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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 12-16-2012, 10:41 PM   #1
LT72884
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Default flavor of a stick burner

So, i had some chances to try out some wicked awesome bbq yesterday at the Dickens Christmas Festival. i have had the opportunity to compare brisket, ribs of the loin and pulled pork from a stick burner and a charcoal style cooker using lump charcoal and minion method. I have decided that the flavor of a stick burner using just pure wood for the fire and smoke, is reins supreme and is in my flavor opinion better than the food cooked with lump charcoal(minion method) and wood chunks. Two very very distinct flavors.

I need some enlightenment. Why is it that the real wood produces a more subtle smoke flavor but a vary very fresh flavor of smoke vs lump charcoal and wood chunks?

thanks
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Unread 12-16-2012, 11:09 PM   #2
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I recently got a stick burner, Lang 48, and I agree with you on the smoke flavor. All of my other cookers use lump charcoal so the comparison is easy. The lighter smoke flavor of the stick burner is counter intuitive but is explained by the fact that there is more air flowing through the cook chamber and a flaming and clean burning small fire in the firebox. Charcoal cookers rely on restricted air flow and have a smoldering fire so the smoke, while thin and blue, is a bit heavier than in a stick burner.
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Unread 12-16-2012, 11:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin' D View Post
I recently got a stick burner, Lang 48, and I agree with you on the smoke flavor. All of my other cookers use lump charcoal so the comparison is easy. The lighter smoke flavor of the stick burner is counter intuitive but is explained by the fact that there is more air flowing through the cook chamber and a flaming and clean burning small fire in the firebox. Charcoal cookers rely on restricted air flow and have a smoldering fire so the smoke, while thin and blue, is a bit heavier than in a stick burner.
Interesting. Good to know. I am now wanting to convert all my cookers to stick burners haha or at least stop usingg the minion method and see what results i get. That way the fire is always hot when it is dumped from the chimney. Haha.
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Unread 12-17-2012, 07:03 AM   #4
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Stickburning is the truest sence of smoking...best taste, texture, and appearence in my book
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Unread 12-17-2012, 08:42 AM   #5
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Wood has flavor compounds in it charcoal is neutral. Think of it as the difference between a Nice Bourbon and Everclear. Before it is aged in Oak Barrels the Bourbon has some flavor but the oak is what makes it. Everclear is filtered through Carbon( main ingredient in Briquettes) to remove flavors to create a truly neutral spirit, or so I'm tole.
So from this we can see that there is more flavor in all wood. where the Charcoal and Chips/Chunks only creates some based on how much wood is added to it to produce the flavor compounds.
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Unread 12-17-2012, 08:49 AM   #6
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If charcoal was the only way I had to cook Q i would just buy a gas smoker or use my oven
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Unread 12-17-2012, 08:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pigman View Post
Stickburning is the truest sence of smoking...best taste, texture, and appearence in my book
How true - considering where charcoal and lump comes from.
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Unread 12-17-2012, 12:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pigman View Post
Stickburning is the truest sence of smoking...best taste, texture, and appearence in my book

Yep.
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Unread 12-17-2012, 12:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark M View Post
Yep.
see, i have tried the whole charcoal and chuncks approach, using various amounts of chunks. I have been testing it out for 2 years now and each and everytime, i try using pure lump only, lump and a few chunks, lump and alot of chuncks all with the same result. A flavor that is not as good as a. stick burner in my opinion.
Maybe i should convert the uds to gas and just place some oak splits on the flame.
Haha. Is there any way to convert a uds to a stick burner? I do like the uds for its simplicty but a stick burner would be fun. Maybe i should buy a cheap one from homedepot.. thanks all.
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Unread 12-17-2012, 01:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin' D View Post
I recently got a stick burner, Lang 48, and I agree with you on the smoke flavor. All of my other cookers use lump charcoal so the comparison is easy. The lighter smoke flavor of the stick burner is counter intuitive but is explained by the fact that there is more air flowing through the cook chamber and a flaming and clean burning small fire in the firebox. Charcoal cookers rely on restricted air flow and have a smoldering fire so the smoke, while thin and blue, is a bit heavier than in a stick burner.
I couldn't agree more. I compete on WSM's, also have a vertical cabinet style smoker at home, and have a Ole Hickory SSJ at my restaurant (Smoqued BBQ). I cooked on a stick burner for the first time on Saturday night and was blown away. It was a cheaper Char Griller at that! The chicken that came off that pit was of the best I have ever had. And I have had A LOT!!! I smoked it with Cherry only (no charcoal) and was surprised how it had only had a slightly smokey flavor and the color was a beautiful golden brown. I thought for sure that it was going to turn black and taste like chit! So weird how that amount of wood in a WSM or other charcoal cooker would have absolutely ruined the food. Here is a pic of the chicken that the offset produced.


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Unread 12-17-2012, 01:21 PM   #11
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To the OP - I hear ya on the flavor of the stickburner and I agree - but rather than change what you have, I'd add on to what you have. IMO it's a good idea to have a stickburner, a vertical, and a charcoal grill at minimum. This is obviously not practical or desirable for everybody, but IMO it's a good basic outdoor cooking outfit nevertheless.

When I have time, the stickburner is the way to go. When I don't, it's nice to have the UDS or the BW Chubby (insulated cabinet smoker) that requires less attention. That way you can still make pretty damn good bbq on busy days, and fantastic old school stuff on those awesome days when you can hang out in the yard, play with fire, and shoot the chit with family and loved ones. Expand the arsenal brother - they're just different tools for different jobs.
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Unread 12-17-2012, 01:22 PM   #12
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This thread is interesting, cause I always figured a stick burner imparts more smoke flavor than a kamado/WSM style of cooker. Obviously fire managment on both styles of cookers is key but still..
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Unread 12-17-2012, 01:27 PM   #13
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I just recently began playing with the WSM as my stick burning offset is too huge to just "experiment". I feel that the smoke flavor comes through more "clean" with my offset and a bit more "heavy" on the WSM. I like my BBQ real smokey so it's not about strength.
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Unread 12-17-2012, 01:30 PM   #14
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Should there even be a difference so long as it's clean smoke?
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Unread 12-17-2012, 02:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JS-TX View Post
Should there even be a difference so long as it's clean smoke?
Yes, there is a difference for sure to me. I can get a pretty clean fire. Hardly any smoke visable from my uds. When i do add wood chuncks, smoke is vissble and blue color. The key difference i have figured out with charcoal, no matter how clean the fire is or how long a pre heat has been, charcoal just gives off a diff flavor, especially when using minon method. As the unlit charcoal becomes increasingly hotter, before the point of ignition, the smoke given off of the newly ignited charcoal is not as clean and all ready burning charcoal. Thats why some people will light a new batch of charcoal every two hours or so and ditch the minion method. It produces a different flavor of q more closly related to what is produced by a stick burner. More work, yes, but to some the flavor difference is worth it. I have had the opertunity this summer and fall to try ribs a pure charcoal fire with and without minon method. a charcoal fire with wood chuncks, with and without minion method and a stick burner. All 5 completly diff flavors from eachother with same cut of meat and spices. All with oak. Stick burner seems to be my fav. next is charcoal non minion. Haha. It is very interesting how it all works. Thanks
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