Barbecue (alt.food.barbecue) Discuss barbecue and grilling--southern style "low and slow" smoking of ribs, shoulders and briskets, as well as direct heat grilling of everything from burgers to salmon to vegetables.

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Old 03-05-2007, 02:16 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?

Hi,

I recently aquired good 'ol cast iron 450 lb smoker which I have restored
(removed rust, replaced wheels, painted etc.). It's one of those with an
off set smoke box on the side. Up to now all my Q has been done in a
Brinkmann R2D2 where I've been using lump and wood chips with good results.

So now I wonder when starting using the new one if I should still use lump,
or if I should get real wood and burn it down to coals? What's the normal
and/or prefered way of doing it with this kind of smoker? One thing I
wonder about is how do you re-fuel the thing when using real wood? If you
keep adding wood it will burn and increase the temperature. Maybe I should
start with real wood and then refuel with lump?

As you can see I'm not in the know when it comes to these kinds of smokers,
and I am not able to find much about it on-line either, so any advices here
would be greatly appreciated.

--
//ceed

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Old 03-05-2007, 03:04 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?

ceed wrote:
So now I wonder when starting using the new one if I should still use lump,
or if I should get real wood and burn it down to coals? What's the normal
and/or prefered way of doing it with this kind of smoker? One thing I
wonder about is how do you re-fuel the thing when using real wood? If you
keep adding wood it will burn and increase the temperature. Maybe I should
start with real wood and then refuel with lump?

You'll get as many answers as you get answerers. I have a CharBroil
offset smoker, one of the models that used to be made by New Braunfels.

I use either briquettes or lump to start the fire and then feed it
wood. I use a wireless BBQ thermometer to track the temp of the smoke
box and adjust as needed. I'm still in the learning curve, but I am
keeping the temperature within 25F of where I want it to be, which is
(to me) a major accomplishment.

As with the R2D2, keep the exhaust valves or flaps wide open, control
heat using the fuel supply and air intake controls.

Once my charcoal is going, I put a few pieces of wood on the charcoal.
Once that is going, the smoke box is at temperature and the meat goes in.

I find that it helps to turn the wood - only the top side burns.

I don't pre-burn or pre-heat the wood. Some people prefer to do that.
I am shooting for a fairly smoky taste and don't want to reduce it below
where it is.

Some people keep a grill going to reduce wood to coals and then shovel
the coals into the fire box on the offset smoker. I haven't felt a need
to do that, but your mileage may vary.

Finally, I am leaning more and more towards using a small amount of wood
that is burning than a larger amount that is smoldering. It makes
temperature control easier, and reduces the smoking from smoldering wood
that I don't find helps the taste of the barbecue.

You might look in the barbecue faq for silver smoker hints. Some of
them might well apply.

Enjoy your new smoker!
Mike


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Old 03-05-2007, 03:13 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?

In alt.food.barbecue, ceed wrote:
keep adding wood it will burn and increase the temperature. Maybe I should
start with real wood and then refuel with lump?


I like to use two fires - one in the firebox, and another one alongside to
pre-burn the wood. Once it gets coated with red hot coals, it is good to
go. Using this method also cuts down on flames, so the smoking chamber
stays more nearly constant in temperature.


--
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so
certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
-- Bertrand Russel

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Old 03-05-2007, 06:15 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
EZ EZ is offline
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Default Wood or lump?

ceed wrote:

So now I wonder when starting using the new one if I should still use
lump, or if I should get real wood and burn it down to coals? What's
the normal and/or prefered way of doing it with this kind of smoker?


The prefered way for you is whatever way you end up doing it. Here's what I
do with my CharGriller, based on reading a whole bunch from the various bbq
groups on the internet and experimenting:

The night before, make sure the meat is marinating or rubbed or whatever and
in the fridge all wrapped up.
Pour a whole bag of lump into the firebox. Make a little indentation in the
middle. Put the cover back on the smoker.
Fill up the charcoal chimney with lump and newspaper like always, and put it
inside the house so it'll all get nice and dry.
Get up at 5:00 a.m. Take the chimney outside and light it. Get the meat out
of the fridge so it'll warm up a bit. When the charcoal is ready, pour it
into the firebox on top of the bagfull you already put in there. Get the
thermometer whose end I stuck through a wine cork years ago onto the cooking
grate, so just the tip is sticking out, and just above the grate not
touching it. When it's up around 200, throw some wood chunks in the firebox.
When it's up around 225-250, put the meat on. Check the temp every 15
minutes, and adjust the air intake accordingly. When it's stabilized
(usually by 7:00 a.m. or so), go take a nap for a few hours. The bag of
charcoal you put in there the night before will keep the fire going just
fine for several hours.

Get up, and from now on I use brickets until it's done because they're
cheaper and most of the smoke is in the meat anyway. Put all the remote
thermometer probes in the various cuts of meat. Monitor, switch the meats
around if necessary, take 'em off as they finish.

I've used this method so often the firebox is all rusted, no paint left, and
about shot - might have to buy just another firebox, as the cooking chamber
is still OK. Or, I could actually break down and clean and paint the dern
thing.

I don't know how big your smoker is, but on the CharGriller, I can get a
brisket, two shoulders, a big pot of beans, a big turkey breast, and on the
top shelf 3 racks of babybacks in a rib rack.

--
EZ


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Old 03-05-2007, 09:56 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?


On 3-May-2007, Mike Avery
wrote:

Xref: news.twtelecom.net alt.food.barbecue:79430

ceed wrote:
So now I wonder when starting using the new one if I
should still use lump,
or if I should get real wood and burn it down to coals?
What's the normal
and/or prefered way of doing it with this kind of
smoker? One thing I
wonder about is how do you re-fuel the thing when using
real wood? If you
keep adding wood it will burn and increase the
temperature. Maybe I should
start with real wood and then refuel with lump?

You'll get as many answers as you get answerers. I have a
CharBroil
offset smoker, one of the models that used to be made by
New Braunfels.


I have an original New Braunfels Silver Smoker. I've been
smoking
with it since may of 2003.

I use either briquettes or lump to start the fire and then
feed it
wood. I use a wireless BBQ thermometer to track the temp
of the smoke
box and adjust as needed. I'm still in the learning
curve, but I am
keeping the temperature within 25F of where I want it to
be, which is
(to me) a major accomplishment.

As with the R2D2, keep the exhaust valves or flaps wide
open, control
heat using the fuel supply and air intake controls.

Once my charcoal is going, I put a few pieces of wood on
the charcoal.
Once that is going, the smoke box is at temperature and
the meat goes in.

I find that it helps to turn the wood - only the top side
burns.

I don't pre-burn or pre-heat the wood. Some people prefer
to do that.
I am shooting for a fairly smoky taste and don't want to
reduce it below
where it is.


I haver pretty much done all of the things that Mike talks
about. His way works quite well, but is way too much fuss
for an old fart like me to contend with.

Some people keep a grill going to reduce wood to coals and
then shovel
the coals into the fire box on the offset smoker. I
haven't felt a need
to do that, but your mileage may vary.

Finally, I am leaning more and more towards using a small
amount of wood
that is burning than a larger amount that is smoldering.
It makes
temperature control easier, and reduces the smoking from
smoldering wood
that I don't find helps the taste of the barbecue.


With my previous in mind, let
me reenforce what Mike says about small lively fire vs large
smoldering fire. The small fire is clean and allows maximum
adjustment of the smoke intensity. But it requires almost
constant
attention The large fire requires minimum fuss, but needs to
run
hotter then desirable in order to minimize creosote
production.

I use the large fire utilizing the minion method. I get it
going good
and burning pretty clean before I put any meat on. I make
smoke
by placing a fairly large chunk (at least fist sized) of
wood directly
on the fire. I DO NOT PRESOAK. I DON'T WANT STEAM AND
I DON'T WANT TAR. I need to tend my fire only every two
hours
or so, sometimes three. I use a lot of fuel, probably a lot
more
then Mike does.

On the upside, my cooking times are much shorter then you
usually read about in this forum. I cook butts in 6 to 8
hours.
Ribs finish in 4 hours or less. Chickens usually finish in
about
2 hours.

My only bonified critics so far have been TFM® and Kili.
Kili
doesn't eat BBQ, so she doesn't count. TFM® didn't say much
either. After I ran out of food, he said he'd be back when I
had
something more then samples to offer. (At least I didn't run
out
of beer).

You might look in the barbecue faq for silver smoker
hints. Some of
them might well apply.

Enjoy your new smoker!
Mike


I checked out the new Charbroil breed of Silver Smoker just
a few days ago and the local Home Depot. I was really
disappointed with them. No part of the cooker closes tight.
I could see daylight past ever door and cover on the beast.
It exhibits about the poorest fit and finish I've seen yet.
I
wouldn't have bought a Silver Smoker had Charbroil been
making them when I bought mine. Mine is four years old
now and it's a rust bucket, but it's going strong and who
knows? Maybe I'll blast off some of the rust one day and
refinish it.
--
Brick(Youth is wasted on young people)


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Old 04-05-2007, 12:43 AM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?

Mike Avery wrote in
news:[email protected] mail.otherwhen.com:



I use either briquettes or lump to start the fire and then feed it
wood. I use a wireless BBQ thermometer to track the temp of the smoke
box and adjust as needed. I'm still in the learning curve, but I am
keeping the temperature within 25F of where I want it to be, which is
(to me) a major accomplishment.

As with the R2D2, keep the exhaust valves or flaps wide open, control
heat using the fuel supply and air intake controls.

Once my charcoal is going, I put a few pieces of wood on the
charcoal. Once that is going, the smoke box is at temperature and the
meat goes in.

I find that it helps to turn the wood - only the top side burns.

I don't pre-burn or pre-heat the wood. Some people prefer to do that.
I am shooting for a fairly smoky taste and don't want to reduce it
below where it is.

Some people keep a grill going to reduce wood to coals and then shovel
the coals into the fire box on the offset smoker. I haven't felt a
need to do that, but your mileage may vary.

Finally, I am leaning more and more towards using a small amount of
wood that is burning than a larger amount that is smoldering. It
makes temperature control easier, and reduces the smoking from
smoldering wood that I don't find helps the taste of the barbecue.

You might look in the barbecue faq for silver smoker hints. Some of
them might well apply.

Enjoy your new smoker!
Mike


This is why this group is so great: Here I am getting a crash course in
bbq with a lot of useful information in addition to what I was asking
for. Thank you Mike! And thank you all that has responded in this thread.
I now understand that there's no simple recipe to success here. I will
have to find my way, but that's much easier now with all this advice.

I have a big pile of small pecan logs and on of hickory. I also have a
few bags of lump. No briquettes though. Haven't been using those for
years. Are there quality difference between those these days, or could I
just pick up generic Wal-Mart and be happy?

I have one further question. This smoker has a vent on the actual smoke
box close to the fire, and one on top of the chimney. How should I be
using these? I know I would have to spend a lot of time perfecting my
skills on this new beast. That's why I waitied so long to upgrae from my
cheap bullet smoker which actually kept making decent Q consistently
until it rusted to pieces this spring.

Can't wait to be throwin some brisket and ribs on this weekend!


--
//ceed
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Old 04-05-2007, 01:26 AM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?

On 2007-05-03, ceed wrote:

I have a big pile of small pecan logs and on of hickory. I also have a
few bags of lump. No briquettes though. Haven't been using those for
years. Are there quality difference between those these days, or could I
just pick up generic Wal-Mart and be happy?


If you go to Walmart -- depending on where you live (what part of the country)
you can get nice bags of Royal Oak (RO for short) for $5.27 (10lb bags).. I
just bought 5 the other day (in the LA area) and could have bought another
30-40+ more since they had another pallet of them.. Anyway, that's my main
hot-n-fast wood.. I've got other wood I also use for other things too..

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Old 04-05-2007, 02:54 AM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?


"ceed" wrote in message
I have a big pile of small pecan logs and on of hickory. I also have a
few bags of lump. No briquettes though. Haven't been using those for
years. Are there quality difference between those these days, or could I
just pick up generic Wal-Mart and be happy?

I have one further question. This smoker has a vent on the actual smoke
box close to the fire, and one on top of the chimney. How should I be
using these?


I never close the exit vent except to keep the rain out when not in use. You
can use the inlet to control the air going to the firebox. Keep in mind,
cutting down too much can cause smoldering and bitter taste.

Just to add to the already good advice:
Smaller fireboxes usually do better with charcoal rather than straight wood,
Larger ones burn wood better
Pre-heat the wood on top of the fire box
Even pre-burn some if you can
Avoid smoldering at all costs
Add small pieces frequently rather than big ones. Modify this as you get
more comfortable and know your smoker
Learn to anticipate. If the temperature drops 50 degrees, you are already
too late adding wood.
Don't get anal about holding a particular temperature. A 50 degree change
for a time is no big deal.
There is no one best method. Do what works for you and experiment in small
increments
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/


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Old 04-05-2007, 05:58 AM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?


On 3-May-2007, Mike Avery
wrote:

Xref: news.twtelecom.net alt.food.barbecue:79448

wrote:

I checked out the new Charbroil breed of Silver Smoker
just
a few days ago and the local Home Depot. I was really
disappointed with them. No part of the cooker closes
tight.
I could see daylight past ever door and cover on the
beast.
It exhibits about the poorest fit and finish I've seen
yet.
I wouldn't have bought a Silver Smoker had Charbroil
been
making them when I bought mine. Mine is four years old
now and it's a rust bucket, but it's going strong and
who
knows? Maybe I'll blast off some of the rust one day and
refinish it.

I sure do wish I could say you're wrong. I had to put a
lot of gasket
material on every opening to seal it half-way well. I
never saw the New
Braunfels version. My feeling was this was a step up from
an electric
smoker, and if I liked it I could always upgrade later.

So far, I like it, it's been a real step up from the
electric smoker,
but I haven't felt a need to upgrade.

Mike


Well Mike. On the bright side, the agony of modification
is behind you now. And if you're enjoying the machine
you have, buying another won't fix anything. I had a fairly
nice bullet shaped gasser when I bought my NB Silver.
I'd had the ECC (El Cheapo Coleman) for about fifteen
years and hadn't used it for the last 12 or so. I had never
used it for BBQ before. Once I got the NBS I didn't use
it again for a long time. Now I have an old Ducane Gas
Grill which I use exclusively for grilling. It has two side
by side burners and a woodchip box, but I don't use it
that way. It's hard to beat the NBS for BBQ. And when
I take the trouble to stack stuff, I can put a hell of a lot
of meat in it.

--
Brick(Youth is wasted on young people)


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Old 07-06-2007, 02:17 AM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?

ceed wrote:
So now I wonder when starting using the new one if I should still use
lump, or if I should get real wood and burn it down to coals? What's
the normal and/or prefered way of doing it with this kind of smoker?


Hmmm... lump vs wood. They're the same except the lump has the advantage of
bein reduced to charcoal. Lump gets goin sooner and is ready to be added to
the offset when needed. How much to add and when depends on your cookin
method.

Me, myself and I would take the lump over the wood. Rationale: easy to
store, saves the wood for the fireplace.

-frohe
Life's too short to be in a hurry


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Old 10-06-2007, 09:37 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?

Lump gets goin sooner and is ready to be added to
the offset when needed. How much to add and when depends on your cookin
method.


Its ok to add fresh lump to the smoker? I tried it once and it seems to
smoke like crazy when its getting going with the lump that's already
burning. It doesn't seem to have a nice smell that I'd like to add to my
food when its getting going either but I don't know if that will actually
soak into the meat. Any tips on adding lump? Should I get it going in a
chimney first or no?? Thanks


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Old 10-06-2007, 11:29 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
Dan Dan is offline
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Default Wood or lump?

Dirty Harry wrote:
Lump gets goin sooner and is ready to be added to
the offset when needed. How much to add and when depends on your cookin
method.


Its ok to add fresh lump to the smoker? I tried it once and it seems to
smoke like crazy when its getting going with the lump that's already
burning. It doesn't seem to have a nice smell that I'd like to add to my
food when its getting going either but I don't know if that will actually
soak into the meat. Any tips on adding lump? Should I get it going in a
chimney first or no?? Thanks



Is it dry? I've never noticed a lot of smoke when new lump was added.
I keep my full bags inside due to the humidity here and the open bag is
in a big Tupperware/Rubbermaid thing with a lid that seals very well.

It would be a good trick to fire up a new chimney and add it to a bullet
smoker like my WSM.

Dan
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:17 AM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?

Dan wrote:

Is it dry? I've never noticed a lot of smoke when new lump was added. I
keep my full bags inside due to the humidity here and the open bag is in
a big Tupperware/Rubbermaid thing with a lid that seals very well.

It would be a good trick to fire up a new chimney and add it to a bullet
smoker like my WSM.

Dan


Either way should work. If going for a long cook, the Minion
method is the only way to go from the gitgo...
http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/fireup2.html#minion

If I need to add to that, I just add plain unstarted lump.

--
Steve
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:10 PM posted to alt.food.barbecue
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Default Wood or lump?

Dirty Harry wrote:
Its ok to add fresh lump to the smoker? I tried it once and it seems
to smoke like crazy when its getting going with the lump that's
already burning. It doesn't seem to have a nice smell that I'd like
to add to my food when its getting going either but I don't know if
that will actually soak into the meat. Any tips on adding lump? Should I
get it going in a chimney first or no?? Thanks


I use B&B lump which doesn't seem to smoke up all that bad. If yours smokes
up more than you care for, by all means, start it up in a chimney and then
add to your fire. Remember, it's the end results you're aimin for and the
meothods you use to get there.


-frohe
Life's too short to be in a hurry




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