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Old 10-19-2007, 09:51 AM   #1
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Serious Question: Using a Charcoal Basket How To?

Hey guys all jokes and ribbing aside do any of ya'll have experience using a large Charcoal Basket in a large Firebox?

Background: I have a Peoria Custom Cooker with 24" x 72" Meat Chamber with duel 6" Stacks. The Firebox is off-set and is 2'x2'x2'.
Like this. http://www.mikehedrick.com/forum/upl..._smallpit3.jpg

I use mainly charcoal at this time but have only averaged 2 to 3 hour burn times before I have to go add some coals. If I just dump tons in it WILL get too hot even if I back down the dampers to nothing and the thing is tight.

So, I heard folks here and there talking about charcoal baskets and how they "should" work. I saw about 4-5 different designs out there so I took what I think is the best of each and had Huffy weld me up one. He did in about 3 days.
Here is what I have a 20" x 20" x 16" tall Basket with 2 solid steel baffles.
http://www.mikehedrick.com/bbq/charcoalbasket01.jpg
http://www.mikehedrick.com/bbq/charcoalbasket02.jpg

Here it is in the Pit. Fits great though I may use a lower Rack I have in the other Pit. One Rack is at 4" and this one sits 7" tall.
http://www.mikehedrick.com/bbq/charcoalbasket04.jpg

Ok, so how exactly do I light/use this? The best explaination came from a fella named Matt in NY over at Dave's board. It sounds like what I will be doing.
http://bbqpits.com/klose/messages/18555.html

That sound right to you boys?

Reader's Digest Version: Pack them in there real tight about 1/2 way up the basket and light furthest end nearest meat box with a 1/2 full charcoal chimbley and push the whole thing in and wait an hour.

I'll be giving this a test on Sat.
Thanks in advance guys.
peace and butt grease
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:52 AM   #2
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Mike here's what I suggest. I used a charcoal basket (without the baffles like what you have)in my Gator and could get 5+ hours or so with Kingsford and here's how I did it.

First you will greatly benefit from the baffles (or whatever they're called) because it will limit how much burns at one time.

Fill the basket by 1/3 with charcoal, then add 4 or 5 wood chunks, then add another 1/3 of charcoal, then 4-5 more chunks, then top off with charcoal and a couple more chunks. Add roughly 10-15 lit coals, leave the exhaust and intake vents 100% open until you hit 150*, then close the exhaust and intake by 50% and let the temps SLOWLY rise to 200*. At this point add your meat, while the cooker is open the coals will start to really get going so load it up fast. Close the cooker and when the temp gets back to 200* close the intake 100% and leave the exhause open by 1/4. There will be enough draft in the cooker to fuel the fire on it's own.

The main thing with charcoal in an offset was not overshooting your intial temps. They are not sealed up like a WSM or Ceramic cooker, so you are pretty much screwed if you overshoot your target temp and you will burn right through a load of coal in no time.

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:00 AM   #3
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Thanks Larry for a great and helpful answer. Seems I irritate you and yet you set that aside to give me a straight answer. Thanks bro

peace
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Hedrick
Thanks Larry for a great and helpful answer. Seems I irritate you and yet you set that aside to give me a straight answer. Thanks bro

peace
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:42 AM   #5
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The other good point that was made was about not opening the cooker..that will let in O2 as well and you could have some troubles..
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:44 AM   #6
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I'm a pro at Cooking without Looking.
Thanks

Gonna give this a try tomorrow for sure.
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Old 10-19-2007, 11:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Hedrick
I'm a pro at Cooking without Looking.
Thanks

Gonna give this a try tomorrow for sure.
It wasn't so much the looking parts as when you are cooking differnt types of things at the same time...like putting/taking off the ribs or ABTs while you still have a briskt or but on...or foiling or whatever else..
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:41 PM   #8
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Check out Matt's page on the Klose pits.

http://backyardchef.blogspot.com/2007/1 ... rands.html
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:47 PM   #9
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Thanks BQ
That's pretty much what he wrote on Dave Klose's site.
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Old 10-19-2007, 01:09 PM   #10
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Mike,

Does your basket sit right on the floor of your firebox, it appears from the picture it might. I would think you would want that raised some so the ashes and stuff charcoal leaves behind (can't think of word right now) doesn't snuff out your fire and it (the fire) has some room to breathe.

I've never owned an offset so I'm just spitting out stuff I've heard from folks who do. Good luck with it, the more burn time you can get the better.
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Old 10-19-2007, 01:35 PM   #11
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Good question Bruce and I forgot to post 1 picture that would have answered this.

Yes, I have about 7" under my Grate as seen in this picture.
http://www.mikehedrick.com/bbq/charcoalbasket03.jpg

That bad boy just fits in there. I also have a 4" high grate in the other pit I could switch out if I needed.

Thanks
mike
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Old 10-19-2007, 07:19 PM   #12
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Matt thanks
I will document what I try and find.

Thanks so much for your time posting what yer doing.

Welcome to a great site too
peace
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Old 10-20-2007, 03:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BackyardChef
Hey Mike--

Glad the post on Dave's forum was a help....

From the look of your set up, you're good to go. Resist the urge to start with too many lit coals, and back the air down and be patient. It will rise to where you want it to be. Keep all the doors closed as much as possible. I'll be trying it out with lump this weekend, but I thought the ash of the briquettes helped to slow down the burn, too. Hope the pictures on the blog helped, too.

Post your results....I'm curious to see how it goes.

Cheers!

Matt in NYC
Absolutely! This is one case where alot of ash is beneficial due to drafty offsets!
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:30 AM   #14
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And were off!
I'll tell you how it goes with photos later tonight.

1/2 Chimbly of hot coal to the end of the basket where I kept a 4x4" holding my space. Slide the thing in the box and opened vent 1/2 way.

Thanks
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Old 10-21-2007, 06:58 AM   #15
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I did just as I said I would do and it rolled steady at 260 degrees for...... 11 hours.

For the most part once it got close to temp I backed the vent down to nothing she rolled steady all day and late into the night.

I did learn my thermometer on smoker is 20 degrees higher then a thermometer inside the smoker. Smoker said 260 while remote therm through a potato said 240 degrees.

Needless to say I am very pleased with my design and what Huffy welded up for me and I'll have him make me another for the other cooker.

Thanks for the help guys
peace
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Old 10-21-2007, 07:28 AM   #16
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Mike, get some oven thermometers and place them on the middle of each rack. You will see some slight variations in pit temp from door to middle of the rack. In my big Klose there is about(at least there used to be) 10 degrees from the door to the middle of the rack. I recently retuned the pit and it is running an incredible 5 degrees(at most) from top to bottom. That's on a 30" pipe 3/8" diameter. This pit must be really starting to tighten up so I need to check from the doors to middle of the racks to get a reference point. 11 hours on a basket is good. How much charcoal? How far up did you go when filling it?
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Old 10-21-2007, 07:51 AM   #17
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It was 2 bags of Rancher and over 1/2 way full.
I'll post some pics when I wake up better.
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Old 10-21-2007, 08:26 AM   #18
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I lit about a lil over a 1/2 chimbley
http://www.mikehedrick.com/bbq/charcoalbasket05.jpg

Then I tossed that in the end nearest the meat box, slide the thing in and let her go.
http://www.mikehedrick.com/bbq/charcoalbasket06.jpg

Thanks for the help.
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