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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 06-06-2013, 02:22 PM   #31
DownHomeQue
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key to stickburners is that we actually encourage our sticks to catch on fire.. as in live flame.. not smolder.. like you might do in your UDS or WSM we want a live fire on the log.. and when that log burns down.. to coals.. we add another log.. we have a large chamber to heat up and keep hot.. this is the only way to consistently get that temp up and keep it up.. mine eats abt a quarter split an hour.. and takes about 45 minutes to get to cooking temp in the summer.. and about 1 hour and 15 minutes in the winter..
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Unread 06-06-2013, 02:48 PM   #32
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I am no comp pro and only began using a wood burner a year ago. I use a used Jambo with a fixed air shutter that is never touched. I don't seem to have any smoke problem. I start with half a chimney or so of hot coals in the left corner. then sticks of wood (preferably barkless and short) added every 45 mins to an hour. I never understood how it can burn that well without fooling with the air intake but it seems to work flawlessly as long as the wood is dry.
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Unread 06-06-2013, 04:18 PM   #33
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i have burned fresh cut fruit woods with bark and had the same result.. those that were smoldering were not burning the wood cleanly.. probly had the firebox overcrowded.. and air closed off..
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Unread 06-06-2013, 04:31 PM   #34
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Just did a quick skim through the posts here - I may have missed it but I don't think there's a mention yet of preheating wood - which is a very good thing to do. Just set yer splits on the firebox as they wait their turn - might need to turn 'em once in a while. I've had 'em go up in flames sitting on the box. Occasionally there will be a little white smoke when adding a split, but it goes away quickly and is nothing to worry about.

Also, just to add, I keep all vents all the way open all the time and control temps by size of fire.
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Unread 06-06-2013, 04:49 PM   #35
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I thought it was smoke that got the smoke flavor or "smoke ring" in the meat??
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Unread 06-06-2013, 04:55 PM   #36
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^^^^^ Misinformation.. when we are putting out thin blue smoke.. we are smoking.. white billowing smoke will make your meat black and dirty tasting.. i get a solid smoke ring 100 percent of the time i cook on my offset with hickory logs..
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Unread 06-06-2013, 04:57 PM   #37
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Soooo damn glad I found this website
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Unread 06-06-2013, 05:14 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr View Post
Just did a quick skim through the posts here - I may have missed it but I don't think there's a mention yet of preheating wood - which is a very good thing to do. Just set yer splits on the firebox as they wait their turn - might need to turn 'em once in a while. I've had 'em go up in flames sitting on the box. Occasionally there will be a little white smoke when adding a split, but it goes away quickly and is nothing to worry about.

Also, just to add, I keep all vents all the way open all the time and control temps by size of fire.
since I insulated my firebox the top doesn't get hot enough anymore to start the wood smoking

Now I will just put a split in the firebox on the opposite side of the fire about 10 mins before putting it in the fire. Luckily my firebox is big enough to allow that

That works real good for me
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Unread 06-26-2013, 08:58 PM   #39
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Dang guys, thanks for all the awesome info! I'm really grateful for sacking up and asking the question. I was totally expecting the
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Unread 06-26-2013, 10:01 PM   #40
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Great thread!!!

I'll agree with all of the above. We cook on a massive off-set, reverse flow, stickburner and it is all about having a small hot fire with good air flow to get that pretty blue smoke you're looking for. A lot of people will "pre-heat" their wood; just be careful to not let it catch on fire before it's in the box :). We keep ours near the firebox so it's not going in "cold", so to speak, and ensure that no food goes in till we get the temp ideal so we can run sweet blue.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 10:30 PM   #41
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BBQ Bandits picture is golden. I personally think the barely visible blue smoke is for charcoal only and stick burners that have a nice coal bed. My FEC100 pumps out some nasty looking smoke and the food never has too much smoke flavor. The same could be said for any pellet smoker. I also have a 14' offset that cooks incredibly well but there is white smoke until I get a nice coal bed going. I have never had an acrid smoke taste on it. As long as the fire isn't choked and you have good airflow, I wouldn't worry too much. Going back to BBQ Bandits photo, I would say either the airflow isn't right on either the intake or exhaust or the fire is out and smoldering. Something like that needs to be fixed.

As an aside, if you ever get the chance to watch Aaron Franklin's, John Mueller's, John Lewis's pits (those are the only top pitmasters joints I've been to with stick burners) it's not always that thin almost clear blue smoke. I have a buddy who cooked with John Lewis for a couple if months and I mentioned how much smoke was coming out of their pit. His response was that they don't worry about it unless its that thick, almost gray billowing smoke.
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Unread 06-26-2013, 10:34 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ Bandit View Post
Thin Blue Smoke is the result of a thorough combustion of fuel and plenty of airflow.
[Whether its charcoal, lump, wood splits, or pellets... a clean combustion is imperative.]

What He said ...No More No Less
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Unread 06-26-2013, 10:42 PM   #43
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Thumbs up well seasoned wood

Well seasoned wood as opposed to green wood makes a huge difference in the heat of the fire and smoke clarity. Obviously dryer wood burns hotter and faster that green wet wood thereby making it is easier to maintain that clear blue heat that is so necessary on a successful long cook. I used to use greener wood (seasoned less than six months) but found it difficult to keep the fire hot after I added wood. Once I discovered I could cook with wood a year or older with much less of a fight. Well, it's been happy days.
If I find myself using green wood, I'll split the wood about 2"x3" or about half the size of dry wood and I'll preheat them on my fire box before I use them to stoke the fire.
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Unread 06-27-2013, 09:00 PM   #44
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Does it matter if the bark is left on the wood?
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Unread 06-28-2013, 11:47 AM   #45
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If you read through this thread, there are quite a few things that cause the smoke issue. Personally I prefer the taste of meats smoked with wood. But wood is not a mass produced product like charcoal briquettes, lump charcoal, pellets, etc... So wood type, moisture, pit conditions, and handling all impact the smoke produced. Practices like making sure wood is seasoned (although i like my wood with a little moisture, especially cherry as it burns too quick), pre-heating sticks, running a small hot fire, and not using the stack to control draft all work to reduce visibility. And don't forget weather! My lang smoke is much more visible on cool moist mornings.

But the bottom line is that as long as you don't have that thick white acrid smoke, you are probably doing it right!
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