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2nd attempt at a cook with it and still struggling, with the Smartfire! (Sealing the Proq Solved it)!

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"If your getting ash from briquettes this means that the manufacturer has used fillers (could be just about anything, including cement" All burning creates ash?  Not just fillers.......

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27 minutes ago, Mack said:

 This does make them a bit more difficult to light, but we've discovered that being square is not a bad thing 😁

Great, thanks again.

I use the wood wools to light, as shown in the picture above. I use a small food gas torch and hold it for 5-10 seconds tops.

I have *never* failed to light the coco yet. No struggle at all! 👍

Phil.

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32 minutes ago, Phlashster said:

Great, thanks again.

I use the wood wools to light, as shown in the picture above. I use a small food gas torch and hold it for 5-10 seconds tops.

I have *never* failed to light the coco yet. No struggle at all! 👍

Phil.

Video worked for me, funnily enough I ordered some of those wood wool lighters from Amazon last night for the first time, as it is a messy job with bits of burnt paper flying everywhere when using newspapers, for a few cubes of cocoshell

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Had ago at cooking some ribs today and although a bit better than previous tests, the temps still went too high again.

Lit using macs video technique (very successful) and closed both bottom vents (ended up cracking one slightly open) once temp started climbing past 245F again . With the top one open slightly throughout the cook. Was hoping the temp would drop when I opened the lid to spritz the ribs but kept climbing above 245F each time

Started well but after 2 hours started to climb to 250F again? The food certainly was still edible even with higher temperature, but was more blackened than I like visually and taste wise, but I am used to 225F and would feel far more relaxed if I could get my ProQ to start maintaining that temp again, before the smartfire. As that is my main goto temp for cooking

I used sand in the pan a third full and the bigger ProQ cocoshell briquettes ( Thanks @Mack) in the minion method not a full stacked basket as only a 6 hour cook but one level of briquettes over the basket.

My Maverick ET-732 and Smartfire pit probes showed a 15F difference in temp side by side but not touching, during the cook, will do a boiled water test to see which one was out, and update tomorrow. Didn't use food probes as it was ribs, so not sure if any difference between those temp probes, but will try those on my next cook.

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Edited by sotv

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31 minutes ago, sotv said:

will do a boiled water test to see which one was out, and update tomorrow.

That's what I'll have to do between the SF v Inkbird as I had a difference I'd like to know what's what??

 

Ice.

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The variance does not make any difference? Not least because  i believe probes are not that precise so there will be variance. Between  them. 15F seems fair and not that much of a tolerance And within the bbq there will be variance of temp between the bottom and the top? Just some thoughts. Not worth worrying about. Where accurate temp is important such as pharmaceutical sector i imagine they use rather more expensive equipment to measure temps.

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With some help and guidance from Brian at the Woodsmoke festival, sealed my ProQ up and the Smartfire worked great for me after sealing over a 12 hour cook, cooking on 2 levels. The fan had to work hard during that time though, but it was quite windy during the day and had to open a vent fully as well, But sure on a more benign day, the usual recommended vent system set-up would have worked

Aimed for 230F for most of the cook and ramped it up to 300F for the last 1 hour and it reached that and maintained it under 15 minutes Few temp fluctuations, but cooking 2 different pieces of meat on 2 levels and had to open the lid a few times during the cook, to access the meat. Quite a windy day which is why the fan worked so hard, but it did what I asked it to, so very happy 

Couldn't get the hotspot to work between 2 phones, but the bluetooth worked fine and just set the smartfire app on a second phone, signed in and was able to read the temps on the second phone from nearly a mile away.

Needed a few lid opens during the cook so a few fluctuations in pit temp, but if I had left it alone, it would have maintained the temp constantly for the cook, I am sure. 

One other thing, with gammon, I found out it has a big stall on it during lo&slo nearly 5 hours on a 5kg piece, hence the ramp in temp.

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Edited by sotv
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I'm glad you are much happier with it @sotv.

I think with a few more runs, you will have it singing and an even more impressive graph to show. 

Good job everyone, great assist from @Icefever

Phil.

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First overnight cook with it, and it worked well, 14 hours, and maintained within 10F of 225F for pretty well the whole of the cook, which was fine for me, no alarms needed to wake during the night and woke at 5am to do the glazing. Temp could have probably been closer to 225F at the end if topped up with charcoal, but the whole basket untouched, lasted for the 14 hours, even with the slight temp dip. Temps recovered reasonably quickly after the 3 lid opens towards the end for glazing the gammon during the cook. Fan still has to do a lot of work during the cook, but looking to replace my ProQ Frontier soon, so hopefully the new smoker will cut the need for the fan to work so hard.

Cooked with all vents at the bottom closed, and the top vent slightly cracked. Coals lit opposite side to the smarfire itself and used ProQ Cocoshell Briquettes, estimate about 3.5kg. About a fifth of the briquettes left at the end of the cook.

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1 minute ago, sotv said:

 

 

First overnight cook with it, and it worked well, 14 hours, and maintained within 10F of 225F for pretty well the whole of the cook, which was fine for me, no alarms needed to wake during the night and woke at 5am to do the glazing. Temp could have probably been closer to 225F at the end if topped up with charcoal, but the whole basket untouched, lasted for the 14 hours, even with the slight temp dip. Temps recovered reasonably quickly after the 3 lid opens towards the end for glazing the gammon during the cook. Fan still has to do a lot of work during the cook, but looking to replace my ProQ Frontier soon, so hopefully the new smoker will cut the need for the fan to work so hard.

Cooked with all vents at the bottom closed, and the top vent slightly cracked. Coals lit opposite side to the smarfire itself and used ProQ Cocoshell Briquettes, estimate about 3.5kg. About a fifth of the briquettes left at the end of the cook.

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Fantastic. Great result.

There are always some ups and downs. I put it down to things like wood chunks catching etc.

It does look like the fan was working hard. I had exactly the same on my first couple of cooks. I was advised to crack open the bottom two vents on mine to allow a background level of air which SF then tops up to maintain temp. It worked well for me. 

Phil.

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When I have opened the vents, the temps tend to be more erratic and can go +/- 20F from target temp. When I replace my current ProQ the vents open may work better for me?

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8 minutes ago, sotv said:

When I have opened the vents, the temps tend to be more erratic and can go +/- 20F from target temp. When I replace my current ProQ the vents open may work better for me?

Those erratic swings often point to a top vent adjustment needed. Closing usually it seems from the advice i have read. 

3 minutes ago, Justin said:

Just wondering what sort of tolerance on temperature is expected with a smartfire?

I have had cooks that have varied by only 2-3 degrees F either side of the set temp. Vent positions are absolutely key and i am still learning.

Some pits (esp Kamado style) seem to be able to easily produce a flat line within 1F.

To be fair, a temp consistent within 20F is unlikely to make much of a difference on a long cook. 

 

Phil.

 

 

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Its a learning curve but you will get there. I did a learning curve with weber kettle bottom vent sdjustment (not smartfire). and am pretty good at it now when using weber briquettes. Adjusting depending on weather conditions

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Thought it only fair to give an update. Much happier with it now with my ProQ sealed, much more stable and had half a dozen cooks with this sort of stability. The couple of drops of temp are for lid openings but they get back up to temp and stabilise very quickly. Found the top vent and one bottom vent cracked to the size of a screwdriver thickness work for me, along with a ringed doughnut type set up for the charcoal, hole in the middle of the basket of lumpwood charcoal and pour 2/3rds of a lit charcoal chimney into the middle of it. I set the temperature at 230F for a 225F cook gives a pretty stable 226F average cook time over the length of the cook The powerbank still has to work a bit more than I would like, or see other peoples have to, but no problem for my 20000mah powerbank to keep up. I am sure when I upgrade my older ProQ the powerbank usage will come down as well.

9-15 hour cooks with a full basket of lumpwood no problem without need for topping up works fine. Much happier and definitely a leaky ProQ Frontier was the problem rather than the smartfire.

 

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On 9/23/2019 at 10:26 AM, sotv said:

Much happier and definitely a leaky ProQ Frontier was the problem rather than the smartfire.

Glad it's sorted at last, so a bit of sticky fire tape word a treat??....makes one think....should the manufacturer take this on board??

 

Ice.

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It does make you think Ice. 

I generally don't have any issues, but there has been the odd occasion when i have had struggles keeping temps down. Maybe wind at a certain direction or something. 

Maybe sealing mine would even things out for me too. 

Phil.

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8 hours ago, Phlashster said:

Maybe sealing mine would even things out for me too. 

Well....it won't hurt,  you have nothing to lose  & maybe everything to gain mate ??

 

Ice.

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My ProQ is 3 years old and has been outside in all weathersand sections dropped on the floor in that time, so never going to be as good as new. I would expect a newish one to be well sealed, but if you do see leaks sealing it does help.

Edited by sotv
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I definitely get some smoke leaking from the doors and stack seals. 

I will see how it goes in the new shelter when it arrives first. 

Phil. 

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Hello, 

Can you advise on how you seal the smoker? I don't think I have any problems per se, but it would be good to know how you do it.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, simpic said:

Hello, 

Can you advise on how you seal the smoker? I don't think I have any problems per se, but it would be good to know how you do it.

 

If it is the ProQ you have? I bought the 2 roll pack of this and it was enough to seal my ProQ Frontier Myself & Brian sealed the 3 sections up at the National last year and it is still going strong now. We ran a seal around the top of each section, the 2 seperate stackers and the bottom firepit one along with around the doors on the inside of them, on the outer edges, so they form a seal with the metal part of the stacker when they close. You just need a stanley knife to cut the lengths, then just peal the backing off and it sticks almost instantly to the surface. 

Don't think there was a lot left over, so need to be pretty exact with your cutting to seal it all with 1 roll, if I remember correctly, but £13 well spent, I thought if you find you get temp fluctuations with your ProQ

 

Edited by sotv
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