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Long Smoke question


Joined Jul 4, 2010
I saw a show the other day where a BBQ joint did 18 hour smokes. I just wonder if someone has to tend the Q overnight? All wood smoker was used. Any idea how to make this work without waking up every 2 hours to tend the fire and keep the temp right? I did an over-nighter once but I had to get up to tend the fire and that made me pretty much shot for the crowd the next day, although great raves about the Q.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 5, 2009
Get a WSM... heh-heh.

Some of the BBQ joints can build a big enough cole base to leave alone for 6-8 hrs., but for home cooking you need a real efficient smoker. I had the Char-griller Smokin' Pro that was a great smoker to learn on and had lots of capacity, but I didn't trust it for long smokes. Now I have my 22.5 WSM and I have great capacity and can run it for up to 20+ hrs. on one load of the charcoal ring. Most of my "overnight" smokes involve lighting it and getting the meat on around 1:00 AM, then going to bed till 8:00 AM. Get up check the smoker, take a shower, have breakfast, then do my foiling or whatever, let it do it's thing till its done. About the only thing I have to do is check the water pan after about 8-9 hrs., and usually gently tap the bottom of the smoker with my shoe to knock the ash off of the charcoal around the same time.

dick foster

Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 24, 2010
It depends a lot on how well insulated and efficient your smoker is and how much thermal mass it has. I use lump and chunk and have mine modified so it will go four or five hours using the Minion method.

If you have a Maverick ET73 like many here do, it has an audible low temp alarm you can set so it should wake you up. Of course you also always get your wife and or kids involved. There is no sense in not making it into an activity for the whole family. The family that smokes together........ LOL

You could add some fire brick to your smoke chamber to add some thermal mass. I have some foil wrapped that stays in mine all the time. In fact I'm using them for tuning plates for which they work very well indeed.
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