Too much wood for a smoke? Opinions needed

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by eaglewing, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. eaglewing

    eaglewing Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    OK, I don't want to start an inter-site war about anything, but I saw someone from here posted this 'Fire Management' link to another website on this guy's take on how to use your WOOD during a smoke...
    My only real question is this: doing a whole meat smoke with this much percentage of wood verses charcoal....isn't that violating the 'too much wood smoke' rule. I was under the understanding that wood was just like a seasoning and you could really have too much of it in a smoke. I also read in my New Braunfels Manual that the smoke was only suppose to be a percentage of the whole cooking time, hence you really need charcoal of some type to keep from over smoking...

    I would like some feedback on this to better understand what it really is I'm suppose to be seasoning my meat with??


    "Fire management is a reoccurring topic that gets a lot of attention here. I will give you my version of what to do. It is not the only version and may not be the best, but it is what I do with great success.

    1. Start by opening your air inlet damper all the way open.
    2. Place your charcoal rack about 2-3 inches off the bottom of you firebox.
    3. I like to use fire starters so light one and place it under the rack.
    4. Pour about 1-2 lbs of charcoal on the rack above the fire starter.
    5. Leave the firebox door open and walk away.
    6. Come back in 15 minutes when the charcoal is starting to turn amber.
    7. Add 2-3 small logs (about wrist size and 8-12 inches long) to the hot coals.
    8. Leave the firebox lid open and walk away.
    9. Come back in 30 minutes and make sure that the fire is briskly burning.
    10. Place 1 log (the same size as the others) along the edge of the firebox, but out of reach of the fire. This is your holding log.
    11. Close the lid to the firebox and come back in 15 minutes.
    12. Adjust the air inlet damper to its normal operating position.
    13. Open the firebox lid and give the grate a little shake while at the same time breaking up the charred logs in the fire with my Alien Bolo (or a big spatula if you got one.)
    14. The fire has been burning for about an hour now and should be in the 225 degree range.
    15. Go and prep your meat for the cooking session.
    16. When you bring the meat to the cooker open the firebox door first and roll the log that you placed on the side into the fire.
    17. Leave the firebox lid open while you place the meat in the cooker.
    18. Insure that the new log is burning and add another log to the holding position.
    19. Monitor the temp with a remote digital probe.
    20. Come back in an hour, shake the fire grate and roll the holding log into the fire.
    21. Leave the firebox lid open while you check your meat.
    22. Insure the new log is on fire and move another log to the holding position.
    23. Repeat steps 20, 21, and 22 every hour until done. "
  2. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is the method I use in my Horizon. I start my fire using lump charcoal then wood the rest of the way, no matter how long the cook. The biggest thing to remember is to try and maintain a small hot fire not a big smoldering one.

    This method will not give you an over powering smoke flavor but on the contrary it is quite mild compared to a charcoal cook.
  3. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My neighbor uses nothing but oak wood in his smoker
  4. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Eagle, you have a good question.

    There are many ways and opinions on doing things, including "smoking" your meat. Where I am from, a true barbecue is done on all wood.

    One can oversmoke on wood. That is, using too much wood at once, or too strong a wood for the meat, or innapripriate temps when you add wood or burn it.

    Be aware that the manuals you get with any commercial smoker are geared to the mainstream person who occasionally smokes or barbecues. With practive, you will learn to differentiate and build your knowledge on using wood as a fuel and as a taste enhancer.
  5. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    Even though It's not a true wood burner , I have smoked w/ oak logs only in my New Braunfuls offset. When you use splits or logs as fuel for heat they are Burning ,Not smoking. yes you will get some flavor from the burn but not like flavor from smoke. If you set a log off to the side it will start smoldering aka smoking. this provides the smoke flavor .
    so IMHO you can burn oak for heat and still controll the smoke by controlling the ammount of wood that you allow to just smolder (smoke).
  6. meat hunter

    meat hunter Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Totally agree with Rivet and EMAN. I am still new to this whole smoking thing. But I will say that I never would have come as far as I have if were not for the members here. When I started on this site, I was very intimidated by the idea of using a wood smoker, only because I know propane and electric smokers were less complex, meaning maintaining temps would be easier. But the more I asked, the more I wanted to go with an offset. I had tons of problems at first. Main one was toooo much smoke. I did not understand the concept of it. It wasn't until I asked the same questions over and over that I finally understood what I was doing wrong. I was smoldering the wood, when I should have been focusing on maintain a small manageable fire. I started with all wood, learned how to do it and I can now say that I am in complete control of my temps using only wood. Since I learned what to do, I have never had a creosote taste. If you have a small manageable fire, you will not have a smoke issue at all. Im my opinion, all wood is the only way to go.
  7. eaglewing

    eaglewing Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Interesting to say the least...
    I think I have a handle on the difference now and I appreciate the feedback from you all...
    Thnx again [​IMG]

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