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  #1  
Old 01-05-2018, 11:28 PM
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Default Fire Management Practice

So given my newfound quest for a stick burner, I have been watching a TON of offset smoker fire management videos. Came across a lot of good info. Some maybe not so good. One of the better ones shows Ben Lang explaining that you want to make heat, not smoke. He says make heat with a clean burning fire and the smoke will take care of itself. Makes sense.

So armed with all of my newfound knowledge and also this quote about firing smaller smokers . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMOKE FREAK View Post
Would start with a chimney full of lit lump charcoal and added smaller splits of wood to the coals...Keeping airflow at a maximum is important to keeping the wood burning...Not smoldering...This is key to getting the best smoke flavor possible...The trick is to keep the bed of coals large enough to ignite the wood yet small enough enough that you aren't pinching down the air intake to bring down the temp..
I decided to try it out on my Brinkmann Smoke N Pit. Thin metal and all.

So I put the original firebox door back on. (I have a modified one I use with the Afterburner.) Had to make a new door latch. Don't know where the original got to.



I wanted to be able to objectively evaluate how I did so I had the thermos and data logger running. I like data!!



Started off with a full chimney of RO lump in the charcoal basket.



I don't have any small splits so I was using hickory chunks for "wood". Pre warmed a couple of chunks on the firebox and put them in on the bed of coals.



Pre-warming the chunks worked great. Got very little extra smoke when adding wood. I left the firebox door open until it was burning clean then closed the door.

I ran it most of the day with the firebox door open a bit to all the way to keep the fire burning clean. Even with the damper open all the way and the door closed it would start smoking after a few minutes.

Came up to 250° fairly quick with about a 15° difference end to end.



When the temp would drop to 240ish° or so I would add a couple more preheated chunks. Any lower than that and the coal bed was almost too small to keep things going. In fact early on I had to add a bit more lump to build the coal bed back up. The temp would spike up higher than I wanted but I wasn't too worried about it since it was mostly empty.

After awhile I put on some brats for the heck of it.





After about an hour, they were done. Check out the smoke ring.



After awhile I ran out of hickory so I was using some maple chunks that I have had for years. Tried to keep the fire small and hot.

Here is the extent of it.



Had to add wood about every 20 to 25 minutes which I expected. More frequently it seemed when I switched to maple. But the point was to practice so that was fine.

Here is a graph of the temps.



You can see the huge dip at about 1:15 pm when I had to add more lump to rebuild the coal bed. Put the brats on at 1:50 pm and took them off at 2:50 pm and you can see the associated dips in temp.

The dotted lines are at 225° and 275°. I had several hours of just cycling with a reasonable amount of control. I was pretty happy with that as it was my first time out with a cheapo big box store tin can offset.

Went about 4-1/2 hours and this is all the ashes I had.





Heck of a lot better than burning briquettes.

I'll definitely have to give it another go. And I can't wait until I have access to a smoker that can handle a bit larger fire.
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Last edited by DDave; 01-05-2018 at 11:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-06-2018, 05:37 AM
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Default

It’s kinda amazing... I’ll do ribs on the Lang...5 hours plus/minus, and have 2-3 scoopfulls of ash. I’d guess 5 cups or so.

Fire IS the key. If ya wanna run a stickburner, yer gonna be staying awake. One can “cheat” a bit and get a couple hours for a nap with a chimney er two of lump, but...
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2018, 08:18 AM
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That's great Dave...That smoker is no worse than the Chargriller that I started with...If you can learn to master the fire in that rig the rest just comes natural...

I never used a charcoal basket like that but rather just piled up my coals/fire on the grate...Adding unlit lump from time to time is a big help at keeping the bed of coals where you need it to be...A small clean burning fire is a challenge but it can be done...
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Old 01-06-2018, 03:53 PM
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Default

I actually have a grate for it made of the same material as the charcoal basket. I had no idea just how small the fire was going to be. I'll have to round up some small splits and give it another try.

Boy the live fire sure puts a hurt on the firebox door. I'll have to keep it sanded and painted with the wood stove paint. Want to keep it looking good because I'm hoping to sell it to raise money for my Stick Burner Fund. Based on what I have seen for sale on Craigslist I'm hoping to get $125 to $150 for it. It has a charcoal basket, 2 thermos mounted at grate level, a baffle and tuning plates of 1/8" plate -- pretty much most of the HawgHeaven Chargriller Pro mods. It's in much better shape than some of the rusted out hulks I have seen on there.
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