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New to stick burning

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello all, my name is Corey and I'm from Bensalem, PA. I just bought an Old Country Pecos smoker and seasoned it and fired it up. First cook was terrible, had trouble keeping temp above 220 degrees. I used charcoal and Apple chunks, flue wide open and firebox door half open. It was really hard to keep temp with the bed of charcoal and chunks. Look forward to advice to keep temps up. I'll be adding nomex BBQ gasket to my lid this week in hopes to retain some of the lost heat from the loosely sealed lid and firebox. Thanks for welcoming me 


I love BBQ, have experience with electric smokers, need to learn my offset.

post #2 of 10

texas.gif  Good morning and welcome to the forum, from a sunny and cool day in East Texas. Lots of great people with tons of information on just about  everything 



post #3 of 10

  Glad to have you with us slimc. That Pecos is a nice sfb. After the gasket, I would suggest a charcoal basket. That made a big difference for me!



post #4 of 10

Glad you joined the group. The search bar at the top of any page is your best friend.
About anything you wanna know about smoking/grilling/curing/brining/cutting or slicing
and the list goes on has probably been posted. Remember to post a QVIEW of your smokes.
We are all smoke junkies here and we have to get our fix. If you have questions
Post it and you will probably get 10 replies with 11 different answers. That is
because their are so many different ways to make great Q...
Happy smoken.

post #5 of 10
I had same issue with my Oklahoma Joe. I could add a lot more charcoal and get temps up but would not last very long. I ditched the charcoal basket and started using wood and all is good now. The trick with wood is it needs to be very small (beer can size). Once I get a nice small bed of coals temps are easy to adjust. If you need more temp add more wood.
post #6 of 10
Always keep the exhaust stack wide open. Control heat with inlet dampers and amount of fuel.

I have a 36" offset with 1/4" steel. It's hard to heat that much mass up with just charcoal. In my first run with my smoker I used charcoal and chunks and couldn't keep temps past 210. I also had a few design flaws that needed tweaking. Now I burn just wood and can easily get 325+

I would suggest starting with a little charcoal or lump that is pre-lit in a chimney. Then you add wood splits on top from there to get a real fire going. The more wood you add, the hotter the fire gets. I usually have splits about 6"-8" in length and 2-3" in diameter. I will stack them on top of my charcoal to get my fire going. And through the entire course of the smoke I just burn wood. Eventually the charcoal burns out but you will have created a bed of embers from the wood. The trick is keeping the ember bed going by keeping your fire continuously burning. I stack the wood criss crossed - 2 logs parallel to each other about 3"-4" apart on top of the embers, and then lay 1-2 splits across the 2 bottom logs perpendicularly. That type of stacking seems to really generate a lot of heat for me. The more wood I stack on, the hotter the fire gets. And of course you also adjust dampers for further temp control.

Also, did I mention keeping the ember bed going? This will ensure you constantly have burning logs, not smoldering logs. Smoldering fires will put off creosote. You want to have a hot burning fire.

post #7 of 10
Looks like these guys gotcha covered.
I'm local and work in Bensalem if your ever stuck pm me, I can always swing by for a looksee!
post #8 of 10
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the link
post #10 of 10

Slimc , hello. Give my method a try and see if your task is easier. Stick burning is a hands on project , but the rewards are far superior than any other method.


You get a good Smoke Ring , good Bark , full flavor, and the pleasure of saying You are a real BBQer..


Have a great Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas , and as always . . .

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