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Vent control on horizontal smoker...

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Post Mon Nov 24, 2003 8:22 pm


Just wondering how you control the temperature and smoke using the vents. I've had my horizontal smoker this pas t summer and get nervous about where I should be setting vent openings.

What effects happen when the chamber vents are at 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 open relative to the stack being open 1/4, 1/2, 3/4?

Is there a simple guideline to follow as to where you shoudl start the vents at?


Post Tue Nov 25, 2003 8:28 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Use the guess and test method...
Try a setting wait for the temp to adjust, then try again until the temps were you want it.
The basis of the vent is the more its vented the more heat escapes. If the vents aren't enough crack the lid open a hair. (I've used beercans - empty! - for this, and before a debate erupts, yes soda cans will work too.)
There is no standard as each grill and even each fire you build will be different.
This were your thermometer comes in.
The same principle is applied to gas grills by leaving the lid open a hair.
Always remember that as Steve say Grilling is not a spectator sport, and its not a science"

Good Luck

Post Tue Nov 25, 2003 9:19 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
During discussions in a different forum I’ve learned when smoking meats vent control is important. First, build your fire small so you don’t have too much heat and must choke the vents to bring temps down. Ideally you should leave the top vent ¾ open or all the way open. This will allow for good air flow. Closing the top vent will stop the flow of air and cause the smoke to go stale leaving a bitter taste in the meat. You control the air flow with the lower vent. If the fire is the correct size for the cooker the lower vent will be at ½ to ¾ open to achieve the proper temperatures.

Have fun!

Post Tue Nov 25, 2003 10:41 pm
dkirn well done
well done

Posts: 388
Location: St. Louis, MO
When I use my smoker I open the vent on the smoke stack all the way open and leave it that way the entire time. I have found that this keeps the smoke circulating and also does not leave the meat overly smokey.

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