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Keeping the Thin Blue Smok Flowing

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

All right, I have a modified offset smoker and have quite a bit of experience with smoking.  Recently I ordered a half cord of Pecan and so instead of my typical charcoal/wood process I want to utilize only the wood (since I made the investment and received a good deal, $50 for a half cord of Pecan is pretty good in my book).  Anyway, here is what I am trying to get answered . . .


First, how much wood should I start with.  Before the meat goes on the smoker, I need to get my fire going and if I am smoking more than four hours, I typically need to add wood.  Should I be using even more wood to start?


Second, if I add wood during the smoking process how do I add wood and avoid having a round with thick white smoke, or said another way . . . how do I add wood while still maintaining the thin blue smoke?  Do I have to actually start a fire with the new wood, get it going, and then add the burning wood?


Thanks for the 411!!!

post #2 of 7



It is going to be fun using all wood in a smaller off-set smoker.  I find a smaller hotter fire will give you better smoke and is easier to control the temps.  Maybe splits about the size of a beer can.  If you start with a bigger fire to get to temp and heat up the smoker let it come back down to embers and add a split or two at a time.  If you can get by with adding wood every 4 hours you have a tremendous offset smoker


If you have a large off-set you are still well served using the smaller splits,  they burn faster and more completely then whole logs.

post #3 of 7

I think your best bet would be to pre burn the wood to keep the temps more consistent check out this thread

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the posts folks!  I am firing up the smoker today and while i do not have a burn barrel, I have other grills I am going to try.  I noticed in the other link that someone used their gas grill to get the wood going before adding it to the smoker, I might give that a try too.


Regardless, instead of my 18 inch splits of wood, it looks like I need to get out my saw and cut them into thirds (or so).  "Beer can size" . . . did someone say beer?? drool.gif


I just had another thought, if they are small enough they will fit in my charcoal chimney.  I currently use my grill's side burner for my charcoal chimney, so I could load it up with wood instead of charcoal to get it going.  Again, the smaller pieces should make this possible.

post #5 of 7

Definitely pre-burn. Good luck! hope to see how it works

post #6 of 7

Troy, try reading my Wood burning 101 in the WIKI under instructionals . This will give you the basics of wood burning. The pre-burn is the best for starters and keeps a good constant heat , done right. Once you learn when to add sticks and how big they should be for your smoker ; you can add they direct into the SFB.


What you want is a small hot bed of "EMBERS" like this:


newshots034-1[1].jpg  Not a fully loaded box , but just enough of the heat to git it done , I hold a temp. of (+/-) 20*f of 225*f. Also get a GOOD Thermometer and keep it Calibrated with boiling water(212*f) for more accurate cooking chamber temps. AND a good one for the meat (the new Dual therms.  from Todd Johnson here on SMF are great.Cost appox. $80 , but you'll be glad you invested in one.)


There are guidelines for time of cooking , BUT , go by internal meat temp.(IMT) and monitor the Chamber heat.


Oh, yes. keep the exhaust FULLY open and cook to IMT using the intake on the FB to control the heat.



I am a Native Texan and lived in Temple , but found a pretty Yankee and hooked up with her.  I sure miss the Pecan and at $50 a 1/2 cord ; you stole that , but then Pecans are plentiful down there as Hickory and Maple is here , Have fun (lucky) with that good wood and if you can't use it all,send it to me. LOL


Have fun and...

post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by Troy Fuller View Post
I currently use my grill's side burner for my charcoal chimney, so I could load it up with wood instead of charcoal to get it going.  


You ever have one of the moments when you realize the solution to a problem you've been thinking about has been hiding in plain sight the whole time?  Every time I've ever walked to my smoker to find temps dropping and that I need to add more fuel, I've walked past not only a grill with a side burner, but also a 3 burner Camp Chef stove.  I cannot believe it never occurred to me to start a few charcoals that way.  D-U-M.

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