Originally Posted by jonboy
Thanks for all the knowledge.
Early on you said fire =heat&air&wood. As the discussion progressed it seems that heat=charcoal/coal bed
Is burning only wood possible? In the larger offset pits it seems like a lot of charcoal would be used.
(king of cresote)
Absolutely. Quite a few people burn only wood in their offsets. I could never get this right in my small offset for some reason though. I would run too hot, or have too small a fire that required refueling too often. For me, once I dialed in a consistent method I stuck with it. That method happened to use charcoal and wood.
Originally Posted by Hachie Qer
I think you are missing something here. Of course burning wood always releases carbon which leaves black deposits over time. That isn't the real health concern. When you choke off the oxygen and alter the reaction that is occurring, creosote is formed. If you lay colorless over black, what do you get? Black! Unless you ALWAYS choke off the oxygen, your primary visible deposits will be the black carbon. Hopefully Bigabyte will return to this thread and back me up or correct me if I'm wrong. The best I can tell from what I've read here is that among this group, the creosote problem is fairly rare, and if you had the problem you would notice in the taste of your meat.
The black build up is an amalgamation of many things, but the color is primarily from carbon. What is inside it is based on your fire though, from what kind of wood used all the way to how clean/dirty it burned. It gets deposited there from the particulates carried in the smoke, which is most of what makes up the visible part of smoke. Without this stuff, smoke would be even less visible. This one may cause controversy for some folks, but trust me, the reason your meats cooked at the same temp and time in a smoker come out looking darker or even black as opposed to the same temps/time in an oven is because of these same deposits. Because you can not prevent these substances from getting on your food in a smoker (why would you smoke if you don't want any smoke to reach the food???) then what you need to do is make sure you are applying a smoke that does not have the dangerous chemicals in it. This the clean burning fire.
When BBQ first started, there was no refueling or Minion methods. Instead wood was put in a pit and burned down to glowing coals. The meat was cooked over these coals. There were no air intakes or restricted exhausts, these coals were directly exposed to the air. There was very little smoke coming from these pits of glowing coals except from drippings from the meat. Yet these meats tasted smoked. These fires burned very clean with full access to air and great heat.
So if you think about it, the best fuel source to use is lit wood coals. I have done this before with a pre-burn pit, and it s a bit of a pain in the arse. I used a Weber kettle and would keep a fire going in it and burn down wood chunks to glowing coals. Then I would scoop the coals into my offset. It was a lot of work, but the food was fantastic. I used primarily Oak which is normally a wood people think tastes too strong. It tasted absolutely wonderful prepared this way though. That is because all the "gunk" that causes off flavors was burned away. The same goes with any wood, for any smoker. Some woods are less harsh and better adapted to our modern style of smoking where the wood is lit in the smoker and therefore puts off all these gases and compounds. The way to reduce the amount that gets on your meat and to make the best flavor is to make sure the fire burns clean to burn off most of that stuff in the fire itself before it bellows out over the food.
Man, I'm really rambling here.
Originally Posted by tbrack
i have some new ideas for this weekends smoke. like spurhunter i cook at 210-230 and have had great results, will cooking 20-35 higher degrees change the meat? ( make it tuff) and when using lump charcoal do you use wood chunks as well, or a foil wrap packed with wood chips? i used a square foil water pan and slid it to the far left of the chamber ( against the hole) to prevent the flames coming in ....seemed to work.... once again great lesson bigabyte!!
I started off cooking briskets at 180-200. I now prefer them at 275. There is no right or wrong way, just personal preferences for everyone. I actually think I get a more moist product at 275 than I did at 200. However, I have also done the hot and fast cooks at 350+ with foiling and I think I prefer the ones cooked at 275 still. The ones cooked hot and fast were a little more tough, but I may have been doing something wrong. A lot of people have won comps using this method so it can't be that bad of a method. For me, I find 10 hours at 275 to be just as satisfying (and gives me some rest) than 16 hours at 200. So laziness is also a factor