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SnS HELP!!

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    SnS HELP!!

    Okay y'all - finally bit the bullet, so to speak, and got the SnS deluxe (or 2.0) - with removable water pan and the charcoal grate at bottom.
    Started with a somewhat clean kettle and set up the SnS exactly as described in brochure. Weather was brilliant! Highs in the mid- 60's, humidity in the 70's with a slightly breezy to dead calm day. (We're in Florida )
    KBB coals were lit with Weber starter cube, chimney dumped, water reservoir filled with HOT water and lid on by about 2:45. Inkbird pit probe said 221* at 3:24. By 4:04 alarm went off at 257* (I had already nudged both dampers towards 'closed' as I watched the temp spiking.) ... put some sausages and hotdogs on at 5PM - wasn't going to risk a high dollar roast, wasn't going to waste a chimney full of briqs.
    Temps were all over the map, and I spent the afternoon fussing and adjusting the dampers, desperately trying to stay in that 'sweet spot' (as advertised by SnS) of 225-250. Lowest temp was 219 (Inkbird, which was set for 220-250 alarmed again); highest temp was 259. Coals were done (203 degrees in pit) at a few minutes after 7PM - a cook time of less than about 3-1/2 hours

    My questions for you folks are:
    1. Is that 40 degree swing acceptable? (I'm not satisfied with it, but I'm not the pit master, yet)
    2. IF that 40 degree swing is NOT acceptable, what can I do to help stabilize?
    3. *My* SnS did not hold a full chimney of KBB briqs (and there certainly wasn't enough room for smoking chunks!), and *my* reservoir did not hold a quart of water ... I understand YMMV, but what gives?
    4. Already mentioned above, but a 3-1/2 hour cook on a nearly chimney full of KBB + the dozen or so pre-lit briqs?

    Appreciate any help/advice for this not-so-newby smoka-majoke in west central Florida!

    Peace,
    Nunyaz

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    #2
    DO NOT chase temps. It's a recipe for frustration. Make an adjustment, make it small (don't go from 1/4 open vent to 3/4 open at once) and give it ~15-30 minutes to settle in.

    Also, I hate the idea of 'perfect temperatures' and the sister idea that tightly controlling temps is desirable. My kettle often varies from 240 to 290 and back down and it doesn't matter over the longer cooks. Also, those dips are you opening the lid, right? Don't do that more than needed.

    How many coals did you light to start with? I start with 10 or so in one corner of the SNS, then put in the rest of the coals, with some touching the side of the lit coals. DO NOT add the new coals until those ten or so are fully lit.
    Last edited by rickgregory; November 17, 2022, 07:45 PM.

    Comment


    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      This ^

    • KarchyBBQ
      KarchyBBQ commented
      Editing a comment
      +1 more

    #3
    You said you put the lid on, but did you adjust the vents when and how they suggest? It’s easy to overheat if you don’t get the vents closed down between 150° and 175° per the instructions. I wouldn’t sweat any of this first run - once you start chasing temps it’s easy to get frustrated.

    Here are my settings for running around 240°. It will hold that range for hours, but you can’t run it up to that temp and then try to stop there. You have to ease up to it, which means set the vents at 175° or 200° at the latest, and let it ease up and settle.
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    Last edited by Sid P; November 17, 2022, 08:03 PM.

    Comment


    • nunyaz
      nunyaz commented
      Editing a comment
      Sid P - yes, adjusted vents at 167 to more-or-less what your pix show; in ~14 mins we hit 200 and 220 less than 15 mins later (and I had already closed both vents a 'skosh' - by which *I* mean about a toothpick thickness).

      Thanks for the help AND the pix!

      Peace,
      Nunyaz

    #4
    Rick & Sid basically covered it all. Even your indoor oven doesn’t actually hold a set temperature but cooks in a range of temperatures that can swing 20-40 degrees above or below your set temperature but in the long run averages around your set point. Your initial briquettes are usually about the right amount to get your 225 or so. When adding more charcoal try to keep the level about the same as you add the new ones. Usually there is then plenty of space to add your chunks.

    Comment


    • nunyaz
      nunyaz commented
      Editing a comment
      Donw - as I said, following the SnS directions, I tried to dump a full chimney of KBB in with the 12 I had lit; had to keep about a dozen in the chimney and 'tamp' the rest in so my cook grate would sit level ... I'm glad to be learning these faux pas on a 'dry run' cuz when it's time cook wibs n butts, I gotta have me some mesquite

      Peace,
      Nunyaz

    #5
    Originally posted by rickgregory View Post
    DO NOT chase temps. It's a recipe for frustration. Make an adjustment, make it small (don't go from 1/4 open vent to 3/4 open at once) and give it ~15-30 minutes to settle in.

    Also, I hate the idea of 'perfect temperatures' and the sister idea that tightly controlling temps is desirable. My kettle often varies from 240 to 290 and back down and it doesn't matter over the longer cooks. Also, those dips are you opening the lid, right? Don't do that more than needed.

    How many coals did you light to start with? I start with 10 or so in one corner of the SNS, then put in the rest of the coals, with some touching the side of the lit coals. DO NOT add the new coals until those ten or so are fully lit.
    RickGregory - when I adjust the damper(s) I 'bump' them, literally ... and the bottom one is my most challenging, it moves almost on its own and yes, I give it 20-30 mins to settle.
    I've never looked for a 'perfect temp' (I have better fantasies to chase ) - yes, those dips are opening the lid to move the hotdogs/sausages (they're not the best fare for low n slow LOL).

    Started with 12 coals, in the corner and let them go for 15+ minutes - they were fully lit with very little smoke; added the chimney of new coals, filled reservoir covered and changed dampers (as directed by SnS) at the 150-170 mark.

    Frankly, I felt like I did my part as flawlessly as it can be done (GAH! I just sprained my arm patting myself on the back there 😂) ... seriously, as I said, followed the directions which came with my SnS to the letter.

    240 - 290 seems a little hot to me since it seems like 225 is 'the magic number' and SnS says, "continue to monitor and adjust vents as pit temp settles in between 225* and 250* F". And what about the 3-1/2 hour cook time? My SnS brochure says, "For best results, add charcoal at the 6-8 hour point during the cook." 🧐🥴.

    Peace,
    Nunyaz

    Comment


      #6
      Originally posted by Sid P View Post
      ...but you can’t run it up to that temp and then try to stop there. You have to ease up to it, which means set the vents at 175° or 200° at the latest, and let it ease up and settle.
      It took me two years to learn this. This is a grill/smoker, not a computer.

      Comment


        #7
        That is a very short cook time. I get 7-8 hours on a load of KBB at 225F on my kettle in the SNS. I can't say how many chimneys it is - I use a scoop to shovel charcoal into the SNS, after getting 10-12 briquettes fully lit. And I assume your grate probe was on the indirect side, not too close to the meat? Or was this an empty kettle and a dry run?

        Also - remove some briquettes to make room for your chunks. That guidance on a chimney of briquettes is approximate - not exact. Lot of different size chimneys out there too! And I often have the grate propped up on top of the chunks and charcoal - doesn't have to be level, as I am not cooking over the coals when going low and slow.

        I agree with everyone else - don't fiddle too much with the vents. And if you do make a change, don't touch it again for maybe 30 minutes. If it is anywhere between 220 and 275, I personally consider it low and slow, and don't touch it. My vent settings are also near what Sid P shows.

        Now - if you are practicing for your Thanksgiving turkey - whole nother setup to consider. I fill the SNS about halfway full, then dump a half chimney of lit coals on top of that, and don't use water. With the vents pretty much wide open, it may hit 375 to 400 but settles in around 350 when I drop the turkey on there.

        Comment


        • nunyaz
          nunyaz commented
          Editing a comment
          jfmorris - yup, I get it about fiddling with the vents AND waiting 20-30 mins for it to settle in.
          Definitely appreciate the advice re: T-day Turkey cuz THAT is the reason for burning up KBB on this thing ... gonna try another dry run today, we shall see.

        #8
        Originally posted by nunyaz View Post

        RickGregory - when I adjust the damper(s) I 'bump' them, literally ... and the bottom one is my most challenging, it moves almost on its own and yes, I give it 20-30 mins to settle.
        I've never looked for a 'perfect temp' (I have better fantasies to chase ) - yes, those dips are opening the lid to move the hotdogs/sausages (they're not the best fare for low n slow LOL).

        Started with 12 coals, in the corner and let them go for 15+ minutes - they were fully lit with very little smoke; added the chimney of new coals, filled reservoir covered and changed dampers (as directed by SnS) at the 150-170 mark.

        Frankly, I felt like I did my part as flawlessly as it can be done (GAH! I just sprained my arm patting myself on the back there 😂) ... seriously, as I said, followed the directions which came with my SnS to the letter.

        240 - 290 seems a little hot to me since it seems like 225 is 'the magic number' and SnS says, "continue to monitor and adjust vents as pit temp settles in between 225* and 250* F". And what about the 3-1/2 hour cook time? My SnS brochure says, "For best results, add charcoal at the 6-8 hour point during the cook." 🧐🥴.

        Peace,
        Nunyaz
        Make sure you don't pour the unlit coals on top of the lit coals. They should be next to them, with some touching the lit coals. Basically you want new coals to light as old coals burn out. You really only want about 10-12 coals really active at any one time.

        Start with the vents choked down to maybe 1/4 open. My kettle takes most of 45 minutes to come up to temp and settle in.

        Are there any air leaks at all?

        On temp... IGNORE the 225 thing. It's hard to get a kettle to settle there, IMO. You want to have only a few coals lit at a time when doing that which is harder to do than it's worth.

        On the 3.5 hours - It sounds like the KBB was lighting fast which would also explain the temps. And KBB burns pretty fast. What I do is use KBB for short cooks and actual grilling, using B&B for longer cooks.
        Last edited by rickgregory; November 17, 2022, 09:17 PM.

        Comment


        • nunyaz
          nunyaz commented
          Editing a comment
          rickgregory - yes, did put the unlit coals beside the lit ones.
          When I was lookin' it seemed like a lot of the unlit coals were engaged (lit) - so maybe the vents need to be closed more than SnS suggests, which is what I think you're saying.
          I have some B&B lump but no briqs, gotta find some locally if I can.
          Again, not married to the 225 thing, nor any other specific temp, just want lownslow as it seems STRONGLY suggested by the many pages of information here at Amazingribs.com
          Peace, Nunyaz

        • rickgregory
          rickgregory commented
          Editing a comment
          nunyaz - thing is, even 275 is low and slow. Aaron Franklin does his briskets at that temp.

          Next time take pics if you can - easier to troubleshoot if we see what you did. But yeah, if too many coals end up lit, the temp will of course rise... then you have to choke it off, but not kill it. The other thing is to start with the vents around 1/4 open and slowly open them. As someone else said, it's easier to let the temp slowly float up than to have it overshoot and try to bring it down.

        #9
        IMO you were chasing too tight a band and just ran yourself ragged. Those swings have to have been you lifting the lid, no? That will jack up any attempt to regulate temp

        Using the SnS lighting instructions and a fire cube, I can fit a overfilled half chimney of unlit coals in the SnS and it pretty much settles in at around 250-260 (put the meat on when it hits 250) and stays rock steady for about 6-7 hrs, at least.

        Comment


          #10
          If you're looking...

          You aren't cooking...

          Comment


            #11
            I have yet to do an extended cook with my SNS-XL nor have I ever even seen the models for the 22 so Im not the guy to answer your exact question but Ive never let that stop me from talking long cooks on a kettle…..

            Without the SNS with KBB banked against the side next to a disposable pan with water in it. Maybe a dozen lit coal tossed on top the a couple chunks of wood tossed on that with the hinged portion of the grate open because it hitting the wood chunks I never get less then 8 hours before I need to add charcoal.

            My routine has been the same for a couple decades, bank as big a stack as I can ( its probably a chimney and a 1/2 I would guess but i just pour from the bag) I use as much as I can and not rest against the drip pan. Light a dozen or so coals for each grill max. I say that as I never run less than 3 kettles at a time if I am smoking for the freezer.

            While the coals are lighting I rub the butts and brisket. Put the coals on top of the bank of fresh, toss on the wood, lean the hinged grate on the wood put on the meat. It is now midnight. I will not need charcoal until 8 am…As for temp I don’t own any fancy props etc. If I can hold my hand for 30 seconds on the kettle side away from the fire I need more air if I can hold about 10 seconds Im dialed in now go to bed. Ill come out in a couple hours to see if I need more wood or to tap the side of the kettle with my tongs to clear ash.

            @ 8am ill pull up a spare kettle to sit the grate from the hot kettle on, push the hot coals over to the side and refill with fresh charcoal. Wont need more wood so every couple hours Im back to tap the side to clear ash and baste the butts and briskets. Everything is done at 4 pm. This isn’t a guess this is the way it works no matter the weather. Perfect butts and great brisket are 16 hours on the kettle this way Ive cooked literally +2000 lbs and fed hundreds of people exactly like this.

            If you ask me what temp that is ill tell you thats cooking temp. My vents are always set the same. 1/4 on bottom is law, top is where the adjustments are made and they are always in the 1/3-1/2 range.

            I never kept many pictures before joining here but I’ll upload a pic from my last cook. Only have the butts from 2 kettles as I don’t think i took a pic of the brisket that was in the third kettle.

            found some other pics from different cooks you can see its the same set for prime rib or ribs in all weather.

            I write this to show you are maybe over thinking it and Ill wager your “ tamping “ is causing the coals to be so tight they are catching lots faster then they would just poured in.

            I know most swear by the thermometer and probes and cloud data graphs and thats cool for them as thats what they enjoy so more power to them but for me I say…

            Relax and step back, this is supposed to be fun and relaxing!

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            Last edited by CHNeal; November 18, 2022, 07:42 AM.

            Comment


            • nunyaz
              nunyaz commented
              Editing a comment
              👍🏼👌🏼

            • DTro
              DTro commented
              Editing a comment
              Nice line up!

            #12
            Appreciate all the wise (and wisea$$) advice - and as I stated from the git go: I followed the directions that came with my SnS as closely to the letter as humanly possible. (in other words, the many suggestions re: where/how to place the unlit coals, when and how to adjust the dampers at such and so a temperature - those are ALL addressed in the brochure and I FOLLOWED them!)
            I think, after pondering my cook and reading all of your suggestions, that *MY* pit is leakier than some/most (that's been my experience using other methods, including the kettlepitmasterbbq.com guidelines) and my mistake was thinking that the SnS was going to solve all of those spiking/higher temp issues.

            Gonna try another dry run today, leaving bottom vent closed/mostly closed and top vent cracked 1/4" or so, and see what we get (meaning STOP chasing temps 😏) ... also going to run two pit probes from the inkbird, just to make sure it's not a faulty probe 😳

            My only concern at this point is that I get the durn thing dialed in with KBB ... then, if/when I can get some B&B I've gotta start all over 🤪🥴

            Peace,
            Nunyaz
            If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is NOT for you!

            Comment


            • scottranda
              scottranda commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah, don’t chase temps and keep your sanity! 50 degrees ain’t much to worry about.

            • rickgregory
              rickgregory commented
              Editing a comment
              Don't close the bottom vent completely - there has to be some airflow or the fire will die. But try it 1/4 open.

            #13
            Are there air leaks around the lid? If so it can make it hard to maintain temperature. I use binder clips on my Weber to seal the deal. Have fun!

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            Comment


            • Sid P
              Sid P commented
              Editing a comment
              As I was falling asleep last night this popped into my head. My lid is hard to get seated correctly, and I know it’s not quite right when my temp starts drifting up.

            #14
            nunyaz

            For Turkey Day, these are the directions you want to follow (pasted from the SNS website). Also, I tend to go 350 rather than 325. You want to fill the SNS about halfway up with UNLIT, and then dump about a half chimney of lit charcoal on top of that. Also, no water in the reservoir.


            Roasting & baking on the grill


            When cooking hot and fast at 325 degrees - such as with chicken - do not fill the charcoal reservoir full of unlit briquets. Instead, begin by using half a chimney of briquets (approximately 40 briquets). Light the chimney and allow them to burn for approximately 10 minutes. A good indicator of when they are well-lit is when the blue smoke begins to lessen or is gone completely and heat waves are visible from the top of the chimney. This is easier to notice from afar than relying on the “ashed over” appearance of the coals themselves. Add only these coals to the Slow ’N Sear’s charcoal reservoir, spread out evenly. Do not use any unlit briquets for cooking chicken, as the cook time is relatively short and extra coals are not necessary.

            Note: If you are using the SnS Deluxe - place the water reservoir in the Slow 'N Sear® but do not fill it up with water. This allows for a smaller heat zone but large enough to maintain 325-350 degrees.

            When cooking something that needs to be cooked at 325 for 2-3 hours, the above steps will not provide enough fuel. In order to maintain a 325-350 degree temperature over a several hour span of time, place half a chimney of unlit briquets in the Slow 'N Sear and then follow the steps above to light a half chimney of charcoal and once lit, pour them on top of the unlit briquets that are in the Slow 'N Sear®.

            This method will also be helpful in colder weather where charcoal use will naturally be increased to maintain temperatures. There will likely be a lot of coals left over after the cook is complete - these can be snuffed out by closing all the vents.

            Partially-spent coals can easily be re-lit and reused on the next cook!

            Comment


            • nunyaz
              nunyaz commented
              Editing a comment
              appreciate the detailed help on a T-day smoke

              Peace,
              Nunyaz

            #15
            Something else I guess someone needs to ask... you are placing the top vent of the kettle on the side opposite of the SNS, right? Otherwise, a lot of your heat will go straight up and out, and that might explain using the charcoal twice as fast as expected. The goal is for the heat to go up, across the kettle, then out after the smoke and heat has passed over the food...

            Comment


            • nunyaz
              nunyaz commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, I put the top vent opposite from the fire, whether SnS or other method(s).
              Thanks!

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