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May 24th, 2015, 7:49 am
#1
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: May 23rd, 2015, 11:14 pm
  • Posts: 2

I am looking into a Durgano 20. It's primary use will be backyard cooks (smoking and charcoal grilling). I currenly use a pellet smoker and while I love the ease, the flavor is lacking.

Couple of questions from the pros:

1. How hard is it to maintain 225-250?
2. How often are you adding wood/ charcoal? I like to do overnight cooks, but Im curious how much love this smoker will need during the night?

Thanks!

JT

May 24th, 2015, 12:06 pm
#2
Site AdminSite Admin
User avatar
  • Joined: April 18th, 2014, 3:12 pm
  • Posts: 2036

Here is a video on fire management that you might like.

Using wood splits, depending on the temperature and environment, you will need to tend the fire every 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.

If you are using charcoal, check this out as an option: http://www.atbbq.com/store/show/ys-charcoal-basket.html

Please give our sales team a call for more information, 877.409.6337, option 1

Yoder_Herb
May 24th, 2015, 9:05 pm
#3
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: August 26th, 2014, 3:15 pm
  • Posts: 38
  • Location: Eastlake, Ohio

I have the loaded Wichita....as long as you take the time to get the smoker up to temp, managing the fire is very easy. I usually mess with the fire one every two hours, but wou.d consider myself very , for lack of a better word, anal about my temp. Though I know many love the pellets, nothing compares to the flavor from a real stickburner...I assure you, it is worth the effort!....just make sure your wood is well seasoned.

Yoder Loaded Wichita, pile of wood, matches.
May 26th, 2015, 12:37 pm
#4
* Wichita ** Wichita *
User avatar
  • Joined: August 22nd, 2014, 11:53 pm
  • Posts: 207

I run a Durango 24 and I'm able to keep temps fairly consistent following the advice provided on this forum. Each cook is a little different depending on temp, wind, etc, but the learning curve is part of the fun. On my unit 225 - 250 would require a smaller fire, lots of air to keep the burn clean and a more frequent application of fuel. I typically run in the 270 range adding a can size split every 45 minutes to an hour.

I've been curious about the basket for a while, but waiting to see the results of others before making the investment.

Durango 24
May 26th, 2015, 10:10 pm
#5
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: May 18th, 2015, 9:25 pm
  • Posts: 48

The prior posts couldn't have said it better. There is a small learning curve. Primarily, you just need to learn that too much fuel and not enough air creates a bad white thick smoke. Too much fuel and too much air and you have a chamber that's WAY too hot. You want smaller amounts of fuel mixed with some air that creates a pretty light blue smoke. Once you figure out how to get the pretty blue smoke, then do you try to figure out how to maintain your temp range. In my opinion, if you can run 225-270 you'll be just fine as long as you find your pretty blue smoke. For a 6 hour cook in "normal" temps (like say 60-70 degrees outside) I would plan for about 2 chimney's max of lump wood. One of those chimneys is to get the heat started. Then, I might add another chimney in the course of the cook to build up the embers. Otherwise, I just put one stick on right when I notice my heat starting to go down. I also always preheat my sticks on top of the firebox so that they are nice and hot when I go to put them on.

I really appreciate what TcircleT said. "WIND" and "TEMP". They are key. If I'm smoking on a very windy day, I will find myself literally turning my Wichita so that the firebox is positioned for positive airflow. There's not really a secret, but just look for the pretty blue smoke!

By the way, I'm very "jealous" that you're going to the Durango. I was looking at the Cheyenne and decided to upgrade to the Wichita. Soooooo, glad I did. I probably would've sold the Cheyenne by now. Always go big if the budget allows!

June 1st, 2015, 11:01 pm
#6
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: May 31st, 2015, 7:35 pm
  • Posts: 3

Does anyone use a Guru with the fan? Just wondering if that works in helping with temperature control.

I've never had a offset before so sorry if this is a dumb newbie question.

Bill

June 2nd, 2015, 9:13 am
#7
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: May 18th, 2015, 9:25 pm
  • Posts: 48

I do have a guru that I use periodically. It definitely helps with maintaining a constant temp. In fact, in some ways I think it's cheating!

Here's my theory... if you can learn to run your smoker efficiently without it, then it's not cheating. It took several cooks before I finally caught the hang of what it truly means to run an efficient fire. Once I had that figured out, I stumbled on the guru and thought I'd give it a try. You still have to know how much fuel to add for the heat you need so that you don't over smoke or under heat.

I have a Wichita and I have found that the guru is a nice upgrade. I'll try to summarize my steps as simply as possible:

I normally start a chimney of lump with all doors and vents open. While the chimney is lighting up, I will hook up my guru, clean grates, find the wood I'm going to use, etc. Once I have a chimney full of embers, I will dump those evenly and put on a split log. Once the log starts burning good, then I'll start shutting down the doors and leaving both dampers wide open. At this time, I also check to see how my coals are. I might add a handful or two at this time if I don't have enough coals. By now, the guru is doing it's thing, but you still have your air intake damper wide open!!! I leave it open until I get within 20 degrees of my target temp. As my temperature is climbing, I'm slowly shutting the intake down. I have found that the Wichita probably needs two fans, but I make due with one. I have to keep my air intake damper open about 10-20% while running my smokes. I have found that this is where the guru runs most efficiently.

While I'm maintain temps, I keep a log on top of the firebox (preheating). Once I see my guru pulse 7-9 times in a series, I know it's looking for more fuel. So, I check my coal bed, add another handful or two if necessary, and then add my preheated log. I keep rinsing and repeating until my cook finishes.

I have found that this method has allowed me some very consistent cooks in many different weather and temperature conditions.

Hope this helps.

June 2nd, 2015, 11:40 am
#8
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: May 31st, 2015, 7:35 pm
  • Posts: 3

patrickd26 wrote:I do have a guru that I use periodically. It definitely helps with maintaining a constant temp. In fact, in some ways I think it's cheating!

Here's my theory... if you can learn to run your smoker efficiently without it, then it's not cheating. It took several cooks before I finally caught the hang of what it truly means to run an efficient fire. Once I had that figured out, I stumbled on the guru and thought I'd give it a try. You still have to know how much fuel to add for the heat you need so that you don't over smoke or under heat.

I have a Wichita and I have found that the guru is a nice upgrade. I'll try to summarize my steps as simply as possible:

I normally start a chimney of lump with all doors and vents open. While the chimney is lighting up, I will hook up my guru, clean grates, find the wood I'm going to use, etc. Once I have a chimney full of embers, I will dump those evenly and put on a split log. Once the log starts burning good, then I'll start shutting down the doors and leaving both dampers wide open. At this time, I also check to see how my coals are. I might add a handful or two at this time if I don't have enough coals. By now, the guru is doing it's thing, but you still have your air intake damper wide open!!! I leave it open until I get within 20 degrees of my target temp. As my temperature is climbing, I'm slowly shutting the intake down. I have found that the Wichita probably needs two fans, but I make due with one. I have to keep my air intake damper open about 10-20% while running my smokes. I have found that this is where the guru runs most efficiently.

While I'm maintain temps, I keep a log on top of the firebox (preheating). Once I see my guru pulse 7-9 times in a series, I know it's looking for more fuel. So, I check my coal bed, add another handful or two if necessary, and then add my preheated log. I keep rinsing and repeating until my cook finishes.

I have found that this method has allowed me some very consistent cooks in many different weather and temperature conditions.

Hope this helps.


Thank you that was really helpful. Can you let me know where you installed the fan?

Bill

June 2nd, 2015, 10:04 pm
#9
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: May 18th, 2015, 9:25 pm
  • Posts: 48

You don't even want to know how much thought I put into this before drilling the actual hole. I ended up drilling it in the firebox door to the lower right of the vent. I wanted to keep it right below the coal grate. It's worked out "grate" and no regrets. I thought about putting it on the lower inside left of the fire box, but that would create a negative airflow into the chamber. The guru adapter is very stout. It almost acts as "one" with the smoker. It is NOT a flimsy product.

Also, it took me 3 tries to find the right step up drill bit to cut through the thick steel. We have Menards and Lowe's here. Neither one I purchased would even come close to cutting through it. Fortunately, my dad came over with some bit that looked the same, but behaved very differently. I asked him why his cut like butter and he said that the cheap ones don't have enough "steps" The bits look sort of like a tornado. They start small and then step up and up until you get to your desired diameter. I guess the cheap ones don't have as many steps and they were locking up. I tried for at least an hour, called my dad and he said he'd bring a bit over. I had it done in about 3 minutes with his bit.

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