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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 10-15-2010, 07:01 PM   #1
LT72884
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Default Im still doing something majorly wrong.

Ok, so here is my set up. As you can see from the pic, i have foil drip pan and lump on one side of the kettle. It is only 3/4th a weber chimney full of unlit. I removed the chunk before i put the lit stuff on. Lit 1/4th a chimney full of a new bag of lump. waited 5 to 8 minutes till it was clean and red edges., poured that right over the unlit charcoal. Then placed wood chunks right on the center of the lit coal. The book said to wait 5 minutes for the white smoke to clear. so i waited 3 minutes because i noticed the lump was fetching hot and the unlit was all lit... No smoke. cloased the lid. BAM, tons and tons and tons of white smoke. So bad that in 2 or 3 minutes i had to pull what was left out of the wood chunks out. They were completly carbonized.... I have tried the method where you mix wood chunks in the unlit stuff, same luck.. forgot to mention. the clean fire was at 350 lid temp and roughly 300 grate.

Here is the setup:I removed the first wood chunks and placed after the lit charcoal was poured on:



here is the pic of clean exhaust before wood chunk.


the carbonized wood after 2 or so minutes.


What happened? haha.

thanx guys. I know its anoying when i ask my questions but believe you me, this is anoying the he!! outa me. ahahaha
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Unread 10-15-2010, 07:11 PM   #2
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The fire is not hot enough to burn the wood like logs in a stickburner with full combustion. Yours just smoldered causing the white smoke. I would suggest to bury the chucks in the coals so that it takes 30-45 minutes for the hot coals to reach. That way you'll have a hot piece of wood when the fire hit it. But either way if you're not outright burning the wood I'm not sure you'll get sweet blue. But I could be wrong, usually am.

Edit: oops forgot you already tried to bury chucks.
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Unread 10-15-2010, 07:19 PM   #3
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I would recommend placing the chunk of wood in your chimney with your charcoal/lump to let it get a head start. After dumping the lit chunk/charcoal/lump mix let it get to temp and wait at least 30 minutes till you see thin blue. Just be patient it will happen. Let those chunks "carbonize" It needs to happen.

I guess I should ask.....was the wood seasoned correctly?
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Unread 10-15-2010, 08:16 PM   #4
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Could be bad wood as well. I've had bad chunks that wouldn't stop smoldering bad smoke in my egg once. Pulled it and added a new chunk and was clean within minutes.
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Unread 10-15-2010, 08:18 PM   #5
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The fire was hot. 350 lid temp and 300 grate for about 20 minutes and it was very clean. Then i added the chunk and then it just went to hell. haha. So the chunk has to carbonize before it will let out TBS? If i would have left them in, they would have burned all the way down in minutes.

Yeah the wood has been dried for about 2 years.

The only time i have ever gotten TBS, i let the kettle get to temp, and then i placed the chunk on the edge of the fire. TBS for sure but not sure if that was a correct method. Is that an ok method? This has happened only once. haha

thanx
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Last edited by LT72884; 10-15-2010 at 11:08 PM..
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Unread 10-16-2010, 12:53 AM   #6
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LT:
I think you're too worried about the color of the smoke on the kettle. What you describe, I do all the time. (for my famous smokey chicken: leg quarters, smoke roasted at 300+ on the kettle for 1.25 hrs, 5-6 times a summer 'round here) I often use chunks of apple and it puts off lots of white smoke, but when you smell the smoke, It's sweet, it's not acrid. I also used fresh chunks early this May from a cherry tree I cut down in March. It worked fine, so I don't think chunks on a charcoal fire need to be seasoned. Most of the people talking about what color the smoke should be are burning wood as their main cooking fuel. That's a lot different than using charcoal. Different rules I don't know.

Next time check to see what the smoke smells like, and if if it doesn't stink proceed with the cook and see what it tastes like in the end.

BTW the chunks you are using are big enough to use one at a time, unless you are trying for some serious smokiness. Each one will provide plenty of smoke for a kettle for about 45 minutes. Maybe 2 of them is what making the smoke too thick...
If you are trying for a lower temp in the kettle you need to use some sort of baffle to get the charcoal to stack up and keep radiant heat away from the cooking area. Fire bricks or charcoal rails or even a Smokenator will help with that. Also water pans will help regulate temp.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 01:08 AM   #7
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I agree with Jim.
Light your fire, put a chunk of wood on.
So you get a few minutes of white smoke. No big deal.
Roll with it.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 01:22 AM   #8
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Seems like the gauge is blocking a whole lot of exhaust. Pre heat the chunks.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 03:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcoredneck View Post
Seems like the gauge is blocking a whole lot of exhaust. Pre heat the chunks.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^
What Noco said. Start the chunk in the chimney with your lit lump and let it get to the point where there are flames shooting out the top of the chimney and the lump is a lot more lit. I think you might be dumping the chimney to soon. Then place a couple of chunks on any free space on the food grate (NOT over the fire) so they can pre-heat while the food is cooking. When you need to add the pre-heated chunks, combustion will be immediate.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 07:04 AM   #10
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The pic of the wood shows its only "carbonized" on the exterior. You got the heat from the flames not hot coals.... I've learned one must be very patient about the fire... in other words, when you think its ready.... wait a little longer. Just my 2 cents.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 11:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevesonfire! View Post
The pic of the wood shows its only "carbonized" on the exterior. You got the heat from the flames not hot coals.... I've learned one must be very patient about the fire... in other words, when you think its ready.... wait a little longer. Just my 2 cents.
Thanx guys for all the help. The smoke didnt smell bad just thick and when it hit my eyes, they watered but i have naturally dry eyes anyway so my eyes will water in fog...

lol, i thought about this part as well. I know my lump was pretty hot. Im just affraid that if i put it in TO hot, i wont be able to control it. Im trying again today with some chicken. This time, ill let the kettle get to 300 and stay that way for 20 minutes to ensure a clean burning fire. Once it is clean and stable, then I will add the wood and see what happens.

Oh, the thermometer was only in there for a 8 minutes to grab a temp. I couldnt use the long turkey therm because it would hit the meat and or the edge of my water pan.

I will tell you this. I tried again last night because i was so bummed. I got the kettle to temp and then i placed ONE piece right on the edge of the fire rather than smack on the hot center of the fire. I noticed for about 5 minutes when i did this, i had TBS, then it stopped. Every so offten, TBS would show up and then go away. Smelt very pleasent.

oh here is the pic of the cook. This is after i took the chunks off, still had a smoke ring cuz im thinkin the thick heavy smoke from both chunks basically smoked it in like 3 minutes. hahaha

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Unread 10-16-2010, 11:38 AM   #12
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+1 thats how i do it.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 11:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil View Post
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^
What Noco said. Start the chunk in the chimney with your lit lump and let it get to the point where there are flames shooting out the top of the chimney and the lump is a lot more lit. I think you might be dumping the chimney to soon. Then place a couple of chunks on any free space on the food grate (NOT over the fire) so they can pre-heat while the food is cooking. When you need to add the pre-heated chunks, combustion will be immediate.
+1 thats how i do it on my kettle.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 11:47 AM   #14
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Looks to me like you got it!!

The only thing I noticed from your first post is that you never mention what you're doing with the lid until you're up to temp. I let the fire get going, then close the lid and let things settle, before I decide my fire is ready.

If you're not putting the lid on until the fire is "ready", you're making a sudden and drastic change in air flow, which will affect heat and smoke...
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Unread 10-16-2010, 11:48 AM   #15
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Personally I think you are putting way to much thought into it. No offense intended.
Just put in some unlit lump, and dump a small amount of lit lump on top of it, then put the lid on. Or put in the lump, then lay a lit paper towel on top(twisted tight & soaked in olive oil).

Good Luck!
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