Need Excel 20 help

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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  BowtieBill on Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:41 pm

Well, another cook on the Excel, and another cook with the same results.
This time I loaded up with Royal Oak, and added a FULL lit chimney of K briquettes. Let set open for a while, then assembled the unit. Added Apple wood chunks. All three vents on bottom wide open, same for top one. No water in the pan, just foil balls with foil covering. Temp went to 250 and stayed there. Added my 2 Beer-Can chickens (had to put them on the lower rack for clearence), temp dropped to 230 and stayed there. Was using oven thermo on grate, read same as one in lid.
Now, my chicken came out great. And the temps held the whole time and was still at 225-230 when I went to bed, which was 6 plus hours after I fired it up. But if I cannot control the heat by throttling down the intakes, then I have no control of the unit.
Next time I will try straight lump, no Kingsford to start. I did pick up a couple of bags of Wicked Good Charcoal which I will try on my next long cook. But since it is three times the price, and not easily available, I need to get it to work with the Royal Oak.
Bill
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  Dr_KY on Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:57 pm

Minion method with a mixture of lump and coals. I like using lump as you know it burns hotter and the coals to keep her going longer.






I noticed with my cook last weekend that she burned a good bit of fuel and I needed another vent open. I put it down to the amount of water (full) in the pan on this run compaired to the half pan on the last run. I'm going the dry or sand route next weekend.

I'm wondering if the basket needs to be a bit taller to hold more fuel?
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  Dr_KY on Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:13 pm

I just noticed something odd in my pictures regarding the base unit. Can anyone spot it? Surprised
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  ILBBQS.com on Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:34 pm

Dr_KY wrote:I just noticed something odd in my pictures regarding the base unit. Can anyone spot it? Surprised
First I thought the leg on the unit was cockeyed, but then realized it was the clamp. ??? Dunno ??? The vents are closed???
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  BowtieBill on Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:57 am

Wow, I have been filling my basket up a lot more then that with unlit coals. Maybe I will try less next time.

Oh, and what is odd is that your vents are closed.

Thanks for the pics,
Bill
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  Dr_KY on Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:51 am

One of the clips for holding the waterpan is upside down.
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  ThomEmery on Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:16 pm

We have found putting the wood chunks in 1st then the charcoal gives us a long smolder of flavor filled smoke
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  ILBBQS.com on Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:23 pm

Dr_KY wrote:One of the clips for holding the waterpan is upside down.
D'OH...missed that one. Doesn't it turn pretty easily?
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  Dr_KY on Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:17 pm

Tohm- I added a few more chunks of lump after she started to catch on. I'll try a chunk or two on the bottom and with that idea you can see I placed one standing too. Cool I


The clip will unbolt with no problem and I'm considering changing all of them to stainless. Cool
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  Mack on Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:44 pm

Bill, not sure what the problem is, after reading through all the posts... one thing I did want to ask is, is the water pan centraly located in the unit (even gap all the way round), and if it is can you take some pics of the smoker in action, so we can all see if there's anything we can notice.

Ian
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  BowtieBill on Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:32 pm

Thanks, Ian.
The pan seems centered. Last two cooks have been without water in the pan.
I had an idea of what I might be doing wrong, or what might help. When I assemble the unit over the lit coals in the bottom portion, I have the water pan in the unit already. Maybe I should assemble it without the pan and see if the unit heats up higher, the put the pan in.
I will try and post pics next time, though I never have used a photo uploading site before. I guess this is as good as time as any to jump in.
Bill
P.S. The ribs I did this weekend came out fantastic, would of been happy turning in at any comp.
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  All Weather Griller on Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:23 pm

Evening Bill,

I may have missed it in a previous post, but I tend to fill my water pan with Hotwater to help it get up to temp quicker.

I use a watering can I bought cheap from one our pound shops and fill it from the hot tap (Fosset).

Beerz

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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  BowtieBill on Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:00 am

All Weather Griller wrote:Evening Bill,

I may have missed it in a previous post, but I tend to fill my water pan with Hotwater to help it get up to temp quicker.

I use a watering can I bought cheap from one our pound shops and fill it from the hot tap (Fosset).

Beerz

Adie

Thanks, Adie.
Yes, I have used hot water, but still have the issue, only gets to 200-240 with all vents wide open.
After first adding the hot coals to the basket, do you assemble the unit with the water pan in place, or let it heat up and then put the pan in?
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  All Weather Griller on Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:34 am

Hi Bill,

Essentially I light the coals using the Minion Method but leave a couple of chunks of wood at the very bottom of the grate just for good measure.

I tend to fill the water pan first whilst it is in position inside the bottom stacker, this makes it easier to assemble for me (Fat fingers) won't allow me to fit the pan after, plus the handles on the side of the stacker make it easier to manouvre.

Once I have spread the hot coals in the grate I then carefully locate Stacker 1, then add the 2nd stacker and cooking grate and mavericks heat probes, I usually wait until it's around 226 to add the food.

I can honestly say I have never had it above 240, I usuallu have to close the two of the bottom vents (At the back) to around 3/4 and I can get it to hold steady at 226 - 230 all night.

My top vent is usually always open I only close it marginally if I need to cool it down. When tested against my Maverick the lid probe is only 5 degrees out (Downwards).

Not sure I have told you anything new here though, I think the guys previous responses are pretty much the same. Just one question and to be honest I'm not sure of its relevance but.... How above sea level are you?
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  Dr_KY on Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:11 am

I tend to do the same as above.

One thing I have noticed is you need to let the charcoal start burning well before you close it all up. After applying the menion method I let the cooker sit without any stackers for a short ( 5/10 minuets) time then add the waterpan and fill with hot water. I then add the stackers and the meat. The temp is a bit high to start with BUT it soon comes back down into range.

I find this is the key behind keeping temps right the 20.
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  BowtieBill on Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:13 pm

Well, this is exactly what I do as well. Yet I never see the temps come up enough where I can control it by closing down one or two of the lower vents. I thought using foil only instead of water in the pan would help, it has not. I used Wicked Good lump this weekend, nothing changed. I am at a loss.
Thanks for the info.
Bill
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  All Weather Griller on Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:59 pm

I do have problems with using Lump alone, I have to use biquettes to get the longevity and stability but aside from that I'm stumped. I would have thought that Lump would get you at reasonable temperature range for a few hours at least.

scratch

In addition to my question about altitude - http://forums.winespectator.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/5086097161/m/391102413

WARNING! This has the potential to become very boring and not relevant.
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  Mack on Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:10 pm

Bill, I was under the impression that the whole purpose of water in the pan, was to regulate the cooking temps at between 200 - 250 deg F, it would be hard to acheive higher temps with water (the WSM does, because of the large gap between the side and pan, thus alot of hot air goes up around the sides. I still can't figure otu why you still can't get temps higher without water in the pan, but will do a few tests myself.

Ian
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  All Weather Griller on Fri Sep 05, 2008 7:40 am

Good point, surely with no water pan and all the vents open you are grilling over direct heat.

Is this not so?
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  Mack on Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:28 am

I didn't mean without the water pan in place, but it is another option if you have 3 stackers, I know Roxy and DM sometimes do this.
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  ILBBQS.com on Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:49 pm

Mack wrote:I didn't mean without the water pan in place, but it is another option if you have 3 stackers, I know Roxy and DM sometimes do this.
Off topic alert...

Ian, Check out your new user logo...500 must be the next benchmark of forum discussion...pretty cool. Smile
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  All Weather Griller on Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:02 pm

Any joy with the temps Bill?
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  BowtieBill on Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:40 pm

Mack wrote:Bill, I was under the impression that the whole purpose of water in the pan, was to regulate the cooking temps at between 200 - 250 deg F, it would be hard to acheive higher temps with water (the WSM does, because of the large gap between the side and pan, thus alot of hot air goes up around the sides. I still can't figure otu why you still can't get temps higher without water in the pan, but will do a few tests myself.

Ian

Ian,
Cooking with a medium other then water in the pan (like sand, foil balls, clay pot base, etc.) is a common practice with WSM users, so I thought I would give it a try (foil balls) to see if it solved my issues. But it has not. And my Q has come out very good using both methods (Ribs, chicken, pork butt), so I am not sure that the moisture produced with water in the pan has any effect. At least I could not notice. The last batch of ribs I did came out awesone, would of been proud to turn them in at any comp. And had much better color then from my stick burner. But since I have not been able to control the heat, I would be reluctent to use it at one. At least I get some good eats while I try to figure this thing out.
Thanks,
Bill
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  BowtieBill on Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:46 pm

All Weather Griller wrote:Any joy with the temps Bill?

Thanks for asking.
No, same issues. Have cooked five times now, still have to leave all vents wide open to maintain temp. Tried some of the best Lump out there last time (Wicked Good) with same results. Don't know that I will get to use it again for a few weeks, have a comp coming up, but I have a couple of ideas to try for the next run.
But as I said, the Q has been very tastey. Razz
Bill
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Re: Need Excel 20 help

Post  Dr_KY on Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:44 pm

Bill I honestly cant get my head around this issue. Can you post up pictures of exactly how your are firing the 20 up?

I now only fil my pan half way with water and the temps always hold.
I'm thinking if there is an air leak then the temps would spike so that's not the issue.

Is the fuel packed to tightly?

Is there too much water in the pan? Even if it's hot water it takes energy to keep it there so cut down to about half a pan.

Are you using the thermo on the lid or one like a et73 at grate level to check the cookers temps?
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