Temp control

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by acw, May 4, 2010.

  1. acw

    acw Newbie

    I smoked/grilled spare ribs this past weekend, and even though they turned out great, I had an issue with controlling the temp. I am using a Char-Broil Double Chef, and this is only my second real smoke with it. The first smoke was a brisket, and I could not keep water in the pan to keep the temps down. I had to constantly refill the water pan the entire time, and that of course would let heat out. It was a constant up and down cylce throughout the cook.

    After reading alot of post on this site, I decided to use sand in the water pan. I foiled the pan, put regular play sand in the water pan, and built a fire with the regular blue bag Kingsford charcoal using the minnon method. I put about one chimney of unlit charcoal in the smoker, and about 1/2 chimney of lit charcoal on top. By the time I got the ribs on, the temp inside the smoker was 315-320. I completely closed all vents, and managed to get the temp down to 300. I could not get the temps below 300. I cooked the ribs at 300 for 2 hours, and they were great. Even though the ribs were great, I realize this temp is to high for most smokes. I now know I used way to much charcoal, because 6 hours later the temp inside the smoker was still 280. I guess if I use less unlit and lit charcoal my temps will be lower? I like the sand if I can get these temps down.
     
  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    yea try using less charcoal. Also what are you using for a thermometer? Is it reliable has it been check to see if it is calibrated?
     
  3. I agree with the above. Until I started using a Maverick ET-73 I was never confident about temperatures at the grill level.
    Try filling one half of the basket with brickettes about 2 deep. Light 16 brickettes and lay them against (rather than on top of) the unlit brickettes. Put your wood chunks on the unlit charcoal and open the bottom vents. As the temp rises, close (fully or partially) the bottom dampers (on the ash pan) but keep the top vent open. I am able to get about 6/8 hours of 225-250 temps on my fat boy using the above approach. That should be enough for your ribs.
     
  4. jjw

    jjw Smoke Blower

    i have had the exact same problem with the exact same smoker, simply cant get the temps down. ive even started with just 6 lit briquettes and the same problem still arises. have you found a solution to this?
     
     
  5. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You know back when I started with the minion method I still was using lighter fluid. You would stack your charcoal in a pyramid style and then ever so slightly dribble around a 50 cent size of lighter fluid dead center. Lit that and it slowly spread.

     It just seems that your adding too many lit coals, to start the process, to me. As a secondary, I would try reducing the amount of charcoal you are using.
     

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