• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Brand new to this great stuff...

Kinimaru

Newbie
1
2
Joined Jun 4, 2021
Hi all! I'm glad to find this site and what appears to be a wealth of information. I am completely new to this smoking stuff, but it's something I've wanted to start doing for a while now. I recently picked up a small Grillpro 16" Charcoal Smoker last week. I had my first day of testing it out today and I can't help but be a little discouraged. I started with a whole chicken as https://19216801.onl/ I figured that would be simple. The process, and the chicken actually tasted great. I'm more stressed with the process. I had a hard time keeping my smoker above 150 or so for the 3 1/2 hours I had the chicken on. I didn't take the cover off at all either. I went through a whole bag of pellets and much a decent amount of charcoal just to keep it hovering around 160ish or so. I did some playing around with the vent and the access door to check the flow and all that stuff. Any recommendations? Thoughtful questions to ask? TIA!
 
Last edited:

JLeonard

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
3,047
2,134
Joined Apr 17, 2020
Dont go by the built in thermometer. They are notoriously way off on seemingly all cookers. Just from a quick search.... it may take a little modding to get it where you want it.
Jim
 

smokeymose

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
4,042
1,553
Joined Aug 13, 2015
Where did the pellets come into play? I must have missed something....
 

sandyut

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
3,291
2,492
Joined Feb 18, 2015
Dont go by the built in thermometer. They are notoriously way off on seemingly all cookers.
YES! get a digital air probe. My WSM was off by more than 50 degrees right out of the box. I dont see how you control the air flow from the bottom? on a WSM the heat is controlled by the bottom vents and the top vent is left wide open
 

Hamdrew

Smoking Fanatic
561
817
Joined Jan 17, 2021
Don't get too discouraged, it sounds like you just made several big mistakes.

1. Pellets are for pellet grills/smokers, you should be using wood chips or chunks.

2. Reading its Amazon reviews, it sounds like the thermometer is crap, but also sounds like it is designed pretty poorly and does not get adequate airflow. Opening all of the intake (bottom) and the exhaust (top) all the way, and running it dry if not removing the water pan entirely will help. You may need to leave the door open to get up to the 275-325*F temp best for chicken.

3. Consider selling it cheap on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist and cutting your losses on it. At $75, you bought about the cheapest grill/smoker possible.

4. Pickup a used Weber kettle on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, preferably. You could also find a Weber Smokey Mountain for not much more, which is what your grill is a knockoff of. Again, though, the Weber kettle has a lower learning curve and is what I'd recommend.

5. Do research, post threads like this asking questions BEFORE, rather than after the fact.
 

Hamdrew

Smoking Fanatic
561
817
Joined Jan 17, 2021
YES! get a digital air probe. My WSM was off by more than 50 degrees right out of the box. I dont see how you control the air flow from the bottom? on a WSM the heat is controlled by the bottom vents and the top vent is left wide open
Weber recommends controlling temp with the top vent, and I know Harry Soos also uses the top vent when not using his fan thing.(?)

So, I never know what to recommend since so many people use them the way you do.. i.e. it might be easier, and there is certainly more reports/advice/info on using them that way, and I did grow up using the exhaust on kettles for what that's worth.
 

Brokenhandle

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
4,095
2,850
Joined Nov 9, 2019
Yep, welcome from Iowa! And don't get discouraged, it happens to all of us. Ask plenty of questions. You'll get there... even if it takes many beers... but I don't see a problem with that!

Good luck and have fun!
Ryan
 

DRKsmoking

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
971
640
Joined Jan 27, 2021
Welcome from Nova Scotia, It's all good
Like Ryan said
And don't get discouraged, it happens to all of us. Ask plenty of questions. You'll get there... even if it takes many beers... but I don't see a problem with that!

Have fun with it

David
 

sandyut

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
3,291
2,492
Joined Feb 18, 2015
Weber recommends controlling temp with the top vent,
Sorry that is not correct. The air (oxygen) that is helping to burn the coals enters from the bottom. The top vent should remain open during the cook, the only adjustment is with the bottom vents. these are pics of the manual.

Screenshot 2021-06-05 100648.jpg
Screenshot 2021-06-05 101123.jpg
 

Hamdrew

Smoking Fanatic
561
817
Joined Jan 17, 2021
Sorry that is not correct. The air (oxygen) that is helping to burn the coals enters from the bottom. The top vent should remain open during the cook, the only adjustment is with the bottom vents. these are pics of the manual.

View attachment 498937 View attachment 498939
Huh, I wonder if that changed, or was just internet misinformation?
"
""Of the three components I mentioned: intake, fuel choice and amount, and the exhaust, the most effective component to maintain constant temperature is not the intake nor the fuel. It’s the exhaust. Many beginners I come across are not aware of that. All seasoned pitmasters know how to intuitively draft their pit using “clean” smoke to color and flavor their barbecue meats. The draft refers to the vacuum effect when you open or close the exhaust vent of your pit.
When you open the exhaust vent on the WSM, you allow hot air to leave the pit and this creates a vacuum suction to draw air in from the bottom intakes. Thus, by skillfully manipulating the top vent, you can control your WSM like a pro. Many beginners constantly fiddle with their intake dampers in hopes to maintain a constant temperature with less success than leaving the bottom vents untouched and fiddling with the top vent to control the draft within their WSM."


As far as I know, the key is to maintain positive pressure (exhaust more open than the intake). In an hour or so, I will dump a full chimney in my WSM next to one intake VERY slightly open (opposite the door!), the other two shut, and have the exhaust open about 1/8-1/4". This will maintain a thin blue 250*F for the 4hrs it'll take to cook my spare ribs.
 

sandyut

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
3,291
2,492
Joined Feb 18, 2015
Odd, I have never read that anywhere (till just now). everything I have read and from my experience the top vent is always open and the bottom vent control the heat levels. The BBQ guru PartyQ and such all control the temp with the amount of air in, not with the top vent. IMO he top vent is wide open and only used to shut it down when finished.

I used this site for years before finding SMF and they all say it like I did above, as well and the WSM manual. Slap yo daddy might be off on this tip by a margin. Many people use them here. maybe someone else can chime in.
 

uncle eddie

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
1,734
1,153
Joined May 14, 2016
Welcome from Missouri...you are in the right place to get your gear fine tuned.

There is a lot of good advice ^^^up^^^ there.

But, before I would punt on the smoker you bought, maybe try some short smokes to start with. Look up shot-glass burgers in this forum, or beer can burgers. One hour long smokes (+/-) for the burgers will give you plenty of opportunity to fiddle with the smoker "getting your fire/smoke/temp just right" PRIOR to putting in the burgers.
 

Hamdrew

Smoking Fanatic
561
817
Joined Jan 17, 2021
Odd, I have never read that anywhere (till just now). everything I have read and from my experience the top vent is always open and the bottom vent control the heat levels. The BBQ guru PartyQ and such all control the temp with the amount of air in, not with the top vent. IMO he top vent is wide open and only used to shut it down when finished.

I used this site for years before finding SMF and they all say it like I did above, as well and the WSM manual. Slap yo daddy might be off on this tip by a margin. Many people use them here. maybe someone else can chime in.
There's a post with that same harry soos quote on tvwbb too, if i remember correctly. Most responses are scratching their head like you, hence it being harder for me to ever recommend that method with so little info about it. There is at least one, or was, add-on for temp control that used the exhaust, which the name escapes me. As far as I know, Harry Soos DOES prefer/usually uses his intake fan in comps. In any case, "if it aint broke don't fix it", regarding your/everyone else's similar method. However, if you ever bored, you could try playing around with it.
 

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.