Temp control on a party

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Temp control on a party

Postby ammoore74 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:49 pm

Just picked a Party and I have a question for you all about keeping temps low.
I am trying to keep the temp around 210.
I have the waterpan full and the heat diverter in place with one air vent open about 1/4 inch.
The temp keeps want to climb up to 240-250
If I close the exhaust down to where it is just barely open
I am able to achieve my target temp.
Is it normal to have to use the exhaust vent to keep your temps down
In a BWS Party?

Thanks
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby RickC » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:35 pm

Couple of questions, how much charcoal and how did you start it? Yes sometimes you have to shut down the exhaust to keep the fire under control and at the temp you want. You did slam the firebox door to insure that it is all the way closed? If you don't you will draw in extra air around the door seal.
If you are at 1/4' and it won't cool down close it to half that, keep cutting down until you get to the temp you want. Or buy a BBQ Guru. :D
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby jrobfsu19 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:52 pm

I recommend less charcoal to start
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby ammoore74 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:13 pm

I started the fire with about 1/3 chimney of lit lump.
Opened all vents up to get up to temp and added about an inch of water in the pan
At about 200 I closed down one air vent completely and the other I left open half way.
I pushed the lit coals into a pile in the back corner and filled the remainder of the charcoal basket.
Once the temp hit 220 (already passed where I wanted) I topped off the water pan with cold water.
At this point I thought it was going to hold at @210 and appeared at first to stabilize there....
Having complete faith in the cooker, I left to go eat breakfast. (I know...I shouldn't have left)
Came back an hour later and I was up around 250.
So I shut down the air vent that was open....temps really didn't change.
I started closing down the top exhaust vent a little at a time and the Party seemed very responsive to that.
I found that I could shut the bottom vents and leave the exhaust wide open and still run around 240. (That could be just because I was already too hot....easier to increase temp than decrease in an insulated cooker.)

Could be I started with too much lit coals.
Could be I needed to start closing vents earlier...@175
Could be I need to be more patient and bring my temps up slower as to not overshoot my target.
Could be I just need to cook again....:)
I do have a Stoker, but wasn't using it as I don't have an adapter YET, and I don't think I should "need" it for the party.
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby jrobfsu19 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:10 pm

My advice would be to fill the charcoal pan halfway an start the fire in the front right corner and let it burn through your cook. If you need to add charcoal later you can, but its hard to take charcoal away
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby RickC » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:09 pm

jrobfsu19 wrote:My advice would be to fill the charcoal pan halfway an start the fire in the front right corner and let it burn through your cook. If you need to add charcoal later you can, but its hard to take charcoal away
Depending on how long your cook is going to be you could fill it up. On my chubby if I'm doing butts I fill it completely full of charcoal and toss in about3-5 chunks of whatever smoking wood I am using. I use 1 starter knob and start it in the right front corner.
It sounds like you had to much charcoal burning at one time and you overshot your temp because so much charcoal was afire. If it takes off like that you do have to starve it of oxygen to slow the fire down. If you have both of the lower vents closed and it is still going, shut the exhaust, it will backdraw if that is the only place it can get air when you have a good fire going.
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby ammoore74 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:28 am

Ok...so I tried a test burn again, (NO MEAT) just to see what the temps would do.

Heat Diverter: In place

Charcoal arrangement: Using a couple of thin landscape edgers (about 2" wide) I seperated and arranged the charcoal to form a "S" pattern. I used kingsford briquettes (blue bag) for this fire test.

Lighting the Fire: I put a parafin cube in the top corner to start the fire. Opened up all the vents 100% and left the firebox door 1/4 open until the parafin cube burnt out. At that time I closed the firebox door.

Once the temp hit 150 internal I closed one of the bottom vents, added water to the waterpan and hooked up my Stoker (5cfm). I monitored temps using StokerLog with as set temp of 214.
The temps slowly rised and at 214 the stoker fan stopped pulsing.
Over the next 45 minutes the temps climbed to 230 without the fan ever pulsing air.
I went out and closed the exhaust 90% and watched the temps fall back down to around 210-211. The stoker didn't seem to be able to raise the temps back to 214, I'm assuming since the exhaust was so dampered??? Or maybe I was too impatient.
So I adjusted the exhaust to be closed maybe 75% and the temps started to rise.
Since this was a test I just decided to let it burn and check the log in the morning to see what the cooker did on it's own. The temps climbed up to 260 and gradually came back down as the fuel burned out.

I have always been under the impression that you don't want to run your pit with the exhaust set to anything but wide open, controlling your fire with the air intakes. However I can't seem to maintain temps in any way other than almost choking this thing out with the exhaust. Is my thinking wrong? I assumed that would result in not enough draw to create a "clean" fire.

It is a new unit so I don't think the seals are leaking, I am using my old water pan from my chubby as I didn't want to gunk up the new one yet. Perhaps it isn't seating correctly?

Any other ideas?

Thanks to all....
Aaron
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby RickC » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:45 pm

I don't know about the stoker, but the guru will pull air through the fan when it is not running. Guru gives you the ability to throttle the fan outlet. I have found that i need to run the guru throttle about 1/2 to 2/3's closed during most of the cook. If I don't the open fan allows to much air to be pulled in through the fan and the Guru can not control temp.
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby ammoore74 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:40 am

Rick, first I want to say thanks for your attempts in helping me figure this out....


The Stoker has a flap that is closed when the fan isn't blowing. It isn't an air tight seal but should impeed the air being sucked through the fan via natural draw. Actually I didn't even use the fan in my latest attempt, just used the stoker to monitor the temps, but again a major.....FAIL
Same results, no actually worse...temps climbed up to over 260.

For this burn I used a full water pan, no heat diverter. I'm sure that helped attribute to the hotter temps.
I think I just need to throw some meat on....let it cook and adjust myself to the pit rather than vice versa....
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby RickC » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:25 am

You should be able to control the temps.. It sounds like to much air is getting to the firebox. I might have said it before, but you are slamming the doors when you close them? If you don't they will look closed, but aren't and will allow to much air in. If it takes running with the exhaust closed down, do it. I will usually run at some point during a cook with the exhaust mostly closed if I have an overshoot.
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby RickC » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:29 am

Old Dave, we need some help here, any suggestions?
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby RickC » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:36 am

The purpose of the heat diverter is to keep the direct heat off the bottom of the water pan and make your water last longer. It should not change the temp of the cooker if you leave it out, you will just use water quicker.
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby ammoore74 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:06 pm

Yep, doors are closed and I don't see much if any smoke leaking out so I am making the assumption that the seals are good.

I did go through some of Old Dave's prior posts and see that he previously made a good point about the cook chamber being part of the chimney....the discussion was about overloading and air flow but I bet it holds true for an empty cooker also. I am betting that when I put a couple of butts and a brisket in there it will naturally alter air flow and I'm hoping I will no longer have to close down the top (as much) to maintain temps.

Going to go pick up some meat and give it another try.
I'm not giving up on this thing, but 1st comp of the year is 3 weekends away.
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby RickC » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:47 pm

ammoore74 wrote:Going to go pick up some meat and give it another try.
I'm not giving up on this thing, but 1st comp of the year is 3 weekends away.

Keep me in the loop, let me know what happens.
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Re: Temp control on a party

Postby ammoore74 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:58 am

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner....well um....Brisket Dinner anyway.

I loaded the Party up with two pork butts (placed on the second rail from the top.)
and a whole packer on the lowest rail.

Temps held pretty steady at 225 for the first 5 hrs.
I added some charcoal and topped off the water and went back inside.
Unfortunately, I must not have slammed the firebox door hard enough. It popped open and temps spiked up to 270 before I caught it (it didn't take long). At that time I had to choke down the exhaust to get the temps under control and a series of overcorrections ensued for the duration of the cook.

I had an alarm set to go check for doneness at an internal of 192, but didn't make it back out to the smoker until 206.
Things were a bit overcooked for a comp, but good eats anyway.

Brisket was juicy with an awesome smokering...deep red and about 1/4 inch thick. Softer bark than I'm used to, but I can live with it.
Bark on the Pork needs work. I use Plowboys Yardbird and always get a nice red color on my bark...it turned black this time?
All in all, for the first brisket/pork cook in the BWS...I would call it a success.

Thanks to all for your suggestions on keeping the temps under control.
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