Lang Smoker Questions

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 14, 2014
Im still learning how to use my new Lang Smoker. I have the 84 deluxe. I think Im getting closer to what I need to do to have good bbq every time. Im going to write what I think I learn so far and any lang owners can let me know if Im close or flat out wrong etc.

1. The first time I fired up my pit I had a good size bed of hot coals and had little wood on fire. At 350 degrees I made crispy chicken. I made bbq chicken with the perfect skin. Yesterday I made chicken and the skin was like rubber and had a over powering wood flavor. So the first time I had a good size bed of hot coals and the second time I had wood on fire and my guess is you don't want to cook with wood on fire as your main heat. You want the heat to come from a good bed of coals and just throw small wood on the coals to keep the bed of coals going. 

2. Last night when I was starting my bbq I was trying to get it up to temp fast and when it was 250 degrees it was only that hot because wood was on fire and my temp was not consistent. I was adding wood just to keep the temp and at the end my food had a over powering wood flavor. So my guess is next time I need to get the temp up where I want just with hot coals and add wood pieces just to keep coals. 

3. I also think Im using too big of wood. I have them split in half but the half i think it still too big. Im told it should be the size of a softball wide. Well half split is bigger than that. what size wood do you all use.

If I want to get my Lang up to cooking temp fast what is the best way. My next time I need to get it up fast Im going to put a big bag of charcoal and light that with a torch and add small wood chunks on top of that and fire them up with a torch and try to get a good bed of coals. I just need to get my bbq up to temp in 30 mins or less.

Any help would be cool. Im going to read whats on here for Lang smokers but I know if I talk to people using the same kind of smokers I will learn more about my cooker.

Let me know what smoker you use. size etc. Thanks
make sure you have consistency in the quality of your firewood. You want to use well seasoned firewood as wet firewood will not burn as hot and give off too much creosote giving your food overpowering wood flavor. You want to have clean smoke coming off the stack, no matter if the wood is in flames as long as the smoke is close to clear, you should have consistent results all the time. I am still learning to use my lang after 5 months of owning one, but I am getting better. Happy smoking!
You need to take your time and prep your smoker properly.  Get it up to 350 degree and give a good cleaning, spray down the inside with water, scrub the grates.  Allow to get back up to about 300 then load the smoke chamber.  One advantage of a good RF is the amount of steel in the pit.  Once it gets hot it will hold temps pretty well.

As far as fuel, I use charcoal to get my fire started and then it's all wood from there.  Get a good bed of coals feed in 2 or 3 splits.  A split is  10-14 inches long about as big around as a beer can and so dry that they "ring" when you strike them together.  Smaller is better then larger.

The only way you should be getting any kind of overpowering flavors is if you are cooking with white or stagnant smoke.   Keep the fire hot, keep it small.

I agree a good bed of coals goes a long way to keeping a steady heat so build it with the ashes of good wood.

One more thing, cook with the stack fully open, you don't want any of that smoke hanging around in the cook chamber.  ChipolteQ gave you some good direction.

What kind of wood are you using?
I have a Lang 36 but the size doesn't matter because all smokers regardless of size work the same way. You want to start your cook AFTER you get a nice bed of coals and the bed can consist of charcoal, lump charcoal or wood. Cooking on a blazing fire doesn't work. I use  wood the size of cook cans.

I don't know if you're trusting the Lang temperature gauge or using a digital thermometer. Lets assume you're relying on the Lang gauge. Up to about 250F it's pretty accurate. Above that temperature it starts going off and the higher the temp the worse it gets. The reason is that it's a bi-metal unit and that technology was developed in the 1800's!! You need to obtain a digital thermometer and the Maverick ET-85 or the ET-732 are good choices. They are a bit expensive but ruining meat is also expensive. The THERMOPEN is also excellent.

As Alblancher indicated, you've got to be a bit more patient getting your rig up to temperature. Start the fire, crack open a cool one or have a glass of wine. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes for the unit to reach cooking temperature. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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