View Full Version : Question about smoke in stickburners

06-15-2009, 09:10 AM
Can any offset firebox smoker be used as a stickburner? If the blue smoke is what flavors meat the best how can you keep it blue using wood as a heat source? I have plenty of oak, pecan, and cherry and would like to use it instead of buying so much lump and briquettes.

06-15-2009, 10:14 AM
I don't know if ANY offset firebox could be used as a stickburner, but I think it would be safe to say that MOST of them can. Seems to me that as long as you had enough space and ventilation in the firebox, you could use wood.

There are many things you can do to decrease the amount of white smoke:

Start with a small bed of charcoal, then add a small amount of wood at a time. Keep your fires small and hot.
Preheat your wood. A flat top on the firebox helps a lot. I usually have a small assembly line, with 2-3 chunks of wood on top of the firebox heating at all times. Be careful though, they will burst into flame if left setting long enough.
Try to use smaller chunks of wood. I usually shoot for about the size of two fists or so. Makes splitting a little more of a pain, but makes it easier to control temps and smoke.
Never close the exaust vents on your chamber to control heat, only your firebox vents. If your fire still is running too hot, use a rock or something to prop your firebox door open a bit to let some of the heat escape.

That's all I can think of for now, I'm sure others will chirp in.

06-15-2009, 10:20 AM
You will have to deal with a little white smoke until the temps get to where the fire is burning hot and efficient. On my horizon I usually expect thin smoke within a half an hour. how big is your smoker?

06-15-2009, 10:48 AM
yeah.. which smoker do u have(or are thinking about).

I burned wood in my Silver smoker as the primary heat/flavor source, keeping a small coalbed of kingsford or lump at all times. the coalbed helps keep the wood burning and not smouldering. the smaller the firebox, the smaller the wood.. so if your using a small round firebox on like on the hondos or chargrillers, then use large chunks, from fist to beercan sized. Small fires, lots of air leads to clean smoke.

06-15-2009, 11:03 AM
Also, try and pre-heat your wood before putting it in the firebox. You get less white smoke from pre-heated wood. Burns a little cleaner IMO.

06-15-2009, 02:36 PM
Thanks for the help everyone. Saiko, I hoped you would respond since I have read that you cook with a stickburner. I am using a Brinkman Smoke n' Pit. I realize that is not the most respected smoker on this forum but I am pretty new to smoking meat. Have cooked over coals for 47 years. I am accustomed to building a separate fire and shoveling the coals under the meat when cooking BBQ in a pit but I want to learn another way for this offset.Now I know. Thanks again.

06-15-2009, 02:42 PM
BBQchef33 and Arlin MacRae know waaaaay more about stick burning than I do. I used to cook with a stickburner alot (with a bandera, which is how I got started on this message board), but I'm mainly going the lazy way out now. I still use the dera now and then though, I just hate cleaning the dang thing.

06-15-2009, 02:51 PM
All is good info above...

I burn nothing but wood, mainly oak ...alot depends on size of pit your using...

Learn what size of fire you need to keep pit running at temps you cook at..and when to add more wood...then tweek air intake to control temps...

Ive found if I have some flame in the firebox at all times..I get a cleaner burning fire...

06-15-2009, 02:53 PM
Oh, something I meant to say earlier: You might want to fabricate a firebox baffle to get more even heating in the smoke box. That, and maybe extend your chimney down farther. Check the modifications here on the site!


06-15-2009, 03:08 PM
The only thing I have to add to this thread is that I use my Chargriller SnP as a stickburner. I was told it could not be done being it was so small, but you just have to experiment and use the advice above. BTW, Saiko knows more then he lets on, he helped me tremendously last month when I was trying to learn the ways of stickburning.:-D

06-15-2009, 06:38 PM
i cooked on a smoke-n-pit for a few years now. We used it for the boys scout outings after being donated to us by sawdustguy...

Its a good pit... like arlin said it needs a baffle, i made them out of foil for a while before doing the 'tuning plate" style baffle. if u cant make a baffle at least use a pan of water next to the hot spot. i also but some water in the bottom of the pit. let us know if u need a baffle design..we have one floating around the forum somewhere.

Use 3-4 inch splits, about 4-8 inchs long.. Start with a half chimney and 1-2 splits, get to 300, damper down and let temps settle in where u want. After that, feed it a log every 45 minutes or so.. Keep a decent coalbed with some lump and you can produce excellent quality Que.

06-15-2009, 07:29 PM
The best way to TBS>>>>>




A bit more wood used,but doesn't everyone enjoy a fireside chat while doing the "QUE":?:

Enjoy and Smoke Happy:biggrin:

06-16-2009, 08:06 AM
Once again thanks for the help. BBQchef33, your instructions will save me a lot of time and mistakes. I guess the hot spot is where the heat enters the smoking box. I don't really understand the baffle part. Is this just to redirect the heat? If someone could explain this or show me a picture it would help. I have learned so much from this forum. My wife thinks it's weird that I sit and look at pictures of food " all day" and then have to cook something. There are worse things that happen.

Smokin Turkey
06-16-2009, 09:08 AM
My mini reverse flow runs on wood only. I have started running it on preheated wood as it seems to keep the smoke blue when I put the new in.

If that size fire box can run a clean wood fire, any should be able to.

Smokin Turkey
06-16-2009, 09:10 AM
This is the build of the mini prototype, and it should be able to be applied to most any stick burner. Its a true reverse flow miniaturized so scale up whatever you need to make your project work. anything you get, build, steal will need tuned..


Sorry again for the twiggy name but I cant change the folder name without screwing all my weblinks..

06-16-2009, 09:24 AM
Rowdycue: A baffle is a metal plate or some other material that covers a good portion of the bottom of the smoke chamber. It butts up against the firebox so when the heat comes out of the firebox it is spread out evenly in the smoke chamber instead going straight up in the smoke chamber creating hot and cool spots. The ultimate goal of any baffle is to spread the heat out more evenly. If you'll tell us what kind of smoker you have, I'm sure somebody will have one and can help you better than I.

06-16-2009, 09:35 AM
I googled our message board, and found this link to another message board that gives a step by step guide for modding a SnP, with images. Dunno if there is a rule against linking to other BBQ forums, hopefully I won't get my wrist slapped. :biggrin:


Hachie Qer
06-16-2009, 09:46 AM
Here's the thread on OUR forum :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin: From KCQers road map at the top of Qtalk.

Pics are of a Hondo, but the principles apply to any horizontal.

There are more links within that thread.

06-16-2009, 11:45 AM
Well y'all have really been a help. Saiko and HachieQer thanks for the links.To all who responded I appreciate your willingness to share what you know.