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Av8er
03-06-2018, 08:05 PM
So the first time I was playing around with temps on the new to me Lang 48 didn’t go well. Temps were all over the place and she was billowing white smoke the whole time. It was suggested that I was using too large of sticks. Today I come home and split some hickory sticks I bought from Walmart this morning to give it a go again. I started a small chimney of kingsford and put in three sticks about coke can diameter and 12” long. After 45 minutes to an hour the temp was at about 285. It started dropping to about 270 and I added another split. It stayed there for about 15 minutes and started dropping again to about 250. I added another stick and it was just maintaining 250. Shortly after I added another stick trying to get the temp up to 275. It started blowing white smoke again and the temp came up a little. I finally just shut her down and come in for the night. What am I doing wrong? Did I not have a large enough coal bed? If you get below the temp you are shooting for, how do you get the temp back up without making it blow white smoke for a while? Each time I add a split I would leave the door open for about 3-5 minutes depending on split size. Any input on what I am doing wrong is appreciated. This is my first stick burner so I know there will be a learning curve.


Excuse the sideways pic!! I am not sure why mine are doing that nor do I know how to fix it. :(

Cigarbque
03-06-2018, 08:14 PM
Hard to say. I have a Meadow Creek TS250 so similar in design. It sounds like an airflow issue. On my stick burner it took me several times to learn how she liked to run. I now run her with the firebox door open a bit instead of using the damper vents. I put a log on about every 45 minutes to an hour. She runs like a dream that way. I cooked on a Land once and had a hard time getting things to temp after a long cook. It turned out to be ash build up preventing air flow. Any time you have have heavy smoke issues look at air flow.

Jousting Pigs
03-06-2018, 08:19 PM
Make sure you have good airflow coming into the firebox. Also, looking at the grate, you may want to add some expanded metal to keep more of the coals from falling through and help maintain a good coal bed.

Av8er
03-06-2018, 08:22 PM
Make sure you have good airflow coming into the firebox. Also, looking at the grate, you may want to add some expanded metal to keep more of the coals from falling through and help maintain a good coal bed.

The smoke looked good until the end. Especially if I left the door open for a few minutes after adding a stick. You are suggesting to add a second piece of expanded metal? It has one already.

Big N Hot
03-06-2018, 08:26 PM
I don't see a deep enough coal bed. Buy a piece of expanded metal from Home Depot and cut it to fit the fire grate. Set it in with the patterns in the EM opposing each other. It'll hold a coal bed longer.

How long are you letting it warm up before recording temps? I've got a Lang 36 stretch and it takes an hour or more to get all that steel hot. I might read 300 at the factory thermometer but the far end is still only warm to the touch.

To me it looks like you are measuring temps too soon and without a decent coal bed. Your temp swings may be following your pattern of a burning fire and not a truly hot cooker.

Free Mr. Tony
03-06-2018, 08:45 PM
I started my Lang with about six cris crossed sticks, and the cook chamber door open. Let those sticks burn down most of the way with everything open. Once they burn down a bit, smack them with a poker to start your coal bed. Close everything up, and set your dampers about half to 3/4 open. It will come up to temp fairly fast. Should have to add a split or two every 35 to 45 minutes.

Short answer is I don't think you started with enough coals, so you were chasing the whole time.

patrickd26
03-06-2018, 08:47 PM
The smoke looked good until the end. Especially if I left the door open for a few minutes after adding a stick. You are suggesting to add a second piece of expanded metal? It has one already.

I think you just sort of answered your own question. I have an offset smoker and I typically have to keep the door cracked open a bit and damper wide open. I only see smoke on ignition. Otherwise, it's clear w/ an occasional thin blue while I add more wood.

All that I can say is, don't get frustrated. It took me a couple of summers to figure things out where I felt the product was presentable!

WareZdaBeef
03-06-2018, 08:48 PM
Get a bbq guru and set and forget it.

Cracks me up ppl will spend over a grand or 5 on a smoker, and not want to spend a few hunnit on a guru.

BKING!
03-06-2018, 09:00 PM
For a lang 48 I would use about 2 full chimneys to start and maybe 1 to 2 sticks to preheat. It may overshoot at first but should have a good coal bed. You started with 1 small chimney.

Av8er
03-06-2018, 09:00 PM
Get a bbq guru and set and forget it.

Cracks me up ppl will spend over a grand or 5 on a smoker, and not want to spend a few hunnit on a guru.

Thereís no reason to just go out and buy a guru. I have had one on an egg and yes it was nice but I would rather learn to use the stick burner as it was meant to be used. Itís just a learning curve that I am asking for assistance on understanding.

Av8er
03-06-2018, 09:01 PM
For a lang 48 I would use about 2 full chimneys to start and maybe 1 to 2 sticks to preheat. It may overshoot at first but should have a good coal bed. You started with 1 small chimney.


Yep!!! One small chimney. I will up it the next go around to see if that helps.

BKING!
03-06-2018, 09:03 PM
Thereís no reason to just go out and buy a guru. I have had one on an egg and yes it was nice but I would rather learn to use the stick burner as it was meant to be used. Itís just a learning curve that I am asking for assistance on understanding.

I agree on no guru. You will be adding wood every 45 minutes to an hour allowing frequent adjustments to airflow if need be.

BKING!
03-06-2018, 09:08 PM
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0Azfvya6n4Y

My favorite vid on fire management

Westx
03-06-2018, 09:08 PM
Your loosing a lot of coals through that grate. Like others suggested a piece of expanded metal on top 9f your existing grate will help. On my Shirley I start with a buck of small chunks of wood and 3 to 4 splits and let that get the cooker hot and build my coal bed. Normally that gets my initial temps to around 350 then it will drop into my cooking temp. Then I only need to add a split ever 40 minutes to an hour to stay in my temp zone.

WareZdaBeef
03-06-2018, 09:20 PM
There’s no reason to just go out and buy a guru. I have had one on an egg and yes it was nice but I would rather learn to use the stick burner as it was meant to be used. It’s just a learning curve that I am asking for assistance on understanding.

No offense, but you are the one posting you can't control temps. I mentioned a sure fire way to solve your problem. I will continue to enjoy my sleep and perfectly cooked briskets.

Dweverett
03-06-2018, 10:29 PM
No offense, but you are the one posting you can't control temps. I mentioned a sure fire way to solve your problem. I will continue to enjoy my sleep and perfectly cooked briskets.

Youíre sleeping through the night with the guru on stick burner and logs or are you talking about something with charcoal?

WareZdaBeef
03-06-2018, 10:36 PM
Youíre sleeping through the night with the guru on stick burner and logs or are you talking about something with charcoal?

Hybrid.

pjtexas1
03-06-2018, 11:17 PM
I'm with the extra expanded metal to keep coals from falling thru. Another thing... Are those kiln dried splits? Sometimes those don't keep a good coal bed as they burn too quickly. If so, throw a hand full of lump in every now and then to keep the coal bed going. I'm guessing you started getting white smoke when you started losing the coal bed.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

Rockinar
03-07-2018, 02:39 AM
^^^^^

What he said.

You cant keep a coal bed because it's falling through the holes. Put down some expanded metal as mentioned and it will solve 90% of your problem. You are also using kiln dried wood. Double whammy.



BBQ Guru on an offset? Uhhhhh....NO.

Rockinar
03-07-2018, 02:45 AM
Excuse the sideways pic!! I am not sure why mine are doing that nor do I know how to fix it. :(


The pics are sideways because you took the picture holding the phone vertical. Hold it horizontal.

Av8er
03-07-2018, 05:52 AM
No offense, but you are the one posting you can't control temps. I mentioned a sure fire way to solve your problem. I will continue to enjoy my sleep and perfectly cooked briskets.

Thanks for your input! I have other smokers that will let me sleep if the need arises.

I'm with the extra expanded metal to keep coals from falling thru. Another thing... Are those kiln dried splits? Sometimes those don't keep a good coal bed as they burn too quickly. If so, throw a hand full of lump in every now and then to keep the coal bed going. I'm guessing you started getting white smoke when you started losing the coal bed.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

Yep its kiln dried. Its all I could get until I can get to my wood guy. This weekend isnt looking good either. Rain both days!!! Thats ok, it will give me time to get expanded metal.

The pics are sideways because you took the picture holding the phone vertical. Hold it horizontal.

That makes sense. Thank you

TheSmoke
03-07-2018, 07:28 AM
Your temperature is falling because your steel is not heated up. When you raised the temperature of the air in your cookbox to 285, the steel wants to be the same temperature so it is stealing heat from the air and dropping the temperature reading you are seeing. Start your Lang with a chimney or two of coals with all the dampers open, the chimney wide open, and the cookbox and firebox doors wide open. Add about 8 logs all at once in a lincoln log arrangement, or whatever turns you on, as long as it burns well. When you get a good fire going in your fire box, close the firebox door and cookbox door to "open latch" position, (i.e. the latches closed but with the door resting against the outside of the launch in a slightly open position. Wait a while and then close your cookbox door all the way. Let it go like this and get your temperature 25-50 degrees above your target temp. Then put your cold food on. The temperature should come down to around where you want it. If you're shooting for 285, your cookbox should be too hot to touch for any period of time.

This is generalized and not specific to the ambient temp, lbs of meat you are putting on, but this method is the Gospel According to Ben for firing up a Lang and it works.

SmoothBoarBBQ
03-07-2018, 09:00 AM
Some good advice in here already but I don't agree with adding expanded metal to your firebox grate. Doing so will likely cause an issue where not enough ash can fall away from the fire so you'll have problems with ash in the smoking chamber, as well as a lack of oxygen getting to the wood (ie covered in ash). The distance between the grate and the bottom of the firebox is very small, and hot coals from that distance will easily be enough to keep a fire going.

Start with all doors and vents open, dump a whole chimney of lump charcoal whitened over, and then add 3-4 splits stacked up nicely to allow for good airflow. Allow that all to burn down mostly to coals, and then add a couple of more splits and close your smoking chamber and firebox door. Leave your firebox vents and your exhaust vents open wide and watch your cooker for a bit. You should have some good, thin smoke flowing and it should heat up your smoking chamber within 30 minutes or so. Don't worry if you overshoot your target temp because that's what you want to do... when you open your door to add your food you'll lose probably 50į easily. From there you'll add a couple of small splits every half hour to hour depending on how your wood is burning. Different woods burn differently, for different lengths of time, and will give varying degrees of coals to re-establish your coal bed.

Keep an eye on the firebox and if you notice your coal bed isn't replenishing like it should just add a couple of more splits, or a chimney of whitened over lump charcoal, and you'll be good to go. It will take some practice but you'll learn when you need to add what size of wood, or how many splits, or even if you want to add charcoal. Fluctuation in a stickburner is normal and I generally shoot for 275į when I cook. I add splits when I hit 250-255, and then it goes back up to about 280-285, and it's just a small gradual swing between those temps. Sometimes temps will drop quickly and I know that means my coal bed is running low so I'll toss on a couple extra splits.

Good luck and that video someone posted by Jeremy Yoder (Mad Scientist BBQ) is definitely a very good place to start.

Ag76
03-07-2018, 09:23 AM
From the pictures, it looks like there are quite a few ashes underneath the fire grate. You might try raking/shoveling some of the excess ashes out into an ash pan so that the airflow underneath the fire is not impeded?

THoey1963
03-07-2018, 09:37 AM
I'm a closet Pyro like many others here. I love playing with campfires and fireplaces. Little dancing lights, dancing, burning, dancing. Where was I? Having a good coal bed to get the logs started burning is our mantra. It took me several cooks on my stick burner to realize that logic is backwards when it comes to BBQ. Instead of keeping the coal bed going to light the next stick, we are feeding the coal bed to keep it heating the pit. We are not so much worried about the pretty flame, as we are replacing the coals as they burn through. It's easier to do that with smaller pieces, more often. I started using pieces of wood the size of a 12 oz beer can, a couple at a time, every 45 mins or so, and I was able to control my temps *and* maintain my fire for longer.

Think of it this way. Big fire at first to heat up all that metal and to build up our coal bed that will actually cook the food. Then we feed the coal bed several small pieces an hour to keep that coal bed for the duration of the cook. If you look at videos of the big places like Franklin's, he's not cooking with sticks. They are firing up sticks to build coals, and then shoveling those coals into his fireboxes. At least, that is the way my mind finally wrapped around it.

Oh, and did anyone mention getting another piece of expanded metal?

Stlsportster
03-07-2018, 09:42 AM
I would caution you guys on 1 thing. This Lang 48 has a fairly small firebox. 18x18. If you add more than 3-4 sticks on top of a chimney of charcoal the temp will be 450-500.

In my 36 (17x17 firebox) if I start up with 3 sticks and a small Weber Chimney, I'm at 325 on the top rack within 30 minutes.

The 48 isnt much larger.

CentralOhioBBQ
03-07-2018, 09:50 AM
I don't see a deep enough coal bed. Buy a piece of expanded metal from Home Depot and cut it to fit the fire grate. Set it in with the patterns in the EM opposing each other. It'll hold a coal bed longer.

How long are you letting it warm up before recording temps? I've got a Lang 36 stretch and it takes an hour or more to get all that steel hot. I might read 300 at the factory thermometer but the far end is still only warm to the touch.

To me it looks like you are measuring temps too soon and without a decent coal bed. Your temp swings may be following your pattern of a burning fire and not a truly hot cooker.

I disagree. I've got an 84, I think you're fine and need to make a few subtle adjustments and you'll be humming at whatever temp you like.

I run at 275. Sometimes it's closer to 300, other times closer to 250, but it's somewhere in that range.

Build a large fire to start, I give my 84 about 90 minutes to come up to temp, and likley come down a bit because it'll get too hot. THat'll set a nice bed of coals though. I supplement with charcoal periodically. Maybe a handfull every hour to hour and a half. Using smaller, skinnier splits will also help. They catch quicker, burtn hotter, and make it easier to mitigate swings in temp. However, you'll need to add more consistently. I'm typically adding 2-3 splits every 45 mins or so.

Good luck. You'll get comfortable with it.

el luchador
03-07-2018, 10:06 AM
There’s no reason to just go out and buy a guru. I have had one on an egg and yes it was nice but I would rather learn to use the stick burner as it was meant to be used. It’s just a learning curve that I am asking for assistance on understanding.

if you are coming from an egg with a guru - that can maintain temp better (far better) than an oven - your expectations of the stick burner might be unrealistic.

here is a graph of the temperature profile of an EXCELLENT stickburner(member sudsandswine- shirley 24x84 I think). something like this, ie +- 25 to 50 degrees is what you look for with a stick burner

https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=153978&stc=1&d=1516046647

ie with a stick burner you just gotta let it do its thing.

Av8er
03-07-2018, 10:53 AM
if you are coming from an egg with a guru - that can maintain temp better (far better) than an oven - your expectations of the stick burner might be unrealistic.

here is a graph of the temperature profile of an EXCELLENT stickburner(member sudsandswine- shirley 24x84 I think). something like this, ie +- 25 to 50 degrees is what you look for with a stick burner

https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=153978&stc=1&d=1516046647

ie with a stick burner you just gotta let it do its thing.

My expectations as far as holding a temp are no where near what my old Guru would do. I will be happy if I can hold 25-50 degrees.

SmoothBoarBBQ
03-07-2018, 11:14 AM
My expectations as far as holding a temp are no where near what my old Guru would do. I will be happy if I can hold 25-50 degrees.

That should be no problem... good coal bed, small splits, and you will be good to go.

el luchador
03-07-2018, 11:54 AM
My expectations as far as holding a temp are no where near what my old Guru would do. I will be happy if I can hold 25-50 degrees.


ok, gotcha. do note that the graph I posted is +- 25-50 degrees so it holds 50-100 degree range

maybe try adding two sticks everytime to keep that coal bed going - you may have to be happy with cooking at higher temps though.

ahh, the joys of stick burners.

JohnH12
03-07-2018, 12:28 PM
So the first time I was playing around with temps on the new to me Lang 48 didnít go well. Temps were all over the place and she was billowing white smoke the whole time. It was suggested that I was using too large of sticks. Today I come home and split some hickory sticks I bought from Walmart this morning to give it a go again. I started a small chimney of kingsford and put in three sticks about coke can diameter and 12Ē long. After 45 minutes to an hour the temp was at about 285. It started dropping to about 270 and I added another split. It stayed there for about 15 minutes and started dropping again to about 250. I added another stick and it was just maintaining 250. Shortly after I added another stick trying to get the temp up to 275. It started blowing white smoke again and the temp came up a little. I finally just shut her down and come in for the night. What am I doing wrong? Did I not have a large enough coal bed? If you get below the temp you are shooting for, how do you get the temp back up without making it blow white smoke for a while? Each time I add a split I would leave the door open for about 3-5 minutes depending on split size. Any input on what I am doing wrong is appreciated. This is my first stick burner so I know there will be a learning curve.


Excuse the sideways pic!! I am not sure why mine are doing that nor do I know how to fix it. :(

Here's the way I like. It worked on my 36 and still works on the 60D.
Everything wide open and put in a bunch of wood splits. I use a weed burner to start the splits but don't use charcoal or chimney.
Let the fire get going really good with hardly any smoke and close the cook chamber and fire box doors to the partial open latch position as shown in Ben's video.
Once there's a good bed of coals and you see the chimney is drafting well you can add another one or two splits and close both doors.
Note: Add the splits crossways (opposite of your pic) and use them to shove the coals toward the front of the firebox closest to the cook chamber. This preheats the splits so there will be minimal smoke when you add more and shove the hot splits toward the coal bed.
Add enough wood to overshoot your desired temp and start closing the firebox pinwheels until you get down to what you want. I start by closing to half open and then slowly bump closed if needed only after the temp drop has slowed.
Some like to use the chimney damper to control temps but I leave it open and use the firebox pinwheels only.
Add splits as necessary but always add crossways and never directly to the coals. Always use the new splits to shove the preheated splits (some may have started to burn) towards the coals.
There's no set time to add more splits. It could be 30 minutes or maybe 45 or even an hour. Watch the temp gage and add as soon as you notice even a small temp drop. You'll learn the approximate time for given conditions as you run it more.
I also don't leave the firebox door open any longer than it takes to add the new splits. Excess or bad smoke has not been a problem since I started using this technique.
Good luck and don't give up. Soon you'll think back and wonder why you thought it was so hard.
One last note: Adequate brain cell lubrication and good fellowship are a tremendous help.

JohnH12
03-07-2018, 01:40 PM
As a followup to my post. This is where I started to use my current method which I freely admit I didn't invent. I tweaked it a bit but the sideways conveyor belt comment got me on the right path.
Read through the whole thread for some decent info on your Lang.
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/lang/finally-discovery-a-method-that-worked-t766.html

Av8er
03-07-2018, 02:08 PM
I am willing to try anything as I have nothing but sticks to lose. I will give that thread a look once I get off work. Should I leave my grease drain open or closed?

el luchador
03-07-2018, 02:36 PM
I am willing to try anything as I have nothing but sticks to lose. I will give that thread a look once I get off work. Should I leave my grease drain open or closed?


Keep it open.

Build a GOOD coal bed.

JohnH12
03-07-2018, 03:41 PM
I am willing to try anything as I have nothing but sticks to lose. I will give that thread a look once I get off work. Should I leave my grease drain open or closed?

I leave it closed.
Open and it seems to draft cooler air up through the drain tube and causes a larger temp difference left to right. That's on my 60D so it may not have as much effect on the 48.
It's easy enough to try both ways just don't be in a rush to change things. These cookers take awhile to stabilize after something has been changed.
After the cook I add enough wood to get the temp above 300, open the drain, and spray the cook chamber with water to steam clean it. There are several youtube videos from Ben Lang on various subjects.
Don't be afraid to call them if you have a question. They've been very helpful in the past for me.

SmoothBoarBBQ
03-07-2018, 03:49 PM
I am willing to try anything as I have nothing but sticks to lose. I will give that thread a look once I get off work. Should I leave my grease drain open or closed?

I haven't noticed a difference either way, but I leave a bucket under mine so I leave it open to allow it all to drain.

ironmanerik
03-07-2018, 04:33 PM
156137

156138

I leave the drain open but don't think it breathes much with the3/4 nipple in a jug.

Build a fire, sit around drinking beer for a few hours without looking at the thermo constantly. Just keep the fire going, my money is on you figuring it out before you run out of beer.
p.s.
make sure you have a couple logs of Jimmie dean or keilbasa around, once you figure it out you'll want to cook something.

Springram
03-07-2018, 04:35 PM
I see no upside at all in ever closing the drain. But a huge downside in closing it and forgetting to open it. At my age, I tend to leave my zipper open more than I used to so, I just leave the drain valve open all the time. One less thing to remember to do ... :-D

JohnH12
03-07-2018, 06:25 PM
156137

156138

I leave the drain open but don't think it breathes much with the3/4 nipple in a jug.

Build a fire, sit around drinking beer for a few hours without looking at the thermo constantly. Just keep the fire going, my money is on you figuring it out before you run out of beer.
p.s.
make sure you have a couple logs of Jimmie dean or keilbasa around, once you figure it out you'll want to cook something.

I used to use a plastic bucket under my drain also and left the drain open. I ended up with a terrible mess when the hot grease melted the bottom of the bucket.
Now I use a galvanized bucket and periodically open the drain only if I'm cooking a bunch of butts or chicken. I close it again after the grease flow stops.
As I said, it may not matter much with a 36 or 48 but it made a difference on my 60.
To each his own. I don't think there's ever just one "right" way to run the cooker.
I'll also say that I'm always afraid of getting arrested if I fire it up without a cold beverage open and nearby. Burning wood and smoking meat just ain't right without it.

-Chris-
03-07-2018, 06:48 PM
I have owned a Mixon 36" H2O stick burner for a little over a month, so I am an expert! My firebox has the same massive expanded metal grate that does not hold coals. I ended up putting a grill vegetable basket like this one in my smoker.

https://www.amazon.com/Vegetable-HomEco-Professional-Quesadilla-Accessories/dp/B01MFEYF8K

I light an entire chimney of lump which nicely fully fills the basket. I then start placing sticks on top of the coal bed to start the smoking process. I can easily maintain a 50 degree swing even in the freezing temps we have in the Northeast. I keep my dampers always fully opened and control the temp through the amount of wood I add to the fire.

I would try a basket to hold the coal bed.

Chris

Av8er
03-07-2018, 08:00 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone. Tonight went better for sure.. I started with a big chimney and 4 splits on top. After 45 minutes I was sitting at about 310 degrees. It was higher than I wanted but that was ok. I was shooting for 275 so I let it sit until it got to about 260 which took a while. Once at 260 I added a stick. It went up to about 280 but didn’t hold long. It was back to 260 in about 20 minutes I so I decided to add 2 splits which brought it up to about 305. I let it drop back to 260 which took about 40 minutes and added a little larger single split. Once again it went up to 280 or so and 20 minutes later I needed another split. Only this time after adding the split, temp really didn’t raise and actually started falling while the split was still burning. I opened the fire box and most of my coals had settled down through the grate. I think once I get another grate and non kiln dried wood I will be good to go. My wife has come home the past two days and got excited when she saw me with a beer in my hand. That usually means I am smoking something or it’s Friday. She was thoroughly disappointed when she found out I was just burning sticks.

Stlsportster
03-07-2018, 08:36 PM
Sounds like you've got it now. I don't have the second grate either. Every 2-3 cycles I throw on the next splits 10 min early. That also helps keep the coal bed going.

That temp range rise and fall is perfect. You'll learn that cooking at 275 is really 260-310. The food won't know the difference and neither will you when you eat.

Now let's see some meat pics!!

lankster35
03-07-2018, 08:37 PM
How is that good? The temp is swinging 50 degrees in less than 20 minutes through the whole chart. Looks like a mess to me.

if you are coming from an egg with a guru - that can maintain temp better (far better) than an oven - your expectations of the stick burner might be unrealistic.

here is a graph of the temperature profile of an EXCELLENT stickburner(member sudsandswine- shirley 24x84 I think). something like this, ie +- 25 to 50 degrees is what you look for with a stick burner

https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=153978&stc=1&d=1516046647

ie with a stick burner you just gotta let it do its thing.

lankster35
03-07-2018, 08:42 PM
This is exactly what I do....Preheat the split in the firebox and just push it to the fire and leave your next split at the front of the box. Works great and the splits catch fire immediately and sometimes even before you push it to the fire.

Here's the way I like. It worked on my 36 and still works on the 60D.
Everything wide open and put in a bunch of wood splits. I use a weed burner to start the splits but don't use charcoal or chimney.
Let the fire get going really good with hardly any smoke and close the cook chamber and fire box doors to the partial open latch position as shown in Ben's video.
Once there's a good bed of coals and you see the chimney is drafting well you can add another one or two splits and close both doors.
Note: Add the splits crossways (opposite of your pic) and use them to shove the coals toward the front of the firebox closest to the cook chamber. This preheats the splits so there will be minimal smoke when you add more and shove the hot splits toward the coal bed.
Add enough wood to overshoot your desired temp and start closing the firebox pinwheels until you get down to what you want. I start by closing to half open and then slowly bump closed if needed only after the temp drop has slowed.
Some like to use the chimney damper to control temps but I leave it open and use the firebox pinwheels only.
Add splits as necessary but always add crossways and never directly to the coals. Always use the new splits to shove the preheated splits (some may have started to burn) towards the coals.
There's no set time to add more splits. It could be 30 minutes or maybe 45 or even an hour. Watch the temp gage and add as soon as you notice even a small temp drop. You'll learn the approximate time for given conditions as you run it more.
I also don't leave the firebox door open any longer than it takes to add the new splits. Excess or bad smoke has not been a problem since I started using this technique.
Good luck and don't give up. Soon you'll think back and wonder why you thought it was so hard.
One last note: Adequate brain cell lubrication and good fellowship are a tremendous help.

el luchador
03-07-2018, 10:45 PM
How is that good? The temp is swinging 50 degrees in less than 20 minutes through the whole chart. Looks like a mess to me.

this is the nature of stick burners. that graph is an example of an excellently managed, expensive, stick burner.

if you have any data on your burns I would be interested in seeing it.

JohnH12
03-08-2018, 05:16 AM
This is exactly what I do....Preheat the split in the firebox and just push it to the fire and leave your next split at the front of the box. Works great and the splits catch fire immediately and sometimes even before you push it to the fire.

Great Texas minds think alike!

BKING!
03-08-2018, 06:15 AM
After reading through this thread it got me thinking. Normally in the past I just regulated temp with fuel size and kept all vents and chimney wide open. If temp got away from so be it at least the fire is clean and on a long cook no big deal. A few questions...

1. Is it worth it to try to keep temps within a normal 50 deg range if it occasionally exceeds that?
2. If it is worth it... is it better to restrict the firebox vents, the chimney, or both. I've seen a few good suggestions in this thread. It seems restricting vents would give better temp control but more likely to get bad smoke.

medic92
03-08-2018, 07:41 AM
Get a bbq guru and set and forget it.

Cracks me up ppl will spend over a grand or 5 on a smoker, and not want to spend a few hunnit on a guru.

You should be thoroughly comfortable with using your cooker without a Guru before you use one. When the day comes (and it WILL come) that the Guru craps out or the fan won't work and you have to manage the smoker without the Guru crutch you'll be happy you spent the time to learn it. Because Guru's don't mess up while they're sitting in the garage. They wait until you have a big dinner planned with a lot of guests that are very important to you.

smoke ninja
03-08-2018, 07:52 AM
this is the nature of stick burners. that graph is an example of an excellently managed, expensive, stick burner.

if you have any data on your burns I would be interested in seeing it.

Give it rest man

Av8er
03-08-2018, 08:01 AM
What size opening expanded metal do you recommend? They have 1/2” opening and 3/4”. There is already 3/4 in it but it’s dropping coals like crazy!!! I know these will go 90 degrees and that will help.

pjtexas1
03-08-2018, 08:55 AM
What size opening expanded metal do you recommend? They have 1/2Ē opening and 3/4Ē. There is already 3/4 in it but itís dropping coals like crazy!!! I know these will go 90 degrees and that will help.

i don't think the size matters as it is more important how you overlay. that will determine the size of the holes for ash and coals to fall thru.

Stlsportster
03-08-2018, 08:56 AM
After reading through this thread it got me thinking. Normally in the past I just regulated temp with fuel size and kept all vents and chimney wide open. If temp got away from so be it at least the fire is clean and on a long cook no big deal. A few questions...

1. Is it worth it to try to keep temps within a normal 50 deg range if it occasionally exceeds that?
2. If it is worth it... is it better to restrict the firebox vents, the chimney, or both. I've seen a few good suggestions in this thread. It seems restricting vents would give better temp control but more likely to get bad smoke.

I do use my intake pinwheels to drop the temp, but usually only when the temp rises more than 50 degrees over where i want it, or when trying to smoke at a very low temp.

When I do jerky and am trying to keep the temps between 150-190 I have both intake pinwheels closed about 80%. When I'm cooking between 250-325, I generally don't need to use the pinwheels...unless the temp really spikes.

I don't ever touch the exhaust damper.

sthamm
03-08-2018, 09:10 AM
Here's the way I like. It worked on my 36 and still works on the 60D.

Note: Add the splits crossways (opposite of your pic) and use them to shove the coals toward the front of the firebox closest to the cook chamber. This preheats the splits so there will be minimal smoke when you add more and shove the hot splits toward the coal bed.

Add splits as necessary but always add crossways and never directly to the coals. Always use the new splits to shove the preheated splits (some may have started to burn) towards the coals.
There's no set time to add more splits. It could be 30 minutes or maybe 45 or even an hour. Watch the temp gage and add as soon as you notice even a small temp drop. You'll learn the approximate time for given conditions as you run it more.


I remember reading about this method on the Lang forum years ago. How many splits are on this "conveyer" belt at a given time? There's the one that is touching the fire. Do you have a line of 1 or more splits that are preheating and immediately backing up that partially lit log? Or do you only add one split at a time once that lit log fully catches or is dying down? I'm curious to try this method as my current practice is labor intensive (coke can sized splits and feeding every 20-25 minutes...all vents fully open)

el luchador
03-08-2018, 09:16 AM
Give it rest man

Huh???

JohnH12
03-08-2018, 09:33 AM
sthamm:
I normally run the 60D somewhere around 275 and 325. I usually add a couple of splits at a time but it could be more depending on the type wood I'm using since they all seem to burn different.
The 60D has 4 pinwheels on the sides of the firebox. After I get the fire going good and fully close the doors I close the two pinwheels closest to the cook chamber and start dialing down the ones nearest the firebox door. When running white oak the rear pinwheels are usually about half or a bit less open. Blackjack seems to burn hotter so the pinwheels are maybe 1/4 open. Wind direction also play a part in whats open and how far. You just have to learn your pit. Obviously colder days require bigger fires.
The chimney damper is always wide open. I tried the method of controlling temps using it but didn't care for it so I went back to pinwheels only.
As stated above, I also keep the drain closed unless Im cooking something really greasy.

SmoothBoarBBQ
03-08-2018, 09:52 AM
What size opening expanded metal do you recommend? They have 1/2Ē opening and 3/4Ē. There is already 3/4 in it but itís dropping coals like crazy!!! I know these will go 90 degrees and that will help.

Before you spend money on something you don't need how about you give running the cooker another shot? Tons of great advice in here and I can almost guarantee you don't need that expanded metal for the firebox grill grate. Langs have been around for a long time and if those grates needed to have smaller holes they would have made that modification years ago to keep customers happy.

BKING!
03-08-2018, 10:10 AM
I do use my intake pinwheels to drop the temp, but usually only when the temp rises more than 50 degrees over where i want it, or when trying to smoke at a very low temp.

When I do jerky and am trying to keep the temps between 150-190 I have both intake pinwheels closed about 80%. When I'm cooking between 250-325, I generally don't need to use the pinwheels...unless the temp really spikes.

I don't ever touch the exhaust damper.

Thanks!

sudsandswine
03-08-2018, 10:12 AM
How is that good? The temp is swinging 50 degrees in less than 20 minutes through the whole chart. Looks like a mess to me.

Well, since that's my chart, I suppose I'll respond. That's the nature of a stick burner...not really sure what you expected to see, many people probably don't bother charting their stick burner temps but they'll never have a flatline like a charcoal cooker on a temp controller and will all generally look like this. The polling interval in that chart makes the temperatures look much more spikey than they were - in reality, the cooker's temp runs like a modest sine wave.

https://betterexplained.com/wp-content/uploads/sine/sine-plot.gif

In this example I was running a median temp of 275*, and as new logs are added and then burn down, the temperatures rises and falls. I run splits that are at their max thickness, about a beer can in diameter. I could run bigger logs, but I like the control and clean burn I get from splits of this size. Not a big deal to walk outside, add a log, and walk back inside every 20 to 30 minutes.

Springram
03-08-2018, 10:53 AM
Great Texas minds think alike!

Works like a charm!

My firebox is insulated so placing wood on the top of it does nothing fro preheating.

Av8er
03-08-2018, 12:03 PM
Before you spend money on something you don't need how about you give running the cooker another shot? Tons of great advice in here and I can almost guarantee you don't need that expanded metal for the firebox grill grate. Langs have been around for a long time and if those grates needed to have smaller holes they would have made that modification years ago to keep customers happy.

I run it last night and it was doing fine until I added my last split. By that time most my coals had already fallen through and there wasnt enough of a coal bed it ignite the split I just added and the temp kept falling. I was adding a split or two when my temps would hit about 265ish that would bring it back up to 280-300. I would like to think that if I had enough coals on the grate that the temps would have come back up instead of continuing to fall. Just my reasoning for considering adding the second grate material.

JohnH12
03-08-2018, 12:05 PM
I run it last night and it was doing fine until I added my last split. By that time most my coals had already fallen through and there wasnt enough of a coal bed it ignite the split I just added and the temp kept falling. I was adding a split or two when my temps would hit about 265ish that would bring it back up to 280-300. I would like to think that if I had enough coals on the grate that the temps would have come back up instead of continuing to fall. Just my reasoning for considering adding the second grate material.

Add it if you want. Just don't make it permanent until you're sure it's what you want.
Expanded metal is available at most home improvement stores and doesn't cost much.

pjtexas1
03-08-2018, 01:49 PM
Before you spend money on something you don't need how about you give running the cooker another shot? Tons of great advice in here and I can almost guarantee you don't need that expanded metal for the firebox grill grate. Langs have been around for a long time and if those grates needed to have smaller holes they would have made that modification years ago to keep customers happy.

i think it is partly the kiln dried wood. it is burning up too fast and there are not enough bigger coals left at some point to light the next stick. but you are right about Ben Lang not letting that go if it was a problem.

Av8er
03-08-2018, 02:10 PM
I will get more wood and give it a go once I get it back from paint. It’s leaving here tomorrow morning and will be at the painter for a few weeks.

SmoothBoarBBQ
03-08-2018, 03:02 PM
I run it last night and it was doing fine until I added my last split. By that time most my coals had already fallen through and there wasnt enough of a coal bed it ignite the split I just added and the temp kept falling. I was adding a split or two when my temps would hit about 265ish that would bring it back up to 280-300. I would like to think that if I had enough coals on the grate that the temps would have come back up instead of continuing to fall. Just my reasoning for considering adding the second grate material.

Sounds like you had it going pretty well. Different types of wood will leave a different bed of coals. In my region pecan and hickory burn down perfectly and leave a heaping bed of coals. White oak burns and then decays and gets soft, so not much for coals. So if I'm using the oak I'll layer it with some pecan to keep things going.

Others have suggested it's your kiln-dried wood and that could be an issue as well. It looks like you've got quite a bit of cherry and oak in your general area so I hope when you get some normally cured wood it all works out. I just didn't want you dropping money on something which had a potential to inhibit the airflow.

ironmanerik
03-09-2018, 08:50 AM
156176

156175

Stock Lang grate, plenty of coals up top, just a few down below.
Burning a mix of hickory and oak, fire has been burning for about 3 hours

el luchador
03-09-2018, 09:28 AM
I will get more wood and give it a go once I get it back from paint. Itís leaving here tomorrow morning and will be at the painter for a few weeks.

also don't be afraid to add some prelit lump back in there if you start losing your coal bed.

The guy I sold my offset to does that and it works well for him

Av8er
03-09-2018, 09:37 AM
What do y’all use to add lump to the firebox? Even at startup I have a hard time getting that big chimney in and dumping it. A small firebox and a large chimney don’t mix.

ironmanerik
03-09-2018, 09:59 AM
156180

This is how I start, small splits and newspaper. If the coal bed starts to disappear I take a coke can size piece and split it into 3or4 pieces put them all on, they will burn down quickly(10-15 minutes ish) repeat 2or3 times and the coal bed is back in about the same amount of time it takes to get a chimney ready.

Stlsportster
03-09-2018, 10:01 AM
Weber compact chimney...fits perfectly in my 36.

https://www.amazon.com/Weber-7447-Compact-Rapidfire-Chimney/dp/B009IH0ICG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1520611280&sr=8-3&keywords=weber+7447+compact+rapidfire+chimney+star ter

Av8er
03-09-2018, 10:38 AM
Weber compact chimney...fits perfectly in my 36.

https://www.amazon.com/Weber-7447-Compact-Rapidfire-Chimney/dp/B009IH0ICG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1520611280&sr=8-3&keywords=weber+7447+compact+rapidfire+chimney+star ter



I have one if those for my PBC but thatís what I used the first time to start and it didnít give me enough coals. I would need two. Probably just get a weed burner and start the coals in the firebox.

JohnH12
03-09-2018, 11:09 AM
I have one if those for my PBC but thatís what I used the first time to start and it didnít give me enough coals. I would need two. Probably just get a weed burner and start the coals in the firebox.

You can't go wrong with a $20 weed burner from Harbor Freight. A 20# propane tank will last forever if it's just used to light up the firebox.

pjtexas1
03-09-2018, 11:50 AM
You can't go wrong with a $20 weed burner from Harbor Freight. A 20# propane tank will last forever if it's just used to light up the firebox.Yep. I'm going 3 years on my first tank. But I don't preheat the cook chamber.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

SmoothBoarBBQ
03-09-2018, 11:57 AM
I have one if those for my PBC but thatís what I used the first time to start and it didnít give me enough coals. I would need two. Probably just get a weed burner and start the coals in the firebox.

You only need the hot charcoal to catch your "sacrificial splits" on fire and get them burning. Those initial splits will burn down and give you the coal bed you need to have a good fire. I have a 60" cooker with a massive firebox and I only light off a dust-pan of charcoal and use that to get the fire going. From there I do a "lincoln-log" stack with about 4-6 splits and that will burn down and give me a perfect coal bed.

Many ways to get everything going but that's how I do it.