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-   -   No-charcoal minion method; set and forget stickburner (

matadorbait 04-21-2014 01:31 PM

No-charcoal minion method; set and forget stickburner
Hi All,

For those with stickburners, I think the consensus is that you have to add a split every hour or so (I've seed advice from 45 min to 90 min). And in many threads people talk about active fire maintenance is the biggest/only drawback to stickburners. So my question is this:

Are there any methods to get a longer burn with less maintenance from stickburning?

What I have in mind is this: what would happen if you filled a UDS basket with wood chunks (eg, use a bandsaw) and light from the top? No charcoal at all. Could it work for long cooks and need less frequent re-fueling?

I got the idea from this:

When I light up my pit or pizza oven, I use this top-down method, and it works well. But I've always done it with splits on the grate. But what if one started with a basket with wood (not charcoal) chunks?

I've learned so much from this forum: I want to thank everyone in advance for your ideas.

Let the good ideas roll.....

pjtexas1 04-21-2014 01:45 PM

This is going to get interesting.:boxing:I would think the basket would have to be bigger and I don't know how you would keep the chunks from lighting too quickly. I would say try it out and report back.

DaveAlvarado 04-21-2014 01:51 PM

One of the things that makes the minion method work is that there simply isn't airflow to all the charcoal all the time. Some of it has to burn off for other charcoal to light. I think the big problem with wood chunks will be eliminating enough air space.

If you packed them tightly in a charcoal basket, it's certainly worth trying.

Usually when people want a nap with their stick burners, they burn a load of charcoal in a basket in the fire box. That buys you several hours of sleep time.

SmittyJonz 04-21-2014 01:52 PM

I think the FB are too small but it could work for first 2-3-4 hrs then you'd have to go back to adding a split every 45-1 hr cuz it'd be a bunch of hot coals so you couldn't build another stack.........also think Temps would be Too Low

Try it in see and report back.............

matadorbait 04-21-2014 01:53 PM

I'm gonna try it this weekend, once I'm armed (and dangerous) with everyone's ideas. I think the basket would have to be tall/narrow, so that the top layer--the part that's on fire, is not too big. Once it starts, it will be important to shut down the vents to keep it from running away.

I love stickburning, sitting around drinking beer and watching the fire. But sometimes I have other chores do to....

SmittyJonz 04-21-2014 01:57 PM


Originally Posted by matadorbait (Post 2892309)

I love stickburning, sitting around drinking beer and watching the fire. But sometimes I have other chores do to....

UDS - I've left for 6 hrs during a cook. Or even better would be a Humphreys Battle Box.........

oldbill 04-21-2014 02:15 PM

The real issue with a stick burner is getting a good draft yet still getting a long burn. To lengthen burn-time you have to reduce the intake and in so doing you lose heat and increase the likelihood of dirty smoke from wood that is smoldering but not fully igniting.
Stick burners must breathe and in most offsets a basket or any other obstruction will kill the draft and lead to headaches.
Stick burners make the best Q in my opinion, it's worth the time and work of tending the fire and operating the cooker the way God made her to. A small hot wood fire with wide open dampers is the way to go.:wink:

Mark 04-21-2014 03:05 PM

I'm with old bill on this. "Set it and forget it" with a stickburner might be possible with some sort of temperature-controlled damper system but I think there would be too much compromise in final quality of the meat.

Personally, I'm almost allways doing some sort of other work while I'm Q'ing.
You just got to remember to put some chunks on every 45 minutes or so.

matadorbait 04-21-2014 06:13 PM


Originally Posted by SmittyJonz (Post 2892313)
UDS - I've left for 6 hrs during a cook. Or even better would be a Humphreys Battle Box.........

That's one nice looking smoker.

So far, I'm thinking of trying a 5" diameter mesh basket and a 5" solid-wall basket (on a bottom grate) to see if I can get a 4 hour run with stable temp (ie, the whole thing going up in a big fireball or suffocating in thick white smoke).

matadorbait 04-21-2014 06:44 PM

I still can't get my head around this

or this

matadorbait 04-21-2014 06:58 PM

these guys talk about 4-8 hours of burn from tightly packed logs, kind of like the ash tricks in the almanac above. if woodburning stoves can go for 8 hours....

Trailer Trash 04-21-2014 11:19 PM

You have my attention! I'm in as well for some experimentation. I have a Meadow Creek SQ36 that is a beautiful piece of workmanship however it frustrates me terribly because my temperatures are up and down, I'll even get bad yellow billowing smoke at times. I can't seem to get along with it (reminds me of my first wife).

I talked to Jesse from Meadow Creek and he's baffled cause all he hears is how great that model holds a constant 225 degrees???

After reading some of the links here, I'm wondering about a basket with a nice tight stack of wood about 3/4 up then pour on hot briquettes from a charcoal starter on top??? I'm going to try it and let you know!

Swine Spectator 04-22-2014 04:51 AM

You might be interested in some tests that I have done:


ButtBurner 04-22-2014 06:53 AM

I use the method on the site in my wood stove at my cabin

I am not sure I would want that smoke on my food though.

It is not always TBS.

I dont know how you would control your heat very well either. Heating a cabin is one thing but cooking a brisket is quite another

I guess its worth a try. I dont know

my thought it if you want set and forget then use another type of cooker than a stickburner.

SmittyJonz 04-22-2014 09:07 AM

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