Can't get up to heat

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Can't get up to heat

Post  jeepstertim on Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:32 pm

New to smoking, but both the chicken and goose breasts i've done have needed finishing in the oven! I am using a chimney starter (full), a reasonable (if old) lumpwood charcoal, Frontier and a hot water pan. The cooker won't go over 200 degrees (best 170) and only gave me a 4.5 hour burn. Where am i going wrong?

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Re: Can't get up to heat

Post  Novice on Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:20 pm

Hi Jeepster, The first thing I would check is your thermometer. The one in the lid needs calibrating when you first start using it, there are a few posts on how to go about this, (it's easy enough), but it can be quite misleading if it's not set up right. I'd strongly recommend getting a digital probe thermometer as well (like the Maverick ET-37).
Make sure your top vent is wide open at all times & calibrate the temp by small alterations to the bottom vent. Put boiling (or very hot) water in the bowl.
To get a longer burn, use a lot less lit charcoal, & let the smoker come up to temp, rather than dumping a full chimney load on. I used to do this & you get an initial very high peak but the whole basket load burns away very quickly.
Arrange the until coals in a 'donut' shape, with a gap in the middle, & drop the lit coals into the gap. (You can achieve this by putting a tin can with both ends taken out, in the middle, & dropping the lit coals into it, then pulling the can out with some pliers, leaving the coals in place).
I also have a Frontier & it maintains 220-260F with little effort, so you should have no problem. I use coconut husk charcoal & I think this helps.
Good luck, if you still get problems, ask, & there are plenty of guys with loads of experience here who are very helpful.
Good luck

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Re: Can't get up to heat

Post  All Weather Griller on Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:27 pm

Hi Jeepster,

Novice is on the money with his post.

Here are a few links:

http://www.wiviott.com/fire.html

http://proq.forumotion.com/the-pub-f20/minion-variation-or-maybe-not-you-decide-t414.htm?highlight=minion

Beerz

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Re: Can't get up to heat

Post  jeepstertim on Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:57 pm

Thank you, good steers for the next burn - if I can find charcoal in Feb!

I couldn't find any links to calibrating the temp gauge, could someone help?

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Re: Can't get up to heat

Post  All Weather Griller on Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:59 pm

Both Costco and Makro have it in stock now if you have one of those nearby.
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Re: Can't get up to heat

Post  Novice on Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:47 am

If you put 'temperature' in to the search box at the top right, there is a thread called 'different temperature readings' in the pub section, the instructions are on posted there, but there are a few discussions on the same subject on the board (search 'temp' & pick out 'Frontier temp gauge')

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Re: Can't get up to heat

Post  Novice on Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:12 pm

You can get Coconut charcoal mail order
http://www.essentialbbq.co.uk/browse.php?cat=Accessories&type=Charcoal

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Re: Can't get up to heat

Post  Bhyland on Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:40 pm

I am having the same problem of getting the temp up high enough. I have an offset that I use in competition and decide to and the excel 20 to my collection. I could not get the temp past 240 both times I have used it. I use the ET 73 smoke probe for the temp reading, use premium lump charcoal and used hot water in the water pan. The first time I cooked ribs and had the water pan 3/4 full and never could get the temp to hold at 250 ( this was with only one stacker). Last time I was smoking chicken and needed to get the temp to 275 and could not get past 245. This time I only filled the water pan 1/4 full. It seems that after I add the hot coals to the smoker they die down within 10 minutes (I use the minion method) . I have all 3 vents fully open on the bottom and always keep the top vent open. I got a comp in 4 weeks and need some help to get this working right so I can feel confident using it in the comp. Thanks in advance

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Re: Can't get up to heat

Post  Mack on Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:01 am

Hi and welcome to the forum.
First of all, with water in the pan, the unit will not run at more than 260, the water in the unit is designed to keep the temps at between 200 - 250.
If you need the ubit to run at higher temps, you will need to run it with sand in the pan, or empty.

Hope this helps!

Mack
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Re: Can't get up to heat

Post  Bhyland on Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:00 am

thanks for the advice!!!

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Re: Can't get up to heat

Post  Dr_KY on Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:55 pm

I agree.
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