Still fighting w/ the heat

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Dec 4, 2006
Guys, I am still fighting to keep the heat around 220*. I think a big part of the problem was the fact that it was around 25* outside. I started off w/ 15 lbs. of charcoal and added more as needed, which was often. I also added wood which helped considerably.

my question is: Would a charcoal basket help? Im thinking that all of that charcoal smothers itself out from all of the ash when it burns down. Should I clean the ashes out as I am cooking or is it a 'bad thing" to loose heat??? I have heard that if the internal temp of your meat goes down it can be bad.

Help (again).

what type of smoker do you have? If its an offset fire box try putting a wire grat in under the charcoal bed with a enought air space for ash to fall away from the main heat bed. 2" space will do. I just went back and look on the web for your syle of smoker. If you go-to U-Haul and get a movers blanket and put it over only the cooking chamber you will be-able to keep your temps more even at low outside temps. As I hope this will help you out. Some of the other people here might have a better idea.
I can't remember what type of smoker you have, I'm thinking it's a Brinkman or New Braunfels offset. In either case, 15 # is probably too much all at once. I have a 36"x6' smoker, and I start off w/ about 5#.

Yes, too much ash will block oxygen flow to the coals, and thereby slow their combustion, but I don't think you want to clean them out while cooking, just add more as you go. If you're using the above mentioned type smoker and you put 15# in, it would probably restrict the airflow more than you, or it, wants.

The furniture pad is a good idea, just make sure you get the old fashioned quilted type. You can also add a few coals to one end of the oven chamber. You'd be amazed how much just a few will raise your temp. Just make sure to keep them out from under the meat.

A grate or basket is also something you should have. It allows air to flow upward through your fire.

Good Luck, and Good Smokin',
Thanks again guys!!!!! All info will be very helpful. Yes I have A New Braunfels smoker. I do have a heat damper, I installed it before my last smoke (world of difference). I will definitely use the blanket in the future. Where can I get a charcoal basket?

Thanks Again!!!!!!!
You can buy grates at just about anyplace that sells grills. A grate would be just as effective, and probably cheaper. All you need is a replacement grate that's the right size for your firebox.

my firebox came with a "charcoal grate" thingy. it sat in the bottom of the firebox, and you put the charcoal on it. it bent all to hell the first time i used (i put mesquite splits on it). i took the heavy grate out of my old lp grill (the one just over the burner, that the lava rocks sit on) and use it instead. it is the perfect size, and held up well yesterday. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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