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How much wood is to much wood?
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AutoCountry
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23 12 11:24 pm    Post subject: How much wood is to much wood? Reply with quote

I have some questions, I am a newbie at smoking. I just ordered a custom smoker and had it delivered yesterday and I used it yesterday to cook Beer Chicken for my family and I ended up using Citrus & Mulberry chunks.

However the Citrus was logs so I have to cut those up into smaller sizes so I don't over smoke. I was told that I should only use 4-8oz's of wood, until the smoke runs out then add more but again I guess thats how heavy of a smoked flavor you want, am I right?

I smoked the chicken at 225 for 4 hrs, spraying every 40mins with apple juice, apple cidar vinager & little bit over oil. I think if I were to do it over, I'd use ALOT ALOT less smoke.

Couple questions guys, should I keep my stack dampers wide open when smoking? The guys bulding it said they use it to only control heat but I wasn't sure that might have been a reason why my food tasted so smoked because at times they would close the stacks to drop temp down.

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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome aboard AutoCountry.
Congrats on your new smoker.
It looks like a small DPP design, if that's a firebox on the backside. It's hard to tell.
Your exhaust dampers should be fully open and your heat controlled with the intake.
Are you using charcoal in addition to the wood?
You want a thin blue smoke, almost invisible.
I think you added too much wood trying to keep seeing billowing smoke.
Take us some more pics, like the firebox and inside. We can better help you then.
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AutoCountry
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The smoke that was coming out the stacks were gray, thick gray smoke...

I layed a nice sheet of coals down I let them turn gray/white then I layed down a full fire box of oak and let the oak catch fire until the oak was white and once the smoke stopped coming out I brought my temp down to 225.

Then the pit designers which is backwood style guys placed 6 nice size chunks of Mulberry down then about 15mins later they then tossed a bunch of Citrus in, nearly filled the fire box--and then about 45mins later they filled the fire box again...

However I think they were more afraid of their temp raising up on them becuase of the amount of fire wood they were adding which is why they kept closing the stacks up to bring the temp down but I thought he was going to kill the food that way...


My wife and I now have a bad headace from the smoke all yesterday, I just recall the smoke coming out of the stacks were thick brown/gray wasn't a thin blue, how do I obtain the blue?

By the way the back half is the fire box, its got butter fly flaps on either side to help for air flow, ill take close up photos for you this evening when I go to clean the smoker.
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GF
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AutoCountry, thick grey smoke = bad eats.
Try keeping a small hot fire going and adding coals or wood as needed, if you fill it up it's probably gonna smolder.
225 is kinda low for chicken, 300-325 is gonna crisp up the skin better.
I'm not familiar with that style cooker so pics would help everyone to get you on the right track. Wink
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AutoCountry
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote






notice the square butter fly on the fire box, you can control the air flow by that, now do you think the airflow box is to small?
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AutoCountry
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GF wrote:
AutoCountry, thick grey smoke = bad eats.
Try keeping a small hot fire going and adding coals or wood as needed, if you fill it up it's probably gonna smolder.
225 is kinda low for chicken, 300-325 is gonna crisp up the skin better.
I'm not familiar with that style cooker so pics would help everyone to get you on the right track. Wink


How do I obtain the blue smoke? What can I do to get the blue smoke, and is it because I added so much wood is why I got the gray smoke?
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patruns
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep your stack vents completely open and mostly cook with lump coals adding a chunk of wood once in a while. Maybe stop adding chunks and only add coals half way through the cook until you get used to your rig. You control the heat with the intake dampers. You want a small, hot fire. Pre-heat the wood on the top of the firebox. You'll eventually get used to it. Some people cook almost completely with wood and others find that is too much wood. Heavy white/grey smoke = bitter eats.

Also, take pics of the inside so we can see the rest of the rig and how the smoke enters the cooking chamber.
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GF
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AutoCountry, I believe patruns is right on the money.
BTW, check your pic size, they seem too big.
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AutoCountry
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

patruns wrote:
Keep your stack vents completely open and mostly cook with lump coals adding a chunk of wood once in a while. Maybe stop adding chunks and only add coals half way through the cook until you get used to your rig. You control the heat with the intake dampers. You want a small, hot fire. Pre-heat the wood on the top of the firebox. You'll eventually get used to it. Some people cook almost completely with wood and others find that is too much wood. Heavy white/grey smoke = bitter eats.


When should I add the mulberry or citrus? I'm new to smoking so give me tips guys.

So lets start with the basic's;

Step one I usally lay a sheet of coals down, then lay some oak down let my oak burn down to coals then I'd grab 1 or 2 chunks of citrus then as my smoke stops I'd add more chunks, if my heat starts to drop I should add coal?
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patruns
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AutoCountry wrote:
patruns wrote:
Keep your stack vents completely open and mostly cook with lump coals adding a chunk of wood once in a while. Maybe stop adding chunks and only add coals half way through the cook until you get used to your rig. You control the heat with the intake dampers. You want a small, hot fire. Pre-heat the wood on the top of the firebox. You'll eventually get used to it. Some people cook almost completely with wood and others find that is too much wood. Heavy white/grey smoke = bitter eats.


When should I add the mulberry or citrus? I'm new to smoking so give me tips guys.

So lets start with the basic's;

Step one I usally lay a sheet of coals down, then lay some oak down let my oak burn down to coals then I'd grab 1 or 2 chunks of citrus then as my smoke stops I'd add more chunks, if my heat starts to drop I should add coal?


Well, I have never used mulberry or citrus but I would put it on the hot coals immediately. Make sure it is dry. I am not getting a sense of how large the mulberry or citrus is or how much wood you are putting on at a time. You do not want to overwhelm the fire. Also leave the firebox door open until the wood completely catches fire. You don't want to do anything that will smother the fire.
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AutoCountry
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote




Here is how I stack the fire box to let my firewood burn down, is this a bad idea guys? I was thought to burn the wood down into coal then use small wood chunks to toss on top for smoke.
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AutoCountry
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I get home this evening I will take photos of the chunks of citurs I intend to use and then photos of the Mulberry.

I like the idea less is more, I don't mind dropping just 1 or 2 chunks of Mulberry but my question is what causes the white/gray smoke??? Is it something I am doing with adding to much? Is it fine using the wood to start my coal as shown in the photo above of the proto type fire box.
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I can see you have some pretty big wood and too much of it. You need splits, not 4" diameter logs.
I think you will be better off starting your coal bed with charcoal. Preheat a couple splits on top of the firebox and add them after you have the smoker to temp. Keep your firebox door open until the splits catch on fire.
Just keep practicing until you learn it. Each smoker is different.
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AutoCountry
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those logs aren't what I am using to smoke.... I use those and burn them down to coal once they are coal I then add small little chunks half the size of your fist into the fire box for smoke...

I guess what I am asking is: how do I get blue smoke?[/quote]
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Jarhead
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is BBQ Man's smoker and his pic.



Check these posts by Alien.
http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11665

http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=31814
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AutoCountry
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow those articles were super indebt or at least one of them were....

Man that was wild, kind of confused me a little bit. So let's see if I retained any of the info...

Don't build a big fire? I'm confused I was told to place 3-4 split seasoned wood in my fire box so when it turns into coal I will have plenty of heat to last me a 4-6hr smoke day.

Ideally I spent 200$ on a full cord of seasoned split wood...I wanted to be cheap and not buy coal every time I cook. I read the articles and they mention to add oak wood small log here and there to keep the fire strong so it don't get weak and cause yellow smoke but lets say I don't want to add oak because I am trying to keep the nice flavor of citrus, apple or mulberry.... I personally don't like a strong flavor I like the sweet light mild flavor over the strong favors but to each their own.

So let's use this as a example i start my process of cooking and I want to just toss 3-5 split wood into my fire box; let it burn down how long after they turn to coal should I add charcoal to increase the heat in the fire box?


Thanks guys! I'll post more photos of my unit tmrw & photos of the wood.
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patruns
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Don't build a big fire? I'm confused I was told to place 3-4 split seasoned wood in my fire box so when it turns into coal I will have plenty of heat to last me a 4-6hr smoke day.


What you want to do is get a small fire going and then generally add a little wood at a time to maintain it. With that much wood in there you are either going to have too much heat (from keeping the door open to burn it) or too much smoke (from closing the door or intake and smothering it). You might see guys with really large pits get away with it but I think you need to stay much smaller. They can do it because their firebox is much farther away so they can keep high temps and still cook the meat further away at a lower temp & control how much smoke gets through.

I would suggest you go out and buy a bag of decent lump charcoal to start with and just use some preheated citrus or mulberry for the smoke, adding small amounts of coal as necessary to maintain a small fire. Smile
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AutoCountry
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote





That is how I can adjust my air flow ^^^^


I also asked the company to make it easier to clean out my firebox after each smoke so I just open the flapper up and I can brush all the left-overs into a bucket.



Then lastly here is my fire box, just pammed it up last night.






So guys lets say I want to keep using my split fire wood just to burn down into coal, what should I do if I want to do that? Give me tips on what to do to keep usinfg my wood rather buying coal./...
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patruns
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24 12 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a thread in here somewhere from a couple of years ago on making your own charcoal. Perhaps someone can find it as I am coming up blank. Confused
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GF
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25 12 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

patruns, I remember seeing it, if I recall correctly, it was kinda involved. Question

AutoCountry, If you want to use wood only, start a few splits ahead of cook time and let them burn down to coals or use a seperate burn barrel and add coals as needed.
You apple, mulberry, etc. can be slowly added to your hot coals for flavor.
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