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Thread: Auber ATC and Excessive Charcoal use?

  1. #1
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    Auber ATC and Excessive Charcoal use?

    I am doing my first cook with the Auber Instruments ATC and my 22" WSM. This was my setup for an 11lb brisket.

    -filled charcoal ring ~90% with mix of Kingsford and apple wood chunks
    -chimney started 20 other coals (minion method)
    -lined water pan with foil and filled 50/50 with water an apple cider vinegar
    -temp probes inserted into side of smoker and thickest part of the brisket
    -combined everything and went to bed with smoker set at 235* (about 10:30pm)

    When I woke up around 7 I checked the app and smoker temp was at 190*. The Auber worked fantastic for a solid 5-6hrs holding temps from 230-241* (meat hit the 155* and stalled). Afterwards the smoker temp slowly dropped with fan blowing 100% indicating (to my novice self) it running out of coals.

    When I went to throw in some more charcoal I shuddered the smoker and noticed how much ash was accumulating in the bottom. The smoker came up to ~220* and the stall subsided in about 2hrs. Never did reach 235* again (still too few coals I figure).

    When brisket reached 170*, I wrapped it in butcher paper, put it back on, turned the ATC pit temp setting up to 275* (will pull when meat reaches 200*), and refilled the charcoal ring completely with new briquettes. Again though tons of ash in the bottom bowl.

    So now for my questions:
    1- Is it normal for ATC controlled WSMs to use significantly more charcoal than naturally-aspirated WSMs?
    2- What do you do mid-cook with the accumulating ash in the bottom (if anything)?
    3- Any tips/tricks to make the coal last longer while maintaining cooker temp? Seems when just using vents I didn't have temps drop off nearly as fast.

  2. #2
    TVWBB Guru Bob Bass's Avatar
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    When running your car / truck on cruise control, does it use more gas than when running manually ?
    Same is true for an ATC controlled WSM, if the user sets the conditions correctly.
    If you have your ATC's pit temperature probe at grill level AND you are running water in the pan, one can easily be on the back side of the control curve due to the amount of heat required just to change the water temperature. If one eliminates the water variable AND starts with less hot coals, an ATC has a much better chance of controlling as it was designed to.
    KCBS, SCA, Operation BBQ Relief

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    So when using ATCs and WSMs, it's not advisable to have water in the water pan? I get that the water absorbs energy (thereby reducing the pit temp) but I always thought it helped regulate the pit temps.

    Plus it's the way I *always* did it before using an ATC so it *has* to be the correct way to do things. (I did a 13hr cook with a 18.5 WSM on one ring of coals no problem).

  4. #4
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    You will find different opinions about water. I stopped using it after my second cook. You won't need it for temp control - that's what the ATC is supposed to do.

    1. The ATC should make no difference on coal consumption. I've never seen a difference anyway.
    2. With respect to ash, you might try lump. IMO it makes considerably less ash than briquette.
    3. How is the air getting in to the basket? In the side through a daisy wheel opening?

  5. #5
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    With my Auber, I dial back the fan power. This lowers the frequency of the “stoke and choke”. This is where the fan is either blasting the fire with air, or starving it. I haven’t used my Auber on the wsm, only the big green egg, which requires less air to run.
    Too many Webers to list

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    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    With my Auber, I dial back the fan power. This lowers the frequency of the “stoke and choke”. This is where the fan is either blasting the fire with air, or starving it. I haven’t used my Auber on the wsm, only the big green egg, which requires less air to run.
    Is the Auber one of those ATCs that switches the blower on and off between 0% and 100% (or a set maximum) rather than regulating the blower speed continuously?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Baker View Post
    Is the Auber one of those ATCs that switches the blower on and off between 0% and 100% (or a set maximum) rather than regulating the blower speed continuously?
    Mine adjusts, but you can fine tune the blower output so that when it calls for 100% power, it only is operating at 50% of any output.
    Too many Webers to list

  8. #8
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    @Brad Baker I am hooking the Auber fan up to the holes in the bottom, yes. I also might try lump charcoal next time and hit the sides periodically to help the ashes settle down.

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