Originally Posted by Mahoney86
I always preheat my splits, but the issue is, if there is no coals for them to light from its not gonna light! lol. I see pictures of guys running Small Hot Fires and it seems there is a ton of coal and embers just glowing away. My fires more seem to run off of the burning logs, they never really drop any coals or embers. For instance when I wrapped my ribs last night and put my chicken thighs on I switched to apple wood. I know apple burns much cooler than the oak from my initial cook, however to maintain 250* I had about 6 fits size around logs in the firebox, no coals at all and it was just the wood morning, every 15-20min I was throwing another log on just to keep the fire lit. If it wasn't for a nice preheated log going in, the fire would smoke turn to smoldering and then bye bye fire.
this is what I do, I was in a similar situation when I first got my pit.
I first lay down a good bed of unlit, natural briqs. Why briqs? because they burn slower and make a good coal base that lasts longer than lump.
How much of a layer will only come with trial and error, I have a much different pit so I cant really help there.
Then I will light a chimney of lump, could use briqs for that too, but I like saving my briqs for base and I have plenty of lump.
I put the chimney right in the firebox, light it up and let it go until fully lit
Pour it on the base. Put a few splits on that, get it roaring good.
once its going good I start closing things up and let it settle in. I will put a split or 2 on my firebox once its closed to get them hot for when they go on (very important to put hot splits on so they light off right away when adding).
After an hour or so once things are settled and running fine, put on the meat.
I add a split when I see the temp is starting to fade maybe 10 degrees, or when I can poke at the split and it falls apart.
Put that pre heated split on, let it flame up before closing the firebox
After a few hours of this, the briqs will be pretty low, at this point I will add a handlful of briqs along with the new split. I try to keep just enough ahead of the fire getting too low to keep that small hot fire going with it getting too big or too small.
Sounds hard but its really not. Just takes quality time with your pit and beverage of choice.
It does help to keep a log at first, and pay attention to the size of the splits, if they are too thick this can cause trouble.