Smoker question for a newbie

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by whiskey ryan, May 13, 2015.

  1. whiskey ryan

    whiskey ryan Newbie

    Hey guys.  I just bought a Oklahoma Joe Longhorn dual fuel grill (charcoal/propane).  The charcoal side has an offset smoker hanging from it. So I have a couple questions:

    1. This is going to sound stupid but i should be able to burn wood in the fire box right? I was planning on starting with lump hardwood charcoal and using that to get the wood fire going.

    2. I've seen people say that they put their meat in the offset smoker box to cook it (for this specific grill). Are these people crazy? You start your fire in the smoker box and put your meat in the charcoal side right? I know this sounds stupid but i need a little peace of mind.

    Thanks in advance for the help.  Link below is the OK Joe grill i bought.
  2. That's a tiny cook chamber, especially for the size of the firebox. I think you're going to hate the small size of that smoker... looks like you can hardly cram a 9-10# pork butt in there much less a packer brisket. And, once you get proficient using charcoal/cooking wood, you'll never go back to a gas grill.
  3. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    The firebox has a cooking grate, so you can grill in the firebox. I assume the cook chamber has a grate in the bottom for charcoal so you can grill over it in the larger chamber. Also, you can burn wood and/or charcoal in the firebox to smoke meat in the cook chamber.
  4. whiskey ryan

    whiskey ryan Newbie

    The cook chamber, while smaller than a standard smoker, is bigger than it looks. To be honest it's the perfect size for me.  I don't do a lot of big meals. When i cook it's really only for me and my wife, maybe another couple sometimes.  What i like about this grill is that it lets me having everything I'm used to (i really only cook on charcoal), plus gas for whenever the wife just want a hotdog after work, and a smoker to experiment with.  Maybe in time I'll get a bigger smoker but for now, I'd rather not fill my back yard up with equipment.
  5. brownpeter335

    brownpeter335 Newbie

    This is interesting. I never smoked any charcoal. But I think I should smoke it soon.
  6. whiskey ryan

    whiskey ryan Newbie

    I'll still use wood on this grill. I'll just get it going with some lump charcoal
  7. drewed

    drewed Meat Mopper

    Lump and wood are both harder to smoke with.  Easiest, besides electricity and gas, is briquettes.  Consistency is king when going for temperature control.
  8. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Lump will give you more temp spikes due to the inconsistent sizes of the material which could cause voids in your charcoal basket, but it is and can be used for smoking for sure.  Briquettes do give a more even control of temperature since they are the same size and will fill up your basket quite nicely. 

    Whiskey, you'll love the combo grill you got there.  I have an older model of a Chargriller Duo with side fire box, I use the gas for easy quick meals after work, the charcoal side for steaks and burgers on the weekend and occasionally use the side fire box for some smoking action.  And yes, you would use the side fire box for the fire and the charcoal side for the placement of the meat to be smoked, but as Grillmonkey stated, most have a grate that comes with the side fire box for high temp searing if you want.  Using the smaller smokers like the one you have, you will really enjoy the whole process better if you constructed a charcoal basket for the side fire box.  This will help keep your charcoal, both unlit and lit contained.  It will also allow you to use the minion method for less fire management and more time enjoying cooking.
  9. whiskey ryan

    whiskey ryan Newbie

    Thanks for the advice bruno. Everything you stated is exactly why I wanted this combo grill. I was really just going to use the lump (or briquettes) just to get an ember bed down to throw the logs on and then continue cooking with mini mesquite logs.  But of course, I've never done this before and this whole idea is a combination of shooting from the hip and talking out of my ass haha. So please feel free to slap me upside the head.
  10. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Whiskey...the plan you have will work out great.  My only suggestion would be in that small of a firebox, you will probably do better with chunks and not sticks, even small ones.  To be able to control your temps, and still produce a thin, blue smoke, the larger the piece of wood you put on the fire the harder it will be to do both.  You'll either get a heavy white smoke from trying to ignite too large a piece of wood or you'll have to give the fire so much oxygen to burn properly, you'll be running over 300 degrees in the smoke chamber.  If you have a miter saw, just cut up your sticks into chunks, smaller fist size pieces,  Other than that, you have a great plan!
  11. whiskey ryan

    whiskey ryan Newbie

    Just to help me get a visual, the attached pictures are of one of the bigger logs from the bag I bought in the bottom of my fire box.  So these are to big?

  12. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Possibly not, there's only one way to tell....light a fire in that thing!  LOL.  You might be good with that size, I have just found that fist size chunks seem to do best in smaller firebox baskets and UDS baskets.  It really all depends on the size of your coal bed and how hot do you want to smoke at.  Once again there is only one way to tell, practice, practice, practice.
  13. whiskey ryan

    whiskey ryan Newbie

    haha gotcha.  Hopefully I'll be able to try it out in the week or so.
  14. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    When smoking with wood as your fuel source, it must be burning. Use the fire size to help control your temp. Smaller fire = less heat. There are three types of smoke I've encountered when burning wood in my side-fire-box smoker; white, brown/black, and thin blue smoke (TBS). There is lots of info on why each of these smoke conditions occur, so I won't bore you with the science, since I don't know it anyway.

    White smoke usually occurs when you start your fire, or add wood during the smoke and should dissipate as the wood catches fire and begins to burn.

    Brown/black smoke comes from too little oxygen (closing the vents too much to try to lower temp or adding too much wood at once). This will cause creosote to form inside the cook chamber and will ruin your meat if it isn't controlled immediately.

    TBS is the ideal. When your fire is burning efficiently, the smoke will almost seem invisible.

    Your fire should look something like this.

    Thin blue smoke.

    If you are going to burn wood, you'll need more than a bag full.

    Burning wood for fuel and smoke is my favorite smoking method. It keeps you involved, it's fun, and it makes a good excuse so the wife can't pull you away for other chores. And, I think it makes the meat taste better than the other methods.
  15. whiskey ryan

    whiskey ryan Newbie

    Grillmonkey - Thank for the pictures. I don't have nearly that much wood haha. I bought a 25lb bag of mesquite logs from home depot. I guess I'll pick up a few more bags. outside of Home Depot I'm not sure where to get mesquite/hickory in bulk.
  16. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Depending on where you live, you can probably buy decent smoking wood on Craig's list. Just search for firewood.
  17. Amen!!!
  18. I had that same grill for about five years. I enjoyed having the gas, charcoal, and the offset box for the occasional smoke. While I liked the idea of having three grills in one, as I grew into the grill I realized that it did all three of those things just okay and I found the need to improve upon a better grilling /smoking experience. With the offset box I found that I had to fight the fire throughout a long smoke. I also found that I could not put meat on one half of the grill closest to the firebox because of the higher temp. I think you will be happy with your new grill as long as you understand the limitations I think that with a few modifications that grill could do so much better. I gave the grill away and was going to rebuy the same grill but then I opted for a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker and I bought a gas grill for my quick barbecuing needs. I think you may find that charcoal in the firebox with wood chunks may serve you better for keeping the temperatures steady throughout a longer cook. I hope you enjoy your new grill!
    Last edited: May 19, 2015
  19. whiskey ryan

    whiskey ryan Newbie

    That's kind of what I figured. But like I said, I've never used a smoker before so I figured this would be a good way to have my cake and eat it too. If this becomes something I'm doing all the time I'll find someway to get a full size smoker.

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