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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.

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Old 05-17-2010, 11:02 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by cptorrez View Post
wow! i am new to the site and I am amazed at the wealth of knowledge you guys have. i am in good old sunny c.a. and i find people just don't know how to bbq out here. I do my best
Welcome to our "group therapy" session. There are LOTS! of folks here in CA that do Q very well. There are several regular posters from So, Cal. look around here and ask questions most are willing to help ya.

Most of all have fun.

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Guess that is why he was truck driver, not a chef......
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Old Smoke View Post
Welcome to our "group therapy" session. There are LOTS! of folks here in CA that do Q very well. There are several regular posters from So, Cal. look around here and ask questions most are willing to help ya.

Most of all have fun.

Well said.
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Old 05-18-2010, 01:33 AM   #18
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Okay, well what I did was used the schematic from here...

I went to a welding shop and got a real nice thick gauge piece of expanded steel, so I didn't do the wrap around and bolt thing. I just folded up the corners and cut off the extra bit.
I made two of them, I use the minion method. Start it all up with about a half chimney full on top of the basket.
I get about four hours cook time off the basket, when the four hour mark is almost there, I load up the other basket with unlit charcoal, I pull the first basket out with gloves and hangers, pour the coals into my ash bucket, then put the new charcoal basket in, and dump the lit coals on the new basket.

That's on an offset, which from the sound of it.. I'm assuming you have as well.
May not work for everyone, works great for me.
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:33 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Solidkick View Post
Guys, I'm not doing so well with fire control. I need an idea from you all as to how much charcoal you start out with for your initial fire. I'm starting with a chimney of lit coals put over a chimney of unlit charcoal, with it being a mixture of lump and briqettes. I add wood for the smoke flavor. I'm just not getting up to a good cooking temp. I've added the baffle and raised the fire, though I don't have the new fire grate made yet, I do have the materials. The 3/8 inch door gasket proved to be too thick and the door wouldn't close, so I'm going to have to go down to 1/4 inch.

Should I be starting out with more like 10-15 lbs of charcoal, then adding small amounts later to maintain a constant temp?

Thanks in advance guys!

what model pit are you using?
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:35 AM   #20
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:46 AM   #21
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It hard to get a hickory log in one of those little chimney thingy
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:44 PM   #22
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This thread is very informative. I use lump charcoal and wood chunks. Essentially what I've been doing is make a good layer of lump across the charcoal grate leaving about two inches along the perimeter. Then, form a horizontal pile about the length of the grill chamber spreading out the center of it forming a nest for the hot coals from the chimney going. A little more charcoal on top of that waiting for about 35 min. till I get a clean burn with glowing coals before beginning.

I have not incorporated use of briquettes at all in the past but I like the layering idea. Usually my method works good though depending on wind sometimes that parlays into portions of the lump burning whereas others go out. I've pretty much resolved the issue either by directly facing the wind closing the vents some or if it's really windy, turning the cooker completely around opposite direction. Sometimes I'll need to crack open the door of the grill chamber about an 1/8" using a thin piece of iron to get blue smoke going consistent.

I'm using a whole lot less charcoal than I used to but I'm still having issues with uniform burning. I think the layering technique with using some briquettes may be advantageous particularly for the longer cooks such as brisket. Otherwise, it isn't as much an issue.

Also, I would be interested in knowing if anyone had any suggestions about adding more hot coals to a cooker during a cook. What I've been doing is just adding more chimneys of hot coals. And, I'm thinking about making a makeshift chimney that's larger because I'd like to add more at times. If the coals burn more uniform, that should somewhat remedy what I sometimes experience to a degree.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:52 AM   #23
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Just get a Spicewine, whydon'tcha!
Wait! Bigmista wrote a cookbook?

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Old 01-19-2011, 03:26 AM   #24
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Holy thread resurrection, Batman!

Fire management is always a challenge... if you don't know the personality of a smoker.
F & E... what smoker are you using?
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:28 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by willkat98 View Post
Whoa, now that I posted, I think I may have babbled. Sorry :)
You think?

History of BBQ 101 in one post???? Bout time I heard more than bull**** funny outta you!

Chit Bill! Keep it coming!

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Old 01-19-2011, 12:08 PM   #26
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BBQ Bandit, the cooker that I use is a GoodOne Marshall grill smoker.
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Old 05-04-2011, 12:41 PM   #27
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I know it's an old thread, but full of tasty tech. info for a noob.

I appreciate the technical discussion about smoke formation from burning VOCs. What I'd appreciate more insight on is the conversion from bitter white to sweet blue and how to manage keeping the white to a minimum when maintaining a fire after the food is on.

I'm inferring that the VOCs with the lower evaporation point are also the bitter ones (ammonia and similar) and those with a higher evaporation point are the ones that burn blue - purer hydrocarbons with the aromatic essence of the particular wood. Is that making sense?

My questions ...
Some mention pre-heating smoking woods before adding them to the fire. Does this cause the white smoke producing VOCs to evaporate and go up the stack without being ignited, hence no bitter?

Soaking the wood so it smolders instead of erupts - first, it's clear that not a lot of water really soaks in so this is a way to slow the process. Doesn't this just spread out the same amount of white smoke over time? That this doesn't really reduce white smoke - just makes it less obvious? Or does the steam dissolve and carry away some of the nasties up the chimney without burning?

Tossing chunks and chips in during mid-cook. Isn't the white smoke from doing this unavoidable or does the pre-heating idea make all the smoke produce at once and while the door/lid is open so it vents off quickly without causing harm?

Is there a way to prolong or intensify the blue-smoke phase or is the idea that it only has impact below 140 / for the first hour - put the wood on at the beginning and add the food just when it goes from white to blue - don't bother adding smoke wood for the rest of the low and slow at it has no flavor impact other than soot?

Or is it that the cook chamber is hot enough that the white smoke at the wood level is further incinerated in the air and turns to blue by the time it reaches the grill/food level so no bitterness? Too much new wood at once reduces the air temp. in the chamber so the white to blue conversion can't happen?

To put this in context, the goal is achieving best flavor, not perfect competition smoke rings. Thanks for any thoughts and mentoring! I realize most won't know the chemistry of why certain techniques work, but I'm anxious to learn the subtleties of some of the tricks used to manage the dreaded white. All ideas appreciated.

PS - @ Oldtimer, do you turn up the gas when you add more wood or let the new fuel return the chamber to temp. naturally? <warm smile>

Last edited by Duke; 05-04-2011 at 01:06 PM.. Reason: Add a salute to the gasser.
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