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Not Enough Charcoal!

sauceboss

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Just finished my second run on my new smoker. Last time I severely overestimated the amount of charcoal, this time I slightly underestimated the amount. Needed another 7 degrees on the IT so had to use the oven. Turned out great though.


Smoked some potatoes and tomatoes because, well, the other rack was empty.

 

joe black

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Finished product looks great. How do you ever run out of charcoal? A real mystery.
 

sauceboss

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Last time I put way too much in and had a hard time keeping the temp down. This time I didn't put enough initially and the coals were dying off and temp dropping before IT was high enough. I thought about adding more charcoal but opted for the oven for the last hour since it was already 10:00 pm
 

SmokinAl

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What smoker are you using?

Al
 

one eyed jack

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Last time I put way too much in and had a hard time keeping the temp down. This time I didn't put enough initially and the coals were dying off and temp dropping before IT was high enough. I thought about adding more charcoal but opted for the oven for the last hour since it was already 10:00 pm
A small, hot bed of coals is what your after.  Study the "Minion" method.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Minion+method&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

I most always fill the fire ring / box.  Just close drafts and dampers after the smoke.  Any decent smoker will snuff out the coals which you can reuse for your next smoke.

I've got a can that I cut both ends out of, Load briquettes around it, Light a small number of briquettes and dump them into the can.  Pull the can out and your off and running.


View media item 497381
 

sauceboss

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SmokinAl
I have a custom smoker from Hawg Valley Smokers.


One eyed Jack,
I guess I'm using a similar method with the square charcoal basket in my smoker, there is a metal divider that splits the charcoal in a "U" and I light one end. It snakes around fairly well through the smoke. I might be lighting too much at the start. I also had put on a partially frozen pork butt which probably added a couple hours to the cook time. I definitely will look into saving the coals as you described if I plan on smoking the next day.
 

one eyed jack

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SmokinAl
I have a custom smoker from Hawg Valley Smokers.




One eyed Jack,
I guess I'm using a similar method with the square charcoal basket in my smoker, there is a metal divider that splits the charcoal in a "U" and I light one end. It snakes around fairly well through the smoke. I might be lighting too much at the start. I also had put on a partially frozen pork butt which probably added a couple hours to the cook time. I definitely will look into saving the coals as you described if I plan on smoking the next day.
I haven't tried a smoker with that particular set-up and so don't have anything specific to offer in the way of advice based on experience.  Is this smoker a "one off" or have they made, and sold, a good number of them?  If you can find a good sized base of owners of this particular smoker, you should be able to get some advice based on experience of folks who own this same smoker.

As long as the smokers draft and vent controls are effective and easy to manipulate, it looks like it should be possible to get a controllable burn in it.

I would use a full load of briquettes, light a small number of briquettes to start, keep a close eye on your smoke chamber temps and start damping the smoker down as the chamber temp starts to climb.  (Don't wait till your within 50* of your target temp before starting to damp down the temps).

I think that with enough experience with it, it should work pretty well.

Best luck.
 

wade

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As long as the smokers draft and vent controls are effective and easy to manipulate, it looks like it should be possible to get a controllable burn in it.

I would use a full load of briquettes, light a small number of briquettes to start, keep a close eye on your smoke chamber temps and start damping the smoker down as the chamber temp starts to climb.  (Don't wait till your within 50* of your target temp before starting to damp down the temps).
Yes, the ability to finely control the bottom air vents is crucial. Without the ability to do this you will have little control over maintaining a desired temperature that is stable.

From your photo it does appear that you have good draft control using the stove rope however I cannot see how you are controlling the air. Do you have a photo of your vent/vents too?

It is also easier to maintain an extended cooking time when using good quality restaurant quality briquettes. These are usually more compact than the supermarket brands and do not produce the sickly sweet smells when starting to burn that many of the cheaper brands do. This is especially important when using the Minion method as new briquettes will continue to catch throughout the cook. Although they may appear to be more expensive they do last a lot longer and, as has been said above, you can close all vents when you have finished smoking and they will go out. Any remaining can then be reused next time.
 

sauceboss

Fire Starter
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Joined Oct 13, 2016
Wade,
This is a photo from http://www.hawgvalleysmokers.com
Same smoker, literally the same smoker. Two threaded intakes on the firebox on the bottom that you can take the covers off and put adapters on. My father-in-law makes them and I'm gonna see if he can add the automatic temperature controller to it.

Sorry about the delay, got busy with home improvements and forgot about the post. And I was too lazy to go outside for the picture.
 

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