Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bigholmes, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. bigholmes

    bigholmes Newbie

    I want to use all wood in my offset. 

    I have read the wood should burn with flames and i read it should smolder.

    Which one is right?

    I can get my temps above 215 and burn 10 pounds of charcoal in 3 or 4 hours.

    If i let the wood burn i can get mt temps smoldering i can't.

    I have the char broil offset smoker.
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    When hot smoking wood should burn, not smolder.  Smolder means bad tasting smoke.  If you use smaller, dry pieces of wood you shouldn't have a problem maintaining the temps you are looking for.

    The best fuel is after the flame has died down in you wood fire and you have a nice thick bed of hot coals or embers.

    We like to say that a smaller hotter fire is better then a large cool fire

    If you are having problems with pure wood fires why not try building a charcoal fire and supplementing it with wood splits.  Once you get that thick bed of embers you should be able to go all wood. 

    If you are having problems building a wood fire you may not have sufficient air getting to the fire. Make sure your dampers are wide open and that your fuel is nice and dry.   I like to start my fires with charcoal then I go to very small splits, 1 or 2 inches in diameter and then move to the larger 3 - 4 inch splits

    Welcome to the forum
  3. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I am not sure exactly what you mean by "smolder" as this could mean different things to different people, however as Al says burning embers are great for providing heat. I usually take the second option though and use the log splits on a bed of coals as I find this much more controllable in my smoker.
  4. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Big Holmes your terminology problem is with 'smolder'. Fire burners and electrics operate differently. As Al said, in an offset, smolder is not what you wish to see. You have the ability to achieve things an electric can not. Electrics require that ability to smolder to maintain a smoke because an electric can not be tended after the start whereas a fire burner requires it.

    A fire burner operates at higher temps and is adjusted by the perfect combustion through the firebox then thru the chamber by the inlet vent and the fuel.

    An Electric operates at lower more stable temps and is adjusted looking for a slow smolder using the discharge vent if possible. Even having a vent on an electric is a relatively new development.

    So unless you are operating an electric or "jury Rigging" a charcoal pit to use the minion with tin foil pellets you should never worry about smoldering.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
  5. bigholmes

    bigholmes Newbie

    Thank all of you guys i see i was doing it wrong!

    I wrote at 3 am after work i was a little tired lol.

    When i use charcoal in my offset i can never get my temps above 215.

    I also us a lot of charcoal as well and don't know why.

    I have actually taken the smoker apart and sealed it with wood stove cement.

    I wasn't leaving my stack fully open i will try that to.
  6. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Within limits, increased air flow over the wood/coals = greater heat. In general it is better to leave the stack fully open and control the air flow at the air intake. This will depend on the type of smoker that you are using though.
  7. bigholmes

    bigholmes Newbie

    I will try this saturday and let you know. I have a char broil offset horizontal.

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