level is the hard part. Holding at 205 now. I may finish in the oven and wait for a day without wind to try again???
  10. taterdavid

    taterdavid Smoke Blower

    remove the baffle its blocking to much heat, if you have your door wide open then the heat is being blocked. i just build a smaller fire in mine to get the heat right
  11. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Did you have a temp probe in the brisket? What kind of spares?
  12. martin

    martin Fire Starter

    Will do; thank you!
  13. martin

    martin Fire Starter

    Hey Pineywoods, Yes I have a probe in the brisket. It went to 140, rolled back to 138 when I could not hold the temp and now is climbing again. I have not yet hit the plateau region yet. The ribs are b-backs.

    I just heard that there is a red flag warning for the wind. Going to shut it down and use the oven. I will try again on a better day. Jeeze [​IMG]
  14. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    If you got the brisket up to 140 within about 4 hours you should be fine. The ribs are thin enough you should be able to get them up to temp in time
  15. martin

    martin Fire Starter

    Thanks! The mom-in-law is visiting. I think I have a guinea pig to see if their safe...kidding
  16. 1894

    1894 Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Some char-grillers just seem to run hotter or colder than others. My neighbors runs hot and mine cold. [​IMG]
    The wind breaks should help . When I get a steady breeze here ( instead of swirling from all points on the compass ) I try to point my fire box into the wind and often need to keep the ash drawer pulled out a half to one inch.
    Keep trying and you will find out what you cooker likes best. [​IMG]
  17. thundernoggin

    thundernoggin Newbie

    Mine was struggling yesterday to stay at 200. Was windy here and cooking spares turned into a real headache. Temp was all over the place. Does sealing up the lid help with this at all?
  18. martin

    martin Fire Starter

    Thanks Everyone,

    The brisket and ribs all turned out AOK. In my humble opinion the brisket is about the best I have ever had. Lots of leftovers for the family, ya-hoo!

    Thanks again
  19. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    Wind is going to be a problem no matter what. You need to find a way to break the wind or you will struggle to keep constant temps. Sealing will help, but the wind will pull heat off the outside surface.

    I line mine with XHD foil & leave about 6" or so of extra at each side. I roll it up loosely up to the lip of the chamber, the slowly close the lid & it forms a pretty good seal. I get a lot longer burns & more stable temps since I started doing this. Here's a pic

  20. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've found that the best way to handle wind on a bad day is to add a blower fan (computer fan, box fan, etc.) to the intake and slightly close the exhaust. I know, you aren't suppose to close the exhaust. But the reason you aren't is because it will effect the air draw; that's why you use the fan. It will create a positive pressure and avoid stagnant smoke. This positive pressure also prevents wind from pushing down on the exhaust and screwing with your temperature control.

    Go here for an example of what I'm talking about:
    Ignore all of the damper control. The fan is what I think would help you. You can build one for less than $20 bucks.

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