Help. I had clean smoke earlier, but...

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Jul 29, 2007
Mobile, Alabama
but when I tried to raise the temp to 250 fro220 I end up with smoke, and temp stays at about 180 derees. I'm about 5.5 hours into the smoke.

Having temperature problems. Temp stays at about 180 degress.

I have since remove the cardboard pieces that I use to attempt to retain heat. I'm using hickory and briquets. I wanted to burn just wood but it seems to smoke too much and not get hot. It has risen to 195 since removing the cardboard. Ventilation maybe the cause. Up to 220 now.

Sounds like you found your temp problem. Have to agree with Blackhawk, cardboard sealers aren't a good answer. Get over to roll call and introduce yourself and get a proper welcome. Welcome aboard.
Next time, try opening all intake vents full open (make sure exhaust vents open). More air, more heat generated. When it gets to temp, close intake vents to 1/2 or what keeps the temp what you want.

And as the others have said, dont use cardboard. If you feel you have to seal the door, try foil.
That is absolutely not a stick burner, charcoal and chunks ONLY, your therms on the door is probably not accurate either, use a digital if you have one! 220 is a good temp, don't mess with it.
P.S. watcha smokin??
Smoking pork butt 11 lbs. and 8 lbs.

Pardon the typos. The meat is resting. The bigger piece (10+ pounder) seemed to cook faster than the smaller one. I feel like a first-grader that can't spell "cat". No plateau this time around, but the bark is dark and meat seems to be very loose. I'm going to allow it to rest about an hour before pulling it. Maybe next time I'll have the bigger piece cut smaller. Had to remove the water pan to reach 250 degrees. A few flare-ups but no plateau. There are no adjustable vents. I tried to burn wood. I guess it is more of a charcoal smoker. It's like a big vertical. I really need to take it and modify it to a horizontal with a fired box attached. An Ironworker next door said we could take it to the apprenticeship school and modify it to burn wood.

Good night all.

Thanks for your time tonight,


P.S. - I'm not giving up.

Had problems getting above 220 on smoker temp. I had to remove the the water pan and the smoke temp went to 250 no problem, but that was after say 14 hours into the smoke. I believe smaller cuts of meat would reduce the smoking time, as I spent 18 hours at the smoker, 1 hour of rest time, then pulled. Internal temp got to just over 160 degrees. The long smoking time allowed the meat to seperate from the bone and pull easily. I still think it needed to reach the plateau of 196 degress, but I was too sleepy to wait any longer. Definitely smaller cuts next time.

9:30 am Saturday to 4:30 am Sunday. I was sleepy tired.

Getting the thin blue smoke is my next goal. Maybe reducing the amount of smoke smell too. These have a strong smoke smell, but flavor is good. I heard cooking them first on the smoker, then throwing smoke to them has better results.
I appreciate it. It did turn out pretty good. I didn't realize how much was involved in smoking meat and have a new found respect for those who have been doing this longer than I. Great hobby.
Looks like you got her done inspite of the problems. Keep going! It looks plenty warm there I don't think you need insulation. Heat rises anyway and that thing looks heavy enough to get you down to 20 degrees.
it gets better each time you smoke something, something new learned each time and added to the next smoke.

a large butt in a small smoker will hold the heat down some, like trying to boil a pan of water with ice in it.
dont give up, keep on smoking
All the above advice about ventilation and not using cardboard is excellent. And using digital thermometers is an absolute must....a dual probe is best. One probe for smoker temp and one for meat internal temp.

Your internal temp of 160 concerned me. That is on the low side for a pork roast. But if you are trying to make barbeque (pulled pork) from a butt, the internal temp needs to be 195-205 before removing from smoker so as to break down the collagins (sp). After that, I wrap the butt in foil and place in a cooler for 2 hours (longer if it is not serving time yet). After that you should be able to easily pull the pork apart and dig in.

No 2 smokers cook alike and no 2 pieces of meat cook alike. The best teacher is experience , so keep up the good work...and don't be afraid to experiment.
Yea, me too. I was too sleepy to continue the smoke. I live in an apartment complex and couldn't leave a smoker going while I sleep. Plus, this smoker requires constant attention. Or, maybe I'm doing something wrong. It sometimes gets up to 220 for a little while, but then eventually goes down to 210-200, and sometimes below 200 about every hour. My gauge could be incorrect. It's brand new, but cost only $9.99 at Academy.

As far as the 160 degree meat goes. Before we eat it, we first heat it well above 170 to insure we kill everything before we consume. The plateau would have taken much longer than my eyelids were willing to stay open. Getting my smoker to stay at a constant 225-250 is my next adventure. I tried sand in the water pan this past weekend with no luck. I'm going to try some modifications to the charcoal pan and top of the smoker this weekend.

I'm going to purchase a Maverick ET-73 at

As far as the mods for the fire pan, I was thinking of using two fire pans, one inside of the other one with holes in bottom and a handle on one or both, so that I could rid myself of the ash by countering them back and forth instead of shaking the pan (also, to adjust the ventilation). As far as the top goes I was really wanting to cut a hole in the top instead of many holes. Maybe a two inch hole with a damper. I'm not a steel fabricator, so a stack is out of the question right now.
i had the same problem with temperatures on my smoker.thanks to the good folk on this site i found the answer.i mix lump and briquette charcoal and it works great.the lump charcoal burns hotter than briqettes and raises the temp in the smoker is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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