what kind of wood to use for heat?

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by sparkee, May 9, 2015.

  1. I picked up a new to me smoker today and plan to use wood for heat now rather than charcoal. Wondering what kind of wood should I use for my heat source. I had a good load of applewood already for the smoke
    Here is the new smoker:

  2. Nice rig! Most use oak for heat then other for flavor.

    Happy smoken.

  3. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Apple will work well for both heat and flavor in your new pit.
  4. Sounds good thanks. I've got a small amount of dried applewood already. I'd like to get my hands on some oak also. I'll be cutting down a big maple in my backyard this summer but it is going to need to dry a couple years I imagine.
    Fired up the new pit last night to play with temp control. Started out with RO lump to get it burning then 2 applewood logs on top of the fire. It got up to 150 at food level after about 30 minutes with dampers wide open and then couldn't get any higher. It was about 60 outside with almost no wind. I set a fan at the fb end to force the heat through but it didn't do much. Eventually I opened the the and loaded it all the way with applewood. Left it open till the fire was blazing and then dropped the lid down... And singed off a bunch of arm hair. Left the fan blowing and in 10 minutes I had 200 at food level and 225 at the top gauge. That temp held steady for 2 hours even after turning the fan off. By this time it was about 2am so I closed all the vents down and called it a night. It took more than I expected to get over 200. The next run I hope to get it up there right away then see how long I can maintain.
  5. It takes fuel to make heat. Your wood may need to be smaller. 

    Happy smoken.

  6. buttburner

    buttburner Meat Mopper


    what size are your splits?

    need more description on your fire, do you have any pics?
  7. A little late on my response here but the splits I am using are applewood 16-20 inches in length and 4-5 inches in diameter mostly. I didn't get any pictures of the trial run. I'll get some next time I fire it up which might be tomorrow.

    A couple of my applewood logs.

    An end view.

    What is the ideal size for my fire logs?
    Also... What's the secret to getting the blue smoke? My understanding from what I have read is to get the fire logs engulfed in flame and completely charred. Then add a small chunk or two - about softball size- of The smoking wood. But when I add them right to the fire I seem to get white smoke then they burn just like the fire logs from there on.
    I feel like I'm missing something here.

  8. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You want the wood to burn, you do not need to add any chunks for smoke if you are cooking with wood splits. Burning the splits will give you plenty of smoke flavor, regardless of whether you have thin blue smoke or no visible smoke at all.
  9. Thanks can't wait to get this smoker dialed in and start smokin... Just got a whole hog today!
  10. Follow up:

    Fired up the OK Joe last night for the 2nd time. Started with a chute of RO lump as the fire starter.

    Then loaded the FB up with applewood splits. I think about 5-6 logs... Anyway the firebox was packed full.
    Let that burn with the lid open for a while until it was nice and hot.



    4:24 The cooking chamber temp gauge showed 125*. The fire was blazing and I had a fan set up at the FB to force the heat through.

    4:57 chamber read 175*. By this time I knew something wasnt right so I put the digital probe it through a ball of foil so it was suspended and bingo.... 314*. I tested the digital in boiling water and it registered 209*.

    So The 2 temp gauges in The lid of my cooking chamber are off by 100-140*. Both are Horizons. I figured since they were both reading fairly close to one another they were both good but bad assumption on my part.
    I'll now be looking for new gauges.
    I didn't take pictures of it but I did have a good looking hazy to clear smoke through most of the test run yesterday. So I think with new temp gauges I should be ready for some real smoking.

    Thanks for all the help and feedback everyone!

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