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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.

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Old 11-16-2019, 03:27 PM   #1
Chula Vista Q
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Join Date: 08-01-15
Location: Chula Vista, CA
Name/Nickname : Randy
Default Reverse Flow Plate and Flavor

Does the RF plate like in a Lang or Shirley (or tuning plates in a standard offset for that matter) contribute to much grease smoke flavor to the meat?

I’m not a fan of the grease “mist” you get as advertised with some barrel cookers due to fat burning on coals when cooking low and slow.

Lang advertises the awesome flavor you get with this smoke coming from drippings on the RF plate. So I assume that the fat burning on coal flavor is totally different from the fat burning on the plate flavor.

I’m looking for a stick burner but am worried about this. I have never tried food from a RF cooker. Should I stick to a traditional flow offset instead?

The thing is, I really like how Shirley Fab has the killer tires under the patio models and the build quality looks superb... Looking at some of your cookers has swayed me a bit from a Texas style offset to a Shirley. Paul seems like such a cool dude in the videos too.

Maybe I could loosely foil the RF plate to prevent burning grease?

I’m a total NOOB at stick burning so am looking for some words of advice and encouragement!
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:31 PM   #2
is One Chatty Farker

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Join Date: 10-10-11
Location: Pelahatchie MS

In all the Shirley pics and vids posted, I have never seen anyone foil anything on the cooker. I never had a complaint or noticed an issue like you described on my offset, and I cooked really hot and fast...
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:37 PM   #3
Babbling Farker

Join Date: 07-11-11
Location: Tuscaloosa Alabama

My nephew always foils his baffle plate on his 24x36 Shirley ..... just for easier clean up not that clean up is an issue..... it’s all about preference.

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Old 11-16-2019, 06:14 PM   #4
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Join Date: 02-18-18
Location: Louisville,KY
Name/Nickname : William

I don't know if it's recommended or discouraged but I use foil and disposable pans whenever I can because I hate cleanup. I want to empty the ashes and be done. If I want grease smoke (not knocking it, it has it's place) I will use my UDS. Until I do a small pig on my Shirley the baffle plate will be protected.
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Old 11-16-2019, 06:21 PM   #5
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Join Date: 01-31-19
Location: South Bend, IN
Name/Nickname : Bob

I have always preferred the flavor of bbq on reverse flow cookers, and I've owned a bunch of them from Lang and Shirley Fabrication.

You'll get more burning and charring on a Lang RF plate than you will with a Shirley pit Lang uses thinner metal above the fire and the plate runs hotter on account of this.

You'll get more of a sizzle and higher moisture with better flavor in a SF on account of the thicker plate and the flat design and the grease dam on the drain end makes it quite a bit easier to clean than a Lang.

All you need is a 4" scraper to clean a Shirley right up, just keep a pair of leather gloves on the pit and slide the bottom grate out as it cools down and scrape it all to the drain and your done.

The V notch Lang uses in the center is the worst idea ever, it just burns the grease into hard carbon and the lack of a sliding bottom grate makes it much harder to clean up afterwards.
Shirley Fabrication 24 X 70 elevated straight back "Fire for Effect"
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:55 AM   #6
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Join Date: 04-25-16
Location: Rochester/Finger Lakes NY

You have to cook fairly hot for the fat to burn on an RF plate. Sizzle is water boiling out of the fat. White smoke is the fat burning and that usually doesn’t start until over 350.
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:22 PM   #7
BBQ Bandit
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Join Date: 02-15-08
Location: Harrisburg, PA

Never had an issue... there is a built in channel for any drainage.
Custom Klose Backyard Chef... of Snot, and a 22.5 WSM

Former smokers;
Lang 84 Deluxe kitchen, Lang 60 Mobile - The Damsel II, Lang 48 Patio - The Damsel, Bubba Keg Grill - RIP, Double Barrel Smoker and a BSKD
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:28 PM   #8
Got Wood.

Join Date: 01-30-19
Location: Tylersport, PA
Name/Nickname : Rich

I haven’t had an issue with fat burning on the RF plate in my Lang but maybe that is because I keep it relatively clean. I scrub the grates with a wire brush, scrape the RF plate with a heavy duty spatula, and pour a pitcher of water over the RF plate after each cook. I’m quite happy with my Lang.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:40 PM   #9
Chula Vista Q
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Join Date: 08-01-15
Location: Chula Vista, CA
Name/Nickname : Randy

Thanks all for the comments and information, brothers. They all helped me a lot. I’m getting real itchy to pull the trigger on a new stick burner. We’ll let you know what we end up getting.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:44 PM   #10
Babbling Farker

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Join Date: 06-23-12
Location: Kansas City

I know exactly the flavor you’re talking about because that was my complaint about cooking in drums, and I’ve never had any off flavors from the plate, nor have I ever noticed any sort of flavor benefit from the “sizzle” - all I know is the food that comes off of it is quite tasty. I might cook over a pan or two on a small cook but normally I just drain out from the ball valve with the nose dipped down slightly. Yes there’s some grease leftover but not much, I use a putty knife and clean off the reverse flow plate every 2-3 cooks, depending.
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Old 11-17-2019, 07:56 PM   #11
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Join Date: 04-28-10
Location: Tyler, TX

Yanked out the tuning plates for the last cook as I felt like the flavor was getting messed up with the drippings. They will be going right back in as the temp swings and uneven side-to-side temps made for a more challenging cook than I'm used to. Bottom line is to keep those plates clean - especially if your rubs have a fair amount of sugar in them. I'll be scraping at least every other cook from now on.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:03 PM   #12
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 02-25-17
Location: Jacksonville, NC

This is one of the reasons why I loved the way that Johnson Smokers does their RF setup with a pipe rather than a plate. I never noticed any burnt grease smell or aroma even when I was cooking at 350°.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:26 AM   #13
Knows what a fatty is.
Join Date: 08-22-13
Location: Allen, TX

My favorite bbq joint Evie Mae's only use reverse flow and I've never tasted anything off from their BBQ
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