charcoal smoker vs wood smoker???

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rockiestring, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. I use one of these myself. What falls to the bottom is big chunks of red coals and lot of embers. I have not had a problem with the rebar yet, although it is sagging a bit. But I welded mine to the barrel. So to sag much more means it will have to take the barrel with it.
    The great thing about this is, I can light my logs before Church and when I get home, it's ready to start shoveling into the smoker. Before this barrel, I couldn't do long smoke on Sunday, because there wasn't enough time after preparing the wood.
    I preburn my base wood, which is always oak. Then I add a stick of my flavor wood to the firebox when it's needed.
    It totally eliminates creosote.
  2. soflaquer

    soflaquer Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    If you use large enough rebar, there is no sagging (I believe mine is 5/8"). Where as G-Slinger welded his, I simply used rebar tie-wire and wrapped each end as I went around the barrel and made ties at the crossover points inside the barrel. I uselessly spray painted mine with High-Temp paint..................after the 1st burn, it was gone! LOL! The outside is going to rust no matter what you do - no biggie, you're just burning logs in it. To help the bottom from rusting through (It's thinner metal), lay it down on it's side when you're not using it so rain water doesn't pool on the bottom pan.

    You can use my technique with any smoker that has a Firebox. In actuallity, there is no need to add any other wood to the firebox. In an enclosed smoker chamber, it provides all the "Thin Blue Smoke" you need. Using my Barrel, all the impurities of the wood are burnt off, and you have the cleanest wood smoke and heat you could ever get!

  3. chris_harper

    chris_harper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i have the lid off my burn barrel. i just let it lie on top. it stays dry in there so far; and it has rained quite alot. i do have it sitting so the opening is next to the house. i haven't got to use it yet. i need to call the fire marshall and see what regulations there are for burning in town. if it is a huge fire from 1 or 2 logs, i might have problems.
  4. soflaquer

    soflaquer Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Unless there is a "Burn Ban", which we have from time to time here in So. Fla. during the dry season - you should be OK. I ALWAYS have a charged garden hose next to me when I use my Smokers and/or Burn Barrel. 2 Logs? I'll go thru a 1/2 cord of wood almost on an All Nighter 16 hour cook!

    Not a bad idea with using the lid, unfortunately, mine did not have a removable one - so I had to torch it off.

  5. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    That's alot of wood for a 16 hour cook. I suppose you don't really even need charcoal for grilling.

    I usually start w/ charcoal or a weed torch, then stoke w/ a log every 45 minutes or so. If I add too much wood @ a time(like when I let the fire burn down too long, and have to re-establish coals), I tend to get a little of the white billowy stuff, and I just open the oven door for a few minutes till the wood catches good. I'm definitely going to try the Gunny's preheating methog though. I have a flat top on my firebox that would be the perfect place to preheat logs.

  6. chris_harper

    chris_harper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    a 1/2 cord for 16 hours? that seems like alot of wood to me.
  7. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    Yeah. Are we talking about a smoke, or a beer drinkin' bonfire? I think I smell a bonfire!
  8. soflaquer

    soflaquer Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Bonfire...............Now we're talkin'!!!!!

    You do not see cords here in Florida, really. But if I'm correct, it is a stack of wood 4 ft X 4 ft. X 8 ft. ? My cuts are only about 2 to 3 ft. in length, so let's narrow it down to a 1/4 cord. Sound better? I know I go through a S**t load of it, so if my dimensions are precise............EASILY a 1/4 cord.

    Tim, when I do a relatively quick smoke (4 - 7 hrs) such as Ribs or Loins, I'll use my custom Charcoal Basket and add preheated splits, much like yourself.

  9. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    What kind of woods are available in south Fla.? Somehow, I just can't imagine smokin' w/ palm. :lol:

  10. soflaquer

    soflaquer Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Most of the wood used here is Oak.

    In South Florida, we have an invasive species that grows near the coastal areas called "Australian Pine". That in fact is a misnomer, it is actually a Spanish Oak. The leaves of the very tall and slender tree form a thin "needle-like" shape which resembles a Pine Needle. In fact, it is more dense of a wood than a native oak. These tree's unfortunately have a very shallow root system and are easily felled by a passing Hurricane! Unfortunate, for the TREE! Fabulous for those collecting wood for their smoker!!!! After having 3 Hurricanes ina 13 month period, I made out like a Big Dog!!!!!!!!

  11. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    Last time in So. Fla, I remember seeing alot of trees similar to your description in the median on the 8 lane between Miami and Lauderdale. I remember my bro in law telling me that there was alot of contraversy concerning the fact that some people had been killed when they crashed into them. They grew real thick and close together like a giant thicket. Do you know what I'm talking about, and if so, are these the trees you're talking about?

  12. soflaquer

    soflaquer Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Yep, those sound like the ones. They are pretty tree's but they are considered invasives and are not native to Florida. I don't recall any near the Interstate, though - perhaps I just overlooked them because they are everywhere near the Beach Towns and City's.

  13. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    Doesn't that require a whole lotta wood?
  14. soflaquer

    soflaquer Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member


    When I'm cooking 80 to 100 lbs. of meat on my Smokers, for an average of 16 to 20 the math. I start my Burn Barrel about 2 hours before THAT and fill it to the top with cut logs. Once I have a good bed of embers in my Firebox and the Barrel, I'll leave it at the 1/2 way point and add a Log as needed throughout that period.

    It is BY FAR, the BEST way to cook on a wood Smoker that has a Firebox. It is however, labor intensive and you need a good supply of wood. Most people will not take the time or dedication needed for "Real Wood Smoking", but once they've tasted the end results, they'll be hard pressed to do it any other way.

  15. Jeff, that is a fact!
    Before I built my barrel (thanks for the pics) I would spend hours getting my logs ready in the fire box before I started smoking. By the time everything was perfect, my firebox was half full of ash. Now all I have to do is shovel what's red from the barrel to the fire box. I have even built a mount on the trailer to haul the barrel with the smoker. It's a simple operation of swinging the shovel less than a foot. This is also a good way of being able to use wood that's a little green yet or wet.
    The only thing I preburn is my oak which is what I always use for base. Then I preheat the splits that I use for flavor. I have found that I don't get an over smoked flavor when I preburn the oak.
    If you eat at ANY good smoke joint, their smokers are ONLY wood fired.
  16. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    I'm w/ you. The stickburner rules. I will not eat @ a Q joint unless I see evidence that a stickburner is in use, i.e. cords of wood stacked outback, woodsmoke in the air, or even the smoker outside. I'm also never bashful about asking to see the pit. I've learned alot about design that way, and I've never met a pit master that was shy about showing off his tools.

    Oh, and hey Gunny, when are we going to see some pix of your rebar-made Q tools?

  17. msmith

    msmith Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I agree also on the wood smoking just isnt the same any other way. Im going to build one of those burn barrels also.
  18. smokyokie

    smokyokie Smoking Fanatic

    I just happened to read your signature line (funny how you can look at something over and over and not notice it), man that's some nice work you did there on Hotrod! How bout some close up pix and pyrodynamic design input?

    Even with the right equipment, I would never be able to do work like that.

    Since we all seem too agree on stickburners being the best, maybe we should start a new order.....maybe something like the order of the fat old stickburners or something like that. :lol:

  19. coz

    coz Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    Give me a little time here fellas and I will graduate to a stick burner.Getting comfortable with gas and building a bigger gasser for big loads of fish.When the gasser is done I will start on a charcoal burner.The maybe I will do a stickburner.My uncle used to swear by them.
  20. soflaquer

    soflaquer Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member


    We have a convert! For a while, I thought us "Stick Burners" were going the way of the Rotary Phone! I have nothing against Gas or Electric Smokers (I have a Gasser myself), but it seems I've been beating my head against a wall lately, trying to convey to all these Newbies that they'll never learn the real basics of Smoking by using one of them.

    Everybody wants convenience and "ease of use". A Gas Grill is convenient (yes, i have one, too), but it will never taste like food from a good old Weber Kettle Grill! The same goes with Smokers!

    Let's hear for "Real Wood Smoke"!


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