Fire burning practices survey

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Sep 16, 2010
Salem, Oregon

Could everyone post their fire burning methods?  I would like to read all the different specifics of what works for you and your smoker-grill.  Please describe things like:

Basic description of smoker-grill unit (offset firebox, size and shape, direct flow/reverse flow/tuning plates, etc.)

Fuel (charcoal brand and type, wood, gas, mixture of same, etc.)

Methods of maintaining temps for extended cookouts

Any other tips pertaining to the use of the firebox, fire management, temperature control, etc.

Thank you for your cooperation.  Newbie to Forums... Love it!  Planning my own smoker-grill build.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Mar 12, 2009
Thornton, CO
I use Nature's Grilling Charcoal as the primary heat source with wood chunks for flavor.   I run a 20 by 36 Klose pit that has a 20 inch square firebox made of 1/2 inch plate.  In that is a 16 by 16 coal box that has an "S" shape pattern in it for doing a minion method burn.  I get 3 to 4 hours of constant temps from one load of coal.   Temp control is pretty easy with this method.  Just set the vents and let er rip.  Just remember to make small changes and give 15 minutes or so to see the effects before making any more changes.  You will find your smokers grove pretty quickly.


Smoking Guru
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
OTBS Admin
Group Lead
Jul 7, 2005
Midvale, UT
Lang 60 (reverse flow) Lay a bed of white oak (small logs or splits) 3 across the grate, then another row of 3 laid across the first (more layers if smoking in the winter). Open all intake vents, open the food chamber door and hit the logs with the weed burner- leave door to fire box open and let things burn. After about 20 minutes add a couple of splits of maple and one of cherry and swing firebox door latch to the closed position and swing door shut -door will remain partially open. Do the same thing with the food chamber latch and and close door on latch.   10 minutes later add meat to the food chamber and close the door. Close and latch firebox door.  Temps are usually around 300°-310°; begin closing air intakes until desired chamber temps are reaches 225°-235°. Add oak and maple splits as needed to maintain target chamber temps. If using the modified warming box as a smoke/cook chamber add additional wood to firebox to reach target temps.
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Smoking Fanatic
Sep 14, 2008
Smoker: CGSP. Side firebox with (homemade) divided charcoal basket.

Method: I fill the basket with RoyalOak lump coal, along with some chunks of smokewood. I fill a chimney with Cowboy lump coal. I light the chimney, and then when ready I dump it into the "upper left" corner of the basket - which then goes into the side firebox. It burns one one side of the divider, turns the corner, and then on the other side of the divider. While that's occurring I toss in split logs (sticks) of whatever smokewood I want to use - cherry, oak, maple, etc. I use temp gauges to keep an eye on things, and occasionally mop the meat.

For a long (overnight) smoke of a butt or brisket I will do the coal basket as above, then rig up a remote thermometer and go to sleep. It will alarm me when the smoke chamber temp falls below a certain point, at which point I'll toss more lump and a couple sticks onto the fire and go back to sleep. Rinse & repeat til done.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Jun 5, 2009
Portland, OR
Smoker: WSM 22.5"

Fuel: Royal Oak briquets and/or Royal Oak lump

Put one layer of briquets or lump on bottom of charcoal ring, spread about 5 or 6 chunks of flavor wood on top, fill ring rest of the way with briquets or lump, spread another 5 or 6 chunks of flavor wood on top, dump half a chimney of lit charcoal on top. Wait 10 minutes, assemble body of smoker and put water in the pan, when the lid therm gets to 200° I damp it down and wait for the temps to steady out around 230°. After that I can walk away for 10-12 hrs. and not have to worry about it. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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