Smoking newbie struggling to get temperature high enough

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Smoking newbie struggling to get temperature high enough

Postby valve90210 » 17 Apr 2017, 14:38

Hi All

I'm new to the world of smokers etc though i did do a 2 day course last summer and have a friend who runs his own smokery and has taught me a lot.

I've recently got myself a Callow vertical smoker having been told by my friend that it's a great entry level smoker and great for beginners. I've used it a couple of times and it does seem to be good for low and slow, holding a steady temperature around 115C or so however I'd like the temperature a little higher for cooking a chicken and twice now I've tried and not managed to get it about 120 or so and I'm not sure why/what I'm doing wrong.

I've tried lumpwood and today I'm using heatbeads, and I'ave had all the vents open to start and watched the temperature increase but even with the vents fully open the temperature just won't get any higher, anyone have any experience with this smoker or any suggestions on what to do to get the temps up a bit, Ideally I'd like to be cooking around 160C/180C or there abouts, as it's taking ages to cook a simple chicken at the low temperatures (so far today it's been on around 4 hours and it's just gotten to 68degrees - I realise that it would be fine to eat once it's been at this temp for a while but I prefer the texture once it's gotten a little higher)
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Re: Smoking newbie struggling to get temperature high enough

Postby BraaiMeesterWannabe » 20 Apr 2017, 06:26

Hi there
Don't know much about this smoker but at the price point I suspect it's not going to be very airtight. Also, metal is probably quite thin and flimsy so a lot of the heat will be being lost through that before it gets up to where the food is especially in the colder weather we're having at the moment - make sure you're using it somewhere reasonably sheltered from wind etc.
What are you measuring temp with? The analogue temp gauges on these units (even the expensive ones) are usually not very accurate. Get yourself something like a Maverick ET 733 for fire and food temp. Great kit and peace of mind that the chicken is properly cooked and no-one is going to die :P
Are you using water in the pan? If so, replace with sand or a clay saucer covered with foil. The water tray is not for keeping food moist, it acts as a heat sink to keep from getting too high.
A chicken is going to take an hour or two so rather than 4 or 5 for something like ribs. Therefore you don't need the minion method for lighting coals and keeping them burning for a long time. I would light all coals in a chimney starter and the. Chuck them all lit in the coal basket, put the unit together with clay saucer in water pan and see what temp you get it to.
Finally, remember with smoking to get the food on at correct temp and then leave it there. Resist the urge to lift the lid and check as you're just letting all the heat escape - if you're lookin' you ain't cookin'
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