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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 01-22-2013, 03:37 PM   #1
Oldhoss
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Default To soak chips and chunks or not?

I used my off-set smoker for the first time yesterday. As per directions found all over the net I did not soak my chips or chunks. I put the chips in tin foil, the chunks as is......right onto the coals in my furnace box. It was cold outside and my basket was fashioned from chicken wire (for now this is all I have). I found if I shut the door on the fire box at all the temperature inside the cooking chamber went down. I attribute this to my coal basket being too big and there not being enough room around it for air to circulate. What I did was put a large brick chisel through the vent and underneath the basket to provide more room for air to circulate. This helped abit but I kept on having to push the basket in on the sides and up from underneath to keep my temperature up around 220f. The flew on the cooking chamber was open all the way all the time.

When the chunks were added they flamed immediately and the foil packs of chips flamed within a few minutes. The meat while smoky was NOT as smoky as when I soaked these on previous cooks and used my propane grill as a offset cooker with charcoal and soaked chips/chunks added.

I am going to do a cook tommorrow and am wondering what I should do. Any and all advice appreciated.
Am I doing something wrong here?
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Unread 01-22-2013, 04:11 PM   #2
HeSmellsLikeSmoke
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What offset do you have and what was the outside temperature yesterday?
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Unread 01-22-2013, 04:15 PM   #3
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Don't use chips in an offset. Bury your chunks. If they sit on top of the coals they will flame because of the exposure to oxygen.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 04:20 PM   #4
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Preheat the chunks too if you can.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 04:44 PM   #5
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Saw a test where chunks were soaked for a couple days I think and then cut in half and it had only soaked in about 1/4 inch. Not worth it for smoking.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 04:50 PM   #6
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I don't fool with chips. They are like kissing your sister....just does nothing for you.

(Yep, that's how we roll in the dirty south :) )


I generally don't take the time to soak chunks, either, as I'm trying to hit the smoke in the first hour or so anyway.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 05:05 PM   #7
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Hey Brother on your temp did you have your top damper all the way open because the offset works on a draft system that top exhaust damper has to be open or you will have a hard time bringing your offset smoker up to temp. And as far as to soak or not I don't use wood chips unless I am using my gas grill if I am using any of my charcoal grills I always use chunks and I never soak them. Saw a test on the internet and it showed soaking them really didn't do anything. Just like the earlier comment don't put your chunks on top of the fire I stagger mines using the minion method when I do a burn. I hope this helps take care and keep Queing
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Unread 01-22-2013, 05:09 PM   #8
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If the temp dropped when you buttoned it up you had to much fuel in the box to allow for proper air flow. Small fire box tiny fire, BIG fire box, small fire. A stick burner aint a UDS quit trying to make it act like one. Feed the beast small bites more often. Ask your self is it easier to take small bites of a Pulled pork samich or pack the whole thing into your pie hole at once and try to chew it up... same difference, less is more.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 05:20 PM   #9
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I used to soak until I saw Bobby Flay do it, now I don't.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 05:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buccaneer View Post
I used to soak until I saw Bobby Flay do it, now I don't.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 09:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
What offset do you have and what was the outside temperature yesterday?
I have a New Braunfels.....this one:



The outside temp was -10C or 14F plus a little less with the wind and when the night came on. I will be cooking tommorrow all day and the temp is meant to be a little colder.

I am gonna bury my chunks in the coals as you guys suggest. I have a new basket built and have made it abit smaller than the last one.

I did have my damper all the way open - at all times - precook and cook.

I also do not really care for the Flay fellow - I like that Batalli guy and the Morimoto himself. Flay seems full of himself, is short tempered and his food is not as good as the 2 I like. Cora bats for the wrong team in my opinion.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 09:30 PM   #12
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I believe your offset is made of pretty thin gauge metal which is difficult to keep good temps going at those outside temperatures.

Did you use the Minion method to light the coals? Do I understand you correctly that both the top vent and the door to the firebox were both fully open?
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Unread 01-22-2013, 10:08 PM   #13
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Ya'll got lots of maple trees up there in the frozen north. You get more heat from a wood fire than you do from charcoal. A horizontal pit is a stick burner, the hotrod of the BBQ world. If you want to get high performance from it... a nice even heat, stop putting regular in your tank.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 11:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
Ya'll got lots of maple trees up there in the frozen north. You get more heat from a wood fire than you do from charcoal. A horizontal pit is a stick burner, the hotrod of the BBQ world. If you want to get high performance from it... a nice even heat, stop putting regular in your tank.
What he said!
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Unread 01-23-2013, 04:36 AM   #15
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yes n as the smoke smeller says the thin walls hurt you..I am in Buffalo..also cold now at 6* F...all my fire boxes are insulated and 10 ga min thickness..but use lump charcoal with split wood..like kindleing..oak...our hickory..keep cooker out of the wind...think about upgrading for year round cooking..a few years ago I also had a thin wall unit....like I said....had..
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