Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insight into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
He returns all questions . . . . . . .
Topic: Maintaining temp in a water smoker . . . . From: Brock,
Subject: Re: Maintaining Temperature
I received a New Braunfels water smoker for Christmas (graduated up from one of the little water smokers that I got at a garage sale). On her maiden voyage, I had a tough time maintaining an adequate temp. It hovered around 175°F for most of the day no matter how much coals I heaped on it or what else I did. I finally finished the meat off in the oven! Any suggestions? The following seem like possiblities:
1. keep the door shut. When the temp dropped I would open up the door and stoke up or add coals (door is full height of the smoker)
2. Don't barbecue on a cold day (50-60°F), occasional sprinkles.
3. Don't add any coals that aren't already grey or water that isn't already hot
This still doesn't seem like enough to make a 50°F difference in the cooking temp. I tried to do all of these things anyway, I just wasn't religious about it. I'm thinking of trying it without the water pan. Is that crazy? Am I missing something?
Thanks in advance,
Cold weather and occasional sprinkles can dampen temperatures and enthusiasm, but don't let it get you down.
That particular smoker (please see "Glossary According to Smoky") is ill suited for cold weather cooking. Their (NB) 55 gal drum is much more versatile and can hold enough coals to fight the low ambient temp.
What you will have to do on cold days is 1. Fill the fire box to the max. 2. Keep a separate firepit going to replenish the coals (you can burn down wood)3. Increase air intake. There should be some means of increasing the air flow without opening the door. If there isn't, make one and put a movable flap over it.
Your analysis was very good. The water pan is immaterial and irrelevant.
Now, go do it again, and have some fun,