Stick burners = cooking over flaming wood?
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Author Topic: Stick burners = cooking over flaming wood?  (Read 5749 times)
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Spicy Mike
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« on: February 08, 2010, 10:49:08 pm »

Here's a question. During the process of burning wood down to embers, the smoke emitted from the flaming wood is acrid and full of unfriendly gasses right? It's with this understanding that when I Barbeque I've got a separate fire barrel going which I use to dig the embers out of and trasfer to the drum. So if this is true, how do you guys use your stick burners? I understand burning a big fire down to a hot bed of coals, then loading in the meat but what then? Do you continue to add wood to coals to refuel it or do you have a separate fire going to dig the embers out? I can't see this working in a parking lot at competition.
Sorry if this is a dumb question but I don't think cooking over flaming wood is safe.




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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2010, 10:52:22 pm »

I use Lump Charcoal to get to my bed of embers, then I just us strictly wood for the rest of the cook.  The key is to have good air flow.  You don't want the smoke hanging around too long.
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 03:07:03 pm »

My pit is gas assist...essentially a weed burner built into the fire box. I just put in 4-5 split logs, get it burning good with the gas assist. Shut off the gas and add a log as needed to keep the temps where they need to be. My pit has plenty of airspace, but more importantly, the exhaust is always wide open.
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 10:47:23 pm »

I just use wood and nothing else...it takes about an hour to be ready for meat, then add 1 log at a time as needed.
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2010, 11:16:17 pm »

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.
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2010, 07:42:54 am »

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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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2010, 07:53:36 am »

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.   Cheesy

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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2010, 07:59:07 am »

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.
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2010, 01:09:07 pm »

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 ---
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2010, 02:47:16 pm »

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.
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2010, 05:35:35 pm »

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!
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« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2010, 10:54:25 am »

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......
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2010, 04:42:45 pm »

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.
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2010, 08:40:49 am »

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
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2010, 10:20:19 am »

Welcome back! Smiley
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