Fun with charcoal

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kc dave, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. i should probably have a warning in my profile that I prefer to do things "the other way".
    just give some room for invention.

    One of those is playing with the charcoal.
    I use the cheapest, fast burner in the bottom of the starter chimney.
    Good stuff and wood chips on top.

    Hickory laced briquettes in the process to keep the flavor alive (just a handful of coals)
    Kamado Joe for heat control. (that stuff melted a metal grate on me. It gets HOT !)

    Stuff like that.

    I'm wondering if anyone else plays with the firebox mix and what you do.
  2. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    No. In fact, I use a stick burner most of the time, and oak wood on it exclusively. To quote another SMF member whom I can't recall, "That is what BBQ smells like." However, start getting unorthodox with your meat, seasonings, temps, etc. and you've got my full attention.
  3. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Another offset stick burner here, see my sig. Yes, I'll mix wood and charcoal depending on what burn/smoke I want, and on the conditions.

    Sometimes I'll mix smoking wood flavors, but then that goes into the single vs. blended flavor debate that also holds true for whiskey, hot peppers, etc.: blend, or single variety?

    I usually load the basket with charcoal and make a little kindling-wood fire on top, like starting a small campfire. The embers drop down and light the charcoal, and they heat up the smoker as they mature. Then with good embers in place I'll start running the fire on wood or a wood/lump mix.
  4. Absolutely, mixing wood would fit the topic.

    My cousin put in a stick of East Coast pine for some chicken and it was great.
    Did it here with some Heartland Evergreen and it was... dog food.

    So whatever you do in the firebox matters.

    The best spice recipes can't beat bad smoke.
  5. Now that I had time to play with some sticks.

    What kind of stick fire can I build?
    That's how I started out but, as I said, one bad stick mucked things up.
    I have walnut and oak and one hickory in the yard to pick from.
    Things get mixed up though.

    I had some oak so I just started it in coals.

    That next think is adding another stick.
    I started to kick up a lot of "dirty" smoke.
    That's happened before and I didn't care for the sooty flavor.
    I yanked that off and got it burning elsewhere before adding it back in.

    Is there a technique for that or am I the only one that doesn't care for the dirty smoke?

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