New to smoking, I need some help!

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Original poster
Jan 1, 2011
I bought a charcoal smoker from Home Depot yesterday in hopes of making tender, delicious brisket. I am using a combination of hickory wood chunks (soaked in water) and Kingsford charcoal. I put in the first batch of charcoal in and got the smoker to around 200 Deg F. The charcoal lasted maybe an hour so I had to add more, but now that I've been adding more wood and charcoal, the temp doesn't get passed like 115 Deg (according the the door temp gauge). I don't know what the air vents should be at to increase temperature. Anyways, how do I make the smoker hotter? I have a 6.5LB beef brisket smoking right now and the internal temp of that is only at 108 degrees. Also, any tips for smoking would help, I'm a beginner. Thanks.

This is similar to my smoker...


Jan 1, 2011
I would get yourself a new temperature gauge and just double check the true temperature.  those factory temperature gauges never work or are not very accurate.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Mar 21, 2009
Southeastern PA
Welcome to the party -

Sorry this is late but here is what I would do..

I agree with Ratchuck - check your thermo using the ice water or boiling water method to see where you stand there.

Next - do a search on the Minion Method for how to set up your fire.

To get a higher temp you need to have good air flow around your fuel - was your fire sitting on the floor of the cooker or was it raised some? Raising it will help.

The best advice it to read, learn, ask a million questions, and practice.

Don't give up and good luck.

I see this is your first post - why don't you head over to Roll Call and tell us a little about yourself?


Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
Jul 26, 2009
Welcome to SMF - Ellie and Ratchuck steered you right - follow their advice and it will get better quickly is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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