Did my first smoke last night, and found a ton of helpful info here; I have a few more questions

  • 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.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 20, 2014
Jumped right in and did my first smoke without much knowledge going into it. It didn't come out too great, but it wasn't horrible. I have the cheaper end Master Forge green vertical charcoal unit. I was having a hard time keeping a steady temperature. I could get it to right above 300, but then it would die down pretty quick to about 160. My first reaction was, "Let's add more coals." This got the temperature back up to 300, but it went through the cycle again and died back down.

After reading some threads on here last night, it looks like my problem was the ashing of the coals, causing the coals to die out and not keep lit. Is this likely what my problem was?

I have also come across many threads on here and on other websites about mods; this seems like a common unit that many owners modify. I am definitely planning to do the following:

DAMPERS - I'm going to add some to get more airflow. It looks like this particular unit was made just to keep a lower heat during a smoke. I'm guessing adding more air vents will help to get a higher, steady temperature. Any particular kits I should look at?

CHARCOAL GRATE - There is no grate on this unit for the charcoals. I will add one about an inch off the charcoal pan to allow the ash to drop down and avoid suffocating the coals.

What would you consider to be the "must-do" mods for my unit?

Looking forward to doing more smokes and sharing what I learn with everyone and getting advice from you all as well.
Handyman, your mods are great. I will be able to save money as well. Can you give some more details or pictures of the magnets? How do you get them flush on the rounded part?
The magnets are some I got at work years back.  They work good and when I want to close it off they just fit.  When sliding up or down to open

the leak around the magnet does not matter just becomes part of the intake. You can use any kind of magnet I first used a insurance flex able

fridge magnet. Just use whatever you can come up with. 

Be sure to block the hole in the bottom of the bottom pan.  I used a can top and a couple more magnets to hold it down.  At 225-230 I have it 

shut down to about a 1/4".  I vented the top too but I have it now sealed off and the leak around the top seem to be enough.  When you load your

coal ( I use lump) mix in some wood chunks and leave a hole at the edge of the coal pan where you can dump prelit coals in about 10-15.  Then

open your vent till the temp inside gets close to your temp and close down the vent to 1/4" and adjust as needed.  The way the coal pan is

made the charcoal will burn in a clockwise pattern around the outside edge.  It gives me 10-12 hr cooks.

One more thing is fill the water pan with sand and cover with foil to keep grease and such out of the sand and plan a half hour to an hour to get the smoker ready and constant  temp.

SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Hot Threads