1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Need Help with Using Oak

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by max8950, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. max8950

    max8950 Smoke Blower

    I have been smoking for 5 years with lump charcoal. Today I bought some seasoned oak and want to start using it in my vertical smoker and NBBD.

    This is my knowledge so far:

    1. The bigger the smoker the bigger log you can use

    2. If you choke down the fire too much you will get lots of bad smoke.

    3. You want a hot small fire vs. a big low temp fire

    4. If you are burning wood you have to check on it every 45 minutes or so

    I got some oak, cut it down to 10 inch splits and fired up the smoker tonight. I found the smoker on the side of the road, cleaned it up, painted it, and now I want to clean it out a bit. The inside smelled like lighter fluid when I got it. I took the fire up to 550 degrees and it was smelling good.

    Problems I could use yalls help with:

    1. It took a long time to get the logs to catch. I finally used lump charcoal to start the fire.

    2. Should my logs be on fire or just smoking shortly after I add them to the coals?

    3. Tonight it took me a long time for the big smoke to stop. I never really got the invisible smoke I am use to with the lump charcoal.

    4. The smell is much stronger using oak than I am use to. I am afraid it will make a bitter taste on the meat.

    5. I am not sure how small the wood I am adding needs to be. If I open the vents up too much the log lights on fire, If I close the vents down too much I get the dirty smoke.

    What are your thoughts? I have a big smoke planned for saturday and I would like to use the wood I just got.

    Max




     
  2. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Others with more experience with verticals will weigh in.

    My initial thoughts would lean toward lump charcoal with pre-burnt chunks of oak instead of sticks.

    Good luck and good smoking
     
  3. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hey max

    I can't believe you found this on the side of the road.  Why am I never so lucky??? Congrats

    Gary
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  4. bkleinsmid

    bkleinsmid Smoking Fanatic

    Max........I like oak for flavor so I use chucks or smaller splits.........lump/charcoal for my main heat source. I do notice a bit of white smoke when I add a chunk but that only lasts a couple of min. The only way I have been able to use it for my main heat was to have a separate fire going and shovel the coals into the smoker. Just more work than I want to deal with as watching my smoker is for the fun and relaxation......not to mention the food that comes out of it.

    Brad
     
  5. ravenclan

    ravenclan Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I have never had any luck with a "fire" in the horizontal smoker you have ,  but in my off-set smoker it works fine i can make a "fire" in the offset and fine tune the air flow to get it to burn , but i still ave to use some charcoal to get the fire going but after it is the fire works good , i also think you need smaller pieces of wood to get the wood to keep it burning . not length but width

    .

    good luck !
     
  6. GaryHibbert

    GaryHibbert Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Hey Venture

    You lost me with the preburnt wood?????????

    Gary
     
  7. Definitely split it smaller (like an inch or so square appx.), and I don't know if you'll be able to do this in your smoker, but in my offset, I put my next splits in the firebox away from the fire to pre-heat. They catch fire almost instantly that way. :)
     
  8. I always use oak in my pig roaster. I will start with charcoal, then add small split oak that has been soaked in water overnight. Each time I add more wood I will put a few lumps of charcoal to keep the wood going.
     
  9. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I think what he's talking about is having a wood fire on the side and you get that oak burning and you take a shovel full of hot coals out every now and then and you put those in the smoker. You see that a lot in pit type cooking. Not sure how well that would work in a smoker where you have to open the cooking chamber to add wood.
    Apologies to venture for jumping this answer...hope I got it right. :grilling_smilie:
     
  10. max8950

    max8950 Smoke Blower

    Well I smoked three briskets in my NBBD and they turned out incredible. I started with lump charcoal and then added a small split of oak every 30 minutes. Once the lump charcoal went out the wood was not staying lit. I have the dampeners open but the log still did not have enough oxygen. When I opened the firebox door the log would light but the temps got too high. I decided to chop the splits into big chunks and then adding 3 or 4 every 15 minutes. That worked great. I ran both dampeners open the entire 12 hour cook. I did not get a pic of the briskets but the smoke ring was 1/4 inch on both sides of the slices. I trimmed the fat cap to 1/4 inch and the smoke went into the meat on the fat side. Oak rules.