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Old 01-10-2004, 02:17 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Need smoker help ASAP!

My husband just bought a smoker this week and we have company coming over in a couple hours. Our smoker is the type w/the charcole at the bottom, then water, then meat. We can't seem to keep the temperature in the "ideal" range, it keeps dipping to warm. How can we raise the temperature? Or do we need to? He has about 8 lbs. of beef brisket that has been in there for a little over an hour now and we were hoping it would only take 5 hours to cook, but not so sure now.

Any suggestions???

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Old 01-10-2004, 02:37 PM   #2
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hi smokerrookie,
what's the temperature outside where you are? it may be near impossible to bring the smoker up to the proper temp if it's cold enough out. about all you can do is open the vents wide open, put as much lit charcoal in there as you can, or some burning wood chunks or logs will bring the temp up quickly. If you own a charcoal chimney, you can light the coals in that, then pour them into the charcoal pan.
If none of the above is working out, don't fret--the temp of the smoker may not be hot enough, but it's still penetrating the meat with smoke, so if it looks like a no-go, then take the meat out of the smoker, wrap it in foil & finish it off in a 225 deg. oven. You'll still get a well cooked brisket with a little smoke taste. Chalk it up to experience. :D If you've got other side dishes going at a different temp in the oven then i'm out of ideas :(
No matter what, though i doubt the brisket will be done in 5 hours. I would think more like 6-7 hours at 225, especially since the first hour you've had some troubles. If you rush it and cook it a much higher temp it will turn out tough.
I hope it works out for you! Let us know.
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Old 02-22-2004, 10:38 AM   #3
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For what it's worth...

I'm replying to this long after your request for help, as I am new to this forum. I used to use a water smoker with charcoal like the one you describe, in cold weather (in the mid 30s to mid 40s), and had the same problem.

I think there are two problems with smokers of this type: (1) the metal the smoker is made out of is thin, (2) there is a lot of leakage of hot air/smoke between the different sections of the smoker. As a result, you're losing the heat that you want to keep in the smoker.

In cold temperatures, I used to use an old blanket and just wrap it around the smoker, without covering up the vents and the temperature gauge on the top. I used clothes pins to make sure that the blanket didn't come off. You'll need to watch the temperature, and if it gets too hot, start taking some layers of the blanket off.

Hope this helps--
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