An Enlightening Trial Run

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by ddave, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    In my quest to balance the SnP, I noticed that when I was firing it with charcoal the last time and had to have the firebox door open to keep the temps up that the temp at the stack end was actually a few degrees higher than the firebox end. After the Afterburner and new door conversion, I had end to end variances of about 40 degrees again and was wondering what the heck was going on. So yesterday I set out on another trial run to explore some options.

    Since the Afterburner was a tight fit with the original door

    I made a new door

    In testing at low temperatures, the wind actually blew out the flame which was a little unsettling. I made a baffle out of a mini loaf pan

    and fastened it over the new door.

    It was with this arrangement that I started the test run yesterday.

    I lit the smoker, set the regulator valve in what looked like a good spot and did not touch the valve for the duration of the test. I also had the smoker positioned with the firebox end facing the prevaling wind direction. [​IMG] After it evened out at about 240-245 firebox end the stack end was hovering around 200. Not crazy about the 40 degree difference, I started making changes to the airflow. After each change I waited a minimum of 10 minutes before changing anything else to let it stabilize.

    The first thing I did was remove the baffle.

    End to end temps settled to within about 30 to 35 degrees. Not that great so on to the next idea.

    Next, I opened the door. It would not open very far as the gas stem from the burner stopped it but it was far enough.

    End to end temps stabilized to within 10 degrees. The firebox end temp seemed unaffected. To confirm I closed the door. End to end temps spread to about 30 degrees so I opened the door again. Temp variation returned to 5 to 10 degrees.

    Clearly the way I have my smoker set up, it does benefit from increased airflow. Since it is a propane converted charcoal smoker, I have a lot more leeway with the air. The only thing I need to be concerned with is protecting the flame so that it doesn't blow out. For charcoal users, I guess you would have to run with less lump and more air if you found that this would help with end to end variation in your situation.

    As an afterthought, I put on the insulaton cover that I had made.

    The temps climbed 20 to 25 degrees on both ends. (Hey, what do you know. Maybe it wasn't a waste of money after all.)

    What is the point of all this? Good question. I even asked myself that as I was proof reading. I guess the point is what the old pros here have said -- get to know your smoker. Trial runs can be a great way to get better at this thing. Try new things and take the information to the next smoke. I would have never thought that opening the firebox door slightly would help even out the temps. Now I just have to make sure I can protect the flame.

    All for now.

  2. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    looks like you answered your own question and enlightened alot of us charcoal smokers too. Nice job. Gotta give ya alot of credit for going through the process and not being afraid to try some new things.

    Kinda funny how we often find out stuff that seems so distant, yet when we fingd it, we ask ourselves, whay did it take me so long to figure that out.

    Great thread DD.
  3. flyin'illini

    flyin'illini Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I forgot to drop a line but read this yesterday. Nice work. I found it interesting even though I don't have an off-set.
  4. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice job! [​IMG]

Share This Page