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Fire Management

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Smoked for 15 years on a small offset stick burner. Always had quite a fire going to keep the temp up. Decided to upgrade last year to a custom built 48"flat rack water smoker (similar to Myron Mixon design). In that smoker i cant have a good fire or it gets too hot. I do have a bbq guru fan and controler on it, but still fire kinda just sits and smolders. Ive really got to watch Brisket and ribs, they can get over smoked so i tend to wrap sooner. Reason i ask all of this is i just got a big green egg. I smoked the most perfect ribs on it....i mean perfect. Did a 3-2-1 method and smoke flavor was right where it should be. My question, that fire just sits there and smolders, had cherry wood mixed with the lump charcoal. They werent over smokey. In the flat rack do i need to fill it with more wood and let it smolder OR less wood and try to make a hotter smaller fire OR just wrap sooner. Thanks for any thoughts...this site is invaluable.
post #2 of 7
I can't tell you anything about the BGE. My step-son has one and he tells me about some of the recipes and temps. I really can't believe it. They sound way hot to me. I could never feel comfortable at those temps. Maybe some others will be by soon that have some actual egg experience.
post #3 of 7

Never have used a water smoker but I do know a thing or two about fire management. I have two trailer stick burners. One vertical offset one horizontal offset. The vertical smoker also has a wood fired Santa Maria grill on it. This weekend I had all 3 fired up at the same time managing 3 different fires in 3 different style smokers.

My first advice would be to get rid of the electronics and take control of the fire yourself.

 

If your water smoker gets too hot with a larger fire go small. Small splits but keep some flame going. A smoldering fire is always going to produce creosote tasting food.  Try splits from 2 to 3 inches with a small flame fire. You will have to tend it more but that may just be a side product of that style smoker. Or you could use a burn barrel. Burn your large splits in a burn barrel and then take the coals from the burn barrel and shovel as many as needed into the water smoker to maintain temp.

Some pics of your water smoker may help in giving you advice.

post #4 of 7

In an offset or a reverse flow smoker....   You want a bed of coals that it way too big and hot for the smoker.....

 

THEN, you control the heat of the fire with the lower Fire Box air inlet, and the upper air inlet moves that heat to the Cook Chamber to cook the food.... 

 

 

The wood / fuel should be on a grate about 5-6" off of the bottom of the FB so air can flow to the fire from below... 

 

Given time and enough practice controlling the heat, you can idle the fire and move that heat to the food...

 

If the fire is too small, you can't get enough heat to the cook chamber and you will be fighting to maintain the temp...   With a fire that is WAY too BIG, you can shut down the lower air inlet to cool it off and open the upper air inlet to move that heat from the FB to the CC.....

 

All of this depends on an AIR TIGHT smoker...  if it ain't air tight, you will have many problems....

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Pics attached. BGE wasnt hot, ran 225 the entire time. Thanks for the comments


quote name="3montes" url="/t/247868/fire-management#post_1575063"]Never have used a water smoker but I do know a thing or two about fire management. I have two trailer stick burners. One vertical offset one horizontal offset. The vertical smoker also has a wood fired Santa Maria grill on it. This weekend I had all 3 fired up at the same time managing 3 different fires in 3 different style smokers.
My first advice would be to get rid of the electronics and take control of the fire yourself.

If your water smoker gets too hot with a larger fire go small. Small splits but keep some flame going. A smoldering fire is always going to produce creosote tasting food.  Try splits from 2 to 3 inches with a small flame fire. You will have to tend it more but that may just be a side product of that style smoker. Or you could use a burn barrel. Burn your large splits in a burn barrel and then take the coals from the burn barrel and shovel as many as needed into the water smoker to maintain temp.
Some pics of your water smoker may help in giving you advice.
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post #6 of 7

 

I have a BGE and love it for ribs and tri tip.  Because of the dome design, it really doesn't just smolder.  It creates a convection and really does circulate the heat (and smoke).  Of course we can't see that happening because the magic stops whenever we raise the lid.  Also, the ceramic is a great insulator and that helps retain the heat so it's not leaching through which helps maintain a pretty constant temp.

(Yeah, yeah, I know..I started carving with the grain on the picture.)

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. I couldnt get my darn pics to load. Ill try from a computer
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