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Unread 06-21-2013, 10:59 PM   #1
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Default Filling fire box in offset smoker?

I am new to smoking, having just purchased a smoker. I think the term y'all use is a "COS."

My first pork shoulder turned out well last week, largely thanks to the tips I found here and elsewhere.

One question I haven't found answers to: What is the "normal" way to stoke a fire/heat in the firebox? Should I "stuff" the firebox? That is, do I get a good pile of briquettes going and then add as much wood to the box as I can?

Or, to keep the heat under control, should I avoid stuffing the box and replenish when needed?

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Unread 06-22-2013, 12:31 AM   #2
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Small hot fire. There are some threads on here but that'll burn cleanest!
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Unread 06-22-2013, 05:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by superdan View Post
Small hot fire. There are some threads on here but that'll burn cleanest!
^ This.
I use exclusively wood to start & maintain a fire, usually kiln dried hickory. But starting with charcoal to get a coal bed is fine. Once I get a good coal bed I find that 1-2 splits every hour to hour-and-a-half keeps my pit at temp. Never stuff your firebox - you want a burn that is mostly clear blue smoke not the white heavy stuff. If you stuff your firebox you will not have good air flow or a clean fire. Just for reference, think of a split as a chunk of wood 16-18 inches long and 6-8 inches in diameter split into quarters; each 1/4 is a split. Depending on which unit you have you might consider a few simple mods to seal up your cook chamber, make sure you have good air flow and add some kind of baffle plate to better distribute heat. The search tool at the bottom of the page is your friend.
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Unread 06-22-2013, 07:31 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by superdan View Post
Small hot fire. There are some threads on here but that'll burn cleanest!
I start with a fire like this.... I'm in the process of adding a grate though.

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Unread 06-22-2013, 07:35 AM   #5
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Yes, a small, hot fire if you are burning sticks.

The only way I would consider "stuffing" the firebox was if I was using a charcoal basket and wood chunks.
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Unread 06-22-2013, 08:09 AM   #6
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What they all said.. In my CG SP I start with a chimney of charcoal to bring it up, warm up a split, toss in.. Than basically a small split every 40 minutes or so.. After initial start up, never really have anything going on in there besides one log dying and the fresher split on fire. Once in a while you may get sidetracked and half to light up a 1/3 chimney or so to get your logs combusting again.

You will be shocked after everything is heated up, how much heat a small split puts off.
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