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Old 11-22-2006, 03:59 PM   #1
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Playing with the Damper

I generally understand the practical use of the Damper on any grill, but while researching smoking in general, I am finding a lot of recommendations to set based on the duration of the cooking.

I found three separate sites that discussed always smoking with the damper completely open until the outer layer of the meat is dry to the touch.

Any one have any opinion on this?

-Brad

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Old 11-27-2006, 07:44 PM   #2
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The damper is for temp control only

The use of the damper is to control airflow and thsu your temp.....there are recomended setting from certain companies like Weber on how to set yout dampers to maintain your temp but that will vary based on the outside temp the humidity both inside and outside of your cokker and whether you are using sand or water in the water pan as well as the type of charcoal......The Thermometers that come with most units are junk so it would be a good idea to get something like a Maverick with 2 probes to monitor both the temp at grill level and the internal temp on your meat.
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Old 11-27-2006, 09:48 PM   #3
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I wish I could find the sites I was looking at. It wasn't really discussing it from the temperature aspect as much as it seemed to indicate the importance of air flow and smoke creation. I realize that air flow definitely impacts the heat, but I didn't know if there were other reasons to keep it open or closed. As in, does the damper have the ability to control the amount of smoke, or the length of time you get smoke from your wood chunks.

If I find those sites, I'll be sure to share. I'd be interested if others take home the same information I did..

Either way, thank you for your information. I do not currently use Water or Sand, but I think I might have to try adding sand to the equation. I will do just about anything to maintain a more consistent temperature.

-Brad
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Old 11-27-2006, 11:22 PM   #4
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Look at the Weber site......they have setting for the Smokey Mountain.....What kind of smoker are you using? I use 100% wood.......no charcoal unless I am using my WSM......you may want to try some more specific forums.....the forum on the smokering is good and a lot more active than this one
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Old 11-28-2006, 08:35 AM   #5
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I've been using the Offset method for my grill to smoke with. I start the fire with charcoal, then immediately start burning wood. I've found that when I need to feed the fire, I need to leave the damper wide open for maximum airflow to the wood, but only until my temperature has come back up to around 225 degrees F. Once the temperature has reached that level, in about 5 minutes, I close the damper to just barely allow any air into the smoker, to prolong the burn-time of the wood I put in. I have to be careful, though, because if I close it to much, the fire will start to die, and I'll loose cooking time.
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Old 11-28-2006, 12:54 PM   #6
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I use the damper strictly to control the temperature myself. As I consider building my own, much larger smoker, I am curious about the possibility of an automatic damper. I know they make them for those outdoor wood burners for heating solutions.

-Brad
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Old 11-28-2006, 02:02 PM   #7
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I use mine to control temp also. And I don't ever use actively burning wood--the smoke from that is pretty acrid tasting, in my experience. I let the wood burn down to coals.
If the temp starts to drop, I open the dampers/chimney to get more air to let the coals burn hotter. Add more as they burn down.
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Old 11-28-2006, 04:25 PM   #8
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I cook on offsets, WSMs, Weber kettles, and ceramic pits, the pit I use the exhaust to control heat is the ceramic cookers. You can control the heat of the pits with the intake vents and the size of the fire.

When cooking on ceramics you do have to use the exhaust to control heat put you use very little wood for smoke.

depending on what pit you are using and the amount of wood in the pit if you close the exhaust down you will make cresote and ruin anything in the pit.

Gretchen's style of cooking would allow for some use of the exhaust but if closed down to far for to long it can also be a problem.

Candelbc from your posts it sounds like you may be using a WSM. If that is the case after years of cooking and competing on them there is no reason to use exhaust vent to control temp the intake vents will do the job.
Jim
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Old 11-28-2006, 04:35 PM   #9
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I am not sure what WSM is.. :)

I do know that I do not ever use the Exhaust vent. I read somewhere once that by closing the exhaust vent, you can actually create a very nasty flavor. I just went with that and have always left it open..

My smoker is a Char-Griller (http://www.chargriller.com/shop/grills/outlaw.html) with the side fire box. I don't grill nearly as much as I smoke...

-Brad
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:31 PM   #10
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Hah! I have the same grill. I don't have the side-mounted firebox, yet. Hopefully before the next grilling season begins.
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