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SmokyButt's Achievements

  1. @ CeramicChef - When I achieved my long low and slow cooking temps last Sunday, that is what I did. The trick was letting the temp creep up slowly and shutting the top vent when I was still a ways away from the target. I waited until it was around 180 for a desired 225, but I found that was not early enough - the temps continued increasing too fast for me to stabilize in time. Next time I'll probably start closing it up around 150 so I don't run as much risk of bypassing my target.
  2. @Bizzie - That's great! Very interesting that you get good results with a wide open bottom vent. People keep saying that the top vent is where the primary temp control comes from. I wonder how much the bottom actually affects things? I was happy to have achieved 12 hours in the 233F - 251F range and almost 20 hours above 200F in the pics above. Full confession, though, I did make minor adjustments to the top vent maybe 4 or 5 times during that period. At least once because they temp was rising too quickly - about 1/10 of a degree per second after it was already in the upper 230's. I don't remember other adjustments to keep it from rising, but I did make a few to drop the temp and/or keep it from dropping more. All in all, though, it was light work and the results were what I was striving for. I have one more weekend between now and the weekend I'm entertaining a few families. I am probably going to try one more dry run (no meat) to be sure I can get consistent results. BTW, I hear many people referring to the Weber cubes. For a starter I really like these starters I get at Menards. I don't have their name handy, but they look like toasted coconut macaroons, seriously! They are actually half-globes of cardboard and paraffin wax. You lay them on the coals with the flat side up and light their edges. I've used them for years and they've never failed me. If I could buy the cubes locally I'd try them but my stores don't sell them. Thanks for jumping in, Bizzie!
  3. Thanks Daniel. BTW, I admittedly sliced my prime rib the wrong direction in that picture. I had cut it in half because it was twice as much as we needed and the rest was to store. So after the initial cut, I sliced it properly to serve. jb
  4. Well, boys and grills, the first attached image shows SUCCESS! Take a gander at it below. Specifically, I maintained temperatures between 223° and 251° for 12 hours, with a current temp of 235°. By then it was 11:00 pm on Sunday night. I had to get up for work in the morning. But for the heck of it I decided to leave the Akorn alone and kept the thermometer and timer running. Around 6:30am I decided to check back again. It had been over 19.5 hours and the temp was still 205°! I didn't want to leave it running until after work, so I shut it all down at this point. Note that the time measurements are not from when I lit the fire but from when I adjusted the vents to stabilize for the cook. In other words, it's from when I would have put the meat in. DANG I wish I had put meat in! That would've been some awesome shoulder and brisket! My tummy's grumbling just thinking about it! I feel prepared now for my guests on June 26. All of you here helped me in this, and it's greatly appreciated. To show that I really do know what I'm doing, I've attached a couple of photos of previous Pulled Pork and Prime Rib... from my Brinkman Horizontal Smoker days. And to celebrate, I'm going to share my own original Chocolate Coke BBQ Sauce recipe, which I've never shared with anyone. It gets amazing raves every single time. Here it is: ______________________________________ JB's CHOCOLATE COKE BARBECUE SAUCE (Makes about 3 Cups) Revision 05/12/2012 Ingredients: 1 c Coke 1 c Ketchup 1/4 c Worcestershire Sauce 1/2 t Liquid Smoke 1/4 c A-1 Steak Sauce 1 T Brown Sugar 1 T Cider Vinegar 1/2 t Onion powder 1/2 t Garlic powder 1 t Chili Powder 1 t Fince Ground Black Pepper 2 t Unsweetened Dark Chocolate Powder 1 t Baking Soda Tabasco to desired heat (I usually use 5 drops for a general audience, 12 drops for people who aren't wusses) Directions: Combine Everything in a saucepan Gradually bring to a boil over medium heat Reduce heat slightly so that the sauce simmers gently Simmer until desired thickness (10-30 minutes), stirring occasionally
  5. @CeramicChef - I sure didn't tell you I knew better, nor did my logic cause me to not hold a temperature. The fact that you think my logic caused me to fail to hold a temperature suggests a problem with your ability to reason. In no way did the explanation of my logic even appear to explain something I did right. It was clearly an attempt to analyze what I did wrong - and it was stated as a question, not a conclusion. If my logic was correct - that I blocked oxygen flow by using too much charcoal - it might have explained why I couldn't control the temp. But that's no longer important. You and others have said to fill 'er up with fuel. I get it. But my query wasn't unreasonable even if wrong. As I said, I do appreciate your instructive post you linked me to. I'm sure there are many here who will take a friendlier and more communal approach. I love this board and look forward to correction and growth from others. jb
  6. You guys are smokin'! I appreciate all the insights. I'll be trying again this weekend, though we've got a heat index of a humid 104F. TOO MUCH WOOD @Retfr8flyr, @SmoovD, @Grill_Boy, and @ninjatoon are all in agreement that I used too many woof chunks. I’ll eliminate them completely next time and maybe add them back in in the future. NOT TOO MUCH FUEL? @CeramicChef - You asked “how can having a full fire bowl of lump make controlling temps difficult? That's like saying a full gasoline tank makes controlling the speed of you car difficult. That's sheer nonsense for both the car and the kamado. Forget that crap.” Well, I’m not so sure that’s a reasonable comparison. As you wrote in your second paragraph, “Controlling temps is strictly about controlling air flow into and out of your kamado.” My reason for asking the question was that a bowl full of charcoal could restrict (NOT prevent) the airflow from the bottom of the bowl to the top of the bowl where the fire is. That could deprive the fire of oxygen, which itself is part of the fuel. Obviously closing the bottom vent can shut down the burn. Filling the bowl too full could create a similar effect. Just a question, and I’m not sure it’s an unreasonable one even though it might not be accurate. Thanks for your link, BTW. Excellent, well thought out, detailed instructions. TOP OR BOTTOM VENT FOR TWEAKING TEMP? That post raises another question both for CeramicChef and the group. Fine tune temps with the top vent or the bottom vent? I reasoned that since heat rises the top vent lets heat out and opening it would therefore be a better way to drop the temp, while the bottom vent flows additional oxygen and opening it would therefore be a better way to raise the temp. That doesn’t match up with CeramicChef’s instructions though. What’s wrong with my logic there? MY BOWL FULL OF LUMP AFTER COOK @bigdl made me feel better about the remaining, unburnt coals after my 11 hour experiment. This is again a mental adjustment for me to make from using logs or wood in a horizontal smoker. Those are normally completely consumed, so it was surprising to me to see almost as much remaining as what I started with. I like it! USE TIP TOP TEMP? @Robertb and @ero4444 – I have read some on the TTT and am not beyond getting a little mechanical help regulating the temp. It actually seems like something for a future version of Akorn – CG should consider using those instead of the current vent from what I’ve seen online. I haven’t found a decent video that shows me exactly how you go about setting and adjusting your temp with it. I’ve looked a lot of places and everyone loves it. I’ve also learned many ways to attach it to the Akrorn. My favorite is drilling 2 holes in the TTT that correspond to the holes that currently are used to attache the top vent, remove the top vent, and replace it with the TTT using wingnuts. http://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/20996-another-tip-top-temp-mount/ But this detail about setting temps with it intrigues me. jb
  7. Retfr8flyr, SmoovD, and @Grill_Boy - Thanks for this. I'm not surprised that I added too much wood, though I tried to model it off of an Akorn video I saw. Before the Akorn, I always smoked with straight Hickory logs, so it's an adjustment for me to use charcoal and wood chunks. I did wonder if I had way too much fuel. With the primary oxygen coming from the bottom, would having too much charcoal and wood make it more difficult for the air to reach the top fire? Could that be the reason for my temp control challenges? I especially wondered this after seeing that so little of my fuel burnt after 9 hours of good temp. Separate question: When do you add your meat? If I've got a good temp, I'm reluctant to open the top and let heat escape. Do you put it in when you first close the lid? SmokyButt ("JB")
  8. This conversation is EXCELLENT and helped me tremendously! But I still need a little more help. Since this one is several years old and so many pages now, I began a new thread here: Need an Akorn Smoker "Heat Control Analyst." Can you help? I created a pictorial timeline of my best attempt at Akorn temp control yet and attached it to that discussion. I'd love the input of you gurus! ~ SmokyButt
  9. I Need An Analyst! Hello. New member, and I have told a lot about myself in the new member intro section. I'm a well weathered smoker with specialty in pork shoulder, brisket, chicken, and turkey (20++ years). Until a year or so ago I developed my skills in Memphis first with a metal trashcan mod and then with a rinky dinky Brinkman horizontal smoker with chimney and firebox. I did extremely well with those pieces of crap over the years.The beautiful wife bought me an Akorn for our anniversary, and this is my second season trying to master it for low and slow. I LOVE it, but can't CONTROL it very well (wife says the same think about me ). Until last weekend, I was never able to keep a steady temp between 200F and 300F for longer than 4 hours. Sometimes I would then relight the fire once or twice and/or finish it in the oven. ARGH! Then I read through key discussions here at the Guru, especially the excellent Can't Control Temps On Akorn discussion from 2013. Following that discussion, I was able to pull 9 hours of 200F to 300F before it started to peter out. Fortunately, this was a test run - no meat. I took a PHOTO LOG of my entire experience and condensed it down to the attached PDF with enough text to explain things. Who will look at that for me and provide insights as to how I can do better? I'm supposed to serve up some pulled pork and brisket for company June 26. I would GREATLY appreciate it! SmokyButt Smoker Picture Timeline.pdf
  10. Welcome from a fellow (former) mountaineer! Grew up in Bridgeport and got all my schoolin' there
  11. I'm excited to be here to share, but mostly to acquire the wisdom of the gurus. I'm in middle-central Iowa and have been smoking pork, brisket, and chicken since 1989. At that time I had move from WV to Memphis, stopped in Corky's BBQ my first week there, and my life was turned around. I craved the deliciousness and sought out locals who knew what they were doing. My first smoker was a metal garbage can mod, and it was from there that I spent the next 8 years trying to perfect the craft. Years later, after moving to Ohio, I bought a Brinkman horizontal smoker with chimney and firebox from a Lowe's sale for $150. I though it was the best (how little did I know! :-)). Found an unlimited source for free hickory wood and, I've got to say, I pretty well mastered that rinky-dinky Brinkman. A year or so ago my wife bought me an Akorn - the red kind with its own wheeled stand and black metal folding shelves. I affectionately call it R2D2 because I'm about 25% nerd. I really struggled with the Akorn. I loved everything about except one thing - I couldn't keep the right fire for 10-14 hours's worth of 200-375 degree heat. I was frustrated. I thought "If I can master the Brinkman, I'm not about to let this quality smoker kick my SmokyButt. I first found a great YouTube video by "BEER-N-BBQ by Larry" instructing me how to build and regulate the fire. I had trouble keeping it going, though, and Larry (who is also on this board) was selfless in helping me through dialog on that video's discussion area. But I still couldn't quite get my Akorn to do what I needed. I tried several times, sometimes getting an edible shoulder or brisket by relighting the fire in the middle once or twice and finishing in a 250 degree oven. Edible, though. That's about all I could say about it. I'm no quitter. Until yesterday, my record for keeping a 200-275 degree temp in the Akorn was 4 hours. Yesterday - after reading and really digesting the 7-page discussion here on Kamado Guru, "Can't control temps on Akorn". Yeah, I know that is over 3 years old, but it is awesome! I think it should be pinned! I'd read it before, but this time somehow something clicked. No, I've still not be successful - yet - but yesterday I managed to hold a 200-275 degree temperature for a full 9 hours before it started it's permanent decline. That 9 hours was without any meat in the smoker, and during the daytime, and with a lot of fidgeting with the vents. But I never once opened the smoker and never once went too high or too low in temp. I'm in Iowa, now. And in my small town there is a little BBQ restaurant that the locals think is great (it's name starts with "Smokin'" but I don't want to call it out. How sad. Seriously. It is the worst excuse for "smoked BBQ" I've ever experienced. My new community needs to know what it should really be like, or at least my closest friends should. I'm bound and determined to master this Akorn and rock their world. Glad to be here! SmokyButt
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