View Full Version : WTH? Beautiful offset trailer smoker abuse?

El Ropo
11-26-2011, 09:50 AM
So I had to work Thursday morning, after we rolled up the jobsite, we stopped in a bar for a couple of wobbly pops. I'd never been to this place, and went to the back patio for a smoke.

I peeked over the fence and saw this beautiful brand new custom made rig with an insulated firebox, huge triple doors on the horizontal cooking chamber, and then on the other end was a very large vertical cooking chamber with dual 3" or 4" exhausts on top.

Thought to myself "man I could do some great things on that rig, she's beautiful". A short while later, the owner of the bar starts prepping the rig for T-day turkeys. I'm watching like a hawk to see how he does, and I noticed some of what I would consider mistakes on his part.

First off, I noticed his pecan wood was not split, it was tree trunk sized monster pieces about 12-14" in diameter and 12" tall!

Then he started the pit....... with KF blue and lighter fluid!

Then he left the exhaust caps almost all the way closed! Maybe open 1/8".

I politely asked if that was the recommended procedure from the makers of the pit and he said "no, this is just how I do it" By this time, the whole bar smelled of lighter fluid BTW. He had the intake wide open and was trying to control the temp with the exhaust.

I attempted to politely suggest that he may be in the process of ruining his T day cook, but he was like a deer in the headlights, and would have nothing to do with my advice.

Now we know the lighter fluid is a no no, but what about having intake fully open and exhaust cracked on a huge rig like this? It can't be normal right?

OK, sorry for the long post, but I have to mention that my co-worker was giving me a hard time for butting in and "telling him how to bbq on his rig".

I mean he's planning on serving this food to his patrons, all I could imagine is the turkey is going to taste like licking an old telephone pole and everyone is gonna have a tingling mouth eating it. :crazy:

Was I completely wrong? Didn't catch the name of the pit maker, but it was a beauty. 1/4" steel cooking chambers with huge insulated fire box.

11-26-2011, 09:58 AM
Cant fix STUPID!

11-26-2011, 10:05 AM
Never try to teach a pig how to sing. It annoys the pig & wastes your time.

11-26-2011, 10:18 AM
Stupid is what stupid does.

11-26-2011, 10:31 AM
Well, it's not how I would do it either, but who knows. I guess you've never had his Q since you said you'd never been there before. I suppose the proof is in the results.

I know that I've seen lots of folks use lighter fluid to start their fires in competition Q cooking. As long as you give it enough time for the fluid to burn off, it shouldn't really matter. Again.....I'd never do it, but folks do.

The logs will still burn good I'd think, but will take longer to get nice and hot. And managing heat and air flow with the exhaust is.....well....just backwards to me as well. Sure does seem like it'll be hard to have a nice small, hot, clean fire!

Just seems like he's making it harder on himself is all. Turkeys still may be good though......who knows?

11-26-2011, 11:19 AM
I'm with Wampus. you can never tell how his Q will be , Each one of us have our own way of doing thiings, I throw in whole logs when I have no split wood , never use lighter fluid or charcoal I think sometimee we make to big a deal of using lighter fluid. Personally I can taste it no matter how much it is burn doen , but also I can taste that nasty a@@ charcoal briquett

11-26-2011, 12:26 PM
Stupid is what stupid does.
You beat me to it. That's funny because Forrest Gump was on T.V. again last night. I didn't watch it but it is amazing at how many times I have. :becky:

11-26-2011, 12:39 PM
Maybe some people like licking old telephone poles. The new ones aren't nearly as good.

11-26-2011, 01:25 PM
Yup there are no doctors for stupid

11-26-2011, 02:10 PM
Although it is not how I would have done it, or how I would run a large offset, I have heard of manufacturer's who recommend running with the intake full open and moderating with the exhaust. I have also seen some old photos of offsets taken where the fire box door is open, the wood is fed and the whole process is running open air. There are a lot of ways to BBQ.

As for the lighter fluid, in a large cooker, the fire will get hot enough to let the fluid burn off quickly, there are a lot of folks who use briquettes and fluid to fire up stick burners, it is easy. A hot fire and that smell goes away.

BBQ Bandit
11-26-2011, 02:33 PM
Some manufacturers do recommend throttling down the exhaust.
Klose, Big Green Egg, and Jambo pits are a few like turning down the exhaust.

11-26-2011, 02:41 PM
Some stick burners keep the exhaust partly close to heat-up cooking chamber.

El Ropo
11-26-2011, 02:58 PM
I left before he put on the food, but it was warming up for 45 min or so with the exhaust virtually closed. He had commented that he was already up to cooking temp, and was trying to lower temp and get it settled in, but had yet to throttle down the intake or open the exhaust.

15 minutes after he said he was trying to get temps down a tad, intakes were still wide open and exhausts closed (open 1/8" on 3"-4" exhausts) is closed IMO). It just seemed off to me.

11-26-2011, 03:06 PM
Might just check out the turkey and see how it is - ya never know.

El Ropo
11-26-2011, 07:10 PM
I'm thinking I enjoyed the turducken at my local (bar). Can't imagine how the smokey poultry tasted. My best guess is "old telephone pole".

I should of given him the URL for the Brethen, but this person wasn't in a learning mood if you know what I mean.

But, if you are in a bar eating free food, than I guess old telephone pole will do....

Maybe 6 months from now, I'll talk with the owner again and ask him "How was the T-day cook?"


11-26-2011, 07:15 PM
Guy the first lesson in q'n is serve beer, make them wait, serve more beer and they will eat anything.

11-26-2011, 07:25 PM
Like many said his 'que may taste great. But then again, you'd be surprised how many don't know what 'real' bbq is. He and his patrons may be of that caliber. I always snicker to myself when I see folks buy the pre-made bbq drowning in sauce in the grocery stores. Just heat and serve....yea right.

11-26-2011, 08:05 PM
I sometimes use lighter fluid to start fires. Depends on my mood. One thing I can guarantee you, especially in a big pit, the lighter fluid burns off within minutes. Seriously, could Miron Mixon have won as much as he has dousing his pit with as much excellerant as he does?

Now, I would never run my outtake closed. i've never understood why so many pit makers offer bird house stackes for their outtakes. I would just as soon remove my covers, no reason for those to be anything but open...

11-26-2011, 08:51 PM

but.. in my klose, for low temp cooks, 225-250, i control temps with fire size and exhaust 3/4 to full open... however for higher temps, and especially if I wanted to use the vertical part as well as the horizontal, i would need to close down exhaust a little to keep heat in the chambers, so I would need to run intake wide open to keep the fire clean. A big fire, wide open intake and diminished exhaust can give a longer burn and higher temps, but the challenge is to keep the fire clean at the same time. Its just another way to run the larger stickburners.

11-26-2011, 08:56 PM
A Jambo is completly backwards from most other stick burners that I'm aware of. You set the intake once and adjust temp using the outlet vent. However, the smoke is clear and the temp is steady. And, it always makes great tasting BBQ with just the right hint of smoke flavor.

What you describe this fellow doing is exaclty why I don't stop, buy, and eat roadside BBQ in my town. Everytime I ride by, white smoke is billowing out the stack and I can only imagine the lighter fluid (if we are lucky it is lighter fluid) that was used to start the fire on top of all that.

No thanks.