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Wanting to try stick cooking

smokingma

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I have been using my new Dyna Glo 1176 offset using lump coal and wood chunks. I made modifications to take care of leaks.  I've been interested in doing some stick cooking but have no idea how many splits to use and how long it will burn.  My local Home Depot is selling flavored splits for stick cooking.  In summary 

1.  How many splits do I use?

2.  How long can I expect them to burn? (using the lump and charcoal, I usually have to replenish 3-4 times depending on what I'm smoking.

3.  Though HD is selling small splits, where else should I check to purchase flavored wood?

Thanks for any help.

Renee
 

daveomak

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Drive out in the country and find an orchard...  they sell fruitwood tree trimmings ....  You can cut them into chunks with a miter saw...    split them with an axe...   It's a lot cheaper than home depot....   gas included...  fill up your trunk...

Generally, folks start the fire with briquettes then add splits or chunks...  about 1 split every half hour to 1 hour...   keep the base of coals going and you won't have any problems....
 

phatbac

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Drive out in the country and find an orchard...  they sell fruitwood tree trimmings ....  You can cut them into chunks with a miter saw...    split them with an axe...   It's a lot cheaper than home depot....   gas included...  fill up your trunk...

Generally, folks start the fire with briquettes then add splits or chunks...  about 1 split every half hour to 1 hour...   keep the base of coals going and you won't have any problems....
I would be very cautious about orchard wood most orchards spray a ton of chemicals on their trees. Unless you find a pesticide free orchard you might get mire than ya bargin for!

Happy Smoking,
phatbac (Aaron)
 

daveomak

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I wonder where the Apple, Peach, Pear, etc. wood comes from that you purchase in the store, or that's made into pellets....
 

gonavy

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If you have a Sports Academy anywhere near by, they sell big 50 lb bags of wood splits for around $15 in Hickory, mesquite, oak, pecan and peach I think, Apple which is the best IMHO is a little more around $30 a bag.  Don't know about your smoker, but for me and most horizontal side box smokers I usually use one split on top of some regular charcoal to make a base, once I have a good base and my smoker is upto temp, I'll put the food on and use one split every hour to hour and a half for the rest of the smoke.  I usually get two or three smokes out of a bag of splits...your mileage may vary...lol

Having said that are you sure your not talking about chunks, most box store, HD, Lowes, Walmart etc.. don't sell splits not for smoking anyways, they sell chunks.  most woods that these home stores sell are for fireplaces, don't know that I would smoke with any of them...lol...Splits are usually 4 to 6 inch wide and 10 to 12 inch longs perfect for smoker side boxes and labeled as such, for smokers.
 
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joe black

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Like meat, it's done when it's done..... Your type cooker, how often you peek, your cooking temp, how much meat you're cooking, the ambient temp, how windy it is, how dry your wood is, the size of your splits, if your splits are pre-heated..... These are a few things that will determine the answer to your basic question. You'll use as many as you use.

Not trying to be smart-alec, Renee. Like everything else, theres just a lot of variables.

Good luck and good smokin', Joe. :grilling_smilie:
 

smokingma

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If you have a Sports Academy anywhere near by, they sell big 50 lb bags of wood splits for around $15 in Hickory, mesquite, oak, pecan and peach I think, Apple which is the best IMHO is a little more around $30 a bag.  Don't know about your smoker, but for me and most horizontal side box smokers I usually use one split on top of some regular charcoal to make a base, once I have a good base and my smoker is upto temp, I'll put the food on and use one split every hour to hour and a half for the rest of the smoke.  I usually get two or three smokes out of a bag of splits...your mileage may vary...lol

Having said that are you sure your not talking about chunks, most box store, HD, Lowes, Walmart etc.. don't sell splits not for smoking anyways, they sell chunks.  most woods that these home stores sell are for fireplaces, don't know that I would smoke with any of them...lol...Splits are usually 4 to 6 inch wide and 10 to 12 inch longs perfect for smoker side boxes and labeled as such, for smokers.
This is what HD is selling now from Kingsford it only comes in Hickory and Mesquite and sells for $24.97 for 25lbs

 

smokingma

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Like meat, it's done when it's done..... Your type cooker, how often you peek, your cooking temp, how much meat you're cooking, the ambient temp, how windy it is, how dry your wood is, the size of your splits, if your splits are pre-heated..... These are a few things that will determine the answer to your basic question. You'll use as many as you use.

Not trying to be smart-alec, Renee. Like everything else, theres just a lot of variables.

Good luck and good smokin', Joe.
Not smart-alecy at all.  What you said was exactly what I needed to know/consider in trying this.Your answer actually has peeked my desire to try stick cooking even more.  Thank you.
 

joe black

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Renee, there's no better flavor than wood flavor. Stick burning is a little work, but who doesn't like playing with fire? Like a lot of folks, I start my fire with charcoal. I put in about 2/3 basket of Royal Oak lump with a valley in the middle and start 2/3 chimney of Royal Oak briqs. When the briqs are ashed over, I pour them in the valley of the lump. Then I pull some of the lump over on top of the briqs. When the lump is fully involved, I put in 2 splits and close the CC doors. When the splits are going good and a good bed of coals is forming, the CC should be coming up to cooking temp. When the cooking temp is right, I add 2 more splits and my flavor chunks and put the meat on. Always try to keep a good bed of coals. That's what keeps everything going. One thing that's very important is to always pre-heat your splits. They will ignite quickly and this helps to keep the heat up without a dip and also keeps the smoke clean with no white fluffy smoke while the splits come up to ignition temp. If you don't have a flat top on your FB, try to balance a few splits on top or take a couple of thin strips of metal and make a "saddle" for the top of your FB and lay a few splits in the saddle.

Good luck with your stick burning journey. It's very rewarding, Joe. :2thumbs:
 

sqwib

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This is what HD is selling now from Kingsford it only comes in Hickory and Mesquite and sells for $24.97 for 25lbs

You will go through a lot of wood on long cooks.

Call a local nursery or find someone selling (seasoned) firewood, have a cord of wood delivered or half cord, here its about 125 half and 225 full and may fluctuate a bit based on what type of wood. You can ask for different species to see what they have. In my are Hickory will give me most bang for my buck, although it comes at a higher cost, the BTU rating is much higher.

You want a good coal base and add splits so they ignite quickly and do not smolder.

If your stickburning don't worry too much about wood flavorings so to speak, you could just run all oak and toss on a bit of some other woods if you want to mess with different species of wood, but to be honest a decent cherry wood and clean fire you can cook almost anything. It's not the same as running charcoal or lump and flavoring with, lets say pecan or something, your wood is the fuel and needs to be burnt clean as possible.

Offset cooking with Hardwood coal (based on my research) is the traditional method for Q' in some areas and the smoke was just a by product from the hardwood coals. They would burn the wood to coals and shovel the hot coals into the offset pit. I believe there are a few purists on here that do employ this method.

When cooking with wood, I don't want to see any smoke at all and don't have the luxury or patience of preburning to coals.
 
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sqwib

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Originally Posted by smokinGMA  
 
This is what HD is selling now from Kingsford it only comes in Hickory and Mesquite and sells for $24.97 for 25lbs

Not to scare you off, but that bag would be my startup, just to get some coals.

  • Have your starter wood ready to go. this is junk wood I save my good stuff for maintaining the fire once the coals are adequate, I may do this twice. You could probably get a chimney of lump going and dump it on the wood filled basket or toss the chimney of lump in your firebox then add wood to that, don't be afraid to get a raging fire to let burn down to give you a good coal base to start with.


depending on how you get the wood going will determine the wood at startup, this wood below will go directly of a propane fired log lighter.



log lighter



 


  • I will sometimes place the splits on top of the firebox to help them get through the combustion stage quicker.


 
  • Wood that was on the firebox, ready to go

  • Charcoal and Lump Charcoal, sometimes I will start the fire with charcoal or Lump, I will usually light a 3/4 full chimney, as that is igniting I will add some smallish splits and junk wood to the basket and place some junk wood to the side. After 20 minutes or so I will dump the charcoal into the basket and place the wood on top. *Tip for starting a chimney, use 3 pieces of newspaper, crumble each piece loosely, place in bottom of the chimney starter, drizzle a little oil on the paper and ignite.


I do not use the basket anymore because it was choking itself, the log in the pic below would be twoo big for a general cook, this was me playing with fire and getting the temps up to 300+, you want smaller splits and add often. I will use very small splits but add two or three, this helps get them through the combustion stage much quicker (cleaner smoke)



No matter what advice you get, bottom line is your gonna have to jump in and give it a shot and learn fire management and your pit.

Please keep us posted and ask as many questions as you like,
 

hardcookin

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After you get your coal bed established usually 1-2 splits every 1/2 hour.
Joe and SQWIB pretty much covered the rest.
 

smokeymose

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Don't get scared off by all this, smokinGMA. Unless you're smoking huge quantities or a really big chunk of meat, it doesn't really take that much wood for a normal cook. I buy the bags of Hickory from HD, too. I also cut pirated logs from my fireplace rack down to size with a chop saw. Those bundles of wood at the grocery or convenient store are fine for making heat while the meat is foiled (it's hardwood, even if you don't know what kind).
I just did a rack of SL ribs today. It took 3 of my chop sawed Oak chunks, 6 of the HD Hickory sticks and a couple of the generic grocery sticks. 6 hours of smoke and heat. As noted above, start your fire with a chimney of brickets and lump.
Light it up!
Dan
 

b-one

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I would go cut some wood somewhere or start looking on Craig's list, just make sure you can tell what your getting.
 

lemans

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I smoked today on my Chargriller 5050 using only cherry wood that a friend gave me in payment for pulled pork. I have a new respect for stick burners.
You gotta be on the smoker every 1/2 hour. Poking , feeding and playing with the fire. I wish I could justify a real stick burner like a Lang or meadow creek. For now I will stick to my WSM's and my wood chunks
 

jcbigler

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I have a new respect for stick burners.
You gotta be on the smoker every 1/2 hour. Poking , feeding and playing with the fire. 
That's the best part. And when you are out tending the fire every half hour to an hour, you have the best excuse for the wife about why you can't do whatever it is she is whining about. 
 

bluewhisper

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Stick burning requires close attention like running a steam locomotive. It resembles toying with a campfire, except with the goal of cooking food which can only be done with a slow fire. While briquettes and lump have a neutral flavor, fresh wood will bring its own flavor to the smoke.

Side note - the selection of flavors of smoking wood resembles the selection of loose tobacco I would buy as I was quitting smoking (cigs). If you smoke, go find a tobacco shop and get some fresh Virginian or Turkish. it's like craft beer compared to Dishwater Lite. Roll it in Zig-Zag papers and scowl as you puff.
 

sc smoke

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That's the best part. And when you are out tending the fire every half hour to an hour, you have the best excuse for the wife about why you can't do whatever it is she is whining about. 
That struck close to home. I was smoking a whole butt and literally sat on the patio for about 9 hours off and on just watching the smoker and monitoring the Maverick. About 7 hours into the cook my wife asked if I had to watch the smoker all the time. I could sense a 'honey-do' coming so I told her 'no, but I'll need you to watch the smoker in case the temp goes whack'. That ended that conversation.
 

lemans

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Stick smoking is a completely encompassing activity
You have to be in the smoker every min but when you have completed the smoke. You have a great felling of accomplishment
 

smokeymose

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That struck close to home. I was smoking a whole butt and literally sat on the patio for about 9 hours off and on just watching the smoker and monitoring the Maverick. About 7 hours into the cook my wife asked if I had to watch the smoker all the time. I could sense a 'honey-do' coming so I told her 'no, but I'll need you to watch the smoker in case the temp goes whack'. That ended that conversation.
Totally agree. The Mrs asked me a couple of weeks ago to run to the store for something. I said no problem as long as I'm back in 15 minutes...
This was my "view" for 6 hours yesterday from under the Sunsetter with cold brews and tasy tunes ;-)
Dan

:grilling_smilie:
 

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