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Doug Crann
11-10-2015, 08:36 PM
Have a question of sorts. Have been burning nothing but cherry splits. Have checked the moisture content with my moisture meter, it is all at 0%.
Because the bark is so easy to remove I peel it off prior to adding it to the firebox. I get a small amount of smoke almost immediately. It tapers off fairly quickly. Quite frequently about 15 minutes later I will get a fairly heavy amount of smoke. This normal? I am very new to stick burners...

mike-cleveland
11-10-2015, 08:56 PM
I don't like burning bark. If it falls off I toss it in the garden as mulch or just pitch it. If it stays on, it goes in the smoker but usually bark side up.

BBQ Freak
11-10-2015, 09:26 PM
here is something I wrote on my BBQ page and hope it helps -

I get asked a lot about smoke process and 90 percent of people do it wrong and I am going to help explain it to help your food not taste bitter or over smoked . for starters you do not want a heavy thick smoke and this is what people do , they think it is a BBQ smoker and it needs to have lots of smoke for what it is called . the ideal smoke is thin blue that you can see through or smoke that you can not see at all . what you need to do if using a stick burner is the exhaust stack needs to be wide open all the time and the only time you close it if your smoker is not being used and it is sitting outside to keep the rain out of the inside of the cooker . next build a fire in you fire box with wood and let it go for about 45 minutes and let the temp come up and also let the metal of the smoker completely heat up and you will know when that is when the meal stops sweating on the inside {you will see the moisture } . by this time you will have a pretty good bead of coals and add another split and keep a small fire going all the time and this will keep a thin smoke coming out the stack , now add your meat to the cooker . adjust the temp of cooker by the size of fire you have and by the vents on the fire box only , you will haft to also learn what size splits of wood your smoker likes to keep temps in the range your cooking too and do not worry if you temps spike a little during a cook just try to keep them in a 10 to 15 degree range . with a clean fire even with no smoke seen or light blue smoke you just want the smoke to kiss the meat as it goes by and not engulf the meat with the smoke , believe me your meat will have enough smoke flavor . when having heavy thick smoke it will also create creosote inside the cooking chamber which is a thick black tar looking stuff , yuck . hope this helps so you BBQ food comes out the best .


also Doug if it is smoking heavy I would say you need more oxygen to the fire box or crack the door open a little bit and make sure you stack is wide open too .

Doug Crann
11-10-2015, 10:57 PM
here is something I wrote on my BBQ page and hope it helps -

I get asked a lot about smoke process and 90 percent of people do it wrong and I am going to help explain it to help your food not taste bitter or over smoked . for starters you do not want a heavy thick smoke and this is what people do , they think it is a BBQ smoker and it needs to have lots of smoke for what it is called . the ideal smoke is thin blue that you can see through or smoke that you can not see at all . what you need to do if using a stick burner is the exhaust stack needs to be wide open all the time and the only time you close it if your smoker is not being used and it is sitting outside to keep the rain out of the inside of the cooker . next build a fire in you fire box with wood and let it go for about 45 minutes and let the temp come up and also let the metal of the smoker completely heat up and you will know when that is when the meal stops sweating on the inside {you will see the moisture } . by this time you will have a pretty good bead of coals and add another split and keep a small fire going all the time and this will keep a thin smoke coming out the stack , now add your meat to the cooker . adjust the temp of cooker by the size of fire you have and by the vents on the fire box only , you will haft to also learn what size splits of wood your smoker likes to keep temps in the range your cooking too and do not worry if you temps spike a little during a cook just try to keep them in a 10 to 15 degree range . with a clean fire even with no smoke seen or light blue smoke you just want the smoke to kiss the meat as it goes by and not engulf the meat with the smoke , believe me your meat will have enough smoke flavor . when having heavy thick smoke it will also create creosote inside the cooking chamber which is a thick black tar looking stuff , yuck . hope this helps so you BBQ food comes out the best .


also Doug if it is smoking heavy I would say you need more oxygen to the fire box or crack the door open a little bit and make sure you stack is wide open too .

Thanks....I will be printing g this out and memorizing g it lol. Have a few questions but I am right in the middle of getting a pork belly skinned so I can start curing it.....
Thanks again...

BBQ Freak
11-10-2015, 11:24 PM
your welcome and any help I can give you just ask and I will try to . this is how I do it and it works fro me and I love the way meat comes out now and it was a long road getting there but you live and learn is what my Grand Pa taught me .

smoke ninja
11-11-2015, 08:12 AM
With a stick burner a sufficient coal bed is needed to ignite and burn down added splits. You have to add splits before the bed diminishes. Also poor airflow will cause incomplete combustion. Try leaving the firebox door open.

Diesel Dave
11-11-2015, 08:23 AM
also Doug if it is smoking heavy I would say you need more oxygen to the fire box or crack the door open a little bit and make sure you stack is wide open too .

This is the best point right here.

And as Ninja said keep the door open, air is your friend Brother

Doug Crann
11-11-2015, 09:19 AM
With my bottom vent wide open I have more airflow, according to the calculator than I need. Been a long time since I have been around firewood but it seems like I am not getting much of a coal bed. Have been told that my wood being so dry could be the culprit. Just seems kinda bizarre that occasionally after adding a split I get more smoke when the split is half gone than when I first put it on.
Hope to have some time later today, very slow typer and what I want to ask has a lot of words....lol....

Joe Black
11-11-2015, 03:34 PM
Doug, I cheat a little bit. I put a fair amount of lump charcoal in my FB to start with and add splits to keep it going. That way, I start with a good bed of coals and it's easier to keep them. The other thing is, I pre-heat my splits before I put them in the FB. That way, they ignite very quickly and produce almost no smoke ay all.

Blownmope
11-11-2015, 09:34 PM
here is something I wrote on my BBQ page and hope it helps -

I get asked a lot about smoke process and 90 percent of people do it wrong and I am going to help explain it to help your food not taste bitter or over smoked . for starters you do not want a heavy thick smoke and this is what people do , they think it is a BBQ smoker and it needs to have lots of smoke for what it is called . the ideal smoke is thin blue that you can see through or smoke that you can not see at all . what you need to do if using a stick burner is the exhaust stack needs to be wide open all the time and the only time you close it if your smoker is not being used and it is sitting outside to keep the rain out of the inside of the cooker . next build a fire in you fire box with wood and let it go for about 45 minutes and let the temp come up and also let the metal of the smoker completely heat up and you will know when that is when the meal stops sweating on the inside {you will see the moisture } . by this time you will have a pretty good bead of coals and add another split and keep a small fire going all the time and this will keep a thin smoke coming out the stack , now add your meat to the cooker . adjust the temp of cooker by the size of fire you have and by the vents on the fire box only , you will haft to also learn what size splits of wood your smoker likes to keep temps in the range your cooking too and do not worry if you temps spike a little during a cook just try to keep them in a 10 to 15 degree range . with a clean fire even with no smoke seen or light blue smoke you just want the smoke to kiss the meat as it goes by and not engulf the meat with the smoke , believe me your meat will have enough smoke flavor . when having heavy thick smoke it will also create creosote inside the cooking chamber which is a thick black tar looking stuff , yuck . hope this helps so you BBQ food comes out the best .


also Doug if it is smoking heavy I would say you need more oxygen to the fire box or crack the door open a little bit and make sure you stack is wide open too .

This is how I do it, also preheat my splits and zero temp drop

Diesel Dave
11-12-2015, 07:23 AM
With my bottom vent wide open I have more airflow, according to the calculator than I need. Been a long time since I have been around firewood but it seems like I am not getting much of a coal bed. Have been told that my wood being so dry could be the culprit. Just seems kinda bizarre that occasionally after adding a split I get more smoke when the split is half gone than when I first put it on.
Hope to have some time later today, very slow typer and what I want to ask has a lot of words....lol....

It may be if you have old wood that is very dry, and possibly beginning to rot in the center, you'd have no coals and the smoke you mentioned half way through the burn.

Doog
11-12-2015, 09:53 AM
With my bottom vent wide open I have more airflow, according to the calculator than I need.Been a long time since I have been around firewood but it seems like I a[/I]m not getting much of a coal bed. Have been told that my wood being so dry could be the culprit. Just seems kinda bizarre that occasionally after adding a split I get more smoke when the split is half gone than when I first put it on.
Hope to have some time later today, very slow typer and what I want to ask has a lot of words....lol....
When your smoking you have to judge if your getting enough air by the type of smoke coming out your stack. You can't go by what a calculator shows.
If you have a good bed of coals and plenty of airflow, you should have a clean burning fire.
Lots of excellent advise on previous posts :thumb:

redchaserron
11-12-2015, 09:59 AM
here is something I wrote on my BBQ page and hope it helps -

I get asked a lot about smoke process and 90 percent of people do it wrong and I am going to help explain it to help your food not taste bitter or over smoked . for starters you do not want a heavy thick smoke and this is what people do , they think it is a BBQ smoker and it needs to have lots of smoke for what it is called . the ideal smoke is thin blue that you can see through or smoke that you can not see at all . what you need to do if using a stick burner is the exhaust stack needs to be wide open all the time and the only time you close it if your smoker is not being used and it is sitting outside to keep the rain out of the inside of the cooker . next build a fire in you fire box with wood and let it go for about 45 minutes and let the temp come up and also let the metal of the smoker completely heat up and you will know when that is when the meal stops sweating on the inside {you will see the moisture } . by this time you will have a pretty good bead of coals and add another split and keep a small fire going all the time and this will keep a thin smoke coming out the stack , now add your meat to the cooker . adjust the temp of cooker by the size of fire you have and by the vents on the fire box only , you will haft to also learn what size splits of wood your smoker likes to keep temps in the range your cooking too and do not worry if you temps spike a little during a cook just try to keep them in a 10 to 15 degree range . with a clean fire even with no smoke seen or light blue smoke you just want the smoke to kiss the meat as it goes by and not engulf the meat with the smoke , believe me your meat will have enough smoke flavor . when having heavy thick smoke it will also create creosote inside the cooking chamber which is a thick black tar looking stuff , yuck . hope this helps so you BBQ food comes out the best .


also Doug if it is smoking heavy I would say you need more oxygen to the fire box or crack the door open a little bit and make sure you stack is wide open too .


Great advice. I long ago quit using my dampers even, I have the stack wide open and I leave the firebox door open and control temp with the size of the fire.

Porcine Aviator
11-12-2015, 11:24 AM
Great advice. I long ago quit using my dampers even, I have the stack wide open and I leave the firebox door open and control temp with the size of the fire.

This is the ticket. It is much easier to control temps when you know the proper size of the stick needed for fire maintenance, rather than chasing the temperature with dampers on a fire that is too large. Most of the pros in Texas use open pits or open doors for a pure fire. This method makes it almost impossible to over-smoke or produce poor smoke. If, for some reason, you have temps jump too high, it is better to open the oven door to release the heat temporarily, rather than damping it. Works for me, anyway.

I think if you have a small offset, you are dealing with the least forgiving apparatus to control. Larger offsets can absorb much greater errors in stick sizing because they are such large heat sinks. Therefore, they are much less prone to temperature swings. In other words, you have to be more precise in stick sizing on a small offset. Start a small fire and work your way up.

Is it possible that your cherry is still green in the center?

Doug Crann
11-13-2015, 02:22 AM
My wood is indeed very dry. Meter reads 0%. Smoked a Pork Butt in it today. I used all small splits. Left the bottom vent wide open. Top vent completely closed. Except for the operator brain fart when the temp climbed up to 285* it hovered around 250*. No heavy smoke, even when first adding a split. Even put a piece in with all the bark on it, bark down.

Typical for me I am putting way to much thought into this thing. Have realized that what some of you fine folks have been telling me is very true. Let it run where it wants to run, learn how to cook at that temperature.

Will have to admit that cooking on the Eggs with Pit controllers has me spoiled.

Not much I can do about the dry wood other than burn it. Still have close to a cord left. Thinking I may take some of it and cut it up into chunks for use in the Eggs to help get rid of it. In my area the only thing we have is Ponderosa Pine so I have to pay for firewood. Maple, Apple & Cherry are all a bit on the pricey side so I will be burning this stuff one way or the other.

wtxsmoker
11-13-2015, 05:58 AM
Everyone here has given you some good advise, but let me add something. In a stick burner you must have and keep a good bed of coals. You add wood to produce more coals (heat). Your problem of the smoke going stale happens when the new log you added to the top of the burning logs falls off or crumbles the lower logs.

This happens when the log below crumbles to coals. The top log falls and the heat is so intense that it momentarily robs the new log of oxygen and it heats up and smokes from the end away from the intense heat.

It is fire tending 101 just like with a camp fire you have to occasionally stoke the fire and lift the smoldering log. Simply open the fire box stir the coals a little and lift the log and place it on another adjacent clump of burning log to get airflow around the smoldering log.

Like with your BGE you start the fire around large chunks of lump so there is air flow to produce coals to heat the other lump. If you don't the BGE will just smoke until enough heat is produce to draw air through the pit.

wtxsmoker
11-13-2015, 06:12 AM
Doug I recently got a ceramic cook (flower Pot) It took me three cooks to learn how to get the fire going properly. My first cook I had bellowing white smoke so heavy I smoked out the whole neighbor hood.

Three cooks and a few beers I got the hang of it. It is simply fire management. don't give up on that stick burner you'll get the hang of it. Have some fun grab a beer and chill. It's so simple even a cave man can do it..LOL Life is too short to stress

cliffcarter
11-13-2015, 06:18 AM
It may be worthwhile to check your moisture meter, most very dry wood will retain enough moisture to register 6% on any meter. It is also a good practice to split a piece and take the moisture reading from the center of the split, this will give you a more accurate reading, especially if you are using short pins(1/8"). I like to use black cherry with a moisture content around 10%-12%, I think it burns best at that level.
Other than that I can add nothing better to the advice the others have given.

ynotfehc
11-13-2015, 06:23 AM
It's also helpful to pre-heat new logs before putting them in the firebox, they ignite faster less heavy smoke. I always set mine on the firebox for about 5 min before they go in, when they start to smoke a little, i know they are ready.

Doug Crann
11-13-2015, 11:28 AM
My firebox is insulated. A split sitting on top can be picked up bare handed even after it has been up there for several hours.
I often times create my own headaches...and normally it takes me several attempts at something before I catch the error of my ways. For example, I have been laying the splits in the firebox side to side. So I need to toss the split on to the fire. Often times the splits end up being more off the coals than on. Late into my cook yesterday it was like my wife smacked me upside the head with a split...put them in front to rear, this was I am not reaching so far into the fire...:doh:
I will be reading all of your comments several times. They all make a ton of sense. Once again, Thanks for all of your assistance.

AlwaysSmokey
11-13-2015, 11:54 AM
Fire control. Practice practice practice. You never have to cook at some undesired temp. With time you will be able to look at your coal bed, the log on top, and the flame, and know.. that's a 250 degree runner,.. or a 300,.. or whatever temp. Just get to know your pit. Drink beer and practice fire management. It's fun, and relaxing. So put down the gizmos and have at it ! : ) Best of luck brother.

Regards,

Kevin

Smoke Dawg
11-13-2015, 01:25 PM
Alder is pretty easy to find in the NW and is a great wood to use for fire control. I also like the mild smoke flavor it has. I mix it with Cherry quite often

Ag76
11-13-2015, 01:54 PM
My wood is indeed very dry. Meter reads 0%. Smoked a Pork Butt in it today. I used all small splits. Left the bottom vent wide open. Top vent completely closed. Except for the operator brain fart when the temp climbed up to 285* it hovered around 250*. No heavy smoke, even when first adding a split. Even put a piece in with all the bark on it, bark down.

Typical for me I am putting way to much thought into this thing. Have realized that what some of you fine folks have been telling me is very true. Let it run where it wants to run, learn how to cook at that temperature.

Will have to admit that cooking on the Eggs with Pit controllers has me spoiled.

Not much I can do about the dry wood other than burn it. Still have close to a cord left. Thinking I may take some of it and cut it up into chunks for use in the Eggs to help get rid of it. In my area the only thing we have is Ponderosa Pine so I have to pay for firewood. Maple, Apple & Cherry are all a bit on the pricey side so I will be burning this stuff one way or the other.

You say you left the top vent completely closed? By this, I assume you closed the smokestack off completely? If so, with all due respect, that was a mistake. You have to maintain good air flow throughout the smoker. Closing the smokestack off prevents that and probably caused your fire to smolder. I recommend opening the smokestack all the way, opening the fire box door all the way, and controlling the heat by the number of logs you have burning at any given time. This will give you good smoke coming out of the smokestack, i.e., thin blue to clear, also known as a clean burning fire. You want to see flames, not smoldering.

Doug Crann
11-13-2015, 04:06 PM
You say you left the top vent completely closed? By this, I assume you closed the smokestack off completely? If so, with all due respect, that was a mistake. You have to maintain good air flow throughout the smoker. Closing the smokestack off prevents that and probably caused your fire to smolder. I recommend opening the smokestack all the way, opening the fire box door all the way, and controlling the heat by the number of logs you have burning at any given time. This will give you good smoke coming out of the smokestack, i.e., thin blue to clear, also known as a clean burning fire. You want to see flames, not smoldering.

Top air intake in the firebox door. I have an air intake at fire level and one in line with the firebox-cook chamber port. I was running it with the bottom vents about a quarter of the way open and the top vent about the same. Was able keep the temperature fairly consistent for the length of the cook but was getting quite a bit of smoke when adding splits...

Diesel Dave
11-14-2015, 07:46 AM
Need to add, I also find that where my fire is in the firebox makes a difference.
I mean near the cook chamber or closer to the door. In my case I build and keep my fire near the cook chamber end. This is on a reverse flow smoker.