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Unread 01-08-2013, 08:16 AM   #8
Lake Dogs
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Join Date: 07-14-09
Location: Lake Sinclair, GA
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> lets say i am doing this on a standard offset size. such as one from lowes,
> the char grill. No i did not buy one, just giving that as reference. haha

I'd consider these to be at the very small entry-level size (and certainly entry-level quality) smoker.

> waha are the general rules? are there size recommendations for the splits,
> should they be green or very well seasoned? how many should be added?

Size matters. Seriously. Refer to keys to a small/hot fire (above referenced). The fire should be allowed to burn hot, and clean, getting PLENTY of air. When adding wood, be it splits, whole logs, chunks, chips, whatever they should be clean and free from mold/fungus, dry as possible (not soaked), warm as possible, small enough and put on/over the existing fire so that they dont smother the fire (even temporarily).

For a smaller unit like you're talking about, I suggest that the splits be very short and very thin, but honestly I'm not a fan of splits in units this size. I think splits should be reserved for a larger fire box in the range of 20x24+. Think chunks, about the size of your fist, or smaller. I suggest when adding them to only put in 1 or 2 at a time, and let them burn completely, which usually takes 30-45 minutes or more. If you have a hot clean burning fire to begin with, when you add a chunk or two there will be a little (not much mind you) white smoke at first, but within perhaps 1 or 2 minutes the white smoke will turn almost clear and become that thin blue hue that is so desirable.

Wet wood tends to cool and/or smother the fire, producing billowy white smoke. Some of the white is evaporation/steam, but most is just bad smoke. The dryer the better.

Some people prefer green fruit wood, but rarely is the wood actually extremely green, it's just not as dry and seasoned as it could be. This will give off a more white smoke when burning, but the folks that do this like it because it gives a stronger fruity/smoked flavor.

Cool wood takes longer to come up to burning temp and therefore produces more billowy white smoke.

Large wood can smother the fire, resulting in more billowy white smoke.

Too much wood applied at one time can do the same.
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Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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