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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 04-11-2014, 09:06 AM   #1
SmokinPaPa
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Default Wood or Charcoal

I have just a quick question. Anyone with a Lang Patio or simular smoker? Do you use all wood or a combination of charcoal and wood. Where I live fruitwood or hardwood is hard to come by.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 09:36 AM   #2
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Must to the chagrin of traditional stick burners, I use a combo of both. I use a loaded charcoal basket(18 to 20 lbs) with 4" to 6" chucks of wood (minion method) to get long burn times with good results and less tending (insulated firebox). I use a traditional stick burner not a reverse flow.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 10:53 AM   #3
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Thanks, Purchasing only wood would be very expensive. I do have some fruitwood but would like to use it to suppliment the charcoal.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 11:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin' Greene View Post
Must to the chagrin of traditional stick burners, I use a combo of both. I use a loaded charcoal basket(18 to 20 lbs) with 4" to 6" chucks of wood (minion method) to get long burn times with good results and less tending (insulated firebox). I use a traditional stick burner not a reverse flow.
It is always best to use the fuel that your cooker was designed for. A Lang RF cooker is a "stick burner" and wood is the fuel to use, charcoal is designed to burn slowly with very little air flow, for a cooker designed for that fuel such as a WSM, UDS, Egg, etc. unless you're using it to grill with. An offset cooker requires good draft and if you choke way down on the intake damper to get a slower burn from charcoal, you'll struggle to get the temps up and also get dirty smoke from any wood that is present because it will smolder instead of burn! If you open the pit up and allow the airflow that it needs, the charcoal will all ignite too quickly and you'll get wildly fluctuating and soaring temps until they suddenly crash as the charcoal burns up!
Wood burns hotter than charcoal and as long as it combusts it will give you plenty of heat as well as a thin blue smoke. So start your fire with a chimney of lit lump and a couple of splits, when the pit gets up to temp add a split every 45 min. or so to maintain it. From this point forward you are burning ONLY wood, your intake damper is anywhere from 1/3 to 3/4 open (depending on desired temp) and your exhaust is wide open.
You'll find that an all wood fire is MUCH easier to control in an offset than charcoal as the cooker is wide open, drafting well, delivering good heat and clean smoke to your food.
You shouldn't put gasoline in a diesel engine and likewise you shouldn't put charcoal in a stick burner!
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Unread 04-11-2014, 11:28 AM   #5
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I run wood in my reverse flow smoker. It isn't easy to come by in South Florida but there are a few companies that do sell firewood.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 11:37 AM   #6
Smokin' Greene
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I appreciate the difference in opinion Oldbill. I also understand the tradition of using a stick burner as a stick burner, but I can get nice clean blue from the method described above. As well as a nice smoke ring! And he was asking about alternate methods
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Unread 04-11-2014, 11:38 AM   #7
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I always start with a good bed of charcoal and switch over to woodsplits.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 11:45 AM   #8
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Been cooking on the lang for a year now and never had anything but hickory and pecan in it.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 12:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin' Greene View Post
I appreciate the difference in opinion Oldbill. I also understand the tradition of using a stick burner as a stick burner, but I can get nice clean blue from the method described above. As well as a nice smoke ring! And he was asking about alternate methods
Attachment 94128
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You have a nice pit! It looks like you have a HUMONGOUS firebox! If that's all firebox back there then I'd imagine that it's pretty easy to get a draft through your pit, whereas with a Lang RF the firebox is much smaller in proportion to the size of the cooker and being reverse flow the heat and smoke must travel to one side of the pit and then back again to find the exit, requiring a really good draft.
It's a free country and everyone is entitled to use what ever method that they wish but stick burners in general need wood and maybe not all but most of the folks who are experimenting with the different fuels and combinations of them will eventually go back to wood as the primary fuel source.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 12:53 PM   #10
Smokin' Greene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbill View Post
You have a nice pit! It looks like you have a HUMONGOUS firebox! If that's all firebox back there then I'd imagine that it's pretty easy to get a draft through your pit, whereas with a Lang RF the firebox is much smaller in proportion to the size of the cooker and being reverse flow the heat and smoke must travel to one side of the pit and then back again to find the exit, requiring a really good draft.
It's a free country and everyone is entitled to use what ever method that they wish but stick burners in general need wood and maybe not all but most of the folks who are experimenting with the different fuels and combinations of them will eventually go back to wood as the primary fuel source.
Thanks, 24" x 24" .375 pipe encased within 2" high heat insulation, encased in a steel 10 gauge square box and 5" stack so yes it is easy to draft. I agree stick burnning makes a great fire, smoke, and product, and it that is what they were designed for. I have had some success other wise and wanted to share with SmokinPaPa.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 01:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin' Greene View Post
Thanks, 24" x 24" .375 pipe encased within 2" high heat insulation, encased in a steel 10 gauge square box and 5" stack so yes it is easy to draft. I agree stick burnning makes a great fire, smoke, and product, and it that is what they were designed for. I have had some success other wise and wanted to share with SmokinPaPa.
Cool! That's what's great about this forum, different methods and ideas that are shared here help us all to be better cooks and pit masters! I personally have over 30 years of experience with our kind of cooking and with all of us combined I'd imagine that there's thousands of years of experience to draw from!
We're all pretty lucky to be living in the computer age (especially the new comers), heck when I started cooking there was no such thing as a "world wide web" let alone a forum to learn from! LOL! Thanks for your posts!
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Unread 04-11-2014, 01:42 PM   #12
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http://www.fruitawoodchunks.com/

Not cheap, but they do have some good wood. Who knows, they may be close to you.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 02:07 PM   #13
Smokin' Greene
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No, thank you Oldbill for being willing to come into the computer age and share your knowledge.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 05:03 PM   #14
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Sometimes we run all splits and sometimes we run charcoal with wood.

For those long cooks when we want to get some sleep we run a few hours with splits and which we burn in our charcoal basket. Later, we shift to charcoal so we can get some sleep.

We bought our basket from Jeff at XXL Baskets. here is the link. http://yokeup.net/XXLBaskets.html

We find that when the meat is wrapped in foil it doesn't make a difference if we burn all wood or charcoal.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 05:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake View Post
I run wood in my reverse flow smoker. It isn't easy to come by in South Florida but there are a few companies that do sell firewood.
I sell firewood to almost every restaurant in South Florida but mostly only oak and Aussie pine is all we can get price wise this far south.
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