Yea,leaks would be my bet. I would probably also try Kingsford blue bag. I myself only use Weber charcoal when i want extra heat and longer cooks. Don't get me wrong. I don't think weber charcoal is the problem. I just think it's kind of expensive for every day use.
But with your vents the way...
I'm kind of thinking maybe you opened the lid and didn't give it enough time for the fire to die down some.
When the water started getting low,I'm sure that helped the temp to rise. You opened it up to add water,and air fueled the fire.
It can easily take a 1/2 hour or more for the fire to...
Congrats. In my opinion you can't go wrong with the 18.5. I was looking really hard at the 14.5 when I was looking to get back into this. I was mainly thinking about charcoal savings. I am soooo glad i went with the 18.5. It really is easy on fuel. I was using Brinkmans in the past and they...
I have been using it on my grates since about the time i joined this forum.
(read how Harry Soo puts em in a plastic bag and sprays em down and lets em soak)
Works well. I have never tried it on the inside of my smoker though.
I have worked very hard to get the insides all gunked up :)
In my opinion you can't go wrong with Kingsford Blue bag charcoal. The reason you get mixed opinions is everyone has their own "secret" method:)
The only way you will find out if you like lump or not is to try it.
But if you are just getting your smoker dialed in. I would start with kingsford...
I put a clay saucer over my water pan,and foil over that so all I have to do there is throw the foil away.
I have a big plastic hot water heater tray I scrub grates with a wire brush in. After that I usually throw them in the dish washer.
I sometimes knock the flakes off the inside of the lid...
Thats the one I almost bought when I was looking for a controller. I didn't get it because it was buttery powered. I was afraid the batteries would be going dead in the middle of a cook.
I'm sure you will love it. It's easy and hassle free and works. Which means it will probably get used a lot
I have not yet tried "Hot and fast" Brisket. My store has them on sale under 3 bucks a LB.
I just might have to do it next weekend. The time involved in doing them slow keeps me from doing them very often.