Splits NOT Burning???

Discussion in 'Side Fire Box' started by danbono, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All

    Another try at stick burning, here are the results..First off I tried to  use the charcoal basket, once again. Filled the basket 3/4 full of Kingsford Blue with a can in the middle/minion method, place the hot coals in the middle , once everything got hot, tried to get the a smaller cherry split/12x1  going, not much luck..

    I then  emptied the basket on the firebox grate which sits 4" above FB floor.Tried once again to get the smaller splits going , no such luck, but with firebox lid open there were flames, also at times with the vent door open, flames would appear. Some how I finally got a bigger split/12x3 to flame.Temps by the FB were around 300-350, on the end away from the FB temps were 300. I had to keep opening the cooking pit door to lower temps.Next timer maybe all small splits 6x3

    When I emptied the basket onto the FBI grate a lot of coals went under the grate. How do I fix that problem. Going to give stick burning another try. If NOT successful, I will go back to using charcoal and wood just for the flavor.Seems like I have an air flow problem? The smoker is a Brinnkmans Smoke N Pit.. There has to  be a ton of these  smokers out there using wood as fuel? Why do I have a problem??

    Thanks Dan

    PS With all that the ribs came out pretty good.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  2. Hello Dan.  When back in Tx. I didn't do the "real" stick burning thing.  I had so much mesquite I just kept a separate fire going and just added coals as needed.  Your method seems sound to me.  As to the coals falling through the grate, throw a piece of expanded metal over the grate.  That should stop that.  I contacted oldschoolbbq.  He can educate us both.  Stick burning is his thing.  Keep Smokin!

  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dan, evening.... If the sticks are flaming, there will be no or very little smoke... Do you have an air inlet below the fire grate and one directly across from the FB/CC opening....
  4. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Think of it this way; you fill a chimney with charcoal and light it from the bottom with newspaper or whatever. It starts smoldering slowly  from the bottom up, but it isn't burning fast enough to suit you. To speed things up, you squirt some charcoal lighter fluid on the coals on top, but it doesn't light as you expected it would. So, you take your lighter and put flame to the top of the chimney, expecting it to singe the hair on your arm when it bursts into flames. However, instead of bursting into flames, your lighter simply goes out. Not fiction, fact...that is what will happen. The smoldering coals are burning through the oxygen long before it reaches the top of the chimney. And, even though you are burning from the top down in your case, it doesn't take a lot of burning/smoldering charcoal to deplete the oxygen so that any wood you throw on top will only smolder just like the charcoal. Three quarters of a basket charcoal is a lot of charcoal. If you want to burn splits, just start with a half chimney of charcoal to get things going, then add splits as needed to maintain the temp you want.
  5. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    HI All Will try next time with a smaller fire at the start..

    Thanks Dan
  6. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Here is a pic of my FB door with the only vents, I have in my FB.

    Thanks Dan

  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dan.... here's one more thought...... Add an opening to the FB above the fire.... across from the FB/CC opening..... When the CC starts getting too warm, open that upper air inlet.... It will add cooler air to the CC WITHOUT adding air to the fire.... Then you can regulate the fire with the lower air inlet and have a way to move heat to the CC or cool the CC down without having to open the CC door...

    Probably about a 2x3 opening should do nicely.....
  8. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Lose the briquettes and use lump charcoal in your basket, about 1 1/2-2 chimneys of fully lit charcoal. Briquettes ash over and restrict air flow, restricted air flow will snuff a wood fire.

    Heat your splits on top of the fire box for 20 minutes or so before adding them to the fire. You may have to keep the fire box door open until the split is burning.

    Stick burning in a COS can be a PITA, but it also can be fun and a good learning experience in fire management.
  9. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All Going to try to get the splits flaming again tomorrow. Here is the plan.
    1. lose the basket.
    2. lose the drier vent that went to the grate.
    3. start with 1/2 chimney of KB
    4. Heat the white birch splits. till they make coals.
    5. Add the apple or cherry splits, onto the white birch coals.

    Will post back with the results.

    Thanks Dan
  10. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    I just noticed you're an RC plane pilot. I'm an RC plane crash-test pilot.

    Try not to over-think it. If you got air in and air out and some dry wood, it will burn![​IMG]
  11. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    HI GM Lately been flying mostly E planes, that I have built.


    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  12. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    These are the ones I have that haven't been destroyed by my limited piloting skills.

  13. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     Hi All Well here are the results. Most of time the new splits caught on fire, other times, it was MPIA to get them going.
    Here are my findings/thoughts on stick burning.
    1. Lest charcoal is the better way to go
    2.You MUST stay on the top of things. Once the fire & temps go down. it is HARD to get the splits burning and the temps up. Temps came really fluctuate.
    3. I had to use a lot splits 12 x 1/2 to keep things going. One could go broke using just wood.
    Speaking of wood I think can get Oak splits 17" x 3/4" x 3/4" for 50 cents a piece. 17" would be a tight fit in my firebox. Each should be good for about 1 hr. So 10 splits=10 hrs burn time=$5.00. Not a bad way to go "IF" I can get them big splits to burn.
    4. Half way thur I had to start and add 1/2 chimney KB, to get temps back up.
    5. It takes a lot of work to keep a stick burning going
    6. NOT sure if it is worth the time and effort or $$.
    Thanks DanB
    PS Last pic is the white birch, which was the 1st to go, before adding the apple.

  14. kapdon

    kapdon Smoke Blower

    This sounds right to me. Use less charcoal and apply more oxigen. If you don't want to modify your bbq pit then leave the door open and adjust as needed. How big is your firebox? I am not familiar with the brand of bbq pit you are using. If it is anything like the ones they sell at walmart this could be part of your problem. Most of the fireboxes on those pits are smaller because they are intended to be used with charcoal, not wood. Charcoal burns hot, emits a lot less smoke and requires a lot less oxigen. One more thing you could try is splitting the wood into smaller splits. You will probably find that it burns better and will also help keep your temps from fluctuateing so much.
  15. Hi Dan, been following the thread. You are getting all the good advice. While smaller splits have been suggested. I have the BTMLE and out of the box I added all the mods. I struggled with my first couple of smokes and started to reduce the size of my splits as well as removing some of the mods such as the tuning plates and even removed the baffle on my last smoke on 9/30. I seem to be having better luck as I remove the mods and experimenting with the fuel that I use. I've even went to alternating a 3"split as recommended with a 1-1/2" split when needed. My smoke temps are getting more consistent and I'm getting more time to myself for a beverage. I guess its called flying by the seat of your pants. All the mod suggestions are good ones and follow them. You can always undo them and try again by another route.   
  16. jakesz28

    jakesz28 Fire Starter

    I think if you extend the top of the chimney or exhaust stack so it can actually Draft you will have better luck burning splits. I use my charcoal basket and splits burn well for me. Having the chimney work pulls more oxygen into the fire box. Helps maintain my temps. Without my 24" extension the fire seemed to struggle.

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