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dsarphie

finally discovery a method that worked

I got a 48 patio in May, and from then thru September I cooked on it nearly every weekend, and brought it to 3 competitions.  Since September I've been able to fire it up once or twice a month.  I've complained a lot on this site about getting even temperatures through the cooking chamber, and keeping them constant.  Everything I've read, including the recommendations here, deal with the firebox pinwheels.  Everyone has always said to leave the chimney flue wide open.

People also have lots of opinions about the size of logs to use, with the majority to be Ben's recommendations of "coke can" size chunks/logs.

This weekend I tried something different.  I had listened to an interview with Harry Soo, who said that he controls the temperature on a WSM by adjusting the top, and leaving the bottom alone.  His theory, which makes sense, is to let in as much oxygen get to the fire.   Its the top that creates the vacuum to pull the air through the cooking chamber.  This was also consistent with how people control temperature on Jambos.

This weekend I started my fire with 1 chimney full of lit charcoal, as usual.  I placed one log on top of the lit coals.  Most of the wood I have is as long as the firebox is wide.  All are squared, ranging 3 to 5 inches wide.  Its all oak.

My setup is a little different.  I have Nomex gasket run around the lid.  I did that to replace the foil that I would use for each cook.   I also have a dryer vent running inside from the chimney to about 4 inches from the bottom grate.  Both great ideas I learned from this site.  Thank you Wood River.

I use a Maverick probe at each end, top and bottom.

The temperature outside was dry and mid-70s.  T-shirt and shorts weather.

It took another log to get up to 250.  I did not put another log on top of the current lit log, as I have done in the past.  I've found that when putting a log on top of the fire it will smother it, leaving a period of time for the fire to catch back up.   I would end up with a period where the temperature falls and thicker smoke is produced while the fire is catching up.  To fight this I've tried heating the logs on top of the firebox and keeping the firebox open when a new log was added.  Neither really helped.

This time I placed the log right in front of the current lit log, and used the new log to push the coals towards the back of the fire box.  So the log is going in sideways.  Each end of the log was practically touching the side walls of the firebox.  Pushing the coals helped to agitate the fire.  The new log ignited from the side touching the coals, and gradually burned all the way across.  As I saw the log burn more I would add another the same way.  Think of a conveyor belt sending wood in to fire.  This is like the snake method of lighting charcoal on a kettle.  Obviously, warming the new logs on top of the firebox helps them ignite, but I did not see much of a change with logs that had not been lit.

During the entire cooking process I left both pinwheels wide open.  Temperature in the cooking chamber was controlled with the chimney flue.  This way the firebox had maximum oxygen to get the fire running hot and stable.  Adjusting at the chimney flue would create immediate temperature changes that would hold.  

Sometimes the fire would run very hot and I would have to almost close off the chimney to maintain the cooking chamber at 250.  Everything was fine because the excess smoke and heat would escape through the firebox pinwheels.  Once I got a handle on this process I experienced clear to blue smoke for a good 8+ hours of cooking.

This is by no means a set-it-and-forget method.  I don't think such a method exists for an offset.  It did allow me to create a fairly consistent cooking temperature throughout the chamber, and better degree control.  

This was my first time using this method, so don't take this as me writing the book on how to use an offset.  It simply goes against the conventional methods I typically read and see, and I liked the results.

If you try it, let me know what you think.
Wood River BBQ Team

Re: finally discovery a method that worked

dsarphie: Thank you for an interesting piece. What caught my attention was the use of the chimney damper. I like the idea of how you use wood but I'm stuck with lump and chunks. I'm cooking a turkey (it's been in the freezer since Thanksgiving) in a couple of days and I want to give the chimney damper a try. Right now I have my Lang dialed in by using the fire box pin wheels but I like to try new things to make it work better.

I've met Harry Soo many times -- he lived near me in So Ca. He advised me to purchase a WSM but I went with the cheapo offset because it looked more professional. The cheapo was a lot of work but I learned a lot about how a smoker should work.

I know the chimney damper will work because you and kevin proved it but I wonder WHY it works because it shouldn't. The exhaust damper works on the WSM works because it's like cooking product in a chimney. My Weber
22.5 kettle, which I use for chicken,  sort of works like the WSM.  I control the temp with the top exhaust while keeping the bottom intake vents at 75% to 100% open.

I'm going to try using the chimney damper as you've suggested and see what happens.
dsarphie

It works because you are controlling the draft.
dsarphie

Also, I kept the drain pipe partially open.  In the past I've kept it wide open.
Wood River BBQ Team

dsarphie wrote:
It works because you are controlling the draft.


It's going to be easy for me to check the change in heat temp going out my chimney while I fiddle with the exhaust damper because I have a temp gauge installed in the chimney. I saw a rig at a competition with one. I never did get to talk to the pitmaster to determine the use of the gauge but one I had a couple of gauges, which I removed from a cheapo smoker before I sold it, and I decided to add it. It's just another indicator to show me what's going on inside my rig.

Anyway, on draft -- draft & heat are 2 different things. You can have a rip roaring fire in the fire box, which isn't going anywhere without sufficient draft and on a Lang reverse flow the heat has a long way to go and the larger the unit the longer the distance. I've been controlling my temp by the size of my fire (the higher the temp, the bigger the fire) and with the 2 intakes. I can't stay steady at a target temp as it fluctuates 10* to 15* to 20*, which is no big deal. What I'm hoping is your discovery will give me better temp control by just making a simple adjustment to the chimney damper.

On the subject of "set it and forget it", which the Lang ain't. I do have a cooker that is a "set It and forget it" once you set the intake correctly for your altitude. It's a Pit Barrel Cooker. It's small enough to fit in my motor home and is American made by a military vet.
Jimbo

Dsarphie,  trying your technique on placing the wood across the firebox and and it is working well. Have dampers open completely on firebox and using flue to control temp. Cooking a brisket and ribs.  Temps holding great and clean heat.  Thanks
dsarphie

Awesome!!  How'd the rest of the cook turn out?  I was attending Johnny Trigg's seminar today and was talking about the same process with another Lang user.  He was going to give it a try too.
Jimbo

dsarphie wrote:
Awesome!!  How'd the rest of the cook turn out?  I was attending Johnny Trigg's seminar today and was talking about the same process with another Lang user.  He was going to give it a try too.


It all turned out great!  I have a 60 and 4 dampers on my fire box. Left them open and just cut the flue back to keep my temp between 250-260. Very clean heat and was easy to control temp.
Wood River BBQ Team

dsrphie3956: Today I cooked a boneless rib eye roast and tried your method. I was skeptical before trying it but it worked.

I recorded the tenp readings of the Lang thermometer, the actual cook chamber temp, the firebox left and right side and the chimney so I knew exactly what was happening with every adjustment. I started out with both pinwheels open and the chimney draft fully open. Next I went with pin wheels open and chimney draft 50% open. The cook chamber temp dropped 10* -15*.  Next, I adjusted  the chimney draft to 75% and obviously the cook chamber temp went up. With both pin wheels open the fire box temp on both sides was over 600*. I don't like fire box temperatures that high - the paint started to bubble.

Next, I experimented with closing the right pin wheel, as I normally do, and messing with the left pin wheel AND the chimney vent. It was easy to control my target temp of 250* and the fire box temp dropped to around 500*. So, what works for me is a combination of using the chimney vent and the left pinwheel.

I've never used the chimney vent on any smoker I've owned so thanks for your discovery.
mr.piggy

hello everyone, been wanting to respond to this article for some time. I to was understanding to never close off the damper leave it wide open.in all of my cooks I could maintain my temps. no problem,  only if I baby sat. put a pc. of wood say every 15-20 min.  never ever even had a bed of coals. probably cause I had the damper wide open. I am going to try this method in a week or 2.  my smoker is in the garage from late dec. till end of march, to cold any more for me. during the winter  I use my kettle on the back porch using the minion system. i sit in the kitchen drink beer look out the window at the temp. gauge. any way what about the fellas that went to the lang bbq classes did the say or mention any thing or did any one noticed the damper half closed etc.  also everyone please go to lang web site front pg click on videos then go model 60  click on MODC PIG ROAST watch the video he explaines the damper valve  its a very short vido may want to play a few times. lang has a few classes coming up if any is going can we get some feed back on this subject. wood river bbq team I think you were orginally knocking on the door with you extension on the chimney that idea probly slowed the exaust down .  every one happy bbq  vincent
JDNC

Great informative thread!

I might add my .02 as I also use the flew occasionally.

Thermal currents cause the drawing effect of fireplaces, woodstoves and also these smokers.  Also the height of the smoke stack is somewhat the same as a chimney on a house as it also influences the draw alot like the length of a blowgun causes a higher velocity.  The more heat the more draw unless restricted by flew or damper.  Have you ever cracked the door open on the firebox with a good burning fire and heard the whistle as air is sucked in?

Im new to these smokers but was raised burning wood, coal all my life and the fundimentals are the same..somewhat.

Personally I think as most, that our temps are based on how big or small our fires are.  I've found that if I have a full load of meat in my 36 I can get by with a larger fire and leave the flew open full.  And also the outside temps have and effect too.  This last weekend I decided to cook one sparerib rack and the outside temps were in the 70's.  I found that I had to have a very very small fire and to keep it burning clean I was forced to close the pinwheel dampers down  and also use the flew at about 60 %.

So I agree, they're times that the flew has to be restricted also, to get a nice clean fire.  My experience with the Lang 36 is I generally have to with small loads of meat and when I'm having a difficult time trying to adjust the flew to keep temps down, usually on warmer days.

As mentiones previously, I have to control the fire with the flew because I can only cut back on the pinwheels so much on a small fire before it starts to smoke too much.  The answer is to leave the pinwheels open somewhat and contro the fire with the flew.

Every smoking event offers a different set of circumstances, load, outside temps, etc. and so on, so it's always a little different everytime. Rolling Eyes
Wood River BBQ Team

Dsarphie: Today I'm cooking a brisket point (about 3lbs). The goal is to hold the temp around 250* to 270*. Since it's going to be about a 4 hour cook I've started with a full basket of lump and pecan chunks. Previously, using just the side pinwheels, this fire would have gotten away from me until it burned down a bit. I've closed the right pinwheel and the left is about 1/2 and the most important part -- the chimney is about 90" (about 11:00). Your idea is working great.

Anytime I fire up the Lang it draws a crowd. One neighbor questioned the chimney flue. I told him to watch how it works. He's going to try it on his cooker.
KevinWI

Before I bought my lang, there was a video on youtube of a couple that cooked professionally on their lang and they said the same thing.

I have been doing the same thing lately and can control the heat much better this way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZLViMTL3To
Wood River BBQ Team

I wish there was a way to highlight this important  topic for Lang users -- maybe Kevin could do a video??

Initially, I didn't believe adjusting the damper would work until I tried it. On previous smokers, I never touched the damper because I thought I'd smother the fire. Last week I attended the Sam's Club cook off in Tucson (as an observer) and probably 90% of the dampers were wide open. I talked to one of the 10 percenter's, who was using the damper to control temperature and he told me you can't beat it as a temperature control especially for "low & slow".

For Easter I'm cooking a ham and I want to maintain 225* to 250*, which isn't easy because temperatures above 250* to 275* or 300*, which are easy to get to,  will dry out the ham, which is already cooked. I'm going to start with a 1/2 basket of lump charcoal/ cherry & pecan chunks and build up to the low range. I'll have to watch the temperature closely but if it starts to get away from me I'll use the damper and the left pinwheel to dial in 225* to 250*.

My suggeation for Lang users is to experiment with your damper. Start with the pinwheels and then "fine tune" with the damper.
dsarphie

that's a good idea.  I may try to do that
Eddie Z

Question....are you probing temp across the cooking chamber? Is your temp even?
dsarphie

I run a Maverick probe on the top and bottom racks, at the left and right sides.  Sometimes I run probes in the center as well, but I did not the first time I tried this method.  Using my set up the top rack was even from left to right.  The lower rack ran a little hotter on the firebox side from the other, but not as drastic as with my other attempts to even temperature.  I think that was attributed to the fact that I always had an even burn going with the snake method for loading wood.  when I load wood from the top I am dampening the fire and it needs time to catch back up.  loading the logs from behind and pushing the burning coals forward allows the fire to maintain a consistent burn.
KevinWI

Eddie Z wrote:
Question....are you probing temp across the cooking chamber? Is your temp even?


Yes and no.

Yes I probe it right to left...no its not even....closer to the firebox, hotter it gets.

However...I will say this without a shadow of a doubt...from right to left, the temps are much closer using the stack damper, than pinwheel dampers.
Right this minute I'm cooking ribs....I'm settling the temp down from 370, but right now the middle temp is 262 and the far left probe is at 255. ...that's pretty close.
dsarphie

KevinWI...when you say that you're settling down from 370, and then on your 262 vs. 255 readings, is that on Temp Trus or something installed on the hood, or digital probes on the racks?  I think that 262 vs 255 from right to left is very good for a lower rack.  The upper should be able to achieve the same all the way across.

Do you always run high and then bring it down? I always try to creep in to my target temperature.  I seem to have wider variations if I'm trying to bring the temp down.
KevinWI

dsarphie wrote:
KevinWI...when you say that you're settling down from 370, and then on your 262 vs. 255 readings, is that on Temp Trus or something installed on the hood, or digital probes on the racks?  I think that 262 vs 255 from right to left is very good for a lower rack.  The upper should be able to achieve the same all the way across.

Do you always run high and then bring it down? I always try to creep in to my target temperature.  I seem to have wider variations if I'm trying to bring the temp down.


Maverick probe. Right now I'm down to about 234 at the middle and 225 to the left...
I'm experimenting with it.
I wouldn't crank it up that high to start normally...just wanted to see how long it would take using the flue damper only... hour and 15 to get down to 234.
Still I think The rear pinwheel should be closed either full to slightly open and then adjust the  flue from there TBH...with both pinwheels open, your fire has no choice but to burn hotter.
dsarphie

exactly.  it burns hotter so you get a cleaner smoke.  you control how much is going through the chamber by controlling the vacuum created by the flue.  all other heat escapes through the pinwheel.  control the amount of fire that is created by the amount of fuel you are using.  after you get a fire going and you have moved up to your target temp, add fuel behind the fire instead of on top.
flybuy

Great info. Trying your method using flue damper today, smoking a brisket. So far so good. Target temp 250. Holding between 250 and 260 with no problem. Clear to pail blue smoke. Thanks for posting!!.
KevinWI

dsarphie wrote:
exactly.  it burns hotter so you get a cleaner smoke.  you control how much is going through the chamber by controlling the vacuum created by the flue.  all other heat escapes through the pinwheel.  control the amount of fire that is created by the amount of fuel you are using.  after you get a fire going and you have moved up to your target temp, add fuel behind the fire instead of on top.


Well stated
RI0T

dsarphie wrote:
exactly.  it burns hotter so you get a cleaner smoke.  you control how much is going through the chamber by controlling the vacuum created by the flue.  all other heat escapes through the pinwheel.  control the amount of fire that is created by the amount of fuel you are using.  after you get a fire going and you have moved up to your target temp, add fuel behind the fire instead of on top.


I've been using my Lang 60 for at least 6 years now.  I've experimented with various ways of heat control.  Best technique I've found is to completely close the right side pin wheels.  Completely close the farther from the firebox door left pin wheel, and leave the one closest to door wide open.  I manipulate the damper to adjust heat.  In almost all cases, just a minute damper adjustment is all that is needed.  You can tell of course by the color, amount  and velocity of smoke/steam that comes out of the chimney.  

Also, I position my cooker with the right side, as I'm facing the firebox, into the prevailing wind.  

My only complaint or criticism of my smoker is the thermo placement.  It never seems to give me an accurate reading of actual conditions where i need it.  I now place stones at various places in my cooker and use a non-contact thermometer to get very accurate temp readings throughout.  I found that in this particular smoker, there is a very definite sweet spot and it's nowhere near where the existing thermometer is placed.  I use that sweet spot for my brisket and it makes a difference.

I also want to say I'm not a competitor.  I cook 100% for my customers.  They seem to enjoy what comes out of my Lang 60!

One more thing, since I cook for sometimes upwards of 100 people at a time, always make sure your pork butt doesn't get stabbed by the thermometer when you shut the door... LOL.
Cats49er

Tried this method a couple weeks ago, it worked great for me on my Lang 60 deluxe.I was smoking two turkey breast so I was cooking at 300/325 temp. I was suprised at how little you had to close the flue to adjust the temp.only toke a degree or 2 . I'm going to try this method out on a low and slow cook  soon and see ho it does then. will post my out come.
Wood River BBQ Team

My only complaint or criticism of my smoker is the thermo placement.  It never seems to give me an accurate reading of actual conditions where i need it.  

RIOT: Forget about the Lang thermometer. Ben Lang, in one of his video's, tells you the same thing.

You're correct, it is in the wrong place -- every cooker has it placed at the top of the cook chamber where you could care less what the temperature is at that location, but that's not the main problem with the thermometer. It's 1800's bi metal technology and it could be off by 50*. I think Lang uses Trutel (not sure of spelling) and they are pretty decent units. Mine is pretty close but I don't care what the temperature is at the top of the cooker.

You should purchase a digital thermometer that measures cooker temperature at product level & meat temperature. Those are the reading your interested in - especially the internal meat temp.
vandy

WOW!  I have been reading this topic with a lot of interest and I must say that I have been trying to control the temp with the pinwheels on my Lang 36 Hybrid Deluxe.  What you guys are all saying makes a lot of sense and I am going to try this method to see what happens.  I have had a problem getting the temp down to 250 and holding it there, if I wait longer to put another split on the fire the temp goes down too much and if I add one early it seems to get too hot.  I will give this a try and let you know my results.
vandy

Well I tried this technique to control my temps on my Lang 36 hybrid and it works like a charm.  The first thing I did was to close off the drain tube then just crack it open a little then when I got my fire going good I got the temp up to 250 and then I put the food on and it held there for about 2 hours.  At that point I wanted to raise the temp and no matter what I did it would not come up much and then I finally remembered that I had closed off the drain pipe so I opened it back up all the way and within about 15 minutes I was up to around 325 the I started controlling it with the smoke stack damper and that worked like a charm.  Thank you so much for posting this technique because without it I don't know if I would have ever figured this out.  I just never gave the drain tube a second thought, I have just always left it all the way open but now that I know this trick I am sure my results will be much better.  Thanks again!
Wood River BBQ Team

vandy wrote:
Well I tried this technique to control my temps on my Lang 36 hybrid and it works like a charm.  The first thing I did was to close off the drain tube then just crack it open a little then when I got my fire going good I got the temp up to 250 and then I put the food on and it held there for about 2 hours.  At that point I wanted to raise the temp and no matter what I did it would not come up much and then I finally remembered that I had closed off the drain pipe so I opened it back up all the way and within about 15 minutes I was up to around 325 the I started controlling it with the smoke stack damper and that worked like a charm.  Thank you so much for posting this technique because without it I don't know if I would have ever figured this out.  I just never gave the drain tube a second thought, I have just always left it all the way open but now that I know this trick I am sure my results will be much better.  Thanks again!


During the cook, what is the position of your 2 pinwheels at say 275*?
vandy

Wood River BBQ Team wrote:
vandy wrote:
Well I tried this technique to control my temps on my Lang 36 hybrid and it works like a charm.  The first thing I did was to close off the drain tube then just crack it open a little then when I got my fire going good I got the temp up to 250 and then I put the food on and it held there for about 2 hours.  At that point I wanted to raise the temp and no matter what I did it would not come up much and then I finally remembered that I had closed off the drain pipe so I opened it back up all the way and within about 15 minutes I was up to around 325 the I started controlling it with the smoke stack damper and that worked like a charm.  Thank you so much for posting this technique because without it I don't know if I would have ever figured this out.  I just never gave the drain tube a second thought, I have just always left it all the way open but now that I know this trick I am sure my results will be much better.  Thanks again!



Both pinwheels were all the way open during the whole cook, I did not close those at all even when I was able to hold the 250 degree temp I was controlling it with the smoke stack damper.

During the cook, what is the position of your 2 pinwheels at say 275*?
Wood River BBQ Team

Both pinwheels were all the way open during the whole cook, I did not close those at all even when I was able to hold the 250 degree temp I was controlling it with the smoke stack damper.

During the cook, what is the position of your 2 pinwheels at say 275*?[/quote][/quote]


Vandy: When I'm smoking in the 275* to 300* range, I start with a full basket of lump charcoal. Wood is just to expensive and hard to get other than mesquite, which I rarely use. Once I get up to temperature I close the rear pinwheel and maintain temp using the front pinwheel and the chimney damper (I set it at about 11:00). As the fire burns down and the temp starts to drop, I open the chimney damper and partially open the back pinwheel. When I add fuel I proceed just like I did when I started the fire - both pinwheels are open as is the chimney damper.

I don't mess with the drain valve. I leave it closed all the time because I mostly cook using a water pan and grease never falls on the grates/plate but after reading your article I may experiment with the drain valve open to see if it improves the draft, which I think it might.

One advantage I have with my rig is that it's completely air tight. Additionally, I have fire bricks in the fire box so there is very little heat loss -- in other words's all the heats going into the cook chamber where it belongs.

I don't know but I think every Lang has it's own personality which the owner has to learn, so what works for me may not work for anyone else.
vandy

Wood River BBQ Team wrote:
Both pinwheels were all the way open during the whole cook, I did not close those at all even when I was able to hold the 250 degree temp I was controlling it with the smoke stack damper.

During the cook, what is the position of your 2 pinwheels at say 275*?
[/quote]


Vandy: When I'm smoking in the 275* to 300* range, I start with a full basket of lump charcoal. Wood is just to expensive and hard to get other than mesquite, which I rarely use. Once I get up to temperature I close the rear pinwheel and maintain temp using the front pinwheel and the chimney damper (I set it at about 11:00). As the fire burns down and the temp starts to drop, I open the chimney damper and partially open the back pinwheel. When I add fuel I proceed just like I did when I started the fire - both pinwheels are open as is the chimney damper.

I don't mess with the drain valve. I leave it closed all the time because I mostly cook using a water pan and grease never falls on the grates/plate but after reading your article I may experiment with the drain valve open to see if it improves the draft, which I think it might.

One advantage I have with my rig is that it's completely air tight. Additionally, I have fire bricks in the fire box so there is very little heat loss -- in other words's all the heats going into the cook chamber where it belongs.

I don't know but I think every Lang has it's own personality which the owner has to learn, so what works for me may not work for anyone else.[/quote]




I think the next time I use this cooker I am going to give the water pan under the meat a try.  I assume you cook everything on the top rack, is that correct?  

I am working on making this thing air tight, I have some nomex gasket ordered to put around the door to seal it off completely.  I put some silicone seals that are self adhesive around it but I don't think that is going to last long and it is too thick to put around the top of the door so I still have a little bit of a leak there which I hope the nomex will take care of.  

I would love to try the fire bricks in the bottom of the firebox, where did you find bricks thin enough to put in the bottom of it?  How thick are the bricks?

I think you are right about the Lang's having their own personality, I am still learning this thing and every time I use it I think I learn a little more about the personality of mine.  

Thanks for all you help and tips by the way!
Bill
Wood River BBQ Team

I think the next time I use this cooker I am going to give the water pan under the meat a try.  I assume you cook everything on the top rack, is that correct?  

I am working on making this thing air tight, I have some nomex gasket ordered to put around the door to seal it off completely.  I put some silicone seals that are self adhesive around it but I don't think that is going to last long and it is too thick to put around the top of the door so I still have a little bit of a leak there which I hope the nomex will take care of.  

I would love to try the fire bricks in the bottom of the firebox, where did you find bricks thin enough to put in the bottom of it?  How thick are the bricks?

I think you are right about the Lang's having their own personality, I am still learning this thing and every time I use it I think I learn a little more about the personality of mine.  

Thanks for all you help and tips by the way!
Bill[/quote]

Bill: I don't cook everything on the Lang. I have a Weber 22.5 for chicken and a Pit Barrell Cooker for tri tip, salmon, chicken wings etc. Big stuff like Ham, turkey, prime rib, brisket I cook on the Lang and I use a water pan because smoke loves a wet surface and I like to add humidity to the cook chamber so the meat doesn't dry out. Do a google search for more details. Some guys don't like to use it so it's a personal preference. I use the bottom rack for the water pan, which is a roasting pan and a wire rack sits on top of the pan. I don't use the top rack.

To seal the cracks, which were very thin, I used a cheap narrow tape
measure. It's the width of the lip on the cook chamber and I attached it with hight temp sealant. It's hard to seal the top edge of the cook chamber because of the hinges and a little leakage is OK -- my rig was leaking all over the place.

You can do a google search for the fire bricks. I think ACE carried them at one time but I'm not sure. Mine are as thin as floor tiles. The thick ones that look like bricks take up too much room and probably would not fit under the fire gate  plus they'd abstruct air floor from the pinwheels. In the  meantime, what you can do is place a piece of alum foil shinny side up on the bottom of the fire box. I actually place the alum foil over the fire bricks to aid in easy clean up. There's a topic about fire bricks on this forum but I don't know where it is right off the top of my head.
vandy

My Lang did not have very many leaks, just around the door so it was not hard to fix about 90 percent of it and now I just have a small leak at the top of the door which is probably fine.  I will try to find the fire bricks that you are talking about, that sounds like that will help a great deal with the temperature control.  Thanks for all your help, I will let you know how this works out.
vandy

Wood River BBQ Team wrote:
I think the next time I use this cooker I am going to give the water pan under the meat a try.  I assume you cook everything on the top rack, is that correct?  

I am working on making this thing air tight, I have some nomex gasket ordered to put around the door to seal it off completely.  I put some silicone seals that are self adhesive around it but I don't think that is going to last long and it is too thick to put around the top of the door so I still have a little bit of a leak there which I hope the nomex will take care of.  

I would love to try the fire bricks in the bottom of the firebox, where did you find bricks thin enough to put in the bottom of it?  How thick are the bricks?

I think you are right about the Lang's having their own personality, I am still learning this thing and every time I use it I think I learn a little more about the personality of mine.  

Thanks for all you help and tips by the way!
Bill


Bill: I don't cook everything on the Lang. I have a Weber 22.5 for chicken and a Pit Barrell Cooker for tri tip, salmon, chicken wings etc. Big stuff like Ham, turkey, prime rib, brisket I cook on the Lang and I use a water pan because smoke loves a wet surface and I like to add humidity to the cook chamber so the meat doesn't dry out. Do a google search for more details. Some guys don't like to use it so it's a personal preference. I use the bottom rack for the water pan, which is a roasting pan and a wire rack sits on top of the pan. I don't use the top rack.

To seal the cracks, which were very thin, I used a cheap narrow tape
measure. It's the width of the lip on the cook chamber and I attached it with hight temp sealant. It's hard to seal the top edge of the cook chamber because of the hinges and a little leakage is OK -- my rig was leaking all over the place.

You can do a google search for the fire bricks. I think ACE carried them at one time but I'm not sure. Mine are as thin as floor tiles. The thick ones that look like bricks take up too much room and probably would not fit under the fire gate  plus they'd abstruct air floor from the pinwheels. In the  meantime, what you can do is place a piece of alum foil shinny side up on the bottom of the fire box. I actually place the alum foil over the fire bricks to aid in easy clean up. There's a topic about fire bricks on this forum but I don't know where it is right off the top of my head.[/quote]


I am having a hard time finding bricks as thin as yours are, the best I have come up with so far are about 1 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 inch thick.  Would that work or should I keep looking for something thinner.   Or would ceramic floor tile work?
Wood River BBQ Team

I am having a hard time finding bricks as thin as yours are, the best I have come up with so far are about 1 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 inch thick.  Would that work or should I keep looking for something thinner.   Or would ceramic floor tile work?[/quote]

I think you're going to be stuck with 1.25"  because I can't  find the thin bricks either. Amazon carries Rutland replacement fire bricks and Tractor Supply carries US Stone. They have to be unglazed porcelean tiles. I don't know if ceramic would work -- they might crack.
vandy

I found some bricks today at Ace and put them in the bottom of the firebox and they fit pretty good.  I am thinking about getting a thin piece of sheet metal (preferably stainless) if I can find it to put over the top of the bricks to make clean up easier.
Wood River BBQ Team

vandy wrote:
I found some bricks today at Ace and put them in the bottom of the firebox and they fit pretty good.  I am thinking about getting a thin piece of sheet metal (preferably stainless) if I can find it to put over the top of the bricks to make clean up easier.


Use alum foil, shiny side up -- it's cheaper and easier to deal with. You just fold it up and trash it!!
vandy

Wood, I did try the aluminum foil over the bricks and it did make clean up a lot easier.  After everything cooled of and there was nothing but ash left all I had to do is take the fire grate out which is heavy as you know what and then fold the foil up and throw it out then I used my shop vac to get what little ash was left on the outside edge of the bricks.  At the hottest during the cook I could still put my hand on the bottom of the firebox without getting burned even though it was still hot enough that I could not leave my hand there for any length of time that sure is a big difference in how hot it used to be on the bottom.
Wood River BBQ Team

 After everything cooled of and there was nothing but ash left all I had to do is take the fire grate out which is heavy as you know what and then fold the foil up and throw it out then

Vandy: I've tried a number of ways to get the grate out of the fire box and none have worked. Previously, a forum lister told me how to do it but it didn't work for me. I almost think they built my fire box with the grate inside!! Anyway, I just work around it by lifting it up, and it is heavy, and slipping in the alum foil.
vandy

Wood River BBQ Team wrote:
 After everything cooled of and there was nothing but ash left all I had to do is take the fire grate out which is heavy as you know what and then fold the foil up and throw it out then

Vandy: I've tried a number of ways to get the grate out of the fire box and none have worked. Previously, a forum lister told me how to do it but it didn't work for me. I almost think they built my fire box with the grate inside!! Anyway, I just work around it by lifting it up, and it is heavy, and slipping in the alum foil.




My grate will come out but I have to lift it up and turn it about 45 degrees to slide it out the door and then it just barely clears the door opening.  It does sound like they built the firebox around yours, I can't imagine not being able to get it out and having to work around that heavy beast.  I have a hard enough time not tearing the foil all up just trying to get the thing back in there, that is why I thought about getting a piece of sheet metal to put in there but so far I have managed with the foil.
KarenFlores

RE:

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