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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 10-04-2017, 04:22 PM   #31
bbqpitsmoker
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Did another cook and gave it some ‘harsh’ conditions :

1. Firebox door closed the whole cook
2. No charcoal at all even to start the fire
3. Regular (not kiln dried!!!!) splits
4. No preheating of splits- straight from the wood pile to the firebox


Thin blue smoke all the way even after adding each split, easy burning fire, no smoke at all coming backwards out of the firebox damper, delicious result

Last edited by bbqpitsmoker; 10-04-2017 at 04:54 PM..
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Old 10-04-2017, 04:42 PM   #32
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Had a few requests for photos so here is the stack, basket and the way I am blocking the door vent
Thanks for the pics. It's amazing how such simple mods make such a big difference.

You don't use the heat difuser plate?
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Old 10-04-2017, 04:50 PM   #33
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Overall my opinion on the heat diffuser plate is that the firebox is positioned too high in relation to the cook chamber for the current design of heat management plate to allow a proper draft through the pit. I have given up on the hmp and use my pit without it.
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Old 10-05-2017, 04:04 PM   #34
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Raising the grade of meat you buy could save you a lot of money if it curtails your desire for a new offset. Regarding too much air flow, a 20" diameter offset will inherently produce higher airflow speeds than a 24", assuming all other things are equal.
I've cooked choice/prime packers when I was first starting out and the primes were extremely fatty in the end product, much to my wife's disliking. I wasn't very good at getting all the fat rendered down back then either, so maybe I should try again to see if I have any better luck.

One of my theories is that BBQ started out as a way to get rid of the "scrap meat" that nobody really wanted to pay for, like brisket, so I should be able to make good BBQ without resorting to expensive or specialty cuts of meat like Wagyu beef, which I heard Myron Mixon claiming to use exclusively for competitions.

I know Aaron Franklin makes a point of using only free-range prime briskets, and he has been very successful with that strategy, but his cookers are also huge compared to what I'm using. I'd have to think those 1000 gallon smokers provide a much more suitable environment for slow, stable cooking than a small backyard smoker where the meat is literally a foot or two from the fire. This is one reason I've been considering a reverse-flow smoker like the Shirley Fabrication units, because they have a long enough path of flow to stabilize the heat and provide a more even cooking environment. That's the theory anyway.

I did hear Joe Phillips say the Cheyenne would flow faster than the Wichita, and the Wichita would flow faster than the Kingman, all due to the diameter of the pipe. The 1000 gallon propane tanks are 41" in diameter, so I'm guessing they flow very slowly by comparison. That's one reason I'm very curious to see how well Aaron's new backyard smokers will work when they are released. Could it be that size matters when it comes to slow smoking (due to velocity)? Can choking down the smoke stack on a smaller smoker reduce velocity enough, and keep the fire clean enough, to imitate cooking on a monster cooker with inherently lower velocity?
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Old 10-05-2017, 04:41 PM   #35
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Ever watch any of franklins videos? Ones i have seen he's cookin on a small backyard offset with the firebox door open for good flow and clean smoke. Prolly why the pits he is developing don't have an air inlet control other than the door.
Trying to help people not choke down the fire
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Old 10-05-2017, 06:38 PM   #36
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The Amazon river, rather large by any standard, flows much more water and at a higher velocity, than say, the Red river. It can be the same with smokers: the 1000 gal. behemoth can match the velocity of the backyard-sized one if the fire is sufficiently large and the vent openings are complementary to the fire size. It is not, however, a linear scale of performance; at some point, the big-boy will need a *much* larger fire if expected to match flow rates.

The smaller smokers can also be slowed, if they are flowing too fast, by decreasing the size of the what-still-needs-to-be-a-clean-burning fire. A guy might have to shag wood more often, and in smaller sizes, but it can certainly be done.

I completely agree concerning the history of which meats were barbecued: cheap and valueless ones. And the early masters of the craft didn't concern themselves with all the doodads available today, either. Big Bob Gibson started cooking meat over a shallow hole in the ground on makeshift racks. He knew neither the temperature of the fire or of the meat, and look where it got him. I still want to try one of those Wagyu briskets sometime, though. :)
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:58 AM   #37
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The smaller smokers can also be slowed, if they are flowing too fast, by decreasing the size of the what-still-needs-to-be-a-clean-burning fire. A guy might have to shag wood more often, and in smaller sizes, but it can certainly be done.
Agreed.... Using fire size to control temps and flow is the secret to my success. However, don't discount reducing airflow via the exhaust damper. We spend an awful lot of time educating folks to leave the exhaust "wide-open" but it's all about balance. A large or tall exhaust can create more flow and to slow it down you reduce the outlet size. Naturally, this takes some experience and a careful eye to ensure the fire remains burning clean but it's an option for those seeking another approach.

Disclaimer: Choking the exhaust should not be used to reduce pit temperatures - ever.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:07 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CptKaos View Post
Ever watch any of franklins videos? Ones i have seen he's cookin on a small backyard offset with the firebox door open for good flow and clean smoke. Prolly why the pits he is developing don't have an air inlet control other than the door.
Trying to help people not choke down the fire
Larry
Yes, I've read his book and watched his entire TV series too. One thing I noticed is his backyard smoker has the smoke stack at grate level, so it probably has flow characteristics similar to his restaurant cookers.

However, with the backyard smoker Aaron always places his meat as far away from the firebox as possible to get it away from the fire. That has to be the biggest drawback of a traditional small cooker - the fact that a good portion of the grate near the firebox is basically unusable for slow cooking because the heat is simply too intense on that end. That's the main reason I'm pondering a reverse-flow from Shirley Fabrication.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:17 PM   #39
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1 of the best things about a reverse flow cooker is the increased available cooking area.

Larry
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Old 10-06-2017, 01:22 PM   #40
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That's the main reason I'm pondering a reverse-flow from Shirley Fabrication.
With your attention to detail, you could make good BBQ off of just about anything...as you've proven. We also tend to be our own worst critics when it comes to the food we cook. How many times have you eaten some meat you cooked and thought you could have done a little better job but everyone else at the table is stuffing their faces like it's some kind of life saving antidote? In regards to reverse flow smokers, who the heck knows. LSG lists a bunch of problems with them in the Q&A section on their website. Is that because they don't build them or do they not build them because they believe in these reasons? I don't know. I say all of these designs have their own strengths and weaknesses.
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Old 10-06-2017, 04:00 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JokerBroker View Post
With your attention to detail, you could make good BBQ off of just about anything...as you've proven. We also tend to be our own worst critics when it comes to the food we cook. How many times have you eaten some meat you cooked and thought you could have done a little better job but everyone else at the table is stuffing their faces like it's some kind of life saving antidote? In regards to reverse flow smokers, who the heck knows. LSG lists a bunch of problems with them in the Q&A section on their website. Is that because they don't build them or do they not build them because they believe in these reasons? I don't know. I say all of these designs have their own strengths and weaknesses.
This is funny because I'm definitely my worst critic... my family comes over and leaves so stuffed they can barely move, telling me it's the best meal they've had in weeks, but I'm all pissed off because it was just a bit "too tender." haha

As for reverse flow I've found it to be a much better option for me. I upgraded my Yoder Cheyenne (very small) to a Johnson Smokers 60" and it made smoking meat so much more enjoyable. That first 8" or inside the Yoder was 100% unusable as the draft would suck the actual flame into the cooking chamber so that space was always reserved for a water pan. That left me with about 30" horizontally at max on which to cook and that limited me quite substantially.

My RF Johnson cooker has about a 5° difference between the left and right side, so the entire cooking area is prime cooking space. The upper racks are about 15-20° hotter than the bottom, but they still are very close left to right. For me you just can't go wrong with RF.

I just looked at the Q and A on LSG's website and no disrespect to them but they are just absolutely 100% full of crap. Any Shirley, Johnson, or Lang owner on this site will tell you that getting an even temp across the entire cooking chamber is very easy, contrary to what LSG suggests. Johnson uses a removable baffle system so I can clean out the area below just like I would in a traditional offset. Tuning plates can work and even things out but because they're not usually welded in you'll have to re-adjust them every time you move your cooker as they will rattle out of place. And I really have no idea what they're talking about RF having a tough time drafting... just like with the Yoder issues anything designed improperly won't draft correctly. My Johnson cooker drafts like a champ and I've never had bitter food come off of that pit.

Just wanted to chime in and give my experience with RF vs standard flow.
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Old 10-10-2017, 04:36 PM   #42
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I might as well chime in here. My Loaded Witchita arrived a few days ago and I am too having the fire issues with the firebox needing to be open, etc...Using Kingsford and then adding the Oak sticks from Cattlemans Grille with same problems. I knew there would be a learning curve but jeez...Tomorrow I will remove the HMP and carry on but this is real demoralizing and I don't even want to bring the wife into this ya know? Now I see why GatorPit has all those videos out and Yoder shows recipe cooks.
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Old 10-14-2017, 11:24 AM   #43
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G'day bbqpitsmoker. I just saw a new post from Yoder_Herb on the Yoder forum, and it appears you may have inadvertently stumbled onto the secret to fire management on a Yoder offset: build a small fire in the right rear corner of the firebox next to the firedoor!

Yoder Photo:


Your photo:


http://community.yodersmokers.com/vi...p?p=8998#p8998
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Old 10-14-2017, 12:26 PM   #44
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Oh my gosh! They just don't know when to quit. It's the new American way I guess. Never admit when you may be at fault. Can someone get these pits to work? I guess so if you play with it long enough, remove the bark, preheat your logs (which I do), keep the door ajar, and place your fire to the side of the incorrectly placed vent. Should you keep a fire extinguisher handy too since the logs are so close to the door? Hot embers may fall out when you open it which might be why people assume you don't put the logs there in the first place. Are there better designs that don't require as much fuss? Yes, in fact every other manufacturer I've read about at this price point and many that are at lower price points. Even when modifications are in the works to aid the end user in a more pleasant experience, they offer a technique that they themselves didn't seem to be aware of until a customer pointed it out. I watched the video with Chef Tom again and he talks about building a fire off to the side but for different reasons and his fire wasn't near the vented door either.
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Old 10-14-2017, 01:19 PM   #45
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I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but "Yoder_Herb" so reminds me of the guy that Saddam Hussein had going around with a bullhorn, broadcasting that "the Americans are killing themselves in the streets!" as Baghdad fell.

To me, "Yoder_Herb" has about as much credibility as "Baghdad Bob" did, in how he addresses the whole 'Yoder's smaller offset smokers' thing.
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