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How to start wood fire for smoker

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, new member here, lst night I picked up a Char-griller "DUO". This is my first "fire" smoker, my previous smoker was an electric smoker, so no fire.

My question is, how do I start the fire w/ the hickory chunks I bought??

I did also buy the "fire box" that attaches to the side for a true smoker.

So do I start w/ lump coal, and wait till the embers turn grayish and then start adding the hickory???? Or do I do as the bag says and create a pyramid and light it on fire???

If I go lump coal route, how long before I start placing the meat inside the 2nd chamber???
post #2 of 16
Get the lump going and covered in grey. Meanwhile..read this:
post #3 of 16
It doesn't really have anything to do with the looks of the coals. The 2 main things are Temp and thin blue smoke.

This will take time and practice. You'll want to build your fire to reach the desired temp depending on the meat type.
Once your temps are stable and your smoke is thin you can add the meat!
post #4 of 16
I use a chimney to start my coals... wait about 10 minutes until they are going good and then pour them into the firebox. Spread them out a bit (not too thin, but not in a big pile either), then top them with a good amount of fresh lump. That usually gets my tems up and holds em where I need em for the first couple of hours. As for my wood, I place a few sticks or chunks off to the side of the hot coals. Not on top, and not even really touching, just near the coals where the wood can smolder. You don't really want fire, you just need heat (from the coals) and a wee amount of smoke from the wood. If you burn the wood you will likely get thick whilte billowing smoke... not necessary (or preferred) , and your wood will burn up quick, causing you to go through a lot of it. You just want what they call "Thin Blue Smoke", which will take some time to master, but try what I have described and you'll get the hang of it in no time.

Oh, as for when I put my meat on... usually right after I get the coals poured in. I don't think there is any reason to wait for temps to get stable as you will likely spike your tems anyway when you open the door. Get the coals poured in and arranged, pile on the meat, then watch your thermo to adjust temps using the firebox baffle. The stack on the pit should stay wide open. Once that is done, sit back and enjoy a cold one.

When you don't see any more smoke, move that piece of wood (which will likely look like a chunk of lump by that time), to the coal pile, add more lump if necessary, add a fresh chunk or two of wood and repeat the "cold one" part mentioned above.

Hope this helps!

Edit: I wasn't trying to trump glued's advice about when to put the meat on... I must have been writing when he posted. But, none the less, this is the way I do it and I think as long as you keep you temps around your target you might as well make use of the heat (fuel) you are using. Either way, the time frame for putting the meat on shouldn't differ greatly since it really only takes 5 minutes or so to get the pit stable once the coals are on.
post #5 of 16
I have a Brinkmann smoke n pit.. I'll assume it's much the same as yours. It has a side fire box..

I start out with about 5 lbs of charcoal.. (I'll admit I use briquets at the moment) once it gets a nice ash going, I level them out and from then on out.. I use seasoned pre-burned apple wood as fuel.

For the smoky flavor.. I use some halfway fresh apple wood. Or apple chunks soaked in rain water.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Excellent advice guys. So I see alot of people are using "Richtee's" method. K5YAC, thats an interesting approach, I guess I will have to test both methods and see which one works the best for me.

So looks like I will be buying a chimney to pre-burn some wood and lump coal.
post #7 of 16
The chimney is for starting the charcoal..
If you want to pre burn wood, You probably need a fire pit.

Unless your talking about pre-burning your little chunks of wood.. I don't think thats really needed..

I pre-burn my wood.. just because I use whole logs as fuel .. not little pieces of chunk.. that I throw just in without pre burning it for the smoky flavor.
post #8 of 16
DMan for the smaller pits it REALLY helps. Big fireboxes have much different thermodynamic properties than small ones.
post #9 of 16
Ok guys but the big question is yet unanswered. How do you explain to the wife that your burning the wood before you really burn it? eek.gif
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Sooooooooooooooo, would you guys think for the model I have it would benefit me to do the pre-burn???

(I also have the side fire box)

post #11 of 16
Ask her if the dishes are done?!?
post #12 of 16
Probably. That's a "small pit". Look up Lang. That's a "big pit" ;{)
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yeah, Im starting to pick up the "lingo" around here. One day, I will either have a BBQ/smoke house joint or a smoker on a trailer PDT_Armataz_01_34.gifPDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #14 of 16
Me too. When I grow up - - which, actually... I kind of hate to do! LOL
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've done a few parties...basically catering n' stuff.

I acutally placed an ad in Craigs List last summer and got a couple bites that paid pretty decently.
post #16 of 16

I am the happy owner of an old Oklahoma Joe 16" smoker.


When looking at the fire chamber, it looks like this smoker was buildt for using wood and not charcoal or briquettes. The fire chamber can take a lumb of wood, whereas the newer seems to be shorter.


Have anyone smoked some meat just using wood in this forum ?


Regards from Denmark



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