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Thread: did double 11 lbs birds... couldnt get smoker to temp... what did I do wrong?

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    did double 11 lbs birds... couldnt get smoker to temp... what did I do wrong?

    Hey everyone...

    I bought 2 11 ish pounders... brined and ready to go. I have a 22 and use the digiq blower temp controller

    I fired the cooker, one full chimney ashed over, put another unlit on top of that, waited for it all to ash over and then put on smoke wood and assembled the cooker like in http://virtualweberbullet.com/turkey3.html

    I put the turkeys in and set the controller to 330... I figured it would be low for a bit... but then would get to temp... but I couldnt get it to anything above 280.

    I fired another chimney and added it... that got me close, and then a bit later added ANOTHER lit chimney... but still couldnt get above like 310...

    It was cold ish, 50 or so... with some wind... but nothing BAD... I was cooking in a t shirt...


    I let the birds go a BIT long to make sure they cooked and got to temp... tasted great... skin wasnt crispy... but with the low temps... thats to be expected.

    My only thoughts are

    1. DigiQ cant get enough air to get high temp cooking...
    2. I did NOT assemble the cooker empty and preheat it before adding birds.

    anyone? I loved having my ovens free for other things... so I will definitely do it again... but need to get my process dialed...

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    Did you use water pan, if so, was it filled with water?

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    No. Followed that article above. Empty foil wrapped pan.

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    TVWBB Honor Circle Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    Did you have any other intake vents open? If it was ONLY the digique, I would guess the poor thing was blowing its brains out trying to get enough intake. Was it running constantly?
    Sometimes the debriefing of these cooks is as much fun and informative as the front side of the curve!
    I also wonder, if maybe given the massive addition of lit coals, you might have ended up with an ash build up?
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

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    After a while I opened the other vents. But even after opening them it wouldnít climb. I stirred to make sure I had good coals.

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    TVWBB Fan NAR_Simpson's Avatar
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    Could the charcoal be bad? I had a bag that got moisture in it and it was only good for my kettle burning hot a fast (less than an hour). It would lite, but go out quickly when I used it in the WSM.

    Ryan
    NAR = Nancy and Ryan
    SJS, 22.5" Performer in Green, 18.5 WSM and ThermoWorks Smoke

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    I donít think so but itís possible.

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    TVWBB Honor Circle Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    Some days are just meant to make us crazy!
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

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    TVWBB All-Star BFletcher's Avatar
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    I am totally just guessing here, so take it with a grain of salt; I've only done one HH cook in a WSM and if memory serves I used the 18". You stated "I fired the cooker, one full chimney ashed over, put another unlit on top of that, waited for it all to ash over and then put on smoke wood and assembled the cooker." By waiting for the second chimney to ash, I would guess that much of your first chimney was well-spent before your turkeys and controller hit the fuel. When following the recipe did you also click and read the link discussing how to fire-up your WSM for the standard method? Here are a couple highlights from that link: "It takes some experience to learn how much charcoal to use for the various types of barbecue you cook in your WSM. Make sure to use a cooking log to keep track of fuel usage from one cooking session to the next." and "Of course, if you have two chimney starters, you can shortcut this process by lighting all of the charcoal at one time in the previous step."

    Someone here please correct me if I'm remembering incorrectly but I think Chris A noted that most of those recipes and methods are based on using the WSM 18 and, therefore, may need tweaks on other sizes. In my opinion, as massive as the 22" is, I would start with 2 full lit chimneys and dump them when you see a few top coals develop a hint of ash. And I would count on needing to had additional unlit throughout the cook.

    Good luck!

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    I think you might be right... I followed his page to the letter... except possibly pre heating... that is exactly what Mine looked like... maybe even LESS ashed over...

    BUT with a big cooker... who knows. Obviously I needed more heat burning more fuel... I am just trying to put a finger on WHERE in the process I tripped... appreciate the input.

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