Keeping the Thin Blue Smok Flowing

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by troy fuller, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. troy fuller

    troy fuller Fire Starter

    All right, I have a modified offset smoker and have quite a bit of experience with smoking.  Recently I ordered a half cord of Pecan and so instead of my typical charcoal/wood process I want to utilize only the wood (since I made the investment and received a good deal, $50 for a half cord of Pecan is pretty good in my book).  Anyway, here is what I am trying to get answered . . .

    First, how much wood should I start with.  Before the meat goes on the smoker, I need to get my fire going and if I am smoking more than four hours, I typically need to add wood.  Should I be using even more wood to start?

    Second, if I add wood during the smoking process how do I add wood and avoid having a round with thick white smoke, or said another way . . . how do I add wood while still maintaining the thin blue smoke?  Do I have to actually start a fire with the new wood, get it going, and then add the burning wood?

    Thanks for the 411!!!
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    It is going to be fun using all wood in a smaller off-set smoker.  I find a smaller hotter fire will give you better smoke and is easier to control the temps.  Maybe splits about the size of a beer can.  If you start with a bigger fire to get to temp and heat up the smoker let it come back down to embers and add a split or two at a time.  If you can get by with adding wood every 4 hours you have a tremendous offset smoker

    If you have a large off-set you are still well served using the smaller splits,  they burn faster and more completely then whole logs.
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

  4. troy fuller

    troy fuller Fire Starter

    Thanks for the posts folks!  I am firing up the smoker today and while i do not have a burn barrel, I have other grills I am going to try.  I noticed in the other link that someone used their gas grill to get the wood going before adding it to the smoker, I might give that a try too.

    Regardless, instead of my 18 inch splits of wood, it looks like I need to get out my saw and cut them into thirds (or so).  "Beer can size" . . . did someone say beer?? [​IMG]

    I just had another thought, if they are small enough they will fit in my charcoal chimney.  I currently use my grill's side burner for my charcoal chimney, so I could load it up with wood instead of charcoal to get it going.  Again, the smaller pieces should make this possible.
  5. berninga87

    berninga87 Smoking Fanatic

    Definitely pre-burn. Good luck! hope to see how it works
  6. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Troy, try reading my Wood burning 101 in the WIKI under instructionals . This will give you the basics of wood burning. The pre-burn is the best for starters and keeps a good constant heat , done right. Once you learn when to add sticks and how big they should be for your smoker ; you can add they direct into the SFB.

    What you want is a small hot bed of "EMBERS" like this:

    [​IMG]   Not a fully loaded box , but just enough of the heat to git it done , I hold a temp. of (+/-) 20*f of 225*f. Also get a GOOD Thermometer and keep it Calibrated with boiling water(212*f) for more accurate cooking chamber temps. AND a good one for the meat (the new Dual therms.  from Todd Johnson here on SMF are great.Cost appox. $80 , but you'll be glad you invested in one.)

    There are guidelines for time of cooking , BUT , go by internal meat temp.(IMT) and monitor the Chamber heat.

    Oh, yes. keep the exhaust FULLY open and cook to IMT using the intake on the FB to control the heat.

    I am a Native Texan and lived in Temple , but found a pretty Yankee and hooked up with her.  I sure miss the Pecan and at $50 a 1/2 cord ; you stole that , but then Pecans are plentiful down there as Hickory and Maple is here , Have fun (lucky) with that good wood and if you can't use it all,send it to me. LOL

    Have fun and...
  7. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    You ever have one of the moments when you realize the solution to a problem you've been thinking about has been hiding in plain sight the whole time?  Every time I've ever walked to my smoker to find temps dropping and that I need to add more fuel, I've walked past not only a grill with a side burner, but also a 3 burner Camp Chef stove.  I cannot believe it never occurred to me to start a few charcoals that way.  D-U-M.

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