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Cuisinart 18" vertical smoker

eva marie

Joined Aug 25, 2016
I recently bought my boyfriend this smoker for his birthday.  He has tried 3 times to use it and is getting very frustrated and of course I feel terrible... he cannot seem to get it to stay up to temp to actually smoke anything, Does anyone have any experience with these smokers and is there something he is doing wrong? He can get it up to 250~275 to start but as soon as he puts meat on it falls of course, but never gets back up over 175 or so

Any suggestions, tips, knowledge would be much appreciated

Thank you


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Aug 6, 2014
Does it have a water pan. If so is he putting water in it. If yes tell him to leave the water out and try that way


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Nov 12, 2010

Click on the link above...   read up on the "minion method"....  It's where you add WAAAAAY more charcoal than you need....   light a small corner... adjust the temp with air inlets...    One method for your smoker is, put an empty can in the center of the coal rack, fill 3/4 of the outside with coal...   Add 6-8 fully lit briquettes to one end....    let burn and watch the temp rise in the smoker...  (get a new thermometer that is accurate, check in boiling water)..... 

I looked for a picture of what I'm speaking of....  anybody got one somewhere.... 

below is a facsimile....   the coals burn in a circle for a very long cooking time...  temp is adjusted with the air inlets...   It is rocket science and takes a bit to get the hang of.....

..click on pic to enlarge....

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Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Feb 3, 2013
I had to lookup this unit as I wasn't familiar with the Brand.  We have numerous kitchen utensils with that brand but was not familiar with any grills or smokers . I was to happy to see that the design is the always reelable bullet  type design. 

You've got 2 great pieces of advice above. 

1. Use water in your pan on this type unit. The water heats up from the charcoal below and that big mass of heat makes your unit stable with less temperature swings. 

2. Dave gave you awesome advice on how to light a fire and a method for longer burning and less fuss in making sure you have enough fuel without adding extra charcoal during longer smokes. 

A couple of things I'll add are:

Don't overload the smoker. Too much meat will actually lower temp and effect the burn of the charcoal. Remember the airflow needs to go up on your unit. If most all of the grate is covered with meat, airflow will be restricted and the fire begins to go out. 

The lower vents should be wide open and control your temp by the vent on the top.

Make sure that your charcoal is well lit. Give it some time before you start cooking. Don't get into a rush. 50% of the fun is cooking!

Lastly...  and maybe most important.  If he is judging the smoker temp by the thermometer on the smoker then be advised that it could be inaccurate. Many suppled thermometers on grills and smokers are off by as much a 50 degrees right out of the box!  This is one item the manufactures tend to cut a corner on.

Most of the folks here use a Maverick digital thermometer to judge the correct temp of our units and the meat. 

Best of luck

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Smoking Fanatic
Joined Mar 14, 2013
The water pan should be in place as you bring the smoker up to temp.

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