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: Quick fix for a water smoker . . . . . .
Subject: Re: Water Smoker Heat Control
I to have experienced the same problem that John has in your FAQ's area. But short of canning the water smoker and starting over which I can't afford to do. Are you sugggesting that we (water smokers) use a grate in the bottom of the pan which will lower the amount of coal being used in the pan. Also to drill holes in the bottom of the pan to add draft ( with dampers ) to get air to the fire. If it is feasible and the way to go let me know and I'll start getting the things I need first thing monday. This is without question the best barbecue site on the web.
Thanks for the kind words.
If anything, I advocate enlarging the capacity of the fire pan. That way your temperature is more stable and you do not have to replenish as often. Drilling holes will allow air to get to the coals - an essential element of combustion.
If I had to use one of the little gadgets, I'd try to find a cheap, stainless steel bowl of the about the same circumference as the fire pan but deeper. I'd put a circular cut of expanded metal (or something similar) large enough to fit about an inch from the bottom of the pan. Then I'd drill 6 or so 1/2-3/8" holes in the bottom of the pan.
This would give you more capacity and a steadier, hotter flow of heat.
Hey, think of all you are learning by having to rebuild an inferior product. Next time you go to buy, you can apply all the knowledge that you have gained.
Hang in there and don't forget to have fun.