Originally Posted by ShencoSmoke
Stick burners need a clean burning fire. If i opened the door and chunked a split in (like the chute would- with no precision) the fire would smolder because the fire is not built correctly. It takes skill to maintain a clean fire, and a gadget has no skill. And if you wonder why us stick burners go to all this trouble? Because we enjoy it!
I agree totally with you that it takes a clean fire.
I am a stickburner and have been for years. I do it for two reasons. I enjoy maintaining the fire and, IMHO, it produces the best flavor. However, there are a few times when it would be nice to get the superior product a stickburner produces without having to tend a fire (at least not as much) such as when I have to do an overnight cook and go to work the next day. This seems to be what the OP was interested in. I am not saying it would be easy to design a working system and the question of fire quality had certainly come to mind. One solution I can think of for fire control is a system of guides and grates inside the firebox to help keep the fire in an optimal design. This idea may be more complicated than the OP wanted and I am not saying I will ever try it but it came to mind and I thought I would pass it along. Honestly I get fussed at by others for not being interested in getting a gravity-feed for competition but I just enjoy the process and taste of my stickburner too much - even if I am a little wiped out at awards