Smoking with wood only?

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by roushy, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. So I am going to do my first smoke this weekend with the new smoker I built and wondered if its worth switching to all wood since I have a nice sized firebox?  I have plenty of 2 year old seasoned walnut under my deck with no bark.  I also have some cherry and oak.  My last smoker (double barrel) always had problems getting a thin blue smoke.  Probably because it was poorly designed and built.  Mine was always white when I used lump charcoal and some thrown in chunks.  Any recommendations on how to keep the think blue smoke on the RF type smokers?  Also, any recommendations on how to keep the smoke thin when loading more wood on to the fire after a few hours of burning?

  2. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    I still use charcoal as my base in my RF stick burner, then add wood for both smoke and heat as the cook moves along.  I'll take a 20# bag (or 13#, depending on whether it's a 6 or 12 hour cook) of Kingsford, pour it into my charcoal basket, then get about 1/2 chimney of briquettes going in my starter chimney.  Pour them on top of the unlit, spread them around evenly.  Once the charcoal gets going good and my pit temp is rising steadily, I'll start throwing my mix of oak and mesquite splits for briskets and oak and pecan for ribs on the fire 3-4 pieces at a time.  As far as keeping thin blue smoke, it's all about the proper air getting to the fire. Whether it be from the air intakes on the firebox or the draft created by the air flow from the intakes through the pit, out the exhaust.  Start by opening your exhaust all the way, then manage your fire and temps with the intakes and firebox door by cracking it just a bit to get more initial air to your fresh wood, don't leave the door open too long as you will get a big spike in pit temp, just long enough to get the wood burning properly.  A fully open exhaust and opening the intakes a bit more will help out quite a bit with combustion as well.  Once you learn your pit and how it reacts, you can start choking down the exhaust as well to help with temp control.  I usually run my exhaust about 3/4 open with my intakes at 1/4 open and run a steady 250.  Preheating your wood will help in getting them to catch fire quicker and combust properly.  I throw 3-4 sticks on top of the firebox everytime I add wood to the fire.  This way, the next time I need to add wood, it's ready.   If you want to run with wood only, you just have to get a good bed of coals first by burning a few sticks of wood down (I eliminate this need by using the charcoal) then keep feeding the fire wood as needed.  Kindling, oil soaked paper or a good old weedburner can be used for starting your wood fires.  Oldschoolbbq has a great tutorial on the site to guide you through stickburning 101, I'll see if I can find it.  If I can't, I'm sure he'll be along shortly to give it to you.  Happy smoking.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  3. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    smokincody likes this.
  4. I'll check out the link.  Thanks!  And thanks for the long note Bruno.  All good points.  I do have a large area on the top of my firebox where I can put logs to heat up.  I may try that.
  5. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Here is a good video by Ben Lang of Lang smokers on how to start a fire...he's doing it old school like our own oldschoolbbq Stan, does it.  Good video,  watch just about any and all BBQ videos I can find.  My addiction, I just hope my wife doesn't find a cure...

  6. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  7. Oh I've watched that one many times :)

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