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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 03-02-2009, 06:50 PM   #46
Weiser
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This post should be required reading if using an offset!
I have overloaded mine with fuel many times and wondered why
it took so long to start burning clean.
It has never cost me a piece of meat, because I won't put it on till the smoke is right.
I just factor in an additional hour or so to get things the way they should be.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigabyte View Post
The most common mistake, especially in offsets, is adding too much fuel and suffocating what may have been a clean burning fire. The heat in the firebox is greatly reduced as the energy is transferred into the unlit fuel. Also, if there is too much fuel you can restrict airflow in your firebox. An offset firebox should have a small clean burning fire in it. It is basically impossible to have a full firebox burn clean because there is not enough airflow able to come in to burn the fuel and the released gases at the same time (remember to account for the volume the gasses require to burn).

Another mistake some people make is closing down the exhaust. The exhaust should always be wide open. The gases released need to escape, you don't want them building up inside your cooker or else you will get thick deposits on your cooker walls and meat. I have never owned a cooker that I could not leave the exhaust wide open for any cooking session. If a smoker exists that does require this, then I would suggest it is a bad smoker design.

Another mistake you can make is at the beginning of the cooking session when you add lit coals to unlit fuel for the Minion method. If you add too much lit fuel at the beginning, more than the intakes/airflow can support, then the fire will slowly suffocate down to the level where it does get the proper airflow for it to burn. This results in an extended period of heavier smoke.

Any time your fire gets too hot and you reduce the air intake is going to cause heavier smoke because you are suffocating the fire to reduce it. The trick is to cook with the fire you create, and to create a clean burning fire that runs at the temp you want, and refuel appropriately to maintain it.
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Unread 03-02-2009, 07:06 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hachie Qer View Post
Where did I say I don't know how to Que??? I've done my share of queing for 20+ years and NEVER had a creosote problem!!! I was just wondering how you DO IT!!!!!!
thats alright.
I have a "friend" that had a problem Q'n a long time ago.
At least you are trying to help your "friend".
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Unread 03-03-2009, 11:29 AM   #48
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so I'm confused. how do you build a good burning fire in a UDS? this post states that you build a "small, hot-burning fire" not a smoldering one. how do you build a small fire in UDS, or how do you control temp w/o restricting airflow (smolder)?
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Unread 03-03-2009, 12:56 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rameter View Post
so I'm confused. how do you build a good burning fire in a UDS? this post states that you build a "small, hot-burning fire" not a smoldering one. how do you build a small fire in UDS, or how do you control temp w/o restricting airflow (smolder)?
That's an undertandable, and good question. First off, you shouldn't be restricting your fire in a UDS or WSM. Restricting it means backing down from where it has been, choking it off. In a UDS or WSM the fire should start from a few lit coals and slowly build to the level you want it to run and stay there. Not get big and then be restricted back. If you let that happen you will get very think nasty smoke.

As for a small clean burning fire in the UDS, or any other cooker using the Minion method, you "basically" do have a small clean burning fire that is spreading out at a constant rate through the rest of the fuel until it is all burned up. It is a constant refueling instead of refueling every so often with an offset. Now, notice I said "basically", and consider that for UDS and WSM cookers, you will notice that you use far less wood, just a few chunks in the charcoal ring otherwise your food will taste too smokey. This is because it is constantly speading and igniting new fuel, basically taking the period of slightly heavier smoke after refueling an offset and extending it throughout the whole cook. This is why less wood is used. It is not as clean of a burn, but then most food items can't be cooked in the amount of time between refueling in an offset that does not use the Minion method, so the end result is really no different as both ways put some slightly dirtier ignition smoke out.

There are only two ways I can think of off the top of my head to completely avoid any slightly thicker refueling smoke, and that is to...
1) Refuel only with pre-lit wood coals.
2) Cook over a good old fashioned pit of coals that will burn for many hours.

Neither of those methods involve having to ingite new fuel and bring it up to the cleanest burning temps. However, considering how good of results can be had by allowing some refueling smoke on your foods as proven from all of the products off of the other types of cookers out there, it may not be worth the extra effort for that minor of a gain. However, this does not mean you should allow more dirty smoke in your cooks, because then your food will start tasting worse and you will be consuming more bad stuff than you probably want.
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Unread 03-03-2009, 01:23 PM   #50
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any advantage to adding a mod to the charcoal basket like the one pictured in the "UDS Air Cook" (the snakelike charcoal area)?

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=57585

that way all you have lit is a small amount of charcoal and pieces of wood throughout. seems like a small mod for a potemtially big return on cooking consistancy? thoughts?
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Unread 03-03-2009, 01:29 PM   #51
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I've never used a basket like that so I have no personal experiences to go by, but I could see some possibility of being able to feed in more air and the fire being limited to one size due to the snake chamber, thus perhaps ingiting faster and more clean. Like I said, I've never tried it though. I'm curious now though. The thing about that would be, you are mostly stuck with the temp created in your cooker from that chamber, so you may need more than one kind of basket depending on what temp you want to cook at. Otherwise the benefit of allowing more free acess to air is lost if it is too high and you reduce the air intake. Plus once you hit a certain point you may not be able to make it burn faster so you would have a possible max temp you can run with one.
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Last edited by bigabyte; 03-03-2009 at 03:02 PM..
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Unread 03-03-2009, 04:44 PM   #52
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Okay, I have a huge problem here. How do you propose I should break this scientific news to my DH, who is the "hands On" man, having been smoking for several years, and doing a good job of it, I might add. Apparently (OBVIOUSLY) there is a better way. I just can't imagine getting him to sit in front of a computer to read all this information about smoking without the creosote build up. I have my work cut out for me, I can tell! Thanks for a very enlightening topic, gents!
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Unread 03-03-2009, 04:56 PM   #53
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Here's a link that may help. Echoes Chris' comments for the most part.
http://karubecue.com/creosote.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunSmoker View Post
In my limited experience it has always been caused by poor exhaust airflow. Trying to cook by controling the exhaust instead of controlling the intake air. Caused the smoke to build up inside the smoker and get stale before it could exhaust out.
I think the inlet/outlet throttling debate is somewhat mistaken. Restricting inlet or outlet air restricts combustion air to the fire - it makes no difference from a combustion standpoint.
The error comes from associating the throttling of exhaust with nastyQ. This mainly comes from pits where the exhaust inlet is at the top of the cooking chamber (common to many pits, and wrong imho). With the damper wide open, even nasty smoke from the firebox flows in to the cooking chamber, rises directly to the top, runs along the top of the cooking chamber and out the stack without ever touching the meat. Throttling the outlet damper lowers the smoke level, basically submerging the meat in smoke. This is a good thing with clean smoke but a bad thing with uncombusted smoke - it basically amplifies the effect of smoke quality.
Think of the smoker as an upside down bathtub and you'll get the idea

It is creosote for sure. Entrained particulates give it a black color.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcfontario View Post
Bigabyte, I concur that you have provided a great explanation. I have been puzzled why everyone it seems is able to set and forget temperatures for 10 hours on their cooker and I have been fiddling with my offset's firebox every 30 minutes. It sounds like if I follow your approach I can at least stretch it out to 90 minutes or so. For a small offset, how many lit coals would you start with?

Thanks
The big difference here is the fuel, not the smoker type. You can't get creosote from a charcoal-only fire.
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Unread 03-03-2009, 07:21 PM   #54
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^^^^Excellent point. I you use ONLY charcoal and no wood, you can not get creosote and the smoke will be mostly clean because a lot of the bad stuff has already escaped as gas from the wood during the carbonizing process. You will definitely be creosote free.
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Unread 03-03-2009, 07:37 PM   #55
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Interesting thread for sure.
I control my fire intake, exahust is better than half way open on my Klose mobile.
Never had a creosote problem in the last 9 yrs.

Different story when folks would get their chimneys cleaned, burnt wood for 2 days and had a chimney fire.

I learned to remove creosote from fireplaces/woodstoves was to burn your fire real hot at the startup and then just before you shut down your heating unit.

The heat makes the creosote vaporize, thus removing it from the chimney.
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Unread 02-02-2010, 07:50 PM   #56
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Great thread, deserves a bump.
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Unread 02-02-2010, 08:53 PM   #57
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Whoa, blast from the past!
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Unread 02-02-2010, 09:06 PM   #58
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This thread is exactly why my Char-griller doesn't have a side firebox on it! ( I use it for charring and grilling.)

The only really bad bbq I've ever made was when I used to burn hickory in my little old NB sheet metal offset, my first pit given to me by a friend from Texas. My first slabs of spares recipe called for using a mop quite often that had a lot of garlic in the recipe. The ribs were NASTY...tasted like smoke and garlic!!

I soon after started using lump mostly, and tried burning down hickory to coals to shovel into my first drum smoker. Yep, as others have stated, it was a pain in the arse, and actually, I thought the smoke flavor was a bit lacking, so I made another UDS with no door for pre-loading charcoal in to do "minion burns" and haven't looked back!

Smoking is SO much easier in my UDS or wsm, or even my weber kettle.I wouldn't even consider burning wood only unless I had a LARGE offset.

THE THING IS THIS: You're smoke doesn't need to look "thin and blue" if you're using a charcoal smoker. A SMOLDERING chunk of wood on a pile of coals does NOT produce the same nasty smoke that a BURNING (flaming) chunk of wood does when not burning cleanly. (It's a whole different animal, but yes, you still can over-smoke food, especially ribs, with a wsm, a UDS, or any smoker that smokes by way of smoldering wood mixed in with charcoal.) I read some scientific explanation of the difference between a fire burning uncleanly vs. smoldering wood... somewhere, but I don't remember the clarification other than to say it's two different things and one puts nasty stuff in the smoke that won't make it out of the pit before contacting your meat.

That's my story AND my two cents!
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Unread 02-27-2010, 04:10 PM   #59
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Thats what I am confused about. Is it better for the wood to be smoing hot with a flame? What is better smoke? Im sorry but I have read and read and read about fires on here and still really havn't gathered that info.
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Unread 02-27-2010, 06:31 PM   #60
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Thinner smoke is better, smaller hotter fire is better than a larger smoldering fire.
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