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Temperature Control.. arrgh!


Guitarbloke
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It's been a while since I've had a chance to use my Frontier (a combination of a broken foot and bad weather put paid to any hopes over the last month or so).

 

But today I thought I'd fire it up once the rain stopped and the sun came out.

 

But I'm having issues with the temperature rising far too slowly and not consistently, and I'm not sure exactly why...

 

I'm only using 2 out of the 3 stackers, and all the vents are open, but its still hovering at 190F on the inkbird. Before I added the water pan (full of hot water) it was hitting 300F.  I added the water and put 2 racks of ribs on when it got down to 250F, but the temp kept dropping.  I thought it might stabilise so I left the ribs in but it's been almost an hour now and still crawling from 190F upwards.

 

Oddly enough whilst typing this, it has just shot up from 190 to 199F before my eyes, but seems to dropping back again  now (now back to 190F).  It's at a shady side of the house where its protected from the elements in case it rains.

 

And back up to 198F now...no 194F... no 199F...nope 190F... Argh!  last time I cooked on the Frontier it was so easy, and stabilised well. 

 

I'm thinking I've done something differently this time, but not sure what (other than opening all the vents this time to try and lift the temps)

 

I'm using minion the method and the briquettes are still burning away happily.

 

Any ideas?  The sun has come out so I've relocated it to a sunnier spot in the garden although it's now 185F... 🤦🏽‍♂️🙈

 

 

EDIT - emptied the water pan and the temp skyrocketed to 290F. Closed off 2 vents, so just the top vent fully open and 1 bottom vent.  Added a **small** amount of water back in to try and bring it back down but now its dropping too far again (seems to be hovering at 220F which is better than before but still a long way from 250F)

Edited by Guitarbloke
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23 hours ago, Icefever said:

I know how your feeling, I've now given up on water in the pan, I use sand..also I get better rusults with the top vent only part open and use this vent to control the temp.

 

Ice.

Oh I'm glad it's not just me! xD

 

I'll try sand next time.  I did eventually manage to get things balanced a bit - I took out the water and let the temp come back up, then I added a small amount of water with a watering can every 45mins or so.  Managed to get a stable 230F, so not the 250F I wanted but it was enough to finish my cook.

 

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2 hours ago, Guitarbloke said:

I added a small amount of water with a watering can every 45mins or so. 

There should be no need for that,  I found sand far better,  buy a bag of play sand from B&M or Homebase......my first run with it was way better than water....held temp a lot better.

 

Ice.

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3 hours ago, Icefever said:

There should be no need for that,  I found sand far better,  buy a bag of play sand from B&M or Homebase......my first run with it was way better than water....held temp a lot better.

 

Ice.

I'll try that, cheers Ice!  Do you fill the whole water pan with sand or just half?

 

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, new forum member. I joined as my Dad bought me a ProQ Frontier for combined birthday and Xmas (even though I’d only done 2 smokes on my Aldi Gardenline offset which I bought as a trial set), but that’s Dad - once he gets an idea for a present, he’ll stick with it.

I read up on the very useful ProQ Tips thread in this forum, but I’m having the same issue as GuitarBloke (and CWC in GB’s follow on thread about sand). I struggle to get the ProQ to maintain 105degC without burning through a lot of fuel and with all vents open.

Yesterday’s cook was admittedly in about 10degC weather, but I can’t see the ProQ being hugely susceptible to an outside variation of temperature, plus I’ve had the same issue when cooking in over 20degC over September. I tend to put two boiled kettles of water in the pan at start and I topped up twice during a 7 hour cook yesterday. I started with a 2/3 full basket of coconut cubes (direct from ProQ) and they were fairly well grey/glowing when I put them in the basket. I used the chimney to get a second half load up and running as chucking unlit coals on never really seems to get them glowing.

Even with a mostly full basket of grey coals I struggle to get to the Nirvana of top vent 100% open and 2 of the bottom ones closed using the third to fine tune like others in the forum and elsewhere seem to achieve. Once things settle at around 225degF/105degC, at best I need 2 open and one maybe 50%, but after an hour or two I seem to need to open up the third fully and watch the temp slowly dwindle towards 100degC, then I start to have to think about firing up some more coals about 4 hours in. Initial research seemed to be that the ProQ was a dream to hit that 105 and keep on it for hours, but I’m not seeing it. I know the only real way to get it above for me would be to have no water in the pan, whereas it seems others would be able to take it to 250/275degF just by opening all vents.

One technique I’ve not tried is Minion, but like I say, I struggle to get the cubes to take without the chimney and it’d take ages to paint them all yellow. I know they are a pain to get going, I use my Weber chimney with wood twizzlers underneath, a layer of restaurant charcoal, then cubes on top to make sure the charcoal gets the cubes to fire up.

Am I using too much water throughout? Should I switch to sand? I note that didn’t seem to solve GB’s problem above though. Should I have more faith in the Minion method and trust that the cubes will take? My worry there is I’ll hover under 100degC, but maybe I just need to take the leap? Smoking is after all trial and error.

Anyway, thanks for listening to my ramblings and apologies, but I am a metric child.

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Hi Rawce, welcome to the forum, haven't used my ProQ for a while, but reading your post, you seem to be worrying about a 5 degree temp difference? Really it is nothing to worry about and personally if aiming for 225F anything between 210-240F will still cook your food fine and an even bigger temp diff won't make that much difference. Doing ribs today and where I would always aim for around 225F on my ProQ, currently doing them on my pellet grill at 245F and started them off at 200F for the first hour.

Meat is very forgiving, cooked over a long period of time and, doesn't need an exact constant temp. I remember having great difficultly and worried constantly at first if it deviated from 225F so long as you are in the range of 210-250F or thereabouts your meat will cook fine from my experience. Using your ProQ over time will help you learn it's little quirks and how to adapt them, wouldn't stress over it to much at the beginning and just keep practicing with cheaper cuts of meat till you get there.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi, thanks for response sotv. My temp log is on Excel on my laptop, but I can drag it out if needs be. In summary I t creeps down from 100 and into the low 90s if left unchecked, so sub 200degF in old money. When I’m trying to hit a 90-95 internal meat temperature the small temp differential would add hours to the cook and I doubt the fuel would last. I think overall I’m struggling to balance those users who can close off most of their vents and me who needs them all open just to hover at 100 (this is 4ish hours in mind).

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