problems holding temp in home made smoker

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by sssslkwnj, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. sssslkwnj

    sssslkwnj Newbie

    Good afternoon all,

    I am new to this forum so if these questions have been asked before please point me in the right direction.

    I had a smoker built for me out of a 275 gallon oil tank. I love it, but the problem I'm having is keeping the correct temp.  Once I get it hot (225 to 250) and put the meat in the temp drops and I can get it back up to 225 again unless i dump a lot of charcoal and wood into the box. If I put in to muck charcoal it get to hot. To much or only wood the meat gets a bitter wood taste ( i use oak & I buy hickory chunks).

    At times the heat box is so hot I can't even open the top but if I hold the smoke stack it cold.

    I have attached pics. maybe there is something wrong in the design or am i just not giving it enough fuel.

  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Pics don't show...this instructional will help you work through posting photos:

    Not sure yet, but if you have a hot fire and the vent stack is cold, I think your vent must be closed too much or something else is preventing proper flow of heat through the smoke chamber...possibly a baffle plate problem, or convection plate problem if it's a reverse flow, but be sure the vent is fully open at least until you have good draft and heat flow...then it can be throttled closed part-way just enough to maintain heat and proper smoke based on the heat from the fire and chamber temps. Improper ventilation or heat flow would also cause issues with fire control, and may be the cause for temp swings if you open the fire box or smoke chamber. A smoker that large should hold temps much better than a small back-yard rig.

    The bitter taste does say lack of ventilation to me...low flow through the smoke chamber causes stale smoke, causing creosote to accumulate on the food. If burning wood for fuel, smaller pieces should be added at more frequent intervals so that you maintain a smaller, hotter fire which burns more cleanly with less smoke, otherwise, you get tons of heavy smoke from the fire.

    Come on back with pics if you can, and we'll hopefully get some more input from others as well.

  3. sssslkwnj

    sssslkwnj Newbie


    thanks for your reply. I have also tried all the suggestions on loading up pics but all I get when I upload is waiting and nothig happens.

    I will continue to find a way to show you these pics. even if I upload to facebook and you can check them out there.

    Ill stay in touch
  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't use FB...lots of others here do, though...just wondering, are you on a slower connection that might delay the photo uploads?

    It goes pretty fast compared to how it used to be a couple years ago, but even with my DSL modem, it takes about 15 seconds to pull it all together, sometimes, but usually less than 10 seconds. You should see a progress bar while you watch for the upload, but don't forget to click on the SUBMIT button after selecting the photo size you wish to post...I always use large, myself.

  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Here, read this and it may help with fire control:

    This is how your fire bed should look :

    Small and hot . Control by the "intake" at the FB.

     NOT the exhaust , leave it wide open.

    Have fun and...
  6. 275 gal. tank will be hard to maintain temp do the the large area. that's a BIG AREA... big smoker... nice

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