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Smokers and dampers...

Discussion in 'Food Forum' started by PDogSniper, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. PDogSniper

    PDogSniper

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    Just curious as to how some of you adjust the dampers to control heat...

    My new smoker grill has a chimney with the side smoker. Do I use the chimney damper to help control the heat or use it only for smoke control...? Or use both the chimney damper and the side pot damper...?

    Another ? is, if the smoke is backing up and coming out from under the lid am I getting enough flow through...? Or should I open the chimney farther...?
     
  2. lwt210

    lwt210

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    On mine, I open the vent on the firebox about a quarter of the way and the damper on the smoke stack about the same to half open. That gives me consistant food chamber heat of about 250 degrees to 275 degrees. If I want it a bit cooler, I can close up the damper a little.

    But that is when I am smoking. For grilling, I open up both about half way and my food chamber will get off the charts hot...in excess of 500 degrees, according to my thermometer.

    You will have to probably do what I did....get you a pit thermometer and a grill surface thermometer to find out how much to open them up to get the temp you want. That varies according to many factors from what I gather. Humidity, altitude...all that jazz. Your fuel source will affect your heat also.

    I paid about fifteen bucks for my pit thermometer and about seven for the grill surface one. My pit had alot of variance in the temp from one end to the other. I use aluminum pans filled with water when I smoke which helps even out the temp in there.

    Good luck. And incidentally, with pork butts and stuff, I have cooked several at all different smoker temps and they all tasted good. Some just took longer than others.
     

  3. lwt210

    lwt210

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    Mine does that too. I figured that it is not sealed all that well when it closes. It doesn't bother me and doesn't seem to bother the meat either.

    When mine wears out, I am going to spring for a good, high dollar one. I bought this one as a starter pit and it is serving it's purpose well. Pic of my last turkey breast and boneless ham.
     
  4. PDogSniper

    PDogSniper

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    Yea, I bought a thermmometer for the top of the grill. Only one that they had a Lowes was one with a 1 1/2 inch probe. I never trust those that come with grills... I also bought a Probe type with a cable that is mainly used for probing meat. I also use it as a grill surface thermometer.

    I'm using lump coal and it's 30 degrees outside now. Too be honest, I don't think that lump coal burns all that hot... If I put some hickory chunks on it I can get the temps to rise dramatically...

    My thoughts at the moment is to use strickly wood to cook with. Seems that it would burn more evenly and be easier to control

    I also have to get myself out of the grilling mode and into the smoking mode, low and slow is not my usual temperment... I've got two fryers on the grill right now. Two hours and the internal temp is at 160 degrees. Normal...?

    Just a observation..
     
  5. Glockerel

    Glockerel Got Mojo?

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    When I use my offset smoker I:
    put 2 small oak logs in the bottom of the small chamber, as well as a nice amount of coal. On either side of the chamber, I use the two small extra grates than came with it to form a fuel basket, keeping the burning away from the sides a bit. On top of the oak and coal, I use a chimney style charcoal starter. I fill it up all the way and get her going. When the coals are hot, I release the coals onto the oak and coal.
    Once I get it to 250-275f, I back the side damper down to about 3/4" open and then fine tune the temp with the chimney vent. It usually is around 1/2" open. This is for summer use, winter will be a bit different. With this arrangement, I can get about a 4 or 5 hour burn without adding more coal. I use soaked hickory as needed for smoke. Adding more oak will get your temp up quicker if it's cold too.
    Keep on smokin!
     
  6. Glockerel

    Glockerel Got Mojo?

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    When I use my offset smoker I:
    put 2 small oak logs in the bottom of the small chamber, as well as a nice amount of coal. On either side of the chamber, I use the two small extra grates than came with it to form a fuel basket, keeping the burning away from the sides a bit. On top of the oak and coal, I use a chimney style charcoal starter. I fill it up all the way and get her going. When the coals are hot, I release the coals onto the oak and coal.
    Once I get it to 250-275f, I back the side damper down to about 3/4" open and then fine tune the temp with the chimney vent. It usually is around 1/2" open. This is for summer use, winter will be a bit different. With this arrangement, I can get about a 4 or 5 hour burn without adding more coal. I use soaked hickory as needed for smoke. Adding more oak will get your temp up quicker if it's cold too.
    Keep on smokin!
     
  7. lwt210

    lwt210

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    Yeah, I do that too. I bought two extra fire grates for mine and have a total of five now. I also form a little makeshift basket and pour Kingsford and hickory or mesquite chunks on top of it. I can walk away from the pit for over an hour with this set up and the temp stays right where I want it.

    I haven't tried to smoke anything in real cold climates yet as we are just now seeing the cold weather down here in Bama. And from all the cash I am spending out on Christmas presents, it doesn't look like I will be smoking any meat any time soon. Bummer.
     
  8. PDogSniper

    PDogSniper

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    It was near 25 degrees here yesterday and windy. I must have used near a 8 lb bag of lump coal. I think I'm going to make a wind screen out of a 4x8 sheet of plywood and some hinges...
     
  9. lwt210

    lwt210

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    We've seen some twenty degree mornings but today the high was over fifty. It would have been a good day to smoke a butt today other than the fact I had to work and wouldn't have been able to tend to it.

    Besides, I have to dehydrate some jerky for my upcoming trip to the in-laws house. They ain't the best cooks and a few pounds of jerky will get me though the holiday festivities. LoL

    Nothing worse than a dry turkey choking you on every chew. I'll slip some jerky inbetween bites and they will never know the difference.
     
  10. PDogSniper

    PDogSniper

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    Tell them that it was so good that you would like to take some home with you. Then you would have some oil-dri for the garage floor...;)