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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 04-04-2014, 12:46 PM   #1
jeffreywp1
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Default Fire control

I'm moving up from a chargriller to a 250 gallon reverse flow cooker. I need some tips on temp and smoke control. Can I use more wood on a bigger smoker. On the chargriller if I used kiln dried wood, I would still get too much kreosot and ended up using all charcoal and wood for flavor. Or should I keep a feeder fire and only use live coals from wood for the most part?

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Unread 04-04-2014, 12:55 PM   #2
ironmanerik
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For me a small hot fire is key. A small fire requires more attention but once you figure it out you'll have the cooker mastered.
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Unread 04-04-2014, 01:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreywp1 View Post
I'm moving up from a chargriller to a 250 gallon reverse flow cooker. I need some tips on temp and smoke control. Can I use more wood on a bigger smoker. On the chargriller if I used kiln dried wood, I would still get too much kreosot and ended up using all charcoal and wood for flavor. Or should I keep a feeder fire and only use live coals from wood for the most part?

Thanks
Jeff
Creosote is the result of poor draft. Offsets, (especially RF) need to breathe and if anything is keeping it from doing so wood will smolder instead of ignite giving you dirty smoke.
Start with a chimney of lit lump for a quick bed of coals and toss in a couple of splits, using only wood for your fire from then on out. Let the splits fully ignite and begin to ash over, then once the pit is up to temp add a split every 45 min. or so to maintain it.
Your intake damper should be 1/2 to 3/4 open and your exhaust should be wide open allowing plenty of draft. If you have to choke down on your intake because the temp is too high, your fire is too big. A small hot wood fire is the way to go here. Charcoal is designed to burn slowly in a cooker designed for that fuel, if too much air gets to it you end up with temp spikes and then plummeting temps when the charcoal all burns up while you're going crazy adjusting the intake damper. To control it you have to choke down on the intake and then any wood present begins to smolder, leading to creosote. Wood is the fuel that offsets were designed for and trying to use charcoal as a primary fuel in an offset usually leads to headaches.
The old timers used a secondary fire and shoveled coals into the cooker or pit and that would be great if you are set up for it but with a little practice you can get a good clean burning fire using the above method.
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Unread 04-04-2014, 01:55 PM   #4
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I have a Lang 48 and burn wood only, however, I've always been intrigued by the "secondary fire" and shoveling coals into the firebox. Haven't tried that yet, but I love the idea.
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Unread 04-04-2014, 02:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MJ_Tenn View Post
I have a Lang 48 and burn wood only, however, I've always been intrigued by the "secondary fire" and shoveling coals into the firebox. Haven't tried that yet, but I love the idea.
That's how they do it here, one of the best Q joints in the country! The pit master is a school janitor and cooks on the weekends at Snow's,... the old fashioned way!
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Unread 04-04-2014, 02:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbill View Post
Creosote is the result of poor draft. Offsets, (especially RF) need to breathe and if anything is keeping it from doing so wood will smolder instead of ignite giving you dirty smoke.
Start with a chimney of lit lump for a quick bed of coals and toss in a couple of splits, using only wood for your fire from then on out. Let the splits fully ignite and begin to ash over, then once the pit is up to temp add a split every 45 min. or so to maintain it.
Your intake damper should be 1/2 to 3/4 open and your exhaust should be wide open allowing plenty of draft. If you have to choke down on your intake because the temp is too high, your fire is too big. A small hot wood fire is the way to go here. Charcoal is designed to burn slowly in a cooker designed for that fuel, if too much air gets to it you end up with temp spikes and then plummeting temps when the charcoal all burns up while you're going crazy adjusting the intake damper. To control it you have to choke down on the intake and then any wood present begins to smolder, leading to creosote. Wood is the fuel that offsets were designed for and trying to use charcoal as a primary fuel in an offset usually leads to headaches.
The old timers used a secondary fire and shoveled coals into the cooker or pit and that would be great if you are set up for it but with a little practice you can get a good clean burning fire using the above method.

Thanks for this - I'm getting a stickburner shortly and have seen lots of tips and tricks for controlling a fire and maintaining temps but this is the most concise, on-point explanation I've seen.
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Unread 04-04-2014, 02:58 PM   #7
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That looks like a place I wanna try!
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Unread 04-04-2014, 03:30 PM   #8
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thanks for that video.

its just great.
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Unread 04-04-2014, 03:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdstoll View Post
Thanks for this - I'm getting a stickburner shortly and have seen lots of tips and tricks for controlling a fire and maintaining temps but this is the most concise, on-point explanation I've seen.
You're very welcome! My post is pretty much rule of thumb as every pit is different and the info. may need to be tweaked here or there to get the best results with your pit but it should be a good start. In 30 years of cooking on offsets, I've pretty much made all of the mistakes and now I enjoy posting on the forum to save others from excessive hair pulling! LOL!
When you get your pit, feel free to PM me with any questions or concerns that I may help you with.
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Unread 04-04-2014, 04:28 PM   #10
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get to cooking! Small hot fire is key
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Unread 04-04-2014, 04:49 PM   #11
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The world would be a better place with more down to earth folks like tootsy. Thanks for the vid.
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Unread 04-07-2014, 10:37 AM   #12
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Great video!
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Unread 04-08-2014, 08:47 PM   #13
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Thanks for posting the video...Tootsie is quite the gal
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Unread 04-09-2014, 12:01 AM   #14
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On downhomeque's signature he has a link and shows you how to obtain the small hot fire that oldbill is telling you about. That saved me from building a huge fire every time and trying to fight it. Thanks again downhome!
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