help the new guy with fuel

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by joepo89, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. joepo89

    joepo89 Newbie

    Hey guys, I am very new to smoking and have a question regarding the fuel. I have an offset smoker and plan on smoking spare ribs this weekend. One of my biggest questions is about the fuel for the grill. Is it mostly charcoal with a bit of wood to get that "blue smoke" or mostly wood? Also, as the time goes by, how do I keep the temperature steady? Thanks guys!
  2. icyhot

    icyhot Smoking Fanatic

    Either way is fine. As far as how to keep temps u will just have to play with it on a few dry runs and go from there.
  3. Hello.  You need to do a few modifications to that smoker to help with temp control.  Without meat, get a fire going in there to create smoke.  Small fire, BIG smoke!  You can even spray a little water on the coals to create BIG white smoke.  What you want to do is see where the smoke leaks are.  Mark the leaks, open the lid and allow the fire to burn down or go out.  When the smoker cools seal every leak you can using stove rope, high temp silicone, bbq gasket and such.  Next, if you have a thin flimsy fire grate use it as a template and build or have built a grate out of 1/2" concrete reinforcing steel ( rebar ).  That thin grate will sag with heat and will rest on the ash cutting off air flow to your coals.  No air flow no heat.  Other option is build a charcoal basket.  You can find baskets in the build section.  Leave that exhaust fully open and use the intake vent to control the heat.  Last tip is go buy a cheap garden trowel.  Knock the wooden handle off and weld a 2-2 1/2' piece of that rebar to the shovel.  Now you can gently scoop out the ash without them blowing all over your meat and you won't burn your hands.  Let us know if you have other questions.  Have fun.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

  4. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to the board!

    Charcoal: familiarize yourself with "lump" charcoal, as it ignites with less stink than briquettes, especially cheap ones. You can run any ratio of charcoal : wood; the more wood, the more smoke flavor. You might like mostly charcoal with just a moderate flavor of a bit of wood.

    You will almost certainly need to add fuel as you cook, and only experience will teach you what works best.

    Consider learning with chicken, as it's inexpensive and you're not risking big $$ on a possible flop.

    Use the Search to look up your model of smoker and see how people modify and use them. Check my sig link for an example of playing with an offset.
  5. you can go either way, when i had a smaller offset smoker i used charcoal and 2 pieces of wood, the key is to let the fire burn down to embers, and cook with them (embers) that is the way to get the blue smoke from a charcoal-stick burner.

  6. cat797

    cat797 Newbie

    What type of offset is it?

    For mine (which is built from a 120 gallon propane tank) when I start it, I usually start with two chimneys of charcoal and two splits.  I let that burn down to coals and go from there, feeding it 1-2 splits per hour to maintain my target of 225-250.  Sometimes if my coal base gets too depleted, I will add another chimney of ashed over charcoal.  It is personal preference.  The key is you want to maintain a small, hot fire in an offset, as opposed to trying to choke off a fire.  You will have get into a rhythm of feeding it every so often to maintain temp.

    All the best,

  7. stabone

    stabone Fire Starter

    ^This. I'd start with some charcoal to get things started and then add your wood to burn for fuel. The charcoal will really just help keep your temps stable during the cook. 

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