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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 07-06-2020, 08:02 PM   #1
Eric In STL
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Hey, can my fellow brethren post pics of when is about the right time to add a new stick, how the coals or coal bed should look. My issue is keeping the wood engulfed in flames and not smoldering
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:46 PM   #2
BBQ Bandit
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Hi,

A key tip...

When adding small chunks, some of us lay a few on top of the lid - to pre-heat the sticks. Shortens the 'smoking period' - to the 'engulfed in flames' period.

Time usually 20-25 minutes pending on dsize of pit and fuel usage.

Hope that makes sense...
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Old 07-06-2020, 08:48 PM   #3
sudsandswine
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Your coal bed should be the focus, it’s the torque that drives your cooker, here’s a few pics of the fires in my Shirley. This won’t answer your question exactly and it’ll vary cooker to cooker but I could run a pretty good fire if I do say so myself







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Old 07-06-2020, 09:05 PM   #4
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Interesting and I will be following this. I've only done a handful of cooks on a used Lang and have had varying success. Cooked a brisket for the 4th and thought I was hot stuff because I was able to maintain 275-300 with ease.

Looking at the coal bed Suds posted it makes me think I had some expensive help. My coal bed at times was weak, but when I threw a log on it chugged away. I had them sitting next to the firebox warming up. They were also bagged logs that had been kiln dried so they basically caught fire as soon as I threw them in.

I was basically looking at minor drops in temps and the checking the box to see how the fire looked. If everything looked pretty burnt up I would throw another log in that rascal. I apologize because I am sure this is of zero help.
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Old 07-06-2020, 09:30 PM   #5
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Splits are to feed the coal bed, focus on the coal bed. I typically had a fluctuation of 20* in both directions as logs were added and coal’d out. If I was trying to maintain an average temp of 275* then the cooker could fluctuate between 255 and 295(ish)* but the coal bed was my guide. Yes I probably could’ve played with vents and tried to dampen the peaks and valleys of the sine wave but I was fine with things as is. If the coal bed was looking a little weak but the cooker temp hadn’t dropped to 250ish* I’d still go ahead and add an extra split to build it up even if that meant my cooker temp went to like 310*, for example.
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Last edited by sudsandswine; 07-06-2020 at 10:38 PM..
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Old 07-06-2020, 10:16 PM   #6
Eric In STL
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thank you Sudsandswine, that is a great illustration to guide me better
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Old 07-07-2020, 09:01 AM   #7
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I run my Jambo at 300, when the temp begins to drop (even a little) is when I add a small split. I'm a firm believer in understanding the size of wood to use per smoker. It varies in different types of smokers.
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Old 07-07-2020, 09:19 AM   #8
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Pretty much what my Shirley looks like too, even though mine is a 24x36 and your fire basket is a little larger. Once established, its easy to maintain a good coal bed and temps in the pit.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:33 AM   #9
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Since you are having trouble with smoldering it sounds more like just an airflow problem. Do you cook with your door open at all?

The Masterclass from Aaron Franklin had a good class on this. How he can control his pit based on individual pieces of wood is very interesting. He has no dampers and cooks with the door open and just manages/watches the fire to create maximum vacuum through the smoker. If the pit is hot, he pushes the split deeper into the coal bed. If it's cold, he'll put it on top to get it to flame up more. He puts coals close to the door to heat the air before it hits the fire. Based on how dense the wood is he knows how many degrees he'll get and for how long out of a piece of wood.

I've been sorting wood before my cooks based on this as well and it definitely makes my life easier. I always cook with my door open now (how much depends on the outside temp) and I can get it humming along all day with minimal temp fluctiation.
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