Question for the percussionists

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by donnylove, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. donnylove

    donnylove Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member


    I'm building my first drum smoker this week and I want to make sure my smoke technique is correct. I've gathered that a guy should use lump charcoal instead of briquettes, so I bought some Royal Oak. I've also gathered that I should fill my basket and then get a hand full of coals ready in the chimney to set in the middle on top. Correct so far?

    My main question is, where does the wood for smoke come in? Do I just mix some chunks in with the lump?

  2. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You don't have to use lump but that's what I use most. Bricks will give a steadier temp but a lot more ash, the prior being one reason I go with lump. You are correct with the chucks of wood. I just toss in 3 or 4 fist size chunks in for flavor, usually one right in the middle an 2 or 3 on the sides.
  3. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If I am doing a long smoke, I will layer the lump and wood in the basket. So, as the charcoal burns down, it will hit wood along the way.

    For starting, I use a bernzomatic (or however you spell that) weed burner torch that I got at lows for about $30. Just let the flaming tip rest down in the basket for a couple of minutes and you will have a good fire.
  4. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What Josh and Rick said. [​IMG]

    I like the title of your thread, too. Along those lines . . . here is a picture of my other drums.

    Guess I was destined to become a "drumhead".

  5. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Has there ever been a lump vs brick discussion pertaining in particular to the UDS? I know DDave uses bricks and Rick uses lump. I like lump for lack of bad unburned brick smell thats all. Any other reasons for one or the other in a UDS?
  6. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    For what it's worth, I use Kingsford Competition Briquettes. They make a lot less ash then regular Kingsford. They also don't have the "jet fuel" smell of regular Kingsford when they start. They tend to burn a little hot so it takes very little (about 8 or 10) briquettes) to start and not much air (both caps closed, valve about 1/2 open) to keep temp in the 240° to 250° range.

    I have used the RO briquettes which were convenient since I could buy them here in town. But they make a TON of ash and I didn't really care for the smell of them lighing off either.

    I have used Lazzari Mesquite Lump and I liked the way it burns and there is very little ash as well, but the mesquite smell was a little strong for me. I don't have access to RO lump here. I do have access to Cowboy and have burned a bag in the UDS but it seemed that I could not get the temp above 225° even with all the intakes open, but that could have been a bad bag. I would like to try the Lazzari Oak lump but can't get that in my area either. I think the secret with the lump in the UDS is to try to get a basket full of uniform sized chunks. There are several users on another forum I am a member of that only use lump. They also use a slag hammer to break up the bigger pieces to try to get a more constant burn.

    Back before I converted my SnP to gas, I ordered some WGC Weekend Warrior online and really liked it. If I could get it around here (it was $50 for 40 pounds online) I wouldn't mind trying it again, but I can get the Kingsford Comp at my local Costco, HD, or Lowes.

  7. pinkmeat

    pinkmeat Smoking Fanatic

    The only time I used Royal Oak LUMP in the UDS I thought it burned too fast and wouldn't have made it through a butt length smoke. So, halfway through I swapped out for briquettes.

    I've never noticed any bad smells from Kingsford briq's, unless it was matchlight, which IMO is a no-no. The ash isn't bad in a UDS either, I mean you only clean it out once, and I just shake out the charcoal basket when I'm done, then reuse whatever doesn't fall out the next time. Pretty simple.
  8. pinkmeat

    pinkmeat Smoking Fanatic

    If hadn't seen you painting your UDS in the other thread, I'd know your age by the acrylic no bottom head drums....j/k

    I just started playing again myself in the last two months. It's been more fun than I thought it would be. Glad I had a rainy day to myself.
  9. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The RO lump will indeed do long burns. If I use a 10lb bag I can get 12 and 13 hour burns for briskets. No problem what so ever for 8 to 10 hours for shoulders.

    I have used bricks with success but the ash production bothered me. I agree with Dave RO bricks are garbage and not worth buying. If I use bricks I buy Kingsford blue. I don't notice, nor has anyone else, a bad taste with them.
  10. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    No it wasn't Matchlight although I have been asked that before. [​IMG]

    I have read on other forums that it is a regional thing. The Kingsford blue made in the Oregon plant has the weird smell when lighting, but the Kingsford blue made somewhere else (can't remember where now but it is east of the Rockies) does not have the smell.


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