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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 07-16-2019, 07:51 AM   #1
LordRiffenstein
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Default No grate in the offset fire box?

Watching some Franklin videos, I noticed he doesn't have a grate in his firebox. He builds his fire directly on the metal and goes from there. I would expect that to result in bad airflow but his smokers seem to be running just fine.

Planning on trying this but was wondering if anybody has compared how their smoker runs with or without a grate.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:14 AM   #2
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My smoker is built the same with no grate in the firebox. One thing most smokers I have seen that utilize this method for fire management is a rounded bottom. I have no problems at all with air flow. The rounded bottom builds your coal bed for you.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:27 AM   #3
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I tried it with a smaller pit, ok joe longhorn.

it didn't work so well, the ash put out the coals. ran better with the grate.

probably has to do with the size of the cooker/firebox. in mine it only takes one split to keep temps and enough coals to light the next one
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:35 AM   #4
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Lots of guys with Langs put firebrick down on the bottom of the firebox and and ditch the grate. They say it keeps the coal bed longer and the radiant heat from the brick helps keeps temp swings down.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoke ninja View Post
I tried it with a smaller pit, ok joe longhorn.

it didn't work so well, the ash put out the coals. ran better with the grate.

probably has to do with the size of the cooker/firebox. in mine it only takes one split to keep temps and enough coals to light the next one
I have a smaller pit so I'm curious how this is going to work.
Guess I'll run it for a bit without the grate and see what happens.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:54 AM   #6
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Franklin also runs wide open with lots of manual fire manipulation.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stlsportster View Post
Lots of guys with Langs put firebrick down on the bottom of the firebox and and ditch the grate. They say it keeps the coal bed longer and the radiant heat from the brick helps keeps temp swings down.
This is exactly what I do! No Lang though. But I also leave the firebox door wide open so that probably also contributes to an abundance of air flow.
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Old 07-16-2019, 12:35 PM   #8
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if i built a fire directly on the bottom i would most defiently want me a sacrificial plate under it instead of eating my 1/4 inch firebox out..... because i can promise you it will happen......
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Old 07-16-2019, 12:54 PM   #9
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We rotate Langs every two years for the catering business and toss the grates when new one's show up, I line the floor and sides with firebrick and we leave the door cracked open to get airflow moving into and through the cooker properly.
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:22 PM   #10
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Let us know how it goes. I was wondering the same thing when I read Franklin’s book.
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Old 07-16-2019, 02:17 PM   #11
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As long as you have enough airflow it’ll burn!
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TuscaloosaQ View Post
if i built a fire directly on the bottom i would most defiently want me a sacrificial plate under it instead of eating my 1/4 inch firebox out..... because i can promise you it will happen......

I have wondered about damage to the firebox from this approach myself, and in the end thought that there might not be a noticeable difference in wear to the firebox in running the whole fire on the firebox floor, vs. running the fire on a standard charcoal grate that most smokers use, which most of the time over a cook will drop a mound of hot coals on the firebox floor anyways. Thoughts?
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:36 PM   #13
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My Grandfather always had an old wood fired stove in his outdoor workshop,he would line the bottom of it with dirt or sand.He said it kept the bottom from rusting out.He would clean it out and re apply every year.Heat goes UP.The dirt or sand was a buffer from the coals,I guess.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:42 PM   #14
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I will add, if it is My cooker,I want a grate and an ash pan below it.That is just my preference.
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Old 07-17-2019, 04:53 PM   #15
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I think "firebox burn though" is an old wives tale parroted by people who have bought cheap grills and offsets from big box stores. We have all seen the pictures of the cheap old rusted out Char Broil with a hole in the bottom and rusted out legs, and thats what sticks in your head. When was the last time you saw a pit made from 1/4" that was rusted all the way though like that? I'd say it's rare because it would take a couple decades.

Franklin BBQ pits run 24 hours a day, 6 days a week all year long. He oldest pit had been doing that for a decade. I don't see a backyard guy who cooks with it maybe once a week burning though 1/4".

I have had my pit for a year, cook on it about once a week, and it has no fire grate or ash pan. No signs of rust at all. I think the rust comes from more from the environment and neglect, not really from the fire burning.
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