Video…. Tom Horsman, no charcoal used in a gravity feed bbq cook.

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shedly

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Apr 27, 2014
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I'm very skeptical that his ribs were " delicious " . Maybe to him, but I'm stick burner guy and I would not tolerate all that white smoke. That is smoldering wood. A stickburner operates with wood that is in flame. Its a much cleaner smoke.

Little wonder he had so much creosote. His ribs were probably coated with creosote.

And he discovered what I've found in the hopper, that wood burns at a lower ignition temp than charcoal. That's why the chunks were charred all the way to the top of the hopper. Same thing would've happened if he'd layered the chunks with charcoal in between, except the chunks would look the same but the charcoal in upper half of the hopper, would not be burned at all.

IMO, the best way to get close to a stickburner with either of these gravity feeds, is with wood chunks in the ash bin with a grate holding the chunks 4" off the bottom. They will burn in flame. And it will burn the paint off your firebox, the same as Tom found. Evidently, he had a chunk flame up in the ash bin. But to do this, you have to feed chunks into the ash bin maybe every 15 to 30 minutes.

But this also points out why, IMO, a GF produces such clean, thin blue smoke. Years ago on BBQ Pitmasters, the inventor of the GF, Walter " Stump " McDowell said the reason for clean smoke was that the " superheated air cleans the smoke " . When I heard that I was dubious, but after cooking with my MB560, I'm a believer.

Charcoal burns at a high temp than smoldering wood, as I said above. The smoke created by smoldering wood chunks, either in the hopper or in the ash bin, has to pass through the fully ignited charcoal to enter the cook chamber. Its very high temp, super heated inside the charcoal bed. And as Stump says, it cleans the smoke. It burns the impurities in the smoke.

Without using charcoal, the temps are lower inside the firebox and ya don't get the clean smoke. You get white smoldering smoke that contains a lot of stuff ya don't want on your food. The wood does not smolder at a high enough temp.

With my stickburner, I can't always keep the smoke thin blue. I get white smoke occasionally for various reasons. But over the course of the cook, 80 to 90% of the time, I'm running clean blue thin. A small amount of white smoke doesn't hurt. But 100% white smoke is gonna create meat with an acrid bitter taste.

I will always use charcoal in my 560 and if I want more wood smoke flavor, I'll add more chunks. What Tom did is not what happens in a stickburner.
Spoken like a true Luddite stick burner. Yes you can get good BBQ with a stick burner but I can get just as good or better flavor with my gravity fed charcoal and chunk Assassin 28 without having to be a constant fire watcher. You did identify the physics of why a GF with charcoal has cleaner smoke than a stick fed, the higher temp of the charcoal burns off the impurities before it gets to the food. Your stick fed also has coals that put off creosote in gasses but inconsistencies in the fire make this less than uniform hence a less clean smoke. Good smoker hygiene is necessary in either type and quality fuel is key.
 

Smokin Okie

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Jun 27, 2018
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Spoken like a true Luddite stick burner. Yes you can get good BBQ with a stick burner but I can get just as good or better flavor with my gravity fed charcoal and chunk Assassin 28 without having to be a constant fire watcher. You did identify the physics of why a GF with charcoal has cleaner smoke than a stick fed, the higher temp of the charcoal burns off the impurities before it gets to the food. Your stick fed also has coals that put off creosote in gasses but inconsistencies in the fire make this less than uniform hence a less clean smoke. Good smoker hygiene is necessary in either type and quality fuel is key.

Each to their own. If you looking for a fight, join the army.

.
 
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shedly

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Apr 27, 2014
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What you are all missing is that, while the smoker box may be set at 225 the actual fire temperature is much much higher, just like a stick burner. This heat consumes any unburnt volatile smoke and actually produces a smoke that is much cleaner than even a stick burner. Any creosote produced is a product of inadequate combustion ventilation. If anything gravity fed smokers burn too hot with charcoal and need the introduction of flavor wood for proper seasoning.
 

Smokin Okie

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Jun 27, 2018
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What you are all missing is that, while the smoker box may be set at 225 the actual fire temperature is much much higher, just like a stick burner. This heat consumes any unburnt volatile smoke and actually produces a smoke that is much cleaner than even a stick burner. Any creosote produced is a product of inadequate combustion ventilation. If anything gravity fed smokers burn too hot with charcoal and need the introduction of flavor wood for proper seasoning.

I'm not missing anything. I'm not stupid. I'm not gonna argue with you about stick burners.

Have a great evening.
 
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912smoker

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1656090421063.gif
 
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RCAlan

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Aug 26, 2018
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As intriguing and entertaining as the video was.. After some thought and a few bbqs since my original posting, I’m going to continue too use a mini split in the charcoal hopper, surrounded with lump charcoal or use a good balance of charcoal and hardwood chunks in the hopper, depending on what’s being bbq’d at the moment. My honest opinion is, fueling the charcoal hopper completely with just hardwood is a disaster waiting to happen. Can it work? Possibly, but the production of creosote and dirty smoke will also be a byproduct of that approach and is another reason why many bbq YT videos should be viewed as and for entertainment only. .02. With the cost of everything going up nowadays, I see no reason in throwing away hard earned money just to duplicate a bad YT video idea. .02 FYI.. Smoke and fire management are always important when it comes to bbqing… and though these GF Smokers make Smoke and Fire management super easy, they are not exempt from that rule. .02… That’s a total of 6 cents of common sense advice…
Lastly…
Respectful discussions are fine, but attacks on others are never appropriate. .02…. Let’s try to keep the discussion respectful. That’s 8 cents…

__________________
Char-Griller 980 GF… Pellet Pro Austin XL and a few more mods... In SoCal and Always... Semper Fi
 

JWFokker

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Mar 5, 2019
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What you are all missing is that, while the smoker box may be set at 225 the actual fire temperature is much much higher, just like a stick burner. This heat consumes any unburnt volatile smoke and actually produces a smoke that is much cleaner than even a stick burner. Any creosote produced is a product of inadequate combustion ventilation. If anything gravity fed smokers burn too hot with charcoal and need the introduction of flavor wood for proper seasoning.
Gravity fed smokers do not recirculate the smoke to burn off VOGs as a KBQ C-60 does. There is little difference between the white smoke of a gravity fed and a pellet smoker or anything else kicking off a lot of white smoke. Wet white smoke isn't the worst, but don't try to say that gravity fed cookers clean up the smoke. There is no recirculation. If you are seeing white smoke on a gravity fed your wood is not dry enough or your fire isn't hot enough. Even some computerized forced air gravity fed has an ideal operating range and it's not low and slow unless the wood is dry as a bone.
 

bill1

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Unfortunately there's not much difference between the boiling points, nor the densities/molecular weights, of the "good" smoke byproducts (as in tasty, not good-for-you) and the VOCs we all agree we can do without.
 

Smokin Okie

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I'm curious about putting wood chunks below the charcoal grate in a WSM. As they smolder the smoke would rise through the charcoal.

IDK if this would work with the Minion Method. But Harry Soo buries chunks in his WSM charcoal ring and runs the Minion Method.
 

babydoc

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I'm curious about putting wood chunks below the charcoal grate in a WSM. As they smolder the smoke would rise through the charcoal.

IDK if this would work with the Minion Method. But Harry Soo buries chunks in his WSM charcoal ring and runs the Minion Method.
Does he place it below the charcoal? Or in the charcoal? I think it’s the latter, but I’ll have to recheck. I know he doesn’t place wood on top as is common with many running a WSM.
 

gmc2003

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I'm curious about putting wood chunks below the charcoal grate in a WSM. As they smolder the smoke would rise through the charcoal.

IDK if this would work with the Minion Method. But Harry Soo buries chunks in his WSM charcoal ring and runs the Minion Method.
Under the grate wouldn't work. Even if you somehow got them to light they would be extinguished by the falling ash. I'm also pretty sure Harry Soo buries the wood in the charcoal.

Chris
 

Smokin Okie

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Jun 27, 2018
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Under the grate wouldn't work. Even if you somehow got them to light they would be extinguished by the falling ash. I'm also pretty sure Harry Soo buries the wood in the charcoal.

Chris

Well, the same thing happens in a GF ash bin. I put a grate in my MB560 ash bin to keep the chunks up out of the ash, but they would still burn if I didn't do that.

On Harry Soo, here's how he sets up his WSM. Should start with him placing chunks

 
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babydoc

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Well, the same thing happens in a GF ash bin. I put a grate in my MB560 ash bin to keep the chunks up out of the ash, but they would still burn if I didn't do that.

On Harry Soo, here's how he sets up his WSM. Should start with him placing chunks


This is true. In fact I think MB recommends wood in the ashbin. Same with my KJ. Chunks in the ash collector burn as the ash falls. After short burns (chicken) I'm left with extra charcoal in the ash. Long burns are nothing but ash.

There is some thought that smoke that comes up through the lit charcoal gets "cleaned" by the higher temp.
 

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