Need Help Maintaining Heat!!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by stevetheteacher, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. Smoked again this afternoon an still had difficulty maintaining heat after just a couple of hours. If I list my process step-by-step, perhaps some of you could pinpoint my mistake(s).

    1. Placed 20 coals in my firebox.

    2. Lit half a chimney full of coals.

    3. Added coals from chimney when red.

    4. When coals white, threw on two pieces of mesquite.

    After about an hour the temp started to drop, I threw in 5 more coals and a split of wood. Temp. went back up.

    After another hour the temp dropped again, I threw in another five coals, but the temp. didn't rise. I threw in a wax starter cube an the heat increased, but only for a short period of time

    Less than a half hour later, the temp was below 200 and I couldn't get it to rise at all.

    Note: I threw in a mixture of lump coal and Kingsford (I'm still not sold on the lump coal).

    I'm not sure if adding wood or coals is the answer.

    I'll never be able to do longer smokes if I can't keep the heat up to temp.!

    Please advise!!!

    Thanks!!!

    (Frustrated) Steve
     
  2. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Steve, I'am not familiar with your smoker but... Where are your vent locations & how are they set ?
     
  3. My vents are located on the bottom right of the fire box (nearest to the smoker). I have them fully opened to start.
     
  4. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ok, how bout the exhaust ? Fully open ? Any chance ya could toss up a pic or two of your smoker ? Hopefully someone with your smoker can jump in here, but happy to try & help if I can !
     
  5. Exhaust fully open
     
  6. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ok, no chance that the vents are possibly being blocked by charcoal or something ? I looked up your smoker but it's kinda hard to see where the vents are located... It may not be possible for them to get blocked off... It just seems to me that your smoker for whatever reason is being "choked" for airflow !
     
  7. Hey Steve...a few more questions to diagnose this:

    Are you using small wood chunks or pretty good size logs/mini-logs? 

    How high can you get before it starts dropping?

    Is there plenty of room *under* the coals for airflow?  That is, clear of ashes, etc.
     
  8. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Steve have you done the boiling water test on the Thermo you are using?
     
  9. There is definitely ash in the bottom. In fact, I was going to ask how to clean it properly? Shop Vac?
     
  10. Unaware of the boiling water test.
     
  11. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Are you relying on the thermo that came with it? If so you have to take it out hold the ( probe only) in a pot of boiling water. Should read 210 to 212* F most of them are wrong.
     
  12. Use a grate in the fire box to raise charcoal & wood.
    Let the charcoal sit in ashes will drop temp dramatically.. Air flow is key.
     
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Steve, afternoon.... I can't tell for sure from the picture.... It does look as if the smoker lid is not air tight... looks like it hangs over the bottom half....
     
  14.  
  15. OK...maybe we're getting somewhere.  Ash is obviously going to happen, but if it gets too built up under the coal grate, that will inhibit airflow.  Before every cook, I clean out the firebox (I just use an old plastic cup to scoop out the ash).  For longer cooks, I use a clean-out tool to just move the ashes around a bit (probably halfway through the cook), especially if it looks like it's getting too high and too close to the grate.  And perhaps when you first start your fire, don't use as much charcoal so ash is minimized.  I usually only use enough to ignite my wood, and then it's all wood from there.
     
    kingpitd likes this.
  16. Yes, there is an overhang.
     
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You will never be able to control the heat in that smoker until it is "AIR TIGHT"....
     
    kingpitd likes this.
  18. I was afraid you would say that. Hopefully, I can exchange it.  [​IMG]
     
  19. Keep it till it's no longer worthy! With a few mods & trial it will be good as any other.
    👍
     

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