Wood Burning

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by blkstallionbbq, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. I am thinking of purchasing some wood for smoking online and there are many different options as far as amount is concerned. I was wondering, roughly, how many smaller log splits it takes to do a 10 hour smoke? I'm thinking of doing a brisket and I will be using an Old Country BBQ Pits Wrangler smoker. The 30lb box has about 30-35 splits. I know I will likely need to add coals every hour or so, but how often do I need to add more wood? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  2. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Welcome to the forum.  

    Looks like you have a small offset.  Do you currently use charcoal as the main source of fuel?  If you do can just pick up a bag of chunks from one of the box stores and drop one in every hour or so.

    Since this is a test run you should be able to find enough branches laying around or hit up a friend that has a fireplace for a couple of pieces
  3. bigwheel

    bigwheel Smoking Fanatic

    Well that is a nice looking pit. Congrats! If that is one of them heavy biotches I am still down in the back from trying to help a pal get his loaded and unloaded back in the good days. Not familiar with the pit in question an the original proposition but for most applications I try to follow the rule of when it stops smoking add wood...when it stops making heat add charcoal. Main thing is dont get it overheated on the front end. I dont watch clocks..lol. Keep them dead ashes cleaned out from the bottom side. That can smother a fire quick. Give it all the exhaust you have and all the air the fire wants. Thats all I know..best of fortunes. Where you live at where they do not allow local wood? lol
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  4. glocksrock

    glocksrock Smoking Fanatic

    I used to have that same pit and it doesn't take much fuel to keep it going. I always had trouble keeping my temps low enough, but I was probably using too much. Just do some test runs beforehand to get an idea of how much wood it will use.
  5. This will be a dumb question, but I'll ask anyway. When I am smoking meat, particularly brisket, do I use charcoal and wood or just wood? If I use both is there a point in time in which I should stop adding wood in order to prevent over smoking the meat? I'm planning on 10 to 12 hours of smoking. 
  6. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Charcoal will provide a steady fire.    Stick burners use all wood so I don't think you will over smoke it.  A lot of people say meat quits picking up smoke after 6 or 7 hours anyway.
  7. maple sticks

    maple sticks Smoking Fanatic

    It will be much easier to prevent over smoking using charcoal with occasional chunk of wood. Using all wood it will depend on keeping your fire "hot" so as to keep the "thin blue smoke" coming out of your stack.
  8. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    I just started using all wood recently since I got a new pit. The past few years I have always used charcoal and chunks.

    I did an 8 hour cook on some pork butts this past Saturday using all wood and I didn't "over-smoke" in the least bit. It will all depend on what type of wood you are using, and how well it is seasoned. I wouldn't use something like hickory (or certainly mesquite) during an entire smoke. Some people do though. I would mix a hickory with oak, or maybe a little cherry, to balance out your flavor. Just my preference. Brisket could probably handle hickory the entire smoke, but I have a bunch of oak and like to mix it in.
    Just make sure that if you using any 'strong' wood, make sure it's seasoned. You can get away with the greener wood if using fruit wood in my opinion. I'm currently using green cherry and it does fine.

    As others said, the biggest thing is to keep the fire going. Don't add splits when the fire dies down. This will produce a smoldering smoke. Continually add splits right before the fire dies in order to maintain a consistent bed of embers. Knowing how to do this will come from experience with stickburning on YOUR pit. The trick is to keep a steady fire. Not a raging one, but not a smoldering one. Good fire management will produce thin blue smoke.

    Have fun if you use all wood! It's a ton of fun. And by the way, that's a very nice offset smoker. That pit should be able to handle a wood fire if that's what you choose for fuel.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2014
  9. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Heres a picture from one of my fires. Of course this size fire is what works on my pit, but it will help give you a general idea of a good steady fire with a good bed of embers. The wood is burning steady, but not smoldering. This fire will produce thin blue smoke and you can go for hours on just all wood if you can maintain a steady fire.

  10. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do you want to smoke or Pit Cook?

    For your smoker/Pit I would consider contacting a tree or lawn service that deals in firewood and have half a cord delivered, specify it's for a smoker and you want the shortest lengths possible. Specify a species also, of course it would have to be a species common to your area.

    Then you can split the wood to your desired split size. If you're lucky and have a way to half the wood, such as a bandsaw, you can half "eighteens" into "nines", this is what I do on my pit. For future wood and If they don't have shorter pieces, request that their next tree cutting job they cut some shorter pieces and contact you when its seasoned.

    For Smoking you could probably get by with Lump or charcoal and use wood to smoke.

  11. Thanks for all the helpful tips/advice. I am trying to soak in as much knowledge as possible while I try and get the money together for the smoker. So overall what I am understanding is that using charcoal with wood for smoking is an option as well as using solely wood, something mild like oak, is another option?
  12. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Yep, charcoal and wood chunks work just fine.

    I just prefer all wood 1) cause I think it's cheaper, 2) because it really deepens the flavor profile of the meat I think, & 3) I just like the authenticity of it.

    As far as wood type, it's really about your preference. Plenty of pro Pitmasters use nothing but hickory and put out good 'que. It's a really deep smoke flavor but not overpowering - kind of sweet. I just put a lot of oak and cherry in with my hickory because I have a good bit of oak. And I like cherry. But oak will also provide a good smoky flavor too. It's just about your preference. The main thing to avoid is green wood if you aren't using fruit wood. Green wood is bitter if you use a strong wood like hickory or even oak.
    There is a thread on here that goes into detail about wood types - type "woods for smoking" in the search bar.
  13. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes your pit should be fine to use all three, just depends on what you want.

    I would look into a charcoal basket and look into mods for this pit, Using a basket and properly elevating it will give you some control.

    If using all wood you can save your junk wood for the initial startup to get a coal bed and use the junk wood as fuel during foiling stage or when your food is covered.

    As far as wood goes, for the pit, I use anything (as long as its a safe smoking wood) I can get my hands on, primarily because its fuel and I have never had a bad smoke flavor profile yet, however the GOSM is a different story, I'm a bit pickier with the wood I use on my GOSM.

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