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New to forum and smoking, wood question

MMC

Newbie
9
9
Joined Feb 19, 2020
Hello everyone!
I just got my first offset smoker, a OKJ Highland reverse flow. Did my first cook this last weekend. I used a 50/50 combination of store bought Cowboy Brand Hickory Logs and Kiln dried oak from a local wood supplier. I live in Brooklyn, NY so as you can imagine there’s not a lot of easy places to find firewood nearby. I did a 2.5 hour smoke at 275 before wrapping. As I was quickly running out of Hickory I decided to use only Oak after wrapping. I was having difficulty keeping it lit. I was keeping the large firebox door open for 5 minutes or so after putting on new logs to give them time to really catch, which they did, but upon closing the firebox door they wouldn’t keep well lit. I was keeping the vents open at the way, and even cracking the vent door a few inches but couldn’t get over 225 or so. I bought a moisture meter and the Oak was reading around 20-21% on a freshly cut end. I can only find Kiln dried wood immediately around NYC, I’m wondering if I should be seasoning the kiln dried oak longer to get a good burn, or what mistakes I was making. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
Matt
 

sawhorseray

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Oct 17, 2014
Welcome from Gilbert, AZ, you landed in a great spot Matt! Since moving from California eight months back I've been using these hickory splits from Cabelas. The splits actually need to be split again quite often, a 3 pound single jack and a hand ax does the job quite nicely. It's not as cost effective as driving out into the woods and chopping up your own, but then there's the fact you won't be burning up any gas, it arrives at your doorstep, and you won't require a trip to the ER to get your leg sown back on! RAY

 

WildewoodBBQ

Smoke Blower
101
103
Joined Jan 3, 2020
Congrats on your first smoke!! I’m in the process of refurbishing one of those smokers I picked up used last month...

That being said, I have heard that it can be harder to keep temp up on these, it’s good to leave the air inlet door cracked open, not just the air vent.. were you reading the temp off the factory temp gauge at the top or have you added an additional thermometer closer to grate level?

I have also not had personal experience with it yet, but B & B makes a hardwood lump charcoal that burns very consistently and puts off good heat. It’s also very reasonably priced at an Ace Hardware, only $16-$17 per 20lb bag.

What were you making if you don’t mind me asking? Ribs?
 

MMC

Newbie
9
9
Joined Feb 19, 2020
Welcome from Gilbert, AZ, you landed in a great spot Matt! Since moving from California eight months back I've been using these hickory splits from Cabelas. The splits actually need to be split again quite often, a 3 pound single jack and a hand ax does the job quite nicely. It's not as cost effective as driving out into the woods and chopping up your own, but then there's the fact you won't be burning up any gas, it arrives at your doorstep, and you won't require a trip to the ER to get your leg sown back on! RAY

Welcome from Gilbert, AZ, you landed in a great spot Matt! Since moving from California eight months back I've been using these hickory splits from Cabelas. The splits actually need to be split again quite often, a 3 pound single jack and a hand ax does the job quite nicely. It's not as cost effective as driving out into the woods and chopping up your own, but then there's the fact you won't be burning up any gas, it arrives at your doorstep, and you won't require a trip to the ER to get your leg sown back on! RAY

Hey Ray!
Yeah, that’s a much better deal than the .75 cubic feet of Hickory I got at Lowe’s for $20. I like the guys I got the Oak from locally they will sell me double split Oak for $16 a bundle which seems about what people charge here in the city. Just trying to figure out if I should season them longer after the kiln drying to get a better burn. Planning on some long brisket cooks and hoping to keep my wood prices down with longer burning Oak... if I can actually get it to burn well.
 

MMC

Newbie
9
9
Joined Feb 19, 2020
Congrats on your first smoke!! I’m in the process of refurbishing one of those smokers I picked up used last month...

That being said, I have heard that it can be harder to keep temp up on these, it’s good to leave the air inlet door cracked open, not just the air vent.. were you reading the temp off the factory temp gauge at the top or have you added an additional thermometer closer to grate level?

I have also not had personal experience with it yet, but B & B makes a hardwood lump charcoal that burns very consistently and puts off good heat. It’s also very reasonably priced at an Ace Hardware, only $16-$17 per 20lb bag.

What were you making if you don’t mind me asking? Ribs?
This is my first offset, only smoked on a kettle before. I did the whole firebox sealing with RTV silicone and gasket and sealed the cook chamber with Gaskets as well and it’s not leaking any smoke. Metals not as thick as those $1000 units but not a bad smoker for $200 (on sale). Did a few racks of ST Louis ribs and they turned out great. Didn’t have a problem keeping temps with the Hickory/Oak mix. I think the store bought Hickory burned well(but burned up fast) went through the whole .75 cubic foot bag in 3 hours.
 

MMC

Newbie
9
9
Joined Feb 19, 2020
This is my first offset, only smoked on a kettle before. I did the whole firebox sealing with RTV silicone and gasket and sealed the cook chamber with Gaskets as well and it’s not leaking any smoke. Metals not as thick as those $1000 units but not a bad smoker for $200 (on sale). Did a few racks of ST Louis ribs and they turned out great. Didn’t have a problem keeping temps with the Hickory/Oak mix. I think the store bought Hickory burned well(but burned up fast) went through the whole .75 cubic foot bag in 3 hours.
And I am running a grate level Thermoworks smoke thermometer. :)
 

HalfSmoked

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
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Joined Jun 11, 2015
Lot of good info as is the basis of this forum. A great place for info and support.

Warren
 

sawhorseray

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
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Joined Oct 17, 2014
Hey Ray! Yeah, that’s a much better deal than the .75 cubic feet of Hickory I got at Lowe’s for $20. I like the guys I got the Oak from locally they will sell me double split Oak for $16 a bundle which seems about what people charge here in the city. Just trying to figure out if I should season them longer after the kiln drying to get a better burn. Planning on some long brisket cooks and hoping to keep my wood prices down with longer burning Oak... if I can actually get it to burn well.
It certainly wouldn't hurt to store the wood inside someplace and let it dry out a bit longer Matt. Another great piece of advice came from gmc2003 gmc2003 , get some Royal Oak lump charcoal and combine it with wood for your fire. My SQ36 just eats wood up on a long smoke like a porkbutt or beef ribs, it takes what it takes. Cabelas also sells bags of wood chunks that work well with charcoal, got a lot of different flavors. Whatever you decide on you'll want your wood as dry as possible, wet wood will give you bad smoke. Take some pics, post up your cooks! RAY

 

SecondHandSmoker

Master of the Pit
★ Lifetime Premier ★
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Joined Jun 30, 2018
Everyone has given you great advice especially about using charcoal for heat and then adding the splits for smoke production.
You could also try warming up the wood splits first by placing them on the top rack for a few minutes before tossing them into the firebox.
 

MMC

Newbie
9
9
Joined Feb 19, 2020
One other option would be to burn charcoal with wood chunks mixed in. I wonder if you may have more options for wood on Staten or Long island?

Chris
The place I used was in the Bronx, only a 30min drive (6 miles) when traffic is mellow. NY traffic is no joke. Nice guys though. They brought me in the back and let me pick through the bundles they had and pick what I wanted. And if I call ahead they will double split the splits for a better fit in my firebox. There’s a place in Jersey and deep out in Long Island as well I’m looking into as well. Google hasn’t found me anything in Staten Is, Surprisingly.
 

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