Keeping a steady heat.

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Keeping a steady heat.

Postby arowe90 » 28 Sep 2015, 11:30

So once ive got the coals hot and placed them into my bbq. I close both chimney and the side vent to a quarter and let the temp drop. It keep s on dropping untill cold.
Ive been running tests really to see if it would be okay as a smoker. Should i add more non burnt charcoal ( i am imusing the minion method)?
Ive also tried adjusting the vents!

Ita a pretty rubbish bbq air holes everywere so i wondered wether its just sucking all oxygen in through the gap in the lid and BBQ.

Also the lump in using isnt in very big pieces! Any help would be appreciated and i can post a pic of the BBQ tonight when i get in from work!
If i cant get it to hold temp i might just invest in an offset smoker or maybe build a UDS.

Thanks Guys
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Re: Keeping a steady heat.

Postby Kiska95 » 28 Sep 2015, 11:39

Hi

A UDS is great or get a Weber 57cm kettle as you can Q and smoke in both quite well. Don't close the chimney keep it fully open all of the time and use the side vent to control temp. I think you are choking the fire.
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Re: Keeping a steady heat.

Postby wade » 28 Sep 2015, 12:04

What type of BBQ/Smoker are you using?
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Re: Keeping a steady heat.

Postby Toby » 28 Sep 2015, 12:18

I think the key point is you are closing the top and the side vent. Charcoal needs the oxygen to burn so if you are closing it down completely you are starving the fire which is putting it out. have the side vent open 1/4 and reduce the top vent to 1/4 open when you are at temp then just adjust the top vent until you have reached the desired temp.
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Re: Keeping a steady heat.

Postby arowe90 » 28 Sep 2015, 19:51

Sorry i have the vent open on the side a quarter and the chimney a quarter.
Its just a cheapo BBQ From ASDA.
Half gas half charcoal jobby.
Uniflame

Ive added some pics of exactly how it was set up.

I forgot to mention it sits about 250degrees C
Then once i wuarter the vents it drops but just keeps dropping.

Cheers :(
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Re: Keeping a steady heat.

Postby wade » 28 Sep 2015, 20:32

arowe90 wrote:So once ive got the coals hot and placed them into my bbq. I close both chimney and the side vent to a quarter and let the temp drop. It keep s on dropping untill cold.
Ive been running tests really to see if it would be okay as a smoker. Should i add more non burnt charcoal ( i am imusing the minion method)?
Ive also tried adjusting the vents!

Ita a pretty rubbish bbq air holes everywere so i wondered wether its just sucking all oxygen in through the gap in the lid and BBQ.

Also the lump in using isnt in very big pieces! Any help would be appreciated and i can post a pic of the BBQ tonight when i get in from work!
If i cant get it to hold temp i might just invest in an offset smoker or maybe build a UDS.

Thanks Guys


The ability to control air flow is so important for maintaining fine temperature control and, as you suspect, the problem here is probably that the unit you have has too many "leaks". This is often the case with the cheap supermarket models. A couple of things that you could try though.
- Firstly try to seal all the gaps other than the air intake and flue. This can often be done using some aluminium self adhesive tape.
- As you have already done, close the top vent to about 1/4 and regulate the temperature using the bottom vent.
- The Minion method usually works well but you may find it better to use some good quality briquettes (e.g. Heat Beads) rather than lump charcoal. This will burn more evenly and give you finer control. The most important thing with the Minion method is to have patience. Do not try to get it up to temperature too quickly as you are likely to overshoot. It is much harder to bring the temperature back down than it is to increase it. It could take up to an hour to reach the desired cooking temperature.

If you are looking to replace it I would recommend going for a Weber 57cm Kettle or a WSM/ProQ bullet smoker rather than an offset because with the low end offset smokers you are likely to have similar temperature control challenges. You only need to see what is being used by most of the BBQ competition teams - either bullet smokers or Weber kettles.They so also use high end commercial or semi-commercial units too but you are probably not looking for one of these. A UDS is also a good option. There are some good kits out there and to make it yourself will be very satisfying.
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Re: Keeping a steady heat.

Postby wade » 29 Sep 2015, 06:53

I have just taken a closer look at your photos. At first I thought it was actually an offset but the position of the flue puzzled me. I now see that it looks like two separate BBQs in one frame. Is the right a gas BBQ and the left a separate charcoal BBQ? This now makes more sense.
Is the slotted cross-sheet the cooking grate or is there another grate that is not shown?

One thing I notice is that the burned charcoal appears to be across the whole of the BBQ bottom. If you are wanting to use the Minion method effectively it needs to be used for providing indirect heat. You may have more success if you slide the cooking grate to the right (under the flu) and you restrict the charcoal/briquettes to the left 1/3 of the smoker. Hopefully the air intake is on the left hand side of the chamber too (?). To make an air tight seal between the lid and the base you will probably need some stove rope/tape but to temporarily seal it you can make a thin gasket by lightly rolling up some tinfoil and placing along the lengths where the lid meets the base.

You should also not take too much notice of the lid thermometer as it will almost certainly be fairly inaccurate. I would suggest that you invest in a good dual probe digital thermometer (e.g. a Maverick ET-732/733) and clip the chamber probe to the cooking grate next to the meat. Even if you do change your BBQ the digital thermometer will still be essential for whichever one you eventually go with.

Lay out your cold charcoal/briquettes along the left 1/3 of the chamber and add 4 or 5 well lit briquettes at one end. leave the lid open for 10-15 minutes to allow then to start to catch the main coals. Close the lid and 3/4 close the top vent and leave the bottom vent fully open. When the internal temperature has reached about 3/4 of the way to the desired temperature then 3/4 close the bottom vent too. The temperature should then continue to rise slowly until the desired temperature is reached. This could take up to an hour so be patient. Once at the desired temperature fine tune the air flow using the bottom vent whilst leaving the top one alone.
If you find that the temperature does not start to rise initially after about 20-30 minutes you may have closed the bottom vent a little too far and it may need opening up a tad. Once in equilibrium at the desired temperature you should not have to adjust the bottom air intake for at least a couple of hours - and then only make very small adjustments.
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Re: Keeping a steady heat.

Postby arowe90 » 29 Sep 2015, 15:57

I had the Setup as 1/3 of the way accross the grate. The charcoal grate covers 9/10ths of the bottom of the Q. But it is adjustable by the wrench handle on the left. Closer and further from the cooking grates. (I had it at its lowest postition.)
When it wasnt keeping temp i added my cast iron woodchip box to see what apple wood smelt like because ive only smelt cherry or Jim Beam barrel oak chips haha.

I think i will use this just as a family gathering BBQ for burgers etc
And use the gas side for the vegeterian inlaws.
And invest in a ProQ . I looked at one before but money had to go elsewere!

For now il keep on trying different solutions and methods. With this one!
Maybe get a ProQ as a Xmas gifft to myself haha.

Thanks for all your help!
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