New Smoker Question

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by smokindonkey, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. I got a Brinkmann Smoke King Deluxe for christmas. I am new to smoking so I don't know much. My question is do I use wood or charcoal??
  2. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You could actually use either. Each has it's own technique. Charcoal is a bit more convenient in my opinion and that's what I use in my OK Joe. If you are using wood you need to let it burn down to coals before putting your meat on to smoke and add enough wood to keep it burning but not create a cloud of white smoke. There is a lot to look at concerning these two techniques. You may actually want to try both. Hope this helps.
  3. etcher1

    etcher1 Master of the Pit

    I like the charcoal, cause every time I try the wood I get white smoke but I will keep trying the wood.
  4. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    For a smoker that size, I would use charcoal combined with wood CHIPS.

    Just my two cents, but I bet that would work well for you.
  5. where do I purchase "higher quality" charcoal to use in smoking?
  6. where do I purchase higher quality charcoal to use in smoking?
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    First off can you stop into Roll Call an intrduce yourself and tell us alitle about you and your equipment. Then we can give you a big welcome that we like to give to new members. As far as your wood or charoal I would go with charcoal it's easier and it doesn't burn as hot.
  8. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i think walmart carries royal oak.....someone will be along to correct me if not. also any bbq store should have it.
  9. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Have you thought about using lump wood? Or a mixture of lump wood and charcoal?
  10. zapper

    zapper Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    When the heat and smoke is going to be in contact with the food I suggest that "Lump" charcoal or "pre -burned wood" be used.

    Lump charcoal is basically wood that is pre-burned in a low oxygen environment and packaged for sale to us by others. We can also make our own Lump charcoal by heating/burning/charring wood and saving it for later use

    Or we can pre-burn wood in another pit or area that is not heating the cooking area and then transfer the coals to the part of the pit (firebox)that does heat the cooking area, as needed. The point of pre-burning wood before adding it to the firebox of the smoker is to stablize the heat, because flames give off alot more heat than coals and are hard to regulate. And then also to help mellow the smoke.

    By mellow the smoke I mean that when wood is still in the fresh or flamable stage, there are often alot of nasties given off that can be somewhat unpleasent tasting on the food in large quanities. Creosote, sap vapors or just plain soot tend to build or escape faster when the wood is flaming. This smoke is what gives us the smoke flavor but a little goes along way and the slow thin blue transparent smoke that just kisses the food is what we are after. Nice thin blue smoke comes best from a nice even bed of coals. Smoke billowing out thick and heavy from green wood or too much uncharred wood, even dry and seasoned, tends to leave a bitter taste on the food.

    As for charcoal briquets, I love them. But not for direct food contact. They are great for long stable temps when cooking in a dutch oven but most folks like myself can taste the fillers, binders and even coal that the briquets are made out of. Some brands are better than others at heat and burn rates. And many folks don't seem to mind the taste but for me, not the perfferred fuel for direct heating of the food.

    Now, all of the above being said. Depending on how you are heating your pit, you may be adding some wood chunks for the smoke flavor. Traditionally a pit would be fueled by the local hardwood like Hickory, Maple, Pecan or what have you depending on region and the smoke of this fuel is the smoke flavor that you get on your food. But we also have the option of adding different types of wood smoke flavor by adding different "smoking wood" to the fire. Charcoal and pre-burned wood do give flavor to the food but remember that we kind of took away some of its smoke strength by charring it and pre-butning it. Adding exotic unburned wood chunks to the fire will add these smoke flavors to the food being cooked along with the flavor of the fuel wood.

    Gotta go

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