noob question: Problems with temperature

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by phatmanace, May 23, 2016.

  1. phatmanace

    phatmanace Newbie

    I've recently bought a landmann kentuky smoker and have been "learning" - with varying sucess! On a recommendation from someone I bought the franklin book which is what I've been following to try and pick up tips.

    I had my first go at a brisket on Sunday and it was a little disappointing. I think the problem is that I'm having problems keeping the temperature in the smoker high enough. I'm using charcoal Briquettes with small cubes of wood to provide the smoke. I got them white hot in a chimney, and then dumped then into the sidebox so that it was full (it has a grate that sits at half way - so it was really only half full). Additionally I had a tray full of water also in the main chamber to aid humidity

    As the book recommends 275F as being the optimum temperature - that's what I was shooting for as the internal temperature of the main chamber just next to the meat. I monitored with a dual probe thermometer (the other probe was stuck in the middle of the joint) I think I got it up to 280 once - but probably spent most of it's time at more like 225/250 which I don't think is hot enough. 

    Watiching some of Franklins' youtube videos - he seems to do his at more like 300F - which I don't think I could get do with only Fuel in the sidebox. Is it bad/cheating to put some briquettes in the main chamber, but not directly under the meat? - thought that might help keeping the main chamber hotter.

    Any advice would be most welcome. 

    Cheers, Ace
  2. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I'm afraid I can't help you a whole lot--I use a MES to do my smoking--but someone will be along to offer some advice.

  3. thebig1

    thebig1 Smoking Fanatic

    Welcome Ace, I too am new to smoking.  I have a New Braunfels horizontal offset and have had the same issues.

    Here's what I've found from what tips others on here have provided.

    With an offset we don't use charcoal briquettes.  We like the fire with lump charcoal and then heat with wood such as oak or maple.  On top of that is where we place our smoke wood.  I had a go at it yesterday and my situation got better, but I still need to learn my individual smoker.  For instance, I keep both the intake and exhaust wide open and regulate the heat with the fire.

    As far as brisket is concerned, I'm not a pro smoker, but it sounds like you picked a harder piece of meat for your first try.  I've always done brisket in my oven and grill at 225-250 for many hours.  For instance a 5 or 6lb flat might be around 6 hours at that temp.  I recently did a 14lb brisket in my oven for 14 hours and it was absolutely amazing.

    I hope that I've passed on some wisdom that has been given to me.

  4. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I'm learning the offset thing myself, Ace, but I've gotten a few cooks in, now.
    I use about a 1/2 mix of brickets to 1/2 lump (lump on top) in the chimney and when its ready dump it in the basket. Then add a couple sticks of wood, not chunks and let them burn wide open to get some hot coals. Then you feed the fire as needed with more wood to keep your temps.
    Then you play with your vents. You have to monitor it, this isn't an electric set & forget.
    Like mentioned before, try something like ribs or chicken before you jump in the deep end, just to learn your smoker. It gets easier!
  5. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome from SC, Ace. It's good to have you here. I think Chad and Dan have you started in the right direction. Good fire and heat management takes a lot of practice. Just keep it going.

    Good luck, Joe.
  6. thebig1

    thebig1 Smoking Fanatic

    I only have people like you Joe to thank for that knowledge.
  7. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I, too, am a Joe Black student....
  8. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for the good words, guys. I have learned a lot from the good folks on this forum. What I have added to this is from taking these lessons and practice, practice practice. IMO, practice is the basis for learning good fire and heat management. Also, never be afraid to try new methods, and if the new methods do not improve your smoking, do not be too proud to take a step back and start over. I learn from every smoke that I do. I can never learn enough and I can never thank the great folks here enough for the good advice you have passed along to me. You know who you are.

    Thanks very much, Joe.:Beer:

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