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Hi all, bought one of the Callow smokers off Amazon and had a go last weekend. Mixed results due to underestimating the amount of time and charcoal I needed, I think (everything tasted good but had to be finished in the oven):

  • a 2kg lamb breast and 1.5kg pork shoulder the first day, using about 3kg of Weber briquettes (these from amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Weber-charcoal-briquettes-black-17591/dp/B01F10ERPW/), which was fine for about 4 or 5 hours but I was too cautious on the temperature and ended up ovening them
  • And then another 2kg pork shoulder which didn't get up to temp and had to be ovened after 4 hours with another 3kg or so (I thought the joint was smaller than it was, and it got dark!)

Anyway, I think my issues can be resolved with more briquettes and more time. But my main issue, as in the title, was that after 4 hours the air vents on the bottom were becoming blocked with ash. Is this because I was using the wrong type of charcoal or something? Should I have tried to take the top section off and cleared out the hot ash? Thanks in advance for any advice! 

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@Wade has a lot of experience with the Callow and hopefully can answer this for you. But as a general point most makes of bullet smokers get a high build up of ash at the bottom of them, especially with briquettes i find. I shake the handle at the top of mine to try and even it out at the bottom if it blocks a vent hole

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Hi Rupes

A great question. There are several possible causes and I will need some more information before we can pin down the possible cause.

The Weber briquettes should be fine though they do produce slightly more ash than Heat Beads. How did you use them in the fire bowl?
Did you light them using a chimney starter and then pour them all into the bowl or did you use a briquette Minion? An example of the Minion is shown below - most of the coals unlit around the edge and a few lit ones in the centre.

59a5c4a75277b_ProQMinion.thumb.jpg.092c70130ff86f0e820c25e8f3cf5cfb.jpg

Also, what temperature were you cooking at?

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Thanks both! It was the minion method, and I was around 230F on the first and 230-240 on the second. The first time I scattered wood chips across the top, the second time I put them in a foil pouch.

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