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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 08-14-2010, 09:04 AM   #1
Wampus
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Default Stick Burner Question

I've got an upright OK Joe's:


I am going all wood in it for it's maiden (to me) voyage.
As I'm sitting here watching the smoke puff out the top, I'm wondering why you can risk having too much smoke while using charcoal and chunk, but when ALL you have it wood, why don't you have to worry about the amount of smoke since that's ALL there is: wood smoke?

Also, depending on different times of the cook (still very early) there's been different amounts of smoke and color. Sometime's (early) it's been billowing white, sometimes not as much, but still white, and sometimes a hint of blue.

To get to the "sweet blue" stage, is it about the fire breathing better, or ?? I don't know if it's better to have all the vents on firebox open and only control temp with exhaust vent? Or....the other way around....?

Does having as much "ventage" as possible at the firebox have anything to do with the quality of smoke? I've always worked my other cookers with bottom 100%, and controlled temp with the top vents...

DON'T GET ME WRONG.....I know it's all about learning your smoker and all, just wanting clarification on the "theories" behind smoke control more than air/temp control (if there is any).

Soooo....?

Lay the science down for me.......
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Unread 08-14-2010, 09:56 AM   #2
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Wampus,

You still need a nice, clean fire no matter the fuel. You want your wood on fire not smoldering, pardon the pun! And when burning wood, I find it necessary to open the vents wide and let it rip.

Nice weapon, bro!
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Unread 08-14-2010, 10:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big brother smoke View Post
Wampus,

You still need a nice, clean fire no matter the fuel. You want your wood on fire not smoldering, pardon the pun! And when burning wood, I find it necessary to open the vents wide and let it rip.

Nice weapon, bro!

It may just be me but when I cook with nothing but wood on a smaller pit the smoke flavor is very strong even with a clean burn.
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Unread 08-14-2010, 10:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by MattG View Post
It may just be me but when I cook with nothing but wood on a smaller pit the smoke flavor is very strong even with a clean burn.


Hmmmmmmm..........

I've always been a bit heavy on the smoke, but......

I noticed that the smoke was finally whisping blue for a while right before temp dropped a bit and I needed to add a log. FB vents all open. I'll try and keep it hot and clean.
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Unread 08-14-2010, 10:13 AM   #5
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Lay your sticks-on-deck on top of the firebox so they heat up. If they even start smoldering thats OK. When you chuck in cold wood, it takes energy from the existing fire to start burning it cleanly.
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Unread 08-14-2010, 10:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattG View Post
It may just be me but when I cook with nothing but wood on a smaller pit the smoke flavor is very strong even with a clean burn.
What type of sticks are you burning?
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Unread 08-14-2010, 10:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brauma View Post
Lay your sticks-on-deck on top of the firebox so they heat up. If they even start smoldering thats OK. When you chuck in cold wood, it takes energy from the existing fire to start burning it cleanly.
What he said. Small, hot fires are the key. Keep the exhaust vent wide open and only control the temp with the firebox vents. Pre-heat your wood on top of the firebox, and if your pit temps get too hot you can always prop open the lid of the firebox with a rock or something to vent the extra heat.

It's hard to avoid the white smoke with a stick burner for the whole smoke, you are bound to get some when you first add wood. You just want to keep your white smoke down to a minimum.
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Last edited by Saiko; 08-14-2010 at 04:19 PM..
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Unread 08-14-2010, 10:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big brother smoke View Post
Wampus,

You still need a nice, clean fire no matter the fuel. You want your wood on fire not smoldering, pardon the pun! And when burning wood, I find it necessary to open the vents wide and let it rip.

Nice weapon, bro!
You gonna teach a Redneck how to use a stick burner? Would hate to have Country come show ne how to get my new pit going. Would never hear the end of it.
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Unread 08-14-2010, 10:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brauma View Post
Lay your sticks-on-deck on top of the firebox so they heat up. If they even start smoldering thats OK. When you chuck in cold wood, it takes energy from the existing fire to start burning it cleanly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saiko View Post
What he said. Small, hot fires are the key. Keep the exhaust vent wide open and only control the temp with the firebox vents. Pre-heat your wood on top of the firebox, and if your pit temps get too hot you can always prop open the lid of the firebox with a rock or something to vent the extra heat.

It's hard to avoid the white smoke with a stick burner for the whole smoke, you about bound to get some when you first add wood. You just want to keep your white smoke down to a minimum.
Forgot about pre-heating the wood

Good point.

FYI: I started the fire with some lit charcoal briq's and a couple/few pieces of beech. Just switched over to cherry 1/2 h ago. It's been puffing blue for a while with FB vents all open and top exhaust vent about 3/4 way open. I'll preheat the next couple of logs.


Thanks guys.
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Unread 08-14-2010, 10:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcoredneck View Post
You gonna teach a Redneck how to use a stick burner? Would hate to have Country come show ne how to get my new pit going. Would never hear the end of it.
Yeah, calling you in a few!
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Unread 08-14-2010, 02:30 PM   #11
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I finally cooked a couple slabs of spares yesterday in my Char-griller. I had put the sfb on a while back, but continue to use the wsm for it's ease, and because of the heatwave.

Anyway, I only used hickory to start it out, with a little leftover charcoal. After that, it was just pear and I cooked hot and fast, foiling after a couple of hours or so. You could say that the smoke was fine because they only got a couple of hours worth. However, I would say that it was leaving the vent open most of the time, preheating wood on the firebox, and only using hickory to start the fire. I'll remember the tip to crack the firebox lid open some next time. That'll help keep temps down some, but I really think the key here to good Q on a small offset is letting it have enough air to get a clean fire. You can shut the vent and get your precious 225, but you can eat your results, too.
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Unread 08-14-2010, 03:14 PM   #12
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Keep the fire as small as you can to hold the temp you want and give it plenty of air to breath. You will have blue smoke. The trick is to have a good bed of coals and the fresh wood burning, not smoldering. That's why you need a real good bed of coals going before you start cookin.
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Unread 08-14-2010, 03:49 PM   #13
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I agree that you want a small fire, but you better be ready to throw a hot stick on if the smoke starts to get real thin. You know what that means! BTW, a torch is handy.
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Unread 08-14-2010, 03:52 PM   #14
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.....the thing is, the smoke getting real thin is your cue to put a stick on. If you wait until the temp starts to drop, you might open the firebox to nothing but ash and coals, and it takes a little for that new stick to burn good if you wait this long.
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Unread 08-14-2010, 05:34 PM   #15
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Get a good bed of coals and then add stickof wood when needed
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