This is closely related to my other recent post on "Firebox Vent Size Survey".
So let's say I have a good fire of nice dry oak burning in my firebox for the past six hours - nice coals, etc. Too keep my smokebox down to 220 degrees, I find that I have to really choke off my firebox.
When I open my firebox door, I see that if I haven't recently put new wood in, the fire is a mass of glowing wood coals. Sometimes, immediately upon opening the firebox door, there is almost an explosion of fire - the gasses escaping from the wood suddenly (almost explosively) catch fire and the entire firebox is a huge fireball and flames shoot out the door.
Clearly, during a long slow burn, like for a pork butt, there are lots of unburnt gasses from the wood that just pass from the firebox and pass through the smokebox and up the exhaust. When I open the firebox door, a large amount of oxygen enters the firebox and I have a near-explosive event of these gasses igniting. After the initial burst of flames, the fire settles down to glowing coals with some flames above - i.e., with the door open, now the fire has enough oxygen to burn the gasses that are coming off my wood as it burns.
Wow, it's almost like I'm answering my own questions as I'm writing this. My question is whether this is a good situation? I'm wondering if a fire that is that choked down is doing whatever it is that makes for optimal smoking in a smoker?
The more I think about it, the fellow in my other thread who recommended that I get my fire off the firebox floor and onto a grate might well really be on to something. I can now see that if I get a bit more air moving through the fire, I would be burning those gasses that I am now not burning. I'll bet that would indeed burn much hotter - and so I would only need a much smaller fire in size. AND maybe burn cleaner (as it is, IMHO, my firebox makes more white smoke than I like).
Any thoughts on this? Am I out in left field with my thinking and understanding of what is going on in my firebox? Am I seemingly on the right track with my thinking?
Tampa Bay, Florida