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Adding Charcoal in the Wood Pan

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by darthtrader, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. darthtrader

    darthtrader Newbie

    I've read very brief comments about how some members add charcoal briquettes to their propane smoker wood pans.  I assume this is to get some of that charcoal flavor into the smoke.  Any other reasons besides that?  For those of you who do this, do you stack a specific way or just mix it in with the wood?  Do you let the charcoal smoke first before adding wood?
     
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use charcoal for a few reasons, but not that often...they are:

    1) If cold smoking (110-120*) my cured jerky prior to drying, I've added hot coals for some heat and to get the smoke wood going without lighting the burner until I begin drying the jerky. When using this method I only use 6-8 briqs depending on ambient temps, wind, etc. I place the briqs touching each other, but not stacked, and put smoke wood touching the edge, while sometimes putting the wood on top of the briqs if I need, just to get it smoking;

    2) For added flavor, as there is a noticable difference between chacoal fired and propane fired smokes, IMO. In this case, I keep the smoke wood(s) seperate from the charcoal unless I need extra heat to get the smoke wood started. Mostly, I just crank the burner to high flame when I start the smoke until I start smelling smoke, then back it off to reach the desired smoke chamber temp;

    As for the actual smoke from the charcoal, I find it's best to get the coals heated up (if not burning) before adding any meat to the smoke chamber. Cold briquettes give off a very strong (and rather foul, IMO) smoke when they first get hot. Once that initial smoke has passed, you're good to go. I don't like to add cold briqs to the fire box in a charcoal smoker for this same reason. I get them at least to a partial burn in the chimney first, and this releases that initial smoke pretty well.

    Eric
     
    darthtrader and norbie85 like this.
  3. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    [​IMG]

    Now I have also tried to low temp smoke with my propane and I can only get it down to maybe 140°ish or so. I needed it more like 80° and then raise it. Now I have found that a single hot plate works much better and you can get them at CVS for maybe 10 bucks or so. 
     
  4. I never smoke without charcoal.  Follow the advise from Eric:

    2) For added flavor, as there is a noticable difference between chacoal fired and propane fired smokes, IMO. In this case, I keep the smoke wood(s) seperate from the charcoal unless I need extra heat to get the smoke wood started. Mostly, I just crank the burner to high flame when I start the smoke until I start smelling smoke, then back it off to reach the desired smoke chamber temp;

     

    As for the actual smoke from the charcoal, I find it's best to get the coals heated up (if not burning) before adding any meat to the smoke chamber. Cold briquettes give off a very strong (and rather foul, IMO) smoke when they first get hot. Once that initial smoke has passed, you're good to go. I don't like to add cold briqs to the fire box in a charcoal smoker for this same reason. I get them at least to a partial burn in the chimney first, and this releases that initial smoke pretty well.  
     
  5. This is by far the dumbest thread I have read... Get real guys this is a waste of time.
     
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Forluvofsmoke...aka Eric...Is among the most TALENTED and PROLIFIC Smokers in our family...He is Highly Respected and a Trusted Source, you don't get OTBS Status for nothing!...You might want to discuss, Why he does a technique before making a general statement...Just Saying...Welcome to the SMF Family!...JJ
     
     
  7. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I gotta agree with JJ on that. Eric is a master smoker & his remarks are always well thought out & documented.
     
  8. tt ace

    tt ace Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    I agree with you guys.  I found this to be of help to me with my propane smoker.  There are different techniques and ideas for everyone.  I haven't used any charcoal with my smoker, but this does open up the possibility that I will.
     
  9. michael ark

    michael ark Master of the Pit

    I agree  with JJ and AL .While i never use charcoal.His post made perfect sense .Maybe he just above you skill set and understanding of tbs after all he is otbs.[​IMG]I don't use charcoal because my GOSM wide body is not set up to have 2 fires in it.I can't control the temps when using charcoal no lower adjustable vents. Just a air intake on bottom.
     
  10. cobramo

    cobramo Newbie

    I have used charcoal in my propane smoker for flavor but I don't use Kingsford or something similar, to many additives and I think you get that taste in the meat. I use a lump charcoal made from hard woods with no chemical added. I use this same charcoal as a base for all my smoking needs it works really well. I like Desi's idea of getting the charcoal started before adding to you're existing fire.
     
  11. smokininidaho

    smokininidaho Meat Mopper

    I use Royal Oak in my GOSM, use a chimney to get it going, get it burning  and then put it in the GOSM with some apple and cherry chunks on the bottom of the pan, put  the hot coals on top of the wood a few chips and small chunks on top and you have some great smoke and flavor going into your food, nice smoke ring is a bonus.
     
  12. Well I cheat more than that. I use a propane torch to get my wood chips started. Takes about five minutes and your ready to smoke....  [​IMG]
     
  13. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I believe I've read that it enhances the smoke ring as well. I know some folks use charcoal in an electric smoker for that reason. I'm not sure if propane has the same issues with a smoke ring as electric though.

    Edit** DOH, just realized this is an old post. Hope the OP got all the answers he needed long ago!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  14. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    With adequate chamber hunidity, my propane rigs produce a very respectable smoke ring. Electric won't give you that without pulling a trick or two.

    Man, this IS an old thread! Ihad to read back to remember it...nothing wrong with pulling up old discussions, though...everyone here is still learning at least a few things yet, right? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!


    Eric
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  15. Knowing what they put in charcoal briquettes I would not use anything other than real "lump" charcoal.
     
  16. ches

    ches Newbie

    I have to say, I am very green at smoking, and this thread got me thinking.  I have no put raw briquets onto my existing coal in the past, I don't do it when I am cooking out, but did not know why, interesting.  I use coal to get things going then use apple or cherry wood for smoke then heat.  Thanks for the info.

    Ches.
     
  17. Well you are entitled to your opinion, as we are all. I don't know how good or bad Eric is. BUT, you should include WHY you believe him to be wrong. Anybody can be a "bomb thrower". Now how about backing it up?
     
  18. pastorgadget

    pastorgadget Smoke Blower

    I have a the Masterbuilt Dual fuel smoker and one of the benefits I thought about was that i could add charcoal if I wanted. It also provides a back up if I run out of propane, I usually have a spare tank but I have been caught with just one tank when grilling. So the Dual Fuel was a plus for me for using charcoal as a heat source if I choose and back up heat source.  
     
  19. I'm glad I found this thread.  I learned some good info on what type charcoal to try in my gas smoker, and how to prep it.  Speaking of smoke ring, I got a pretty decent one on my beef roast the other day.  Mind you, this is my first smoker, so I'm still in a big learning curve.  Thanks for all the great ideas!
     
  20. If you folks are looking for true smoke flavor in your gas or electric smokers, you all are working way to hard with the chips and charcoal, to much mess to clean up and as mentioned the possibility of chemical taste, the easiest and cleanest way to get true smoke flavor on these units is to use what we competition cookers are using, look up MoJobrickfire on the web, this is a company that makes what resembles a large wood pellet made for either wood fired, gas fired or eletric smokers, they are 100% wood, no fillers or chemicals, they come in cherry, hickory, mapple ( maple/apple ) and a competition blend, you will be amazed at the results in your end product, tell them tony from Panther Mountain BBQ passed this on to you !!