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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 12-11-2017, 09:19 PM   #196
Q_Done_Right
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I’ve only cooked on my new stick burner a few times (ribs, wings and brisket); it’s a Pecos by the way. For $400 not perfect but pretty well made IMO. I’ve burned post oak splits in it from B&B each time. I also have three WSM’s (one of each size model). I personally don’t really care what others think as it’s all about what I like as well as my guest. The WSM’s are soooooo much easier to use between the two. Pecos requires a ton of effort but I don’t mind if I’m dedicated to the cause. Could never do an overnighter on a stick burner though. Personally, I thought the brisket I made on the Pecos was better than any I’ve ever made on my WSM’s. At the same time, my wife, sister and I all preferred the ribs I make on the WSM over those I made on the Pecos. Wings tasted exactly the same but I got much crisper skin on the WSM because of the vertical heat with water pan removed. I still need to cook a lot more on my stick burner and it can be a huge liability if I’m not mentally up for it. However, I have zero issue with any of the BBQ made on my charcoal smokers (w/ wood chunks); in fact, I’ve vended with just WSM’s and people raved about the food I made on them. Good thread.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:16 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by Beentown View Post
Me thinks no matter what variables I say were compared there would be a "reasoning" no matter the results. I think it's just you or the very few like you that prefer coals over true stick burning not figuring the other factors (cost, ease of use, etc....). Based on flavor most would prefer foods produced by a properly ran stick burner, in my and seems many heres experience.

We use lump in our charcoal burners. All hot and fast cooks (plenty of O2). Almost everyone still prefers wood, real wood, with moisture in it....12-15% is our happy place for most species.

The last cook was chuck roasts. Lump only, no wood added vs. cherry in a stick burner. Both cooking at 300 degrees.

The taste subjects all preferred the stock burner food. Said something was missing from the "lump only" sample.

Just as an FYI we are doing these tests because we are taking our show bigger, much bigger. So to make the best choices for us, including cooking equipment and materials we are testing recipes and said equipment/materials. We are taking the outcomes to produce a new menu and finalize all of our equipment choices.

The outcome is we are going to keep using both charcoal cookers and stick burners.

Set and forget (blower controlled) charcoal burners using wood chunks for sleeps sake. Stickburner for short cooks and times when we can take the time to tend the fire.

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thanks for posting this. Obviously you have diligently tested and found wood to be better. I will not dispute that at all.

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Originally Posted by bcm1947 View Post
Maybe some of you stick burners can help me out here. If lump charcoal is lump because it is wood that is not completely burned to ash, then it should still give you a smoked taste in your bbq similar to burning stick wood. If you are burning lump charcoal made from white oak it should still have some of what makes it white oak. I realize that it is not the same as the complete process of burning sticks of wood in your smoker, but it will flavor your bbq, somewhat like the wood it was made from. Not trying to really make a point with my posts on this thread, just trying to learn something here. Thanks
Im wondering about this too. Ive done two cooks now with just the burning lump and it does give a smoke flavor that you can taste and smell, and it is very clean, but it is very light. Im thinking the wood definitely has heavier flavoring components. I would love to burn actual wood embers one day just to see how big the difference is.

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Originally Posted by Smokeymagoo View Post
El,

I couldn't agree more. A few years ago purchased a Lang, so excited I could hardly stand it. The Honeymoon wore off real fast when I had to wake up every couple of hours to feed it wood.

Smokey


thanks for posting this. The stick burner was definitely a lot of work. and not enjoyable to look forward to.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:28 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by bcm1947 View Post
Thank you for taking the time to share this information.

I smoked a pork butt on my 18.5 WSM Using B&B oak lump charcoal only. I wrapped it when the internal was @ 170 degrees. Took it to 200 degres, removed it from the smoker, and let it sit wrapped for a couple of hours before pulling. It had that great white oak taste, but overall wasn't much bark on it. I actually liked the flavor it had but one of my family members stated that it needed more smoke so I am now adding very small chunks of white oak & hickory to the lump embers. My family members seem to like it much better. Anyway, as I stated I'm only a backyard guy. Thanks
so somethng happened today that kinda opened my eyes to a different way. at work bring bbq on mondays to taste. I brought some chicken smoked with lump only and 1 guy could taste and smell the smoke and the other two could not. chicken was only on the cooker 1.5 hours so it really didnt have a lot of time to absorb that much smoke.

the guy who could taste and smell the smoke does not bbq.
one guy who could not taste any smoke brought wings cooked with lump and mesquite wood (ack!!!) I only had one wing and it tasted great but I could taste that chemical mesquite flavor on my tongue for 2 hours. Obviously this guy likes his food drenched in smoke.
its definitely interesting how different people perceive smoke.

the eye opener for me was this - the guy I sold the smoker to works with me and he brought some ribs he cooked on the pecos and let me have a taste. well, damn were they delicous. very present smoke flavor but not overpowering so I asked him how he used the cooker. he used RO lump for heat and added about two sticks of pecan over a 5 hour period for flavor. It probably had the best balance of smoke that Ive had.

so now thats got me thinking lump for heat, wood for flavor (I think thats the first time thats been mentioned here ? )

I plan to experiment with different amounts of wood until I can dial in that perfect flavor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OklaDustDevil View Post
Talkin about the differences between sticks and charcoal, I often see a similar tension just amongst stick burners on this site (like me).

What I mean is that many of us stickburners focus on minimizing El Luchador's issues with sticks -- getting a bigger pit, making it out of thicker steel, including a bigger firebox, insulating the firebox, etc. All with the goal of getting more stable temps, having to add wood less frequently, being able to sleep longer, or at least fuss with the pit less frequently, at night. Sometimes also with the goal of using less wood.

But all these pit attributes work to create a more stable temp by creating a bigger thermal mass. In other words, the bigger, thicker steel maintains a more stable temp as against the sticks that are tossed in from time to time. So I keep wonderin, doesn't that mean the hot steel is serving as an oven and cookin the meat apart from the smoke of the sticks? In other words, as we increase the size, thickness, and efficiency of our smokers, aren't we cookin more with an oven and less with a smoker?

I don't know the answer, but I'd sure like to understand it. I'm guessing it's probably a matter of balance, as with most things in life. Using a cheap, thin steel smoker that consumes lots of wood probably isn't the answer; but using a super-insulated, super-efficient pit likely isn't the answer either. As Aaron Franklin says, you need good air and smoke flow thru the pit.

thats really interesting. but my thought is the meat has to be exposed to all the smoke at some point so even though there is residual cooking from absorbed heat, its still getting all the wood smoke
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:32 PM   #199
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I've done about a half dozen experiments using lump and small splits in my Assassin 36 grill. So far only a few cooks have had any noticeable difference in smoke flavor than when I use lump/wood chunks in the Assassin or my WSM. The mini-splits I'm using are B&B brand and not kiln dried like other brands like Western Wood that I find at Academy. However the Western Wood chunks I'm using are kiln dried. Granted it's not a stick burner by design and perhaps each piece of wood is a little different. The burning wood embers does give off an awesome smell that's hard to get from a WSM on most days. Small hot fire is the method I'm sticking to. Also so far I've found bark makes little difference in the smokiness of it all. But my research continues...:)
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:19 AM   #200
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I like lump for my heat source, because I believe it will provide a cleaner burn than any briquette. The smoke from lump is not as intense as you would get from using roughly the same amount of briquettes, but you can add some small chunks of smoke wood to intensify the smoky taste in your bbq.

Our church recently had a fellowship meal, and one of the members picked up the BBQ from a local restaurant. This place is famous for good BBQ in our area and he has won several competitions over the years, if that means anything. I thought what a great opportunity to do a taste comparison between his and mine. Well, I knew after the first bite, he had a clean burn with no creosote or other foul tastes going on. I thought He had used all white oak, so I asked him, and he shared his secret concerning his choice of smoking wood in his offset. Which was as you might guess mostly white oak and hickory. I have tasted BBQ smoked with white oak and hickory a bunch over the years and that is what most people in our neck of the woods call good BBQ.

I wanted that taste from my WSM and pre-lighting my lump and adding small chunks of smoke wood have given me a very close taste. Every time I add lump I pre-light it and add small smoke chunks. I believe this whole process on my WSM is similar to burning sticks in an offset. It is amazing what we can accomplish with what we have if we just don't give up. Thanks
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Old 12-12-2017, 12:38 PM   #201
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q_Done_Right View Post
Iíve only cooked on my new stick burner a few times (ribs, wings and brisket); itís a Pecos by the way. For $400 not perfect but pretty well made IMO. Iíve burned post oak splits in it from B&B each time. I also have three WSMís (one of each size model). I personally donít really care what others think as itís all about what I like as well as my guest. The WSMís are soooooo much easier to use between the two. Pecos requires a ton of effort but I donít mind if Iím dedicated to the cause. Could never do an overnighter on a stick burner though. Personally, I thought the brisket I made on the Pecos was better than any Iíve ever made on my WSMís. At the same time, my wife, sister and I all preferred the ribs I make on the WSM over those I made on the Pecos. Wings tasted exactly the same but I got much crisper skin on the WSM because of the vertical heat with water pan removed. I still need to cook a lot more on my stick burner and it can be a huge liability if Iím not mentally up for it. However, I have zero issue with any of the BBQ made on my charcoal smokers (w/ wood chunks); in fact, Iíve vended with just WSMís and people raved about the food I made on them. Good thread.
I agree. for $500 I don't think the pecos can be beat in the offset category. burning wood just takes a lot of dedication .
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:24 PM   #202
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Originally Posted by el luchador View Post
I agree. for $500 I don't think the pecos can be beat in the offset category .
Thats funny right there :)

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Old 12-12-2017, 01:28 PM   #203
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I recently purchased an Old Country Brazos as I was tired of trying to get great smoke flavor from my Green Egg. It's been a real learning curve but I think I've honed my technique enough to make good BBQ. The true key for using a stick burner is becoming a fire technician; knowing when and how much wood to use, moving sticks and embers around and proper air flow(even if that means blowing into the firebox yourself).

I've come to the realization that long cooks like brisket and pork butt are always going to be at dinner time because I'm not going to stay up all night. I also only have the meat in the smoker for a max of 5 hours. If I'm going to wrap the meat at that time there is no point of wasting money on fuel and time on tending the fire when it can just go in a set it and forget it oven.

You can't beat the smoke flavor from burning wood IMO so it's worth it to me to use a stick burner.
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:30 PM   #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el luchador View Post
so somethng happened today that kinda opened my eyes to a different way. at work bring bbq on mondays to taste. I brought some chicken smoked with lump only and 1 guy could taste and smell the smoke and the other two could not. chicken was only on the cooker 1.5 hours so it really didnt have a lot of time to absorb that much smoke.

the guy who could taste and smell the smoke does not bbq.
one guy who could not taste any smoke brought wings cooked with lump and mesquite wood (ack!!!) I only had one wing and it tasted great but I could taste that chemical mesquite flavor on my tongue for 2 hours. Obviously this guy likes his food drenched in smoke.
its definitely interesting how different people perceive smoke.

the eye opener for me was this - the guy I sold the smoker to works with me and he brought some ribs he cooked on the pecos and let me have a taste. well, damn were they delicous. very present smoke flavor but not overpowering so I asked him how he used the cooker. he used RO lump for heat and added about two sticks of pecan over a 5 hour period for flavor. It probably had the best balance of smoke that Ive had.

so now thats got me thinking lump for heat, wood for flavor (I think thats the first time thats been mentioned here ? )

I plan to experiment with different amounts of wood until I can dial in that perfect flavor.




thats really interesting. but my thought is the meat has to be exposed to all the smoke at some point so even though there is residual cooking from absorbed heat, its still getting all the wood smoke


The issue with using lump or briquettes in a true stick burner is cost. You can go through 10-20 lbs plus for a cook. Running all or at least mostly wood will be more economical. Not saying it wont work just that its against the grain
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Old 12-12-2017, 01:50 PM   #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el luchador View Post
so somethng happened today that kinda opened my eyes to a different way. at work bring bbq on mondays to taste. I brought some chicken smoked with lump only and 1 guy could taste and smell the smoke and the other two could not. chicken was only on the cooker 1.5 hours so it really didnt have a lot of time to absorb that much smoke.

the guy who could taste and smell the smoke does not bbq.
one guy who could not taste any smoke brought wings cooked with lump and mesquite wood (ack!!!) I only had one wing and it tasted great but I could taste that chemical mesquite flavor on my tongue for 2 hours. Obviously this guy likes his food drenched in smoke.
its definitely interesting how different people perceive smoke.

the eye opener for me was this - the guy I sold the smoker to works with me and he brought some ribs he cooked on the pecos and let me have a taste. well, damn were they delicous. very present smoke flavor but not overpowering so I asked him how he used the cooker. he used RO lump for heat and added about two sticks of pecan over a 5 hour period for flavor. It probably had the best balance of smoke that Ive had.

so now thats got me thinking lump for heat, wood for flavor (I think thats the first time thats been mentioned here ? )

I plan to experiment with different amounts of wood until I can dial in that perfect flavor.




thats really interesting. but my thought is the meat has to be exposed to all the smoke at some point so even though there is residual cooking from absorbed heat, its still getting all the wood smoke
Didn't realize that you worked with BigSwole.

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Old 12-12-2017, 01:53 PM   #206
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferdelious View Post
I recently purchased an Old Country Brazos as I was tired of trying to get great smoke flavor from my Green Egg. It's been a real learning curve but I think I've honed my technique enough to make good BBQ. The true key for using a stick burner is becoming a fire technician; knowing when and how much wood to use, moving sticks and embers around and proper air flow(even if that means blowing into the firebox yourself).

I've come to the realization that long cooks like brisket and pork butt are always going to be at dinner time because I'm not going to stay up all night. I also only have the meat in the smoker for a max of 5 hours. If I'm going to wrap the meat at that time there is no point of wasting money on fuel and time on tending the fire when it can just go in a set it and forget it oven.

You can't beat the smoke flavor from burning wood IMO so it's worth it to me to use a stick burner.
I tried the blowing into the fire box thing you recommended. I'm not sure if my beard is gonna grow back. Maybe I didn't do it right???

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Old 12-12-2017, 02:16 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by CptKaos View Post
Thats funny right there :)

Larry
that went right over my head. Can you expound?

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Didn't realize that you worked with BigSwole.

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Originally Posted by smoke ninja View Post
The issue with using lump or briquettes in a true stick burner is cost. You can go through 10-20 lbs plus for a cook. Running all or at least mostly wood will be more economical. Not saying it wont work just that its against the grain
I guess that would depend on the size of the smoker and whats being cooked but that was not my experience with the pecos. I honestly also expected that it would be much less efficient than my stick-burner uds ,but it only used about 25% more wood.

so I would assume it would only consume about 25% more charcoal than a charcoal burner as well, assuming a well made offset (like the pecos) and a similar size to a uds(also like a pecos)
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:20 PM   #208
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You said a $500 cooker can't be beat by any other offset. That's just funny

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Old 12-12-2017, 02:24 PM   #209
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You said a $500 cooker can't be beat by any other offset. That's just funny

Larry
lol. no. I said I don't believe you can find a better offset for under $500 than the Pecos.

at least that's what I should have said

a Shirley 30x96 dual axle's got to be at least a little better than the pecos, no ?
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Old 12-12-2017, 02:27 PM   #210
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I know, just couldn't pass on a hanging curveball :)
This has been a fun thread to read

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