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Yoder Durango - coal control

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  • TallTrees
    Club Member
    • Aug 2016
    • 47
    • San Francisco Bay Area

    Yoder Durango - coal control

    Just received my Durango today ... 2 days earlier than expected, I might add! Yeah. So I'm doing my initial burn-off, as well as trying to learn to manage the fire. I started with a decent size bed of lump charcoal, and got it up to temperature, and then added a warmed oak stick. After 30 minutes or so, the temperature was a bit lower than I wanted (around 220º), so I added another warmed oak stick. After a bit, I noticed that the smoke was thick and intense, so I checked the fire, and sure enough the sticks were smoldering, and my bed of coals had burned off and fallen through the grate.

    I moved the sticks, and added a bunch more coals, and replaced the sticks, leaving the firebox door and chimney wide open, so that the coals ignited and got the where I wanted them, and the temperature rocketed it up to about 450º. I then closed the door and the dampers to about have way, and the temp came back down to around 300º on both sides. Yeah!

    How often will I have to change or add to the bed of coals? That was really unexpected, as I thought that would last hours. I expect to have to add a new warmed stick every hour +/-, but didn't think I'd have to fool with the coals.

    Suggestions welcomed.
  • edible hen
    Club Member
    • Feb 2016
    • 187
    • Yoder Durango 20
      Maverick ET-733
      Maverick Pro Temp

    #2
    Do you have the heat management plate in you Durango? And do you have a grate level thermometer such as the Maverick ET-732/ET-733/ET-735?

    Comment

    • TallTrees
      Club Member
      • Aug 2016
      • 47
      • San Francisco Bay Area

      #3
      Hey Don!

      Good to hear from you man. Yes on the management plate, no on the Maverick. I'll have to check that out. Thinking about it, I think I had my damper open too much, which caused that bed of charcoal to burn faster than it should have. I'll try again tomorrow, when I do the seasoning, and see what I can manage. Your tips are welcome ... obviously.

      Jeff

      Comment

      • edible hen
        Club Member
        • Feb 2016
        • 187
        • Yoder Durango 20
          Maverick ET-733
          Maverick Pro Temp

        #4
        It's good to see another Durango in The Pit. If you were going off of the gauges, they're off. with the heat management plate in, the heat comes in from below. My firebox side gauge will barely register 200 and my maverick will let me know I'm in the 225-250 range. I keep my smokestack completely open to help ensure no smoldering. And when I fire it up, I open all 3 chambers and keep them open even after I add my initial startup logs to make sure they get going.

        Comment


        • TallTrees
          TallTrees commented
          Editing a comment
          Where do you have your ambient Maverick probe located in your Durango? Do you have it clipped in place?

        • edible hen
          edible hen commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes. I keep it clipped to the grate, 2" away from the meat.
      • TallTrees
        Club Member
        • Aug 2016
        • 47
        • San Francisco Bay Area

        #5
        Gotcha. I did find it interesting that the temps on all 3 thermometers were way off from each other. Closest to the firebox it was 350°, in the middle it was around 260° and on the vertical it was like 180°. I have some learning to do.

        Comment

        • PaynTrain
          Club Member
          • Sep 2016
          • 130
          • Wadsworth, OH
          • - Yoder Durango loaded
            - Big Green Egg large
            - Ducane Stainless 7 burner
            - Weber kettle
            - Aussie kettle
            - GoBBQ Portable

          #6
          I am excited to inform that I am a new member to the pitmaster club, and my loaded Durango will be arriving in mid-October!! I am super pumped. I have run over 1000 cooks on my Big Green Egg, and decided it was time to get serious, and get offset! So, any advice that you guys have on the Durango, or the forum, please let me know! Meat on.

          Comment


          • Danjohnston949
            Danjohnston949 commented
            Editing a comment
            PaynTrain, Welcome to The Pit! You are Now Enrolled in the BBQ Univ.! Attendance and Participation are Mandatory!
            Eat Well and Prosper! From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan
        • edible hen
          Club Member
          • Feb 2016
          • 187
          • Yoder Durango 20
            Maverick ET-733
            Maverick Pro Temp

          #7
          Welcome to The Pit PaynTrain. I'm more than happy to share my experiences to shorten your learning curve. In addition to having some good temp probes ready to go, I would look into securing some seasoned logs prior to delivery.

          Comment


          • PaynTrain
            PaynTrain commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for the advice, got some logs ready to roll. Working on the probe, but will have it prior to delivery. I am very excited. Also, I didn't get any notifications that someone replied to this thread, so what is the best way to keep up on threads around here? Thanks!
        • Powersmoke_80
          Founding Member
          • Aug 2014
          • 878
          • Bay City, Michigan
          • Vintage Brinkmann Longhorn Offset Stick burner (newest addition)
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            Favorite Beer, Yeungling Black&Tan

          #8
          It takes quite a bit to really warm all that iron up initially. I start with about 6 good splits to get a good coal bed going and add 2 small splits about 45-60 min. I also open the fire box door when I add splits to let them catch well.

          Comment

          • Danjohnston949
            Former Member
            • Dec 2014
            • 4436
            • 1410 9th. St. N, Fargo ND

            #9
            TallTrees, Congratulations on your New Durango Smoker! I know absolutely nothing about Your Smoker but I will 2nd-3rd & 4th the advice given on the Maverick Wireless Thermometers! In addition to the Maverick (733 & 735) I believe a ThermoWorks Thermapen MK-4 Instant Read Thermometer is a Necessity for "Good" QUE! The first 5 1/2 Mo's of 2015 I was flat on my Back in a Nursing home recovering from a fall! I spent a great deal of time on my iPad reading AR's and the Pit Club members Post's, they convinced me I needed to get a Maverick 733 & a Thermapen Classic (MK-4 Upgrades - Worth the additional $ IMHOP). They seriously improved my QUE, That's My Story and I'm Sticken To It!
            Eat Well and Prosper! From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan

            Comment

            • Spinaker
              Moderator
              • Nov 2014
              • 10411
              • Land of Tonka
              • John "J R"
                Instagram: JRBowlsby
                Smokin' Hound Que
                Minnesota/ United States of America

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              #10
              God these are amazing rigs. I want one really bad. Either a Durango or a Loaded Wichita.

              Comment


              • TallTrees
                TallTrees commented
                Editing a comment
                So far I'm having fun with it. I haven't done a cook on it yet, but I've done the initial burn off and seasoning. We have a leftovers from Labor Day, so the wife won't let me cook anything until that's gone. I put most of it in a Food Saver, and froze it. So it will be time to cook soon.
            • TallTrees
              Club Member
              • Aug 2016
              • 47
              • San Francisco Bay Area

              #11
              Originally posted by Danjohnston949 View Post
              TallTrees, Congratulations on your New Durango Smoker! I know absolutely nothing about Your Smoker but I will 2nd-3rd & 4th the advice given on the Maverick Wireless Thermometers! In addition to the Maverick (733 & 735) I believe a ThermoWorks Thermapen MK-4 Instant Read Thermometer is a Necessity for "Good" QUE! The first 5 1/2 Mo's of 2015 I was flat on my Back in a Nursing home recovering from a fall! I spent a great deal of time on my iPad reading AR's and the Pit Club members Post's, they convinced me I needed to get a Maverick 733 & a Thermapen Classic (MK-4 Upgrades - Worth the additional $ IMHOP). They seriously improved my QUE, That's My Story and I'm Sticken To It!
              Eat Well and Prosper! From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan
              Hey Dan,

              I have several Thermapen, and love them. I also have a couple wired thermometers that I use for the various meats, but not for ambient temps. How accurate do you find the Mavericks?

              Comment


              • Danjohnston949
                Danjohnston949 commented
                Editing a comment
                TallTrees, I find the Maverick 733 to be Quite Accurate! The biggest problem I have is getting the Hybrid Probes Set Properly! We have steel siding on our house and it makes the 735 less reliable IMHOP!
                From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan
            • TallTrees
              Club Member
              • Aug 2016
              • 47
              • San Francisco Bay Area

              #12
              edible hen how are you covering your Durango, to keep it from being damaged by the elements?

              Comment


              • edible hen
                edible hen commented
                Editing a comment
                I no longer cover it. I've only had minor rust issues on the wheels which I scrubbed and fixed. There hasn't been the 1st sign of rust on the main chamber or vertical and we get plenty of rain in Florida.

              • TallTrees
                TallTrees commented
                Editing a comment
                Awesome. That's good to know, but I'm more concerned about damage from the sun, as mine sits in a very sunny area. The sun has faded pretty much everything in my yard, that's not covered.
            • TallTrees
              Club Member
              • Aug 2016
              • 47
              • San Francisco Bay Area

              #13
              Coming to the end of my first cook on the Durango, and it's been interesting. I've had to babysit it much more than I'm used on my Big Green Egg or PBC. It's fine, just new and different. The one thing that I'm struggling with is temperature control. I bought a new grate with smaller holes so the coals don't fall through as fast, and switched from briquettes to lump charcoal. I used 2 Weber chimney starters to make my initial bed of coals, which may have been too much, as the temperature was much higher than I wanted it to be, especially after I put 2 oak sticks in the firebox. I was hoping for a temp no higher than 250, as measured by my ChefAlarm, but they climbed over 300. I closed the damper on the firebox down to about 1/8th and closed down the chimney to about 1/2, in an attempt to control the heat. This worked pretty well, until it was time to add more lump charcoal as the bed was almost gone, and another stick. The temp then rocketed back up over 310+. My guess is that I need a smaller fire, but it seems that as soon as I add a (warmed) stick, the temp jumps drastically. Help!?

              Comment


              • edible hen
                edible hen commented
                Editing a comment
                I use a chimney full to start. When they're going well then i add a couple of splits. I leave the firebox top open until they get going. Then I close it up and my target temp will determine when I add splits from then on.

              • TallTrees
                TallTrees commented
                Editing a comment
                Don't you usually get a heat spike when you add the next split? I'm trying to figure out how best to keep the temperature consistent (or as close to it as I can, so that it's not jumping all over the place).

              • Akabiz
                Akabiz commented
                Editing a comment
                I am thinking of making a burn pit. I think I am going to use my old barrel smoker and burn my wood in that and then use those coals in my pit. I think I will have better control of my heat and smoke. What do you think?

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