New PartyQ and I'm thinking through set up. 1. What does everyone set the top vent opening. 1/2? Full open?
2. When you open the lid, let's say to pull to wrap, do you shut off the unit?
3. Any changes to lighting? My standard is a minion method.
Top vent open
Dump lighted coals on top or simply light coals in 5 places with torch for lower temps
Mine turns off automatically when open lid, or can do it manually
But.....do what works. 225 is different than 350
You will need too figure out. Temp controller is a great aid....not complete panacea.
I do try to steer people to heatermeter. Smoking from bacon at 140, to chicken at 350, various amts coals as cooks progress ....there is no single set of operational parameters that works across such wide range if heat input. You need control over a damper, blower speed range, and tuning parameters to get good performance over such wide range of conditions. And you still need to control the coals somewhat with initial amount, etc....but less critical than without atc.
Hey DW.... Generally speaking I run with the top vent open. I use the CyberQ and the fan uses one bottom vent. I open up the remaining two bottom vents. I'll let my temps get to about 25-30 of my desired pit temp and then I'll begin closing the two open bottom vents. If necessary to curb the rising temps, I'll continue to close the bottom vents and let the fan bring the smoker up to temp. Depending on weather conditions and the ambient temperature I may close the bottom vents completely and let the fan do the work. I only throttle the top vent as a last resort. I don't like to restrict the top vent as I want good smoke circulation and want it to pass freely out the top vent. Just my opinion and it works for me. I'm smoking some sausages this morning at a pit temp of 180 and no problems holding that temp.
1. I have the Stoker and I run the top vent nearly closed. In my experience, having the top vent wide open led to run away temps.
2. Yes. I think later versions of the Stoker and other ATCs have a button/setting you can employ when opening the lid that takes care of it automatically. Check your user manual.
Also, I found that having a work space nearby and the Unknown BBQ Hinge installed really helps avoid temperature spikes. Now, when I wrap, the lid is only open for a second or two.
3. Nope, standard minion, but the amount I light depends on my temperature goal.
Also, no need for water in the water pan, unless you are cooking something like a Franklin BBQ style brisket that calls for water.