Confused - Charcoal or Wood in my smoker?

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by torchrider, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. torchrider

    torchrider Fire Starter

    I have been reading about how to fire my smoker (photos below) and am still not sure if I should be using charcoal and throw a few sticks on top for smoking, or if I should be using the smoking wood as the fire as well. I am building a fire barrel in order to pre burn wood for the smoker so am guessing I should just use the wood to burn/smoke?

    Can someone point me to the correct way to build and maintain a fire/smoke in a unit like mine?
  2. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Normally, I start the fire with charcoal, then use wood to keep it going.
  3. graybeard

    graybeard Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Hey torch, I use all wood butt it's kinda up to you. Lump and regular charcoal actually burn longer so maybe a combination will work for you. It's like most anything else pertaing to smokin, it's hit or miss til ya get er like you like it!


    PS, biggest mistake is adding toooo much fuel at once.........
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If you are building a burn barrel and have access to a good suply of wood then by all means use just wood. For those of us without a burn barrel then lump is the next best thing, and if you were using lump then you would just be tossing on a few fist sized chunks of your flavor wood.

    I myself have not used a burn barrel to preburn wood and use only wood, but I do know some others here have done that. I'm sure somebody who has done it will be able to give you some details. [​IMG]
  5. torchrider

    torchrider Fire Starter

    I have plenty of wood, although I may use more than I think I am going to. My initial interest in the burn barrel was to be able to put pre-burning wood into the smoker so that the temp wouldnt fluctuate that much. Plus, I hear that the smoke from preburned wood is ideal. If this doesnt make sense, then maybe I could make another smoker out of the barrel. :)
  6. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey Torch,

    Given the size of your smoker, I would use charcoal and add wood chunks to that. I believe that the use of wood might just over power the smoker. If you use wood, be sure to keep the fire small as the temp could get away from you pretty quick.

    After you get a few burns under your belt, then you can make a determination of which is best for your situation.

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