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BBQchef33 10-25-2003 04:27 PM

Moving to All wood.

Originally Posted by StLouQue

Originally Posted by BBQchef33
...Then will come the art of fire managment and using all wood. I would always recommend a beginner use charcoal with wood chunks for smoke the first few times till he gets the hang of it.

I'm an all wood person myself, and just use lump when i need to replenish a bit of coalbed.

Waaaaaait a minute. I've gotten the impression that hardwood logs were best left for the Klose--that the Bandera's smaller size produces meat overwhelmed by all-wood smoke. You mean I don't HAVE to use lump and chunk?

What's the procedure for moving to all log cooking? I aasume you don't want to just toss a cold hickory log on kindling and start cookin'?

I'm gonna split the thread here. This is a good topic for everyone.

Ohhh Steve!! Ab-so-tively not!!! First, in my little world, when I say all wood, I probably mean 90%. I always start with a chimney of either lump or kingsford. (A full one always for the Klose, but maybe a heavy half for the Bandera.). When I dump the chimney, I add a log or a few big chunks of heat wood(as opposed to flavor wood, cherry, apple, mulberry). I use this to get the pit up to temp, clean my grates, and start preheating wood on top of the fireboxes.

From that point on, I will just add wood, that is unless my coal bed disappears, i will add a small amount of lump right on top to get enough coalsa going to cleanly ignite another log or a few more chunks.

Adding lump is safe, its just preburned wood, and wont cause an offtaste the way charcoal can if ya just dump that in unlit. All the impurities are allready burned out of lump.

Always preheat the wood before adding it. I 'm not saying to maintain a seperate fire and preburn, I mean to just make that wood as hot as ya can on top of the firebox, just short of igniting. I always jkeep logs on top ready to go. As soon as ya dump a hot log in, it ignites with clean smoke.

As far as overpowering, a small fire is the key, keep the top chimney wide open. I use the oak or hickory as my heat source and find that it wont overpower. Will add other woods for flavor, such as cherry, apple, mulberry, pecan, pear, etc...

The bandera doesnt take well to large logs, I even prefer large chunks, about fist sized, or split logs about 7-8 inchs long, no more than 2-3 inchs wide. The MUST be put on a good coalbed. The klose can handle fatter logs, but i still keep them in the 7-8 inch length and split them into no larger than 4-6 inchs wides. I'm a big fan of the "wheel". Cut off wheels, 2-3 inchs wide and split them into what ever size ya want. Big fat logs may look cool in the firebox, and work great on 15 foot mobile rigs, but they wont burn clean enough for us. Keep the wood in the form of small splits and chunks.

IMO, I see absolutely nothing wrong with using lump as your heat source, or even kingsford, and adding wood for flavor. Is much easier than maintaing logs, burns more evenly and takes less babysitting. Eiyther way, with the Bandera 45 minutees is about as long as it will go unattedned regardless of log or lump. But like Mark says, that bagged fuel costs money. Not that I get my wood for free, but a pickup bed of cherry and oak costs me 50-60 bucks. Thats the dollar equivalent of of 4to6-20lb bags of lump, which at the rate I cook, would be about a months worth. The side of house is loaded with a variety of cooking woods.. I just keep a few bags of lump on hand for coal beds.

You've been using lump and chunk???.. go all chunk, add a few splits to the chunks..... thats the way I used to do it... 4-5 fist szied chunks or thin splits of hickory or oak will maintain 250. If you see the coal bed getting a little small, add a handfull of lump just to replenish it in time for that next batch of logs.

When you can maintain sweet blue, clear smoke using all wood, you know you have arrived!! :P

We had a pretty good thread on this also in the yahoo forum, i will try to dig it up.

colt45 10-25-2003 04:46 PM

I would be on the "uses mostly charcoal" for heat side of things... I basically live in an apartment/condo with a shared lawn space... so having a giant pile of wood around is a bit cumbersome... but going to Homer and getting 2 bags of charcoal is easier... I also plan on getting a charcoal basket... either from David Klose or Big Al sometime this winter... I really want a WSM but I cant justify a 4th cooking implement on the back porch we share with other folks... :) (Gas Grill, Bandera, and turkey fryer)... we also have 2 kettles out there...


Mike(Mi) 10-25-2003 05:21 PM

I like wheels too. For the Bandera I think they are easier to use (and make) than splits, but I usually have both around. I always start with 3/4 chimney of lump and then add 2-3 pcs. wood. And then I get the rotation going with a couple big pieces on top of the firebox to preheat. Same thing here Phil, when the coal bed starts dissapearing on me, I grab a handful or two of lump with my trusty welding glove and reach in sideways thru the firebox and put em right on top of the action.

I've tried the Chinese logs Wally World used to sell, they were a good heat extender, but like Kingsford, tend to leave more ash. Sometimes if I know I don't want to deal with the fire for a while, I'll put some Kingsford in with the wood chunks or when I add lump. Just depends on my whim and the situation.

Oldtimer 10-25-2003 05:23 PM

Hell when my coals get low I just turn up the gas. :-) Now on the serious side the tendency to go with logs instead of splits or wheels is very tempting. If anything a good coal bed and smaller spilts of wood is the way to go. Even in my gas smoker I don't fill the wood box, by adding small amounts off wood at a time I manage just a trace of smoke. Thin Blue dude.

have to admit when the meat is wrapped in foil and not taking any smoke i will add to the wood box for the aroma and to piss off the neighbors. Makes them hungry...

StLouQue 10-25-2003 07:03 PM

Sumbitch. Thanks fellas. I have some experimenting to do. I don't have a mountain of wood yet, some hickory though thanks to parrothead.

What I've done so far is: Toss in a chimney of hot lump, then a couple of chunks on the hot coals. These first two chunks aren't prehreated though so I wait for the white smoke to tone down a bit before adding meat. Meanwhile I've got four more chunks on top of the firebox getting nice and hot, while starting another chimney of lump. (I've never heard of putting lump on cold, however, I'll have to try that. Hopefully, doing so will prolong holding the desired temp range.) Usually, when the vertical approaches 10-15 degrees from the lower end of that range, I start another chimney. When its ready to go in the firebox, so does two preheated chunks. Then I go in the vertical to mop/mist. Normally, these two actions combine to take the vertical's temp down to a temporary 130-something. The temp comes back up pretty quick thanks to the mods, which by the way I'm successfully using a stainless steel cookie sheet (14 x 16") which covers all but about an 1 - 1 1/2 inch of the left side of the smoke chamber. Square inch-wise the gap is only a tad bigger the chimney opening. But I digress.

Usually this method means that I'm dumping in new hot lump every 45 minutes to an hour depending on the weather. After about three hours of cooking, I discontinue the wood chunks because I've read that meat stops soaking in the smoke after that. In my experience, while I am using the chunks I get longer continuous burns, so I figured that a partial log or actually chunks cut from splits would really prolong having to refuel. Besides, each que I'm using about 2/3 of a 20 lb bag of lump. Now I don't cook as much as some of you guys so the cost isn't really a major issue, but damn, I hate seeing the fuel burn away so quickly.

Anyway, this thread is a keeper. I'm going to print this mutha and stick it in my Brethren info binder. Thanks again.

BBQchef33 10-25-2003 07:44 PM

using your current method steve, heres what I would do. IMO

dump a light full 3/4(as opposed to heaping :lol: ) chimney of hot lump and a split log or 3-4-5 chunks first thing to get to temp. Splits will ignite easily on the fresh hot coals.

Keep an eye on temps, 10-15 degree drop, add a few chunks or splits. keep doin that, but dont expect much longer burns, Your still gonna tend every 45mins to an hour.

Only add more lump if your not getting enough coals from the chunks, and its absolutely OK to add lump while cooking.(its just more wood, nothing more). Just add small amounts. It will give you some white smoke at first, but its thin and it goes away. As long as there were some coals left, it will light quickly.

Chunks or split wheels tend to burn down better than logs and wont give you large coals, so you may need to add the lump. A log however, when burnt down and looks almost can smack it with another log or a poker and it breaks apart into coals that you can add stuff on top of.

whenever u see a small drop(10-15 degrees) add wood.

btw, I think the cutoff for smoke absorbtion is 6 hours, but thats as much a debate as foiling. I use wood right up to the end, unless I foil whatever Im cookin, then it dont matter what kind of heat ya use.

StLouQue 10-25-2003 10:16 PM

Thanks again for the tips, Phil.

Pity about the Yankees, huh? Right. As you might imagine, they're not widely loved here in St. Louis.

BBQchef33 10-25-2003 10:50 PM

not much of a yankee fan myself.. in fact.. didnt even watch the game. Im not to proud to admit....

Amateur (and Pro) wrestling

UFC and Martial Arts are my sports.

egkor 10-25-2003 11:19 PM

Spliting/cutting wood, and "wheels'
Hi Phil and everyone,

The last time I went to a wood dealer, I came back with logs that were too big for the NBBD. So I did my best to cut them in half, a more useable size.

Is there a "best way" to buy logs, and cut them down to size for a NBBD and Bandera? What is the best way to make "wheels"?


BBQchef33 10-25-2003 11:42 PM

Wheels are just cut from the heavier limbs and the trunk. Cut them straight across, 2-3 inchs thick, then just split them with a hand ax as ya need em. All the wood i get is in 16-20 inch logs. Went and got myself a chainsaw and have a few big fat stumps around. 2 in the pit, and 1 in the woodpile. Spend an hour cuttin logs into 7-8 inch pieces, and the heavier limbs and stumps get wheeled.

Oldtimer 10-26-2003 07:46 AM

Re: Spliting/cutting wood, and "wheels'

Originally Posted by egkor
What is the best way to make "wheels"?


A Saw..... :oops:

Mark 10-26-2003 08:28 AM

Wheels are good if you have a chansaw and are cutting up your own trees. Often though, whats available is stuff cut for the fireplace. Here's how I deal with fireplace-sized round logs and limbs:

I've got something called a "monster maul." Its a big triangular piece of solid steel with a steel pipe for a handle. It will split up to a 12" round log with one solid hit. I keep splitting till the pieces are no more that 4" thick. Then I make quick work making chunks with my skill saw. For limbs of various sizes (1" to 6") I prefer using a sawzall.

If the stuff is green, I let is dry out for a few months, keeping it off the ground and away from the house to prevent termites.

Mark (STL)

egkor 10-26-2003 08:37 AM

Thanks Phil and Mark
Thanks Phil and Mark!

Phil, I was hoping to avoid the expense of a chainsaw right now, but it does look like the preferred tool.

Mark, where do you get the "Monster Maul"?

Thanks again,

Mark 10-26-2003 08:55 AM

I bought mine 15 years ago in a small town in Northern Ohio. I don't think they're made any more. Northern Tool has something very similar called the Log Blaster (Item# 11911) for $25.

Mark (STL)

BBQchef33 10-26-2003 09:34 AM

i get the fireplaced logss too. Wyy to big.. I picked up a chainsaw from home depot. Its either a 16 or 20 inch homelite and ran me about 125 bucks. I don't cut my own trees, but when my tree guy drops off a whole tree with 12 inch wide stumps and 6-8 inch limbs mixed in, it sure comes in handy. I'll cut as I need pretty much. Cut a load of wheels from the stuff thats to big to split(lazy), a dozen or 2 wheels, then split them with the maul into big chunks and keep them in a wheelbarrow in the shed. Split further with a hndax when i need. The other logs I'll split with a maul. Been thinkin about one of those hydraulic spliiters. The ones that use your car jack to split. Anyone ever seen one??

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