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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 04-26-2015, 05:41 PM   #1
smoke ninja
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Default firebox grate?

So in my small stick burner keeping a proper coal bed can be a lot of work. I have to use just the right size (small splits) or the bed gets diminished after about 3 hrs. I notice a fair amount of hot coals on the bottom of the box that slip past the grate (i do have two grates perpendicular to each other). Now i read in a certain pitmasters book that he uses no grate and builds the fire on the floor of the box. Any thoughts on this as a solution? Does anyone else do this? I know im working with a much smaller cooker but it seems like i could maintain a more substantial bed of embers. I guess another solution would be to get a piece of expanded metal the coals cant slip by.
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:47 PM   #2
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well thats how its done in my wood burning stove at my cabin

the floor is firebricks, no grate. I have the thing running 24 hours a day when we are at the cabin.

it works fine, maybe give it a try?

when I had your pit I would throw some briqs on once in a while to enhance the coal bed
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:57 PM   #3
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I have a piece of expanded on top of my log rack and it stands 3" off the bottom of the box. I get a few embers in the ashes but I maintain a nice coal bed with plenty of air flow under over and around my fire. The more air you move the cleaner the burn the sweeter the smoke.
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:58 PM   #4
smoke ninja
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtBurner View Post
well thats how its done in my wood burning stove at my cabin

the floor is firebricks, no grate. I have the thing running 24 hours a day when we are at the cabin.

it works fine, maybe give it a try?

when I had your pit I would throw some briqs on once in a while to enhance the coal bed
Yea i either use small splits that burn fast or will add a few coals if needed. With all that extra metal you put in the firebox I'm not worried about burning it out. Guess ill just try it out and see. im just thinking out loud here
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:59 PM   #5
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To me, the name of the game is "breathing"! Whatever it takes to get good airflow to your fire so you can get a good clean burn. I use grates, usually expanded metal with additional support rods. I imagine it could work but not using a grate adds risk the air flow would be interrupted and you would not have the cleanest fire. That said, I think there is a practical aspect to this: really big fires & fireboxes are probably not a sensitive as smaller ones. For example the monster pits & fireboxes Franklin uses don't (I think) have grates and he does not seem to have any issue with clean fires breathing good.

Just my $0.02.
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:04 PM   #6
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Yea Steve you'll want to lay some kind of expanded over the grate so you can some clean air flow, let ash still drop and keep a coal base imo.
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwfisk View Post
To me, the name of the game is "breathing"! Whatever it takes to get good airflow to your fire so you can get a good clean burn. I use grates, usually expanded metal with additional support rods. I imagine it could work but not using a grate adds risk the air flow would be interrupted and you would not have the cleanest fire. That said, I think there is a practical aspect to this: really big fires & fireboxes are probably not a sensitive as smaller ones. For example the monster pits & fireboxes Franklin uses don't (I think) have grates and he does not seem to have any issue with clean fires breathing good.

Just my $0.02.
Yes i like an extremely clean fire, with no visible smoke for most of the cook. The smoke is light and sweet.

And yes while he doesn't have a grate in the box splits are laid across the box using the curve to allow for air flow.

Good point on smaller pits being more sensitive.
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:06 PM   #8
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One thing I just thought about

With my wood stove, it doesnt matter what the quality of the smoke is, it just produces heat.

So the smoke may be white at times, or blue. Its going out of the chimney on the roof so I really dont think about it

I dont see how you could go wrong with an expanded metal grate, maybe even 2 sheets layed to offset the holes to make them smaller like Paul does on my SF
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Old 04-26-2015, 06:31 PM   #9
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Franklin is running a much bigger fire for those big ol cookers than what you need. I don't think you can really compare the two.

I used to have a small offset and without the grate I had a lot of air issues. The ash would clog the fire pretty bad, and those few coals just end up getting killed in a pile of ash anyway.. Once I elevated the fire a bit it ran like a top. Thin blue to no smoke all the time. My advice is expanded metal, and if you really want to keep all your coals, 2 pieces of expanded offset from each other. That's how Paul has the Fire baskets made in his pits, and I don't loose anything at all.
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:03 PM   #10
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Ok thanks fellas. Ill try some expanded metal, if its good enough for Shirley well then...... This worked way better than my normal problem solving of just talking to myself.
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:19 PM   #11
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For what it is worth, there are different sizes of expanded metal from the big 11 gauge 1-1/2 inch to the 11 gauge 3/4 inch (the size we all think of when we say expanded metal) all the way down to 14 gauge 1/2 inch. For most cookers, I use the 11 gauge 3/4 inch with a 3/4 inch angle frame and 3/8 metal support rods on about a 4 inch spacing. But on m 26.75 OGT I use the little 1/2 inch sitting ontop of the standard Weber charcoal grate. For your stickburner, I'm thinking the regular 11 gauge 3/4 inch would work fine but a layer of the really small stuff will keep all the hot coals out of the ash tray.
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Old 04-27-2015, 08:21 AM   #12
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Doing what you're describing is pretty similar to building a camp fire, constantly staggering newly added splits so that they are above the ash and there is always air under the newer wood. Here's a basic how-to on well burning / low smoke camp fire building, maybe it'll be of some help! Heck I might even give the no grate thing a try myself using this, I'll probably just replace the kindling with a 1/2 chimney of lit lump!
http://www.ehow.com/how_6505610_buil...tle-smoke.html
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