how to keep your fire clean during a long cook???

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by drphx81, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. drphx81

    drphx81 Fire Starter

    Hey all. I hear people using the term "clean fire" vs "dirty fire" to prevent creosote from forming. Does this mean I need to empty ashes throughout a long 12-14 hour smoke of a brisket? Can someone please give me some tips or explain to a new bbqer what this means and how to keep your fire clean during a long smoke? THANKS SO MUCH!!!
  2. A clean fire only has TBS. If it is white smoke that is steam from wet wood,

    Keep your top vent all the way open. use seasoned dry wood.

    What are you smoken.

    happy smoken.

  3. drphx81

    drphx81 Fire Starter

    Was just seasoning my pit. Didn't want to ruin it for when I actually put meat on it :) any advice on if I need to clean my tuning plates or grates after each cook? What's a good rule of thumb as far as prepping the pit for he next cook after all ashes are removed? Thanks so
    much for the advice
  4. What kind of pit do you have?

  5. Only if your smoker does not have enough room for the ashes and still have proper air flow. I dont like stirring up the ashes while cooking.
    drphx81 likes this.
  6. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A "small, clean, hot fire" refers to a fire that's burning efficiently and not smoldering. This has nothing to do with the overall cleanliness of your pit, though it's never a bad idea to keep things neat and tidy. Ash buildup can hinder the pits ability to burn efficiently if it blocks airflow, but the presence of ashes in and of itself won't contribute to the buildup of creosote. Creosote, or stale smoke, or just an overall nasty, acrid flavor can be the result of incomplete combustion which you'll recognize by the thick, white billowy smoke. This smoke carries all those nasty components which the fire is hot enough to vaporize, but not to burn completely. A "clean" fire on the other hand, will produce smoke that is either thin and blue, or nearly invisible. This is the result of all (or most) of the volatile components in the wood burning off.

    Think of it like an engine. An engine that's in tune is being fed the perfect mixture of fuel and air, resulting in nearly complete combustion in the cylinder and very little exhaust gas. One that's out of tune and running too rich will produce a tell tale stink from the exhaust and in extreme cases visible smoke. Your smoker works the same way. You have to feed it the proper mixture of fuel (wood and/or charcoal) and air. A smaller fire and a wide open intake vent will give you better tasting food than loading up on fuel and choking down the vents.

    Depending on the type of pit you're running there are various methods to achieve this.
    glocksrock, drphx81 and bruno994 like this.
  7. very good, complete answer Mdboatbum
  8. drphx81

    drphx81 Fire Starter

    Thanks so much!!! Could not have asked for a better explanation. Good news is that my fire was clean 👍 thanks again!!!
  9. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Glad it helped! I realize I tend to go overboard in making a point, but I couldn't think of a shorter way to make it clear. Good luck with your smokes and just keep trying different things until you get the results you and your family enjoy!
  10. drphx81

    drphx81 Fire Starter

    Today is my birthday and your knowledge was one heck of a gift!! Thanks again!!
  11. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Haha!! Well happy birthday!
  12. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  13. Another tip that you don't hear mentioned too much, ...smoker placement.... The smoker needs good clean oxygen rich air to burn good. Ive seen people complain about not able to get them to temp, and when I check them out, they have the smoker stuck in a corner under a roof in stale, smokey air where it cant breath good. Sometimes a small fan set on low feeding fresh air towards the firebox can make all the difference in the world.
  14. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    well said Mdboatbum

    Happy belated birthday drP

    Rib, I have mine in a corner and about 8" from a solid fence.

    I haven't noticed any performance issues since I installed the fence

    I think the main thing is to have it properly drafted... well for my rig anyhow.

    Hard to see from the pics but gives you an idea.

    The black plastic edging is where the fence is now.

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  15. I think everyone has had one of those little R2d2 brinkmans at some time or you still use it?
  16. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Uh uh... I haven't had one or ever seen someone that did.     You've had one before???
  17. ???...............bottom right of SQWIB's last pic is a R2D2 have never seen one of those?????????
  18. Me and R2D2 go way back. I have had a lot of great Q from one. Glad i have better equipment now. But it workd well for me for a long time. And yes i still have one.

    Happy smoken.

  19. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It's actually Chef Jimmy's when we picked up the New Braunsfel he gave us the R2 as well. The R2 went to a buddy of my brothers in his union (pipefitters)

    I'll have to touch base and see if he's used it yet.

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