Another first time question

Started by zzzippper, May 12, 2013, 02:48:59 PM

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I'm doing ribs today, along with some pork chops and brats.  Here is my question:

Do both the oven and smoker sides need to be on in order for the cabinet to heat up?  Intuitively, I think not but in practice that's what seemed to be happening.  I would turn off the smoke in order to pre-heat the box and the temp would start to drop.  But that seems like a terrible waste of bisquettes.  I've gone through almost a whole tray (half a box) of hickory and I'm not done yet.  The temp never rose higher than 180 even though I have it running full blast at 320.

It never got the chance to pre-heat to 225 (or 250 to account for heat loss when the meat went in and that was partially my fault for being impatient.  I was more worried about getting done on time.  Once I threw out the pre-heat, which is the only constant, then all I had were variables.  Still hoping for the best, I'll finish off in the oven since I can hit 225 in there.


I think I found the answer to my problem pre-heating.  I had the vent completely closed!

"Wouldn't you know it...if you go to preheat your smoker (in my case BDS4) with the vent at 1/4 open, thinking it'll heat up quicker, rest assured you will be 100% wrong!
Yes, I read everywhere that the vent should be in the permanent position of WIDE open, but no...the Einstein in me said "it'll work". It took 1 hour for the temp to go from 51F to 95F as opposed to 51F to 225F in 40min with te vent wide open! I assume that this is because I loaded the water bowl with hot water, to which it became a "coolant" of sorts within the enclosed "chamber". DANG, an extra 1 to smoke a turkey breast! Oh well, I guess I learned my and learn within the many years of experience should never be neglected."

Smokin Sparky

  As you stated, yes leave the vent wide open.  Also, you should heat the smoker with the smoke generator turned on.  But do not load any bisquettes until just before you are to load the smoker.  What I do is I preheat without adding any bisquettes, when desired temp is reached I load the smoke generator and cycle it three times to advance a bisquette onto the burner.  When smoke starts to come out the vent, I then place the meat into the smoker.  This will reduce the amount of bisquettes used.  Also you might want to get some Bubba Pucks.  In my experience they have more than paid for themselves.

Never be afraid to try something new.
Remember, amateurs built the ark.
Professionals built the Titanic.


Learning process sometimes can be a little painful. Here is another point to ponder. You can run the smoke generator without putting any wood on it. No need to waste smoke. It will simply act as another heat source.
Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.

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your going  strong,,, keep the good work going


zzzipper, after an unnamed dufus forgot the vent closed while smoking sausage, I took the vent off of my smoker.  It only takes a phillips screw driver, and I'm having fewer of those Homer Simpson moments.


Great responses all, thanks.  Yes, I wasted a lot of wood trying to pre-heat technology that is smarter than me.