Copperhead 5 Series Vertical Smoker Temperature Spikes

Kevinbbqs4fun

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I purchased a Copperhead 5 Series Vertical Smoker this past spring of 2020. I have experienced huge temperature spikes especially on long cooks. I keep the water pan filled and have moved it up from the bottom, too. I've contacted PB, and in a reply they informed me to preheat the grill at 200 degrees F for five minutes and then adjust my temperature. Although this helped, I still experience temp spikes from time to time. Any suggestions and help will be appreciated. Thanks!
 

MikeInFla

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What kind of temp fluctuations are you getting? Normally there is going to be a swing. On my Pit Boss Pellet grill I get swings 50 degrees either way but it never stays that way for long. On my Series 3 Vertical (same as yours just a bit smaller) it stays pretty close to where I have it set. If it is at 250 it rarely goes below 240 or above 265. I'll see a 10-15 degree swing on it but nothing like my grill does.
 
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Kevinbbqs4fun

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Most of the time I will see the typical swing of +/- 20 degrees... and like you I can see +/- 50 degree swings--I'm OK with that. However, I have seen it shoot up 100+ beyond my set point many times! When this happens, the fire out of the fire pot increases more than I usually see it. It will then cool down almost by 100 degrees. PB told me in an email to start the smoker at 200 F and not in smoke mode, and allow the unit to heat up for 5 minutes. This does seem to help on short cooks, but on longer cooks, such as a pork butt, it will shoot up well past my set point. (I do keep water in the water pan and even place a large aluminum pan in the water pan. When I see the water becoming low, I refill it about every 2-3 hours. I clean my smoker before each use by vacuuming out the ash and cleaning the temp probe, too.)
Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
 
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Kevinbbqs4fun

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Last night I smoked on my Copperhead Series 5 a whole salmon filet, boneless chicken breasts, and fresh smoked veggies. It was a short 3-hour cook, and I also used an A-MAZE-N two-hour smoker tube filled with hickory and charhickory pellets. I did not experience any major temperature spikes with my average temperature changes roughly averaging +/- 15 degrees F. I used a large aluminum pan filled 3/4 with water placed on top of the original water pan. The food, according to my family, was moist and juicy. (Sorry, no pics from this smoke.) To monitor the temps I bought on Amazon a wireless meat thermometer [package] by Enzoo, which worked flawlessly.

As I stated earlier, I experience large temperature spikes on longer cooks, which for me are pork ribs and Boston butts. I change the water pan's water (or refill it) about every 2-3 hours, then I see larger than normal flames shooting out the side the fire pot, which results in temperature spikes of more than 100-120 degrees! Then as the temperature drops by almost 100 degrees, it seems like my unit will flame out. I have not clue why this occurs on my long cooks??? If the weather is good this weekend, I will smoke some baby backs as SEC football begins. I'll keep ya' posted.

Thanks for your thoughts and God bless!!! :)
 

MikeInFla

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I have never really seen flames on mine shooting out the side, maybe once or twice but only if going from 200 to 400. Other than that I do not see a flame and temps are always pretty close. I have never had it go 100 off.
 

Rever

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I have the same smoker as you and recently started experiencing this on long cooks (Brisket, Pork Butts). From what I am seeing the pellets seem to flame out and smolder. The temp drops about 60-100 degrees with tons of smoke in the chamber. I believe the auger is dumping pellets in to bring temp back up causing further smoke (like startup). Once the pellets catch the sucker jumps to extreme high temps with flames shooting out the side. I have noticed this to be an issue with certain brand pellets so have recently stuck to PitBoss Pellets. It still happens but much less frequently. Could be the pellets you are using causing this but just a guess. I am going to do a few more smokes with PitBoss only pellets to see if it evens out.
 

MikeInFla

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yeah, some pellets burn better than others. So far I have had good luck with Pit Boss pellets, Kingsford Pellets and bear Mountain. All of those are pretty good and out of the 3 I would rank Pit Boss 3rd but that isn't a bad thing, I just prefer Bear Mountain best. have only tried one bag of Cherrywood Kingsford and those are pretty good.
 
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Kevinbbqs4fun

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I think my unit flames out, too, drops 60-100 degrees, and the auger dumps pellets into the burn pot. The result is huge billows of smoke like at startup.

I have used Pit Boss pellets in the past, and then I started to use Lumber Jack. The Lumber Jack to me provides a little better flavor. However, I've read somewhere the diameter of their pellets maybe a little smaller. If that is the case, they may burn hotter than the Pit Boss brand. So, in an experiment I've gone back to Pit Boss brand pellets. Tomorrow I'm doing 4-racks of baby backs with Pit Boss hickory & mesquite pellets. I love my PB products and will continue to work on figuring out why I get temp spikes on my Cooperhead Series 5. I appreciate your help and insight!!! God bless!
 

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