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Stick burners = cooking over flaming wood?

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Spicy Mike

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Well it was about a year ago I created this thread and I caught myself thinking about it again. I found the article that brought this question up and below are some exerpts.
"Seems that wood is the world's most widely used industrial raw material and the third most coimmonly used fuel.v The hardwoods used in preparation of barbeque are composed primarily of cellulose (39%), hemicellulose (35%), and lignin (19.5%), extractivies (3.1%) and ash (0.3%). The cellulose and lignin are primarily in the cell walls.
The extractives, primarily in the cells and walls, are such things as tanins, starches, resins, oils, dyes, alkaloids, and sugars. These vary widely among wood species and give each its distinctive characteristics. Up to 80% of the weight of green wood is retained water. Dry wood reaches an equilibrium at 20%. Wood does not burn directly. Rather, when heat is applied it first undergoes a process of themal degradation called pyrolysis in which the wood breaks down into a mixture of volitiles and solid carbonaceous char. The cellulose and hemicellulose mainly form volitiles while the lignin forms the char. Exactly what products are formed by each depends on the temperature, heating rate, particle size, and any catalysts that might be present.
The solid char remains in place. What goes up with the volitles are a gas fraction (carbon monoxide and dioxide, some hydrocarbons, and elemental hydrogen), a condensed fraction ( water, aldehydes, acids, ketones, and alcohols) and - here we go! - a tar fraction (sugar residues from the breakdown of  cellulose furan and derivatives phenolic compounds, and -pay attention here - airborne particles of tar and charred material which form the smoke. If oxygen is present and the temp is sufficiently high, burning of the volitiles occurs. When temp are too low or when or when there is insufficient oxygen for complete combustion of the volitiles, smoldering occurs. This is characterized by smoking, the emission of unoxidized pyrolysis products. If the temperature is high enough, then flaming combustion occurs with less smoking and more complete oxidation of the pyrolysis products. Further pyrolysis of volitiles during combustion may cause char particles (soot) to form.

The remaining lignin char burns in the presence of oxygen in glowing combustion. These are my beloved coals that yield the thin blue smoke that makews great barbeque! And that is why it is so important to pre-burn the wood to coals.

Comments?
#20 - February 06, 2011, 06:44:34 pm
Salad!?! Salad ain't food, it's what we FEED food!

revgodless

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if the wood has cured right and everything, it doesn't have the dangerous stuff. the wet wood, the freshly cut live wood has the nasty stuff like formaldehyde in it. which wen it's cured, leaves the wood... so whether you just use wood or charcoal with wood chips.. same fuel source.

I hate the fact I know that... Fricking step mother.
#19 - August 25, 2010, 05:27:39 pm
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I use nothing but wood 8)
#18 - August 20, 2010, 07:21:25 pm
"Life's tough......it's even tougher if you're stupid."

Bill Bain

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Like a log of pitmasters using an offset I start with charcoal that I light with a weed burner then add two fireplace size logs. The Klose will stabalize in about an hour at 225 and from then on I add a log every 45min to 1 hr.  Vent is always open and the firebox door is open for a while while the fire gets up and going.
#17 - March 25, 2010, 05:51:14 pm
Kilted Pig BBQ
"Real men wear kilts"

azkitch

  • Karma: 5
Welcome back! :)
#16 - March 14, 2010, 10:20:19 am
CBJ # 53779
For cooking, lower and slower. For spices, mo' hotter, mo' better. Habaneros rule!

squealers

  • Karma: 1
So, Mike, hows Martin doing, anyway? That is a neat lookin' smoker. He hasn't posted here lately. I enjoy his input--and videos. I'd have loved to try all that game.

I'm fine... just crazy busy in January then 10 days holiday in New York then 1 week in Montreal. I am back and will  start getting ready for the upcoming season... I am planning 3 competition this year with Spicy Mike. should be great!

Cheers
Martin
#15 - March 14, 2010, 08:40:49 am
Taboo BBQ
Spicy Mike, Martin, plus a newbie

Spicy Mike

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Thanks guys! Been away from this thread for a bit.
Kitch - I think Martin is good, he was away in New York for a bit but I think he's back now. Give him a poke and see if he answers. The game was unreal! Most regular people wouldn't get an opprtunity like that.
#14 - February 19, 2010, 04:42:45 pm
Salad!?! Salad ain't food, it's what we FEED food!

Lizard333

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I start with about 6 logs, about as big as a soda can.  This is for a 225 smoke. I use a weed burner to light them so it takes about ten minutes to get the logs going. I usally let the cooker come to temp and stabilize.  This takes about an hour.  When everything is going right, my smoker will put out a light blue smoke.  I add logs, with bark on, as needed. I don't bother "preheating" them. I just throw them on off of the pile.  The only time you have to worry about the smoke is if you panic because the temp is too high, and you try to choke off your fire by closing the vents.  At this point you are screwed because the fire is choked out and begins to lay a large amount of soot on your food.  Good fire = good food.  Bad fire or lack of = bad food.  Keep everything flowing good and your concerns will go away.  On the larger smokers, make sure that all of your adjustments are small, and give the smoker a little time to adjust. With the bigger smokers you have to be patient and take your time.  Nothing happens real quick, unless you choke your fire.  Then it gets bad real quick.  You won't like the way your food looks either.  Practice, practice, practice......
#13 - February 17, 2010, 10:54:25 am
Bueller... Bueller...  Bueller..........

PAT YOUNG

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I preheat my wood on my firebox like JAY say's but i also leave my firebox door cracked 2-3 inches for a few minutes while the initial smoke and gases burn off! I also always leave my smokestack wide open!
#12 - February 10, 2010, 05:35:35 pm

azkitch

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So, Mike, hows Martin doing, anyway? That is a neat lookin' smoker. He hasn't posted here lately. I enjoy his input--and videos. I'd have loved to try all that game.
#11 - February 10, 2010, 02:47:16 pm
CBJ # 53779
For cooking, lower and slower. For spices, mo' hotter, mo' better. Habaneros rule!

jim

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Does that 3rd picture look like the divine is looking down with a glow?
Jay -- yup if the wood is cold it smokes like crazy, but once burning  the blue hue comes out ---
#10 - February 10, 2010, 01:09:07 pm

Jaybird

I don't remove bark from the wood. I don't preburn either.

The trick is to have your wood heated before adding to the firebox or heated in the firebox before adding to the fire. Some people place logs under or over the firebox to do this.
The reason is when you place a cold log in the fire it takes a while for it to get hot enough to catch fire. Meanwhile alot of white smoke comes out of that log...but when heated it starts fire almost immediately. That's what you want for a clean burning fire...and as Dave said, the size of the log matters also. To me, the smaller the better.
#9 - February 10, 2010, 07:59:07 am

Spicy Mike

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Here's the pic of the meat in the vertical attachment which didn't attach to the last one. This was great even being part of the cooking team for the Peachland Sportsmans Club's annual banquet. Great opportunity to try some meats you wouldn't normally try unless bunked with a bunch of backwoods hillbillys. There was moose, deer, elk, bison, wild boar (done on this Q the night before), turkey, goose, bear ham, cougar and beaver.
Insert any joke on the last 2 here.   :D

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#8 - February 10, 2010, 07:53:36 am
Salad!?! Salad ain't food, it's what we FEED food!

Spicy Mike

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The volume of the firebox vs. the size of fire hadn't occured to me but makes sense as it would tend to allow for a hotter fire and cleaner burn with the extra oxygen. Thats the theory we're talking about I guess.
What about bark? Do you guys remove the bark and if so, does that help reduce the thick smoke?
I cooked on a buddys trailer rig for the first time last weekend. It was his buddy's event and I was just helping so I didn't argue about cooking over the flaming wood as that's what they do. I noticed there was an abundance of thick smoke especially at first which reduced down a bit after 1 - 1 1/2 hours during the cooking process but really worried about ruining the meat with that much smoke. As it was, we were actually running it wide open around 325 - 350deg for roasting the 2 elk roasts, 2 bison round roasts, and 2 hinds of venison. They turned out great and were only in there for about 3 1/2 hours but wonder what effect this burning wood may have @ 225 deg of chicken and pork. Guess I'll have to play with it a bit more to see.

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#7 - February 10, 2010, 07:42:54 am
Salad!?! Salad ain't food, it's what we FEED food!

azkitch

  • Karma: 5
I've had the same thought processes on this subject myself. I've gotten the impression that the volume of fresh, or raw, wood in relation to the size of the fire is what's important. Little chunks, like plain ol' rubber ball size, in a UDS or small cheapie offset--like my Brinkmann S'n'P, don't seem to produce the thick white smoke so bad. If one has a large smoker, like the DPs, with a fairly large "oven", or cooking chamber, and a similarly large firebox, then a split isn't so big compared to the "furnace". At least, that's how I've wound up wrapping my head around this conundrum.

The other thing I've seen on a Q post somewhere, is that flaming logs are preferable to smoldering logs. Those larger offsets/pits can support flaming better. I keep thinking about trying out my Brinkmann with a flaming fire of logs, to see what the temperature does. Now that I have 3 thermometers, and extra wood in the form of oak and mesquite that I likely won't use as flavor wood, I may just try that.
#6 - February 09, 2010, 11:16:17 pm
CBJ # 53779
For cooking, lower and slower. For spices, mo' hotter, mo' better. Habaneros rule!

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