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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 08-20-2009, 09:37 PM   #1
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Question What is the major difference in all wood smokers and charcoal/wood chunk smokers?

I keep reading that "stuck burners rule" and how all wood smokers/cookers are the best. So my question is how? What is the major difference to the end product that an all wood smoker produces that the smoker that uses charcoal with the ability to add wood chunks?
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Unread 08-20-2009, 09:59 PM   #2
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"stick burners" don't rule all the time, it's whatever you cook on at the time!

I use everything, Pellet Poopers, WSM, and sometimes a UDS(well once, need to borrow it again)!
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Unread 08-20-2009, 10:05 PM   #3
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Wow, that is a really loaded question. I've done a lot of both, and I'd have to say that if I was blindfolded, it would be hard for me to tell the difference if they both were done right. I guess the best analogy would be to take two chefs, one cooking with a conventional oven and one cooking with a convection oven, and then having them compete. The oven type isn't going to separate the two chefs, it's going to be their cooking skills.

They each have their advantages and disadvantages. While personally I prefer the taste of BBQ on a stick burner, I've mainly used charcoal and wood chunks lately because I'm getting lazy and don't want to tend a fire every 15 minutes. If you know what you are doing, you can produce good que on anything.
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Unread 08-20-2009, 10:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saiko View Post
Wow, that is a really loaded question. I've done a lot of both, and I'd have to say that if I was blindfolded, it would be hard for me to tell the difference if they both were done right. I guess the best analogy would be to take two chefs, one cooking with a conventional oven and one cooking with a convection oven, and then having them compete. The oven type isn't going to separate the two chefs, it's going to be their cooking skills.

They each have their advantages and disadvantages. While personally I prefer the taste of BBQ on a stick burner, I've mainly used charcoal and wood chunks lately because I'm getting lazy and don't want to tend a fire every 15 minutes. If you know what you are doing, you can produce good que on anything.

All things being equal other than the smokers. Is there that much of a difference to the end product between a stick burner and other smokers?
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Unread 08-20-2009, 10:14 PM   #5
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Not really, because a properly tended wood fire is pretty much charcoal anyway.
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Unread 08-20-2009, 10:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamabuzzard View Post
All things being equal other than the smokers. Is there that much of a difference to the end product between a stick burner and other smokers?
My personal opinion is no. An "average" cook on a stick burner is not going to out perform a "good" cook on a charcoal smoker. Walk around any BBQ competition and you'll see plenty of both.
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Unread 08-20-2009, 10:27 PM   #7
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I am sure both are art forms. I have not mastered either. Heck, I dont even own my smoker yet!! I will tell you that I have produced very good Q'ue on a ( GASP ) gas grill !! I am very eager to learn how to use a smoker for some quality Q'ue. My concern with using it as a stick burner is the food being, as you read about so often, over smoked. I am going to attempt my first smokes with lump and hardwood, but would really like to learn how to use just, "sticks"!
I am reall interested to see how this thread unfolds
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Unread 08-21-2009, 12:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamabuzzard View Post
I keep reading that "stuck burners rule" and how all wood smokers/cookers are the best. So my question is how? What is the major difference to the end product that an all wood smoker produces that the smoker that uses charcoal with the ability to add wood chunks?
The end product is probably pretty close if you are skilled at both cookers. What really differentiates wood burners from coal burners to me is the smell while cooking. I truly love the smell of hardwood smoke, especially when combined with the fragrance of cooking meats. I don't much care for the smell of charcoal, and the more chemicals they contain the worse it is. My neighbors hate it when I burn charcoal but they love it when I burn wood.

Increasingly, I am focusing on cooking for large groups of people in a festive situation. In those situations, you want a big showy rig which smells GOOD and pulls people in. Can't be smelling like Kingsford.

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Unread 08-21-2009, 12:15 AM   #9
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flavor!!!
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Unread 08-21-2009, 04:56 AM   #10
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i've smoked on charcoal. gas, and in a stick burner and imop the stick burner produces the best flavor that i like but takes a lot more effort to produce the same product other smokers have to offer.
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Unread 08-21-2009, 06:08 AM   #11
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I always thought the only difference was the size of the pit. I've had both, a smaller pit that worked better with charcoal and a few chunks, and a larger pit that uses sticks. Once I got the hang of the larger pit... I put out the same tasty BBQ.
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Unread 08-21-2009, 06:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgtcomp0311 View Post
I am sure both are art forms. I have not mastered either. Heck, I dont even own my smoker yet!! I will tell you that I have produced very good Q'ue on a ( GASP ) gas grill !! I am very eager to learn how to use a smoker for some quality Q'ue. My concern with using it as a stick burner is the food being, as you read about so often, over smoked. I am going to attempt my first smokes with lump and hardwood, but would really like to learn how to use just, "sticks"!
I am reall interested to see how this thread unfolds
preheating your sticks on the firebox helps w/ that issue.they burst into flames when added in the firebox.
you can also preburn wood & just add the coals.
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Unread 08-21-2009, 08:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blues_n_cues View Post
you can also preburn wood & just add the coals.
Isn't that more or less lump charcoal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by seattlepitboss View Post
What really differentiates wood burners from coal burners to me is the smell while cooking. I truly love the smell of hardwood smoke, especially when combined with the fragrance of cooking meats. I don't much care for the smell of charcoal, and the more chemicals they contain the worse it is. My neighbors hate it when I burn charcoal but they love it when I burn wood.
Seriously, what's the difference between all natural lump and wood?
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Unread 08-21-2009, 09:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC_Bobby View Post
Isn't that more or less lump charcoal?



Seriously, what's the difference between all natural lump and wood?
Respectufully, flavor! Hardwood under two years old adds more flavor.
You ever notice how fruitwood does not have the same flavor/smell after two years.

There is a reason some teams use green fruitwood in their cookers i.e ole hickory cookers, Mike Mills etc.
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Unread 08-21-2009, 09:31 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blues_n_cues View Post
preheating your sticks on the firebox helps w/ that issue.they burst into flames when added in the firebox.
you can also preburn wood & just add the coals.
With respect: this is totally unnecessary, a big hassel and even dangerous (especially if your short-term memory is as bad as mine). I have yet to see any evidence to support the theory of preheating sticks.
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