Originally Posted by BBQchef33
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.