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Using Small Wood Chunks vs Larger wood pieces.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by wxmanmac, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. I have a Professional Char-Griller Gas Grill & Smoker with a fire box attached to the side of my smoker. I have a hard time controlling the temperature either going too hot or not hot enough when smoking meat. I use charcoal to start with then adding wood chunks to the charcoal. The amount of charcoal I start with is full in a chimney starter. My question is should I use small wood chunks for smoking meat for 6 hours or more or should I use larger pieces of wood? I am not talking about the small wood chips. If I use the larger wood then should I use less charcoal or no charcoal? I am also confused about opening the damper to allow more/less air flow. If I increase the opening of the damper this will allow more smoke thus allowing the wood to catch fire and increase my temperature. Yes I am using the thermometer the is on the cover of my smoker. Any help or suggestions is greatly appreciated.
  2. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Mine is the Chargriller offset.  A little different unit than yours.

    When I use chunks of wood?  I put them about half way up a chimney of lump when I light it.

    That way the chunks get a little pre-burn and don't dump out all that nasty billowing white smoke.

    Also, consider the AMNS or the AMNPS from A-Maze-N Products.  One of our sponsors here and owned by a member of the forum.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  3. Thanks for the tip and it's something to consider. What's your thoughts on the AMNPS/AMNS?
  4. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I use the AMNS.

    I bought that before Todd came out with the AMNPS.

    The AMNS , as I recall, was basically designed for cold smoking?  But many of us use it for hot smoking in some units. Naturally, we have to push a good thing to its limits?  LOL

    Many members here now use the AMNPS, especially for hot smoking.

    Check with Todd at:


    He will get you hooked up with the right smoke generator for your unit.

    He is a great guy, and his customer service is top notch.

    He is a member of the forum.

    I only endorse him because of my experience in dealing with him.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  5. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Couldn't agree more
  6. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    Hi wxmanmac,

    Regarding controlling your burn and temp:

    Do a search here on the forums for using the " Minion" method on the charcoal.

    Also having a charcoal basket helps using this method.

    That is what I do in my firebox on the side of my horizontal OKJ smoker. I dump about 7-8 lbs of unlit charcoal in the basket. I hollow out the middle, basically making it concave I guess - like a volcano.

    I then put about a dozen or so coals in the chimney starter and light them. Once they are going good - does not take long - I dump them in the middle of the charcoal where it is concaved. I make sure the firebox damper is wide open. ( I always keep the smokestack plate wide open).

    I then close the firebox lid and start monitoring my cook chamber temp. ( I have a Maverick ET-732 wireless to monitor with).

    After just a few minutes and the temp is rising consistently, I throw about 5-6 chunks of wood on ( hickory usually for me).

    Temp continues to rise, some billowy white smoke coming out.

    When temp gets to about 20 degrees away from my target temp, I start closing the firebox damper. Eventually I get it pretty much right where I want it. Smoke starts thinning out to TBS. Bingo, time to put the food on!

    The above process , once I dump the few lit coals in the middle, is usually around 30 minutes give or take.

    During the smoke process, while the food is not covered or foiled - I will throw on 3-4 more hickory chunks every hour or so. I also get several hours out of that first load of charcoal , depending on what temp I am smoking at, the wind, etc.

    A final note: If you see smoke escaping anywhere on the smoker other than the smokestack, that is a leak - the more leaks the harder it will be to maintain a constant temp. Best to try and get those sealed up if you can.

    Hope this helps,
  7. Thanks all for the info.
  8. I ordered and received my new Maverick thermometer and AMNPS from amaze products. Can't wait for the weekend to use them. Wife says Merry Christmas, early.
  9. dburne

    dburne Meat Mopper

    You are going to love that new Maverick! I have used mine about 4 smokes now, and it is awesome.

    Curious to hear how you like the AMNPS.
  10. I haven't been able to get my Chargriller to ever run hot enough using charcoal. I burn splits in mine, and haven't looked back. It requires pretty much steady tending, but that, to me, is most of the fun. If I wanted set it and forget it, I'd use the oven. lol
  11. I use lump charcoal.  I use the minion method and lay the real small stuff on the bottom of the firebox along with a couple of big chunks and then dump the hot stuff i have burning in the chimney.  It keeps the temps a lot higher and longer than charcoal.