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Smoking with logs/log splits

scomac

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Hello all, I am new to the forums, long time reader first time posters. Great forums BTW!

My question is about keeping a good level of smoke without the wood catching fire too quickly. I have a fairly large pit with 24" barrel with 36" vertical and a 24"x24" offset firebox. I usually fire with lump coal and smoke with Pecan logs. The logs are cut around 12" to 16" in length. In most cases I add the logs as it into the firebox next to the burning coals. This will give me a maybe 30 to 45 minutes of smoke and then catch fire and give me a temp spike.

I am looking for any thoughts or recommendations form you guys around keeping a good smoke stream without catching fire and encountering high temp spikes.

I am thinking that a better way is to split the logs into either 2 or 4 splits and adding 1 or 2 splits to next to the coals. My thinking is that the smaller the wood the less of a heat spike I would encounter as it gets to combustion temp.

Thoughts?

Scott
 

pineywoods

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Scott welcome to SMF glad you joined in. My thoughts would be ditch the lump and get a weed burner to start your fire. Split those logs into splits that are about the diameter of a magnum beer can. The smaller splits will give you much better control over the heat but you will have to add them more often.
 

porked

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I use a charcoal basket in my Brinkmann, and using the minion method fill it 3/4 full with lump and chunks of hardwood. Then I dump a chimney of burning lump right in the middle. In 30 minutes or so after the white smoke burns off, I add my meat, some fruitwood chunks (apple, cherry, whatever) and I am ready to go. The lump gives you good coals for heat, and as the smoke goes on I just add more hardwood chunks when necessary. If it's a long smoke, I'll even toss some more lump in there if I have to. I can keep her purring at 225 or 250 for hours on end without much effort.
 

porked

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One more thing I forgot...when you don't see smoke, just toss a couple more fruitwood chunks in for instant thin blue smoke.
 

oldschoolbbq

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Try,using smaller sticks. Mine is 20X40 with a warmer. I use 6"to8"X 3" sticks and get good control. I preheat on the SFB top and they ignite almost immediately. Learn where your Smoker breathes best(front or back of the firebox),where your hot and cold spots are and use good therms. or probes(test before every cook-water boils at 212*f. ). When you learn Her(like a Woman) she'll do anything for you!

  I cook at 200*to225*f and my heated sticks catch almost immediately,very little white smoke; if this doesn't work,try pre-burning the wood to embers and add to the SFB. This will give you a good level heat.Remember to keep the exhaust wide open and control with intakes.

  Hope this helps and ...
 

alblancher

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I agree with the stickburners.  Small splits used as fuel.  The small splits burn faster and more completely reducing heavy white smoke, you are adding small amounts of fuel more often so the temp spikes are not as dramatic.  Charcoal is a fine fuel for a small offset but it you use it you need to use small chunks or chips of wood for flavor.  The key is complete combustion with sufficient air to reduce the amount of unburned gases passing through your food chamber.
 

oldschoolbbq

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  Thanks Alblancher.It is the best way to get good taste in the meat,no Petroleum taste!

  I sometimes get lazy and pre-burn my wood for the embers and the heat is even easier to control.

  I love my "FLO" and get fantastic results. Each to his own,but a fast cooked meat is just that, and it has no time to melt the collegen and fat(flavor).

  Do you still cook as a pro? If so give me a PM.I was a chef in my working life and miss talking to other chefs.I was in the Maumee Valley Chef's Assn. in Toledo and worked at the French Quarter,I was the go to smoke guy(salmon, Brisket and such).

  I have some questions you can help with...

See ya, and...
 

alblancher

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OldschoolBBQ,

If you are asking if I was a professional cook I am sorry but you have me confused with someone else.  The Avatar is Chef John Folse one of several cajun chefs I have paid homage to using their likeness, without permission of course!  So I guess the copyright people will track me down.

I am sure any conversation we would have about kitchen experience would be me learning from you.  Thanks for the shout out.
 

sqwib

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Definitely split the wood, split wood gets through the combustion stage quicker than logs.

My ramblings...

"Frank" is a Side mount Reverse flow.

Firebox is 18" x 18" x 20" deep.

Tank is a 80 gallon tank (20" diameter x 64").

What I have had to do is... I use a basket, start a chimney of lump then feed splits 1 or 2 at a time every 30 - 45 minutes, sometimes 3 at a time, this is using cherry, you may get longer intervals with pecan.

My splits are about 10" long and about 2" x 2" square.

I do have a weedburner and log lighter but I get better results from less wood starting with a full lit chimney.

I was having the same issues as you with larger splits.

So if you keep it relatively small and have a good coal base, the combustion is almost unnoticeable and hardly any smoke.

So you get a more constant temp by adding smaller splits more frequently.

If you need a longer interval for some reason you can dump some lump or charcoal to the side of the basket and that will give you a bit of time before needing more wood.

Here is the basket I have been using



Hope this helps
 

oldschoolbbq

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Squib,I though you were going well, then the "C" word was mentioned,I shiver at the thought


 Yes, if you get a really good ember bed, keeping the heat is no problemo.

And yes, I use a Log starter to 3 or 4 nice size splits to embers(with everything but the exhaust

closed), bring the Smoker environment to your cooking heat before introducing anything,THEN

you are ready to cook.Soon you will not notice the smoke,but smell it,just peek at the fire(probally

O.K.)and realise you have TRUE LIGHT BLUE SMOKE
,you don't have to see the smoke

to know it's doing it's job! Many people think the oppisite,but...

Stan   aka   oldschoolbbq

Have Fun and...
 

sqwib

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Joined Sep 25, 2007
Squib,I though you were going well, then the "C" word was mentioned,I shiver at the thought


 Yes, if you get a really good ember bed, keeping the heat is no problemo.

And yes, I use a Log starter to 3 or 4 nice size splits to embers(with everything but the exhaust

closed), bring the Smoker environment to your cooking heat before introducing anything,THEN

you are ready to cook.Soon you will not notice the smoke,but smell it,just peek at the fire(probally

O.K.)and realise you have TRUE LIGHT BLUE SMOKE
,you don't have to see the smoke

to know it's doing it's job! Many people think the oppisite,but...

Stan   aka   oldschoolbbq

Have Fun and...

LOL..I knew that would get a rise out of some folks
 

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