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Unread 05-14-2012, 09:00 PM   #1
Midnight Smoke
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Question Sweet Blue and a Stick Burner Question

Thinking about doing a full wood cook on the Bandera, it will be my 1st time using nothing but wood. May do Ribs or maybe a Butt. I have some nice sized logs of Mesquite and Pecan.

Just wondering about adding logs during the cook. How do you not end up with bitter smoke while the added logs get going?

Is it better to use Logs that are cut into chunks rather than full logs?
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Unread 05-14-2012, 09:05 PM   #2
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try keeping the logs pre-warmed on the top of the firebox and have them split to a good size that is proportionate to the size of the firebox.
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Unread 05-14-2012, 09:19 PM   #3
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I like to use small logs, not chunks they burn too fast.

I never cook 100% wood, as I always start with a charcoal base and then add logs on top.

I build a log cabin type affair in the fire box with logs to be used later stacked crossways on lower logs. Minion method on bottom with charcoal.
Set right, it will get me about 1/2 through the evening before I have to start adding fuel.

Yes pre-heat logs on top of firebox, and dont toss too much in at a time, or u will smother fire and really smoke
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Unread 05-14-2012, 09:23 PM   #4
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As mentioned, pre-heating some logs on top of the firebox really helps them ignite once you toss them in.
BE CAREFUL - as they can catch fire in the pre-heating location.
Use standard, split seasoned wood, not chunks.
Also, never let your fire/coal bed get too weak/cold. Keeping a good hot fire going will ignite that next log fast with minimal smoke/smoldering. Go for it! Good luck!!
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Unread 05-15-2012, 12:11 AM   #5
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I agree pre heating them on the fire box and I only add 1 or 2 at a time and the smoke is usually minimal and clears up fast.
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Unread 05-15-2012, 12:16 AM   #6
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Yah I never go 100% wood. I go with small logs and a chimney of charcoal to start. Mix of apple and oak. I usually start with 2 small logs and go from there.
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Unread 05-15-2012, 02:06 AM   #7
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Thanks for posting this question, Midnight Smoke. Please let us know how it comes out. Many thanks to all of you who responded. I have never used all wood in my Bandera but I was wondering if I should. I'm still learning how she likes to cook and this post was just what I needed.
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Unread 05-15-2012, 06:52 AM   #8
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I start with 3-12" splits; 2 on the outside and 1 furthest from the opening to the cooker ~ something like this: |_|. Then I fill it with a chimney of lit charcoal and wait for her to come up to temp. Going forward, nothing but preheated oak and cherry splits 12" to 14" long. I usually have to add 1 or 2 splits every 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the weather. When I do add, I continue the |_| pattern keeping the coal bed contained right at the opening to the cooker. If I do it right, I have a small, hot fire and nothing but sweet blue.
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Unread 05-15-2012, 07:04 AM   #9
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If you really want to be safe about the smoke, you can start another fire in another pit (e.g., an open fire pit). Then shovel the already hot and burning logs in.
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Unread 05-15-2012, 07:36 AM   #10
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The size of your splits will be a huge factor also. For the Bandera, I'd go with a little smaller than forearm thickness and preheated like said before. They'll ignite much faster and burn cleaner. And yes, as mentioned, keep a good bed of coals going. If it get's to low, add some lit charcoal to get you back. Putting wood on a low bed of coals can create a lot of excess and thick smoke.
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Unread 05-15-2012, 09:01 AM   #11
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Terry, I can tell you with some certainty that you can do a full wood cook on that Bandera. You should preheat the splits on the fire box as suggested above. Ideal size would be 12 inches long and the width of a V8 can. Even when doing an all wood cook, I would often start with a bed of charcoal or a mix. Not a requirement, but an option.

I can also tell you with some certainty that if you leave that wood on the firebox of that Bandera, and, you know, "take a nap" that it may ignite. .

Have fun, you can certainly get clear blue smoke from an all wood cook on it. If I were you I would do ribs and enjoy an afternoon of cooking on it. Maybe even direct grill chicken on it after you are done with the ribs.
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Unread 05-15-2012, 09:36 AM   #12
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Do you have to split wood?

I have some maple branches I trimmed off a tree 3 weeks ago. It's young enough wood it doesn't have mature bark on it yet, but the size seems perfect for my smoker. Will the young bark be problematic?

I'd rather not stare at the pile for a year if I won't get good flavor off it come next spring!

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Unread 05-15-2012, 09:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirminghamBill View Post
Do you have to split wood?

I have some maple branches I trimmed off a tree 3 weeks ago. It's young enough wood it doesn't have mature bark on it yet, but the size seems perfect for my smoker. Will the young bark be problematic?

I'd rather not stare at the pile for a year if I won't get good flavor off it come next spring!


Here's what I've learned about limb trimmings. In my observation, they take longer to season that a split piece of wood that's much bigger in size, thickness wise. The reason for this is because there is little exposed surface area of the wood because the bark surrounds it. The only place the moisture can escape easily is the ends. When it burns, the bark also traps the moisture inside the wood as it heats and creates steam, which is that hissing sound you hear coming from wet wood. The bark that surrounds the wood only makes the problem worse IMO.

So, in my opinion, I would either split the wood, or cut it into smaller chunks to create more surface area for the moisture to escape and use it in a WSM (or similar smoker), or as an accent flavor on the grill.
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Unread 05-15-2012, 09:59 AM   #14
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Thanks, Carolina Que. That makes some smart sense. I think this may either end up in the fire pit or the Weber Kettle.

Either that or it'll be ready for football season 2013!
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Unread 05-15-2012, 10:06 AM   #15
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What I have done with larger limbs like some of the bigger ones in your pic is just oben the center of the wood with a hatched (and a hammer if you need). Some times, I just don't need more chunk, and I don't want to wait for the wood longer than needed. By opening the middle up, and not splitting all the way through, it will burn longer than the half of it and you get the surface area exposed to dry it out enough.
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