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My smoker always burns/blackens my food


Stevie Black
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Hi guys, Im looking for some help as to why I keep burning my ribs.  I have an offset smoker (chargriller pro which I have modified to try to improve performance)  and am using chunks of hickory (over charcoal) in the fire box.  I can maintain 250f quite well and I keep my smoke clear blue as much as possible.  But ribs are blackened underneath (again) and the rest of the ribs overcooked after just 3 hours. I’m at a loss to what I’m doing wrong...

as a note, I use a digital thermometer and also have two analogue dial thermometers fitted either end of the cooking chamber, so I’m pretty certain temperatures are good.

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9 minutes ago, Icefever said:

@Smokin Monkey in another photo on the other thread shows what looks like some kind of foil?? or plate with wire grill???

 

Ice.

Yes, I have the curved plate (which was originally the coal grate which I simply inverted and covered in foil) and I have put the wire mesh across the plate so I have something to rest water trays on

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Yes I did see this another thread after I posted.

Will have a think.

Ok go to Supermarket and buy a pack of those par-baked Bread Rolls.

place two lines of them on the rack

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Cook for say 10 minutes, then check to see which ones are darker than the others.

 

This is going to tell us where the hot spots are and where work needs to be done.

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33 minutes ago, Stevie Black said:

Yes, I have the curved plate (which was originally the coal grate which I simply inverted and covered in foil)

 

Ok, so if I'm reading this correct????  the foil is over a slotted fire grate? if so the foil over the gaps would not be sufficient to act as a heat deflector. Have you tried putting a bowl/foil tray with water or sand in the bottom under the grill??

The bread rolls are a good way of showing where the heat flows through the cooking chamber.

Ice.

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3 minutes ago, Stevie Black said:

I think if anything the firebox is big compared to the cooking area...  this may be why there is too much heat...

Now from that photo, it does indeed look big,  try a small burn on a test run with the rolls and watch the temp probes.

Ice.

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3 minutes ago, Icefever said:

Now from that photo, it does indeed look big,  try a small burn on a test run with the rolls and watch the temp probes.

Ice.

Ive got probes in now.   gonna heat it up slowly.  I will add that chunk of wood in the picture at some point...

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Update...  been going for about an hour now.  Temperature is more stable and quite even across the grill, although I'm barely getting over 210f at the minute..  just sprayed ribs, no sign of burning...  I’ll play with dampers and fuel to try to reach 220/230..

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So, after 7 hours smoking a rack of ribs I finally (almost) cracked it..  here are the highlights..

  • the plate mod (to create a baffle plate) stopped the meat from burning, but I used a lot of fuel to try to keep the grate above 225f
  • i used about 5kg of Weber briquettes 
  • For the smoking, I used half a box of wood (about 4kg).
  • I think a lot of the heat went straight up the flue...  I may mod the flue and extend along the inside to almost creat a reverse flow arrangement
  • the analogue temp’ gauges read almost 20f higher than the digi (I checked the digi by putting both sensors in boiling water and it read 211f on both probes)
  • the ribs I cooked tasted really nice, but I defo picked the wrong type ( going to get proper baby back next time)
  • I need to find some better charcoal for long smoking sessions
  • i need to find a wood supplier (currently buying boxes of wood from Amazon at £20 box...).

So, a sort of success, but I was bascialy chained to the smoker all day monitoring temperature, smoke quality etc.  I am now considering a Weber Mountain Smoker as I think this will be better suited to cooking small amounts (and seems less labour intensive than my offset)

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Stevie Black said:

the analogue temp’ gauges read almost 20f higher than the digi (I checked the digi by putting both sensors in boiling water and it read 211f on both probes)

Just as I thought,  I never trust the analogue type ones....well done on getting a better cook.  You did get through a fair amount of fuel but keep on it you'll get there.

 

Ice. 

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