I read the notes the site gave about starting a wood fire and starting a charcoal fire. I've used my smoker several times (Horizon Marshall) and each time I've had trouble with the cooking temp. I've been starting out with lump charcoal and then adding wood when the coals are glowing to get the smoke. Is this good? It's hard for me to get a lot of wood for a low price because I have to get it off the web. Anyone have any ideas?
Problems with starting a fire...
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One trick I learned here from someone is not to put the wood directly on the coals. I purchased a charcoal basket that has helped me. I have a Yoder Wichita 20" (SFB) smoker. Once I get the temp up to the desired temp. I wedge my wood between the charcoal basket and the side of the firebox near the opening to the cooking chamber. The wood burns slower and lasts a lot longer. Most of the time you avoid that dreaded white smoke in the beginning after adding your wood. Before doing this method I was placing the wood directly on the hot coals and I went through quite a bit of wood during the smoking period. This has significantly reduced the amount of wood I use. I've used this method with splits as well large chunks. I also keep the wood not being used on top of the fire box so that it is good and hot before adding. That seems to help with getting that nice TBS everyone looks for.
I believe it was CWalk that taught me this trick.