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Unread 01-21-2013, 11:14 AM   #1
John Bowen
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Default Backwoods Smoker Question

For years I have cooked on a Tucker Smoker (which I love) but late last year I bought a BWS Party model. It is perfect for small cooks when I don’t want to lug out the Tucker.

What I want to know is how others start a fire and more importantly how do you add coals. I have been getting the most gosh awful smoke when I add charcoal after about 5 hours into a cook. It hasn’t really affected the meat … yet. IMO there has to be a better way to manage the changeover. Currently I rake the remaining lit coals to the back add a half full chimney of lit and back the rest with unlit coals.

I use a BBQ guru and last cook I used Kingsford Competition Charcoal instead of the Blue.

Last edited by John Bowen; 01-21-2013 at 11:15 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Unread 01-21-2013, 11:25 AM   #2
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First, if you haven't done so, I would extend upward the sides of the firebox using expanded steel. I extended mine about 2". Using 10 lbs of KB, I can get about 9 hours burn time at 240 degrees using a Guru. I light the right front corner using a Weber cube. When the temp is about 50 degrees away from target, I close the intakes, close the exhaust to half, and turn on the Guru. If I have to add coals, I rake all of the embers to the right front corner and back fill with more KB. Hope this helps.
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Last edited by Teamfour; 01-21-2013 at 03:05 PM.. Reason: Corrected extension measurement.
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Unread 01-21-2013, 11:25 AM   #3
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I don't use a Backwoods, but with other smokers, I've always pre-lit the charcoal in a chimney and then added to the fire. YMMV!
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Unread 01-21-2013, 11:27 AM   #4
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I dump into a chimney to get rid of the loose crumbs/coal crap and then into the firebox. Never had a noticable issue but Ill admit I hardly ever have to add in my G2. Ive got some butts in and its well below zero today and Im going to foil at noon and I figured Ill toss some more unlit in just to be safe.

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Unread 01-21-2013, 12:24 PM   #5
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@ Teamfour
When you added the extra height to your basket did it cause you any issues pulling the basket in and out? Does it put too much heat on the water pan?
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Unread 01-21-2013, 01:25 PM   #6
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I really haven't had to add coals to my g2's, but when I tested a regular party last year all I did was push all that was lit/remaining to the back of the basket and add more dry in front of that. I never needed to also add additional lit coals. Even with the smaller charcoal basket of the original party I only ever added coals once. I would load the basket full, then shake it to compact them down and then add more so it coals were mounded up a little. That was running around 240. So if you burn hotter the coals may go faster. I remember the Competition K seemed to burn faster for me when I have tried it.
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Unread 01-21-2013, 01:53 PM   #7
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When you added coals did you get a lot of smoke while the new coals caught? Do you think that affects the meat?
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Unread 01-21-2013, 01:55 PM   #8
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Glad some one asked this question. Thanks to every one for the info.
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Unread 01-21-2013, 03:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bowen View Post
@ Teamfour
When you added the extra height to your basket did it cause you any issues pulling the basket in and out? Does it put too much heat on the water pan?
First, my extension stated above was slightly off. The expanded metal is two inches high giving me a total firebox depth of four inches.

No issue pulling the basket out. I only fill the box level with the top of the extension and make sure my wood chunks are buried. But as you can see in the picture below the charcoal could be mounded up slightly. I have not had any issues with increased heat on the heat deflector and the water seems to evaporate at the same rate as before the extension.

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Unread 01-21-2013, 03:17 PM   #10
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Thanks for the visual – that answers my question – there seems to be plenty of room. Great suggestion!
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Unread 01-22-2013, 03:13 AM   #11
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In my opinion...I just line the outside of the fire box and one piece down the middle with split firewood...then use ONLY lump charcoal..after about three hours I push the lit charcal away from the guru fan and add some more lump, un-lit...close the door and go back to sleep..
to start my fire, I am lazy so instead of using a chimney, I just put a spoon full of sterno on the guru fan side, light it and go get me y meat ready..to go in ...If I was to add a lit chimney of charcaol , my fatboy would spike upwards of 300*...so if you are doing a hot / fast cook then this would be the way, but for temps under 250 I would just add charcoal every 3 hours or so..I dont use briqs...tooooo much ash...loss of flavor vrs lump...imo..
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Unread 01-22-2013, 03:13 AM   #12
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In my opinion...I just line the outside of the fire box and one piece down the middle with split firewood...then use ONLY lump charcoal..after about three hours I push the lit charcal away from the guru fan and add some more lump, un-lit...close the door and go back to sleep..
to start my fire, I am lazy so instead of using a chimney, I just put a spoon full of sterno on the guru fan side, light it and go get me y meat ready..to go in ...If I was to add a lit chimney of charcaol , my fatboy would spike upwards of 300*...so if you are doing a hot / fast cook then this would be the way, but for temps under 250 I would just add charcoal every 3 hours or so..I dont use briqs...tooooo much ash...loss of flavor vrs lump...imo..
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Unread 01-22-2013, 07:18 AM   #13
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Do you get that gosh awful smoke when you add the unlit lump?
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