What goes in, must go out. It is through the type, placement and use of the chimney which makes the process effective. The chimney does more than simply allow the heat to escape the cooking chamber.
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The Smoke Chimney
Most chimneys are mounted on the top portion of the cooking chamber thus allowing the hottest temperatures to escape. Some of the smarter manufacturers have given this process some thought and have moved the location where the chimney is attached to the cooking chamber down to the mid section or about the level of the cooking grate. Some have even moved it down to near the bottom of the cooker. This traps the heat while allowing the free flow of air which is required for proper cooking.
You can see the various configurations in the photos presented in this section.
The chimney is usually located at the opposite end of the smoker, away from the firebox. This location allows for the smoke to exit after passing over and around the meat being barbecued. Some of the chimneys are located at the top of the cooking chamber and others, as with the water smoking system, are located lower, near the water line, thus keeping the moisture in the cooking chamber.
Proper use of the chimney: Unfortunately, many cooks will use a damper or lid to restrict the flow of hot air through the chimney. The thinking is that that is the proper method of controlling the heat in the cooking chamber. Nope, that's incorrect. All that does is back up the air flow trapping the smoke in the cooking chamber making the meat bitter and snuffing out the fire. The proper method is to leave the exhaust vent on the chimney open full and then to reduce the heat restrict the air flow into the firebox. This allows for free flow of the heat through the cooking chamber and at the same time adds fresh air for the fire to burn. For those of you who have truly been bit by the bug, you might want to take a few moments to drool over this baby. Check out the World's Largest Smoker!
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