Temperature Problem

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
OTBS Member
Jul 2, 2007
Lakewood, CO
I've got a bit of a problem. When I load up my smoker with anything more than nothing, the temperature drops down to around 170-180. The temp eventually comes back up to around 200 but thats a couple few hours later. any tips on what I can do to regulate temperature better?
I can get my smoker up to about 350 too, but when I put anything on the hot plate the temp drops dramatically. even with the way that the pots conveniently hold heat. My next question would be how will that affect my meat? is the lower temp and longer cook time going to benefit it or is that just more time for the delicious juice to leak out?
Now I went and did it. Somehow the combination of the Jack Daniels wood and whatever alcohol was left in it with the aluminum of the pie plate and its contact with the hot plate made a near lethal combination.
I was sitting there, tending the smoker and all of a sudden it made a coughing noise (yes like a human coughing) and the smoke turned white and billowy. somehow the aluminum started burning. I saved the ribs (hopefully they didn't take on the flavor, that smoke was BAD)
Hate to break the bad news to ya Brennan, the pots are a neat conversation piece,
but it's time for ya to break down and get a real smoker
the ribs are ruined. Their brief contact with the smoke was enough for them to take on the most horrible taste I can imagine. Now I'm worried about any kind of crap could be in the smoke from the aluminum. anybody know? all my google searches lead me to forums about making hash pipes from foil.
Hi Brennan you need to use a steel pan or stainless, the AL won't hold up to the type of heat you put though. Burning AL is not a good thing to breath it makes a really nasty smoke and coats everything in this fine gray dust.

Note that this is my opinion:

Aluminum has a melting point of approx 600ºF and aluminum pans are used in ovens at 350º + everyday. I don't think the problem has anything to do with aluminum. It may be possible that the alcohol vapors (if there were any left) MAY have built up with lack of air flow and had a low temp combustion. That would have caused the smoke, with improper air mixture and air flow would have cause a build up of creosote on the ribs... In My Humble Opinion you need more air intake to allow the smoke to travel out of the smoker pot. Air movement is just as much a part of smoking as the smoke itself.

Keep Smokin
Sounds great Kulley. Give me a PM so this thread doesn't get hijacked much further... gotta keep the peace.
Sorry Brennan about the hijack. If you didnt have any change or melting in your pan try it again without any meat in it to make sure it was the chips and not the pan.
I'm sure it was the wood I was using and that there was some alcohol left in the wood, also the aluminum's direct contact with the heating coil of the hot plate was probably a factor. I've had nothing but luck with other woods (hickory mesquite, apple, etc...). I'm thinking that instead of using another metal as a smoke tray, I'm thinking about going the terra cotta route again. I'll use a base for a flower pot ( the thing that catches the water overflow). Maybe that'll fix my problem.

It's ok about the hijack, I have to admit, I've hijacked a few threads before too.
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