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building fire with logs

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, i am new at this and i hope this isnt a stupid question, but i have never done this before so here it goes. I have an oklahoma joe barrel smoker. I was wanting to use mini pecan logs as my fuel source. How do prevent my meat (ribs and butt) from getting over smoked with just using logs. I have read so many horror stories about people over smoking the meat to the point to where it is ruined, so i am kind of paranoid to try it.
post #2 of 21
Keep the fire hot, not smoldering. Make a small fire that wont give of as much heat, just enuff to keep you at the temp you desire. I think where some folks get in trouble is, they get a good fire going, load up on wood, and cut the air back. This will tend to throw more smoke, possibly white and billowy for a long period of time. That ain't good.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Would one or two logs be enough to start out with?
post #4 of 21
How big are the logs, my peices of wood are 4-6"x16"long, I get a fire going, good bed of coles then start adding wood. I also have plenty of peices larger in dia. that I use also.
post #5 of 21
What Smokebuzz said. Keep it hot not smoldering. When you see thick white smoke billowing out you need to open your firebox door to let more air in so your logs catch fire again.
The first hour of my smoke is spent letting the wood make a nice coal bed. Let your wood burn down to a nice bed of hot coals before adding meat to your smoke chamber.

Actually I have been giving consideration to building a burn barrel. I think it will add alot of life to my snp firebox.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
where is the best place to get logs. i was just going to go to academy sports and get some of their bbq mini legs.

So lets just say that i started out with 4-6, 16 inch logs, i would i need to let that burn down to a bed a coals before i put meat on, and the thick white smoke means to let more air in, right?

One other thing... about how long will a fire that i just described burn.
If i did have to add more logs would i need to leave the fire box door open til the new logs burned to a bed of coals?

I really appreciate the the help guys!!
post #7 of 21
Build fire: use 4-5 pieces of split, dried hardwood (soda can diameter), leaving all doors and vents/dampers wide open initially.Light fire with kindling, (charcoal, fat lightered, Wesson oil soaked paper towel, etc.) or a propane brush burner; get a large fire going and wait until black smoke bellows out; then close cooker door to "propped open" (i.e. over closed latch). When flames come out of the fire box, close fire box door to "propped open" position (i.e. over closed latch). When temperature gauge reaches about 300 degrees Fahrenheit, open cooker door and spray/mist water inside on all surfaces. (This is the steaming process). Then, let fire re-heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit again and repeat spray/mist process. Steam cleaning inside entire cooking area. Then, add a large piece or two of split wood, close chimney damper to 45 degrees and fire box vents to almost closed. fires normaly last 1.5 hours and you need to add more wood. just put it in. and get back to cooking or use lump and have a chimmeny ready to dump in.
you will get the hang of it. but must do it to learn. just keep an eye on things and do not play with the dampers. remember temps move slowly.lol.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
oh ok thanks, so i dont have to let the fresh logs burn to coals right?
post #9 of 21

I thought the
chimney should normally be wide open.
post #10 of 21
no, you do not. as long as you have a nice hot bed of coal to keep her going all should be well, of course you have to keep an eye on vents ect.
post #11 of 21
well if you have TBS going and need heat. 45o is what I and others have done. with the chimmeny vent open you are losing a lot of heat.

nothing is set in stone. and I guess the bottom line is how every thing is working for you. If I add some new fuel and I see heavy smoke. well I will open up the chimmeny all the way and the firebx vents to get air flow tilll the fuel gets going good then back every thing down.

the more you use YOUR smoker and become familar with it. the easier it is to operate it. and all the good advise you recieve must be sorted out for your use. as some will not be approperate.
post #12 of 21
I wonder if that technique (closing the chimney damper) per Langs instructions is due to the fact it is a reverse flow design.

As per Horizons instructions:

" The Smokestack Damper, sometimes called the rain cap. is the secondary temperature control valve. The slide cap damper located on the top of the smokestack is normally open to the wide open position. It can be closed down to restrict the airflow that travels through the your smoker. This will result in a lower cooking temperature and an increased amount of smoke trapped in the cooking chamber."

Maybe different instructions for different designs.

The op has an Ok Joe that is pretty much the exact smoker as the Horizon.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
thanks everyone for your help. i think i got a good handle on it now!

Now does anybody have any suggestions on modifying the New braunfels oklahoma joe (the standard one not the deluxe)?
post #14 of 21


Try this:

Fire Control in the Offset Firebox Smoker

As a stick burner, I tend to have more hands on during my smoke sessions than the Electric, Gas or Pellet Smokers. But ,then that’s what I enjoy. The involvement in feeding the fire, controlling combustion, and just being close to my Pit. Conversation and friendships flourish in this environment; beer(or other drinks) are definitely in order, as are the snacks you will be creating as you monitor the progress.
And , the result of “showmanship” ensures only YOU are the GO-TO GUY for BBQ in your neighborhood.LOL!

O.K. Say you want to go with just wood. What is first?
Build a fire, be it with a chimney, gas support(weed burner), or the old Boy Scout way.
Let this fire burn until you have a good bed of embers(1 hr. or so). Next, adjust the intake to the temp . you want(your exhaust should be wide open and left that way the entire cook).Do the adjustments slowly and wait between moves.It takes a few to do it.Drink something.
(firewood. Should be about one year old, have no mold or bugs on it, and split to a size your smoker can handle.)

Size of your wood is a factor in maintenance of a fire.
In a smoker the size of “FLO”-(20”X40” with an upright) SFB I can use 16” sticks, split twice or appox. 4”X4”.

however in my New Braunsfeld-(16”X30”)SFB

I use 8” sticks , about 2”X2” in size.

What does this do for me?
I use a thermometer at the grate level of the smoke chamber and one in the thickest part of the meat I am smoking. This gives me a visual of what’s happening, tracking both the IMT(internal meat temp.) and the cooking level temp.
I try to keep the cooking temp. at 220*F to 225*F-giving me a window to work with when things start to change.
I watch for a 5*F to 10*F changes on the grate level therm. When I notice it going down, I add a piece of wood and open the intake just a wee bit, watch and shut it back down when stable. When it increases in temp., I’ll close it down, in increments, until stability occurs .This change can happen quick so be aware. If it gets out of hand you could be fighting an hour to stabilize it…
It takes a little more effort this way , but you will notice a great difference in the taste of your “Q”. I know circumstances call for alternate methods and different strokes for different people, but as for me……………………….
post #15 of 21
You can get the convection plate from horizon, you just need to know if your firebox bolts or welds onto the main chamber. If its a NB joes it should be welded.


If your firebox is bolted its probably one of the longhorn models
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the detailed instructions everyone! i cant wait for a day off so that i can smoke something!

What is the purpose of adding the convection plate?
post #17 of 21
It evens out the chamber temps from one end to another.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
good deal i will check that out!
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
one more question, when adding new wood to the fire, will it not produce the thick white smoke?
post #20 of 21
Adding new wood to an existing fire can give you the white billowing smoke. The wetter the wood, meaning not seasoned long enough, can do this. One thing that does help is to set the wood ontop of the firebox, this works well for offset smokers. Heating up the wood not only dried is out some, but brings the combustion temp closer. If you are not using a offset, you could so like some here do, and that is preburn your wood. Simply, you make a small fire and get the wood charred on the outside. When charred, put the splits out and add them as needed. I do this and it really decreases if not totally eliminates any white smoke.
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