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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 01-16-2009, 08:27 AM   #31
Spurhunter
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Well, I am not sure if I am educated now, or just confused...LOL
I have always believed, More smoke=better flavor. I make sure my smoker is POURING smoke out of every hole & crack or I play with the fire to make it this way. I guess I am doing it wrong? I also never get mine over 225 and prefer around 200. I have soooo much to learn.
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Unread 01-16-2009, 08:41 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
The only part of this entire thread that belies my personal experience is that creosote is colorless to yellowish. I burn a lot of wood for heat and all I have ever seen is black creosote. Anyone ever seen it otherwise?
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.
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Unread 01-16-2009, 09:35 AM   #33
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I have seen spurhunter smoker and he is not kidding, smoke is everywhere, we send pics back and forth when we smoke, i have bought a new side box smoker and was having the same problem. What a great lesson!!!. i like a nice smoke flavor but i like to identify the meat when i am done and not look at the meat and think it is charred, i am learning a new smoker, i have only cooked on it 3 times so for. this is #3 smoker. i do very well with the other 2 smokers and have even won a local cook off with my ribs. 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!!
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Unread 01-16-2009, 10:21 AM   #34
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dup post, please delete...
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Unread 01-16-2009, 10:21 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonboy View Post
Bigabyte,
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.
jon
(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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hachie Qer View Post
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.
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Originally Posted by tbrack View Post
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
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Unread 01-16-2009, 10:35 AM   #36
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Great info here, and a great thread.
One thing I didn't see mentioned, is that if you are burning wood, it is a good idea to pre-heat the logs on top of you firebox before refueling. The heated log will "catch fire" faster, and produce less of the undesirable thick white smoke.
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Unread 01-16-2009, 11:08 AM   #37
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sorry, I forgot te respond to the wood chunks and foil questions. I personally use wood chunks in both my offset and my WSM's. I have always thought wood chips burned too fast. Using foil or a can is the best way to use chips and get a long burn, but I personally don't have any experiences to relay doing that.
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Unread 01-16-2009, 11:11 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigabyte View Post
.....The trick is to cook with the fire you create, and to create a clean burning fire that runs at the temp you want, and refuel appropriately to maintain it.
straight and to the point, very well said bigabyte.
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Unread 01-16-2009, 01:29 PM   #39
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Bigabyte. Thanks for all the tips. Where can I find all that information on how fire works and stuff like that? Is there a book I can get from the library or a book store or something?
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Unread 01-16-2009, 03:23 PM   #40
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Geez, that's a good question. I'm sure you can find all this and more in various books.

This site has some decent information. I found it with a quick Google search.
http://www.epa.gov/woodstoves/index.html
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Unread 01-16-2009, 03:35 PM   #41
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Here is one more thing I saw that looks helpful.
http://science.howstuffworks.com/fire.htm
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Unread 01-16-2009, 03:47 PM   #42
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Sorry to have a 3rd reference so late, but I realized this may be interesting for some, plus it talks specifically about one of the gasses emitted from a wood fire...
http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:...lnk&cd=1&gl=us

After reading that, you may want to read this...
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=38332
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Unread 01-16-2009, 04:24 PM   #43
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Thanks for taking the time to dig up all that info. Good reading.
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Unread 01-16-2009, 04:30 PM   #44
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There is so much great info here that it is hard to add to it, but I will try.

To me, "BBQ Creosote" is a thick black crusty coating that has a BITTER taste. Not a normal BARK as we know it.

Going back to my first "solo" smoking experience--.
Borrowed my neighbors small sheet metal offset smoker to do some turkey legs.
He said--"Soak your wood for a few days, keep the smoker at 190 and not a degree more, if it gets hot choke off the exhaust to keep it down, and keep the smoke rolling".
I was a good student and did all of that.
It took about 6 hours to produce some of the nastiest Turkey legs you have ever seen!

It is all about clean combustion and properly balanced airflow.

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Unread 01-16-2009, 06:04 PM   #45
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I think one cardinal rule is make sure your wood is properly seasoned. Green moist wood will really mess up your meals.
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