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Unread 05-23-2013, 02:57 PM   #1
LT72884
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Ello brethren. I have been watching some youtube videos on BBQ. I have noticed something that i would like to address so that im somewhat in the know.

here is what i have noticed with WSM's and UDS type cookers, including the kettle. You are supposed to let the wood chunks "smolder" if that is the right word, rather than catch fire and burn. Smolder may not be the word im looking for. But its the stage between catching on fire and smoldering. I guess the word is charring. Its the stage where the wood is hot enought to burn clean but not catch fire. haha

but in the videos i have been watching with offsets, they light 2 chimneys full of lump and place 2 LARGE chunks in each chimney. Once the wood has ignited and is burning, they place it in the cooker. Once it is up to temp, they placed the food on. However, the wood chunks/splits were still on fire burning away.

i thought having the wood on fire is no no because the fire means its burning clean but to hot to produce smoke.

So my main question is. why in offsets do you keep the wood on fire, even with a charcoal base/minion method and in a wsm or charcoal cooker, the wood is supposed to not be on fire??

thanks
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Last edited by LT72884; 05-23-2013 at 04:39 PM..
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Unread 05-23-2013, 03:41 PM   #2
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NO, you want the chunks to burn clean. When you have "Thin Blue Smoke" (TBS), it is almost invisible. When your sticks burn, you achieve TBS. If the wood solders you'll most likely have white smoke.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 04:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SmokeDiddy View Post
NO, you want the chunks to burn clean.
true. they burn clean when they have preheated and are nearing the chared stage, but when i see tbs in my cooker (uds)or some one elses wsm/uds, the wood is not on fire, its just burning slowly down like in an electric cooker, they dont catch fire, they just burn.

but in an stickburner, i notice they are on fire and blazzing. i have heard from pros that in charcoal cookers such as a wsm, you dont want the chunks to be on fire, just a clean burn is all. But then they tell me that on an stick burner, you want the splits to be on fire.

so why cant we let our wood chunks catch fire in a uds/wsm cooker? besides temp spikes.

thanks
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Unread 05-23-2013, 04:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LT72884 View Post
but in an stickburner, i notice they are on fire and blazzing. i have heard from pros that in charcoal cookers such as a wsm, you dont want the chunks to be on fire, just a clean burn is all. But then they tell me that on an stick burner, you want the splits to be on fire.

so why cant we let our wood chunks catch fire in a uds/wsm cooker? besides temp spikes.

thanks
In my BSKD, I use both sticks and chunks. They both burn until they turn to just hot coals, then, it's usually about time to add another chunk or stick. I intentionally give my fire enough air so that the wood burns and not smolder.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 04:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeDiddy View Post
In my BSKD, I use both sticks and chunks. They both burn until they turn to just hot coals, then, it's usually about time to add another chunk or stick. I intentionally give my fire enough air so that the wood burns and not smolder.
Thats cool. i have to keep reminding myself that in a stick burner, you have to make your own bed of coals by allowing the wood to burn down. You dont use minion method or charcoal the hole cook like us wsm users or drummers like me. I use minion method and i have been told that allowing the chunks to catch fire means to much air and no smoke will be produced.

Im just confused as to why its bad to have my wood chunks catch fire in my UDS. maybe its a good thing and i have been misinformed. lol.

thanks for your help and replies my friend.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 05:37 PM   #6
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IMO, the idea of not having wood chunks catch fire in a UDS/WSM is because of the amount of heat it puts off. If you allow your UDS to consume enough air to freely allow the wood chunks to catch fire, you will be battling temps all day long. In a vertical charcoal cooker, the heat comes from the charcoal and the smoke flavor comes from the, yes, smoldering, wood chunks.

So why is it different in a large offset cooker? A lot plays into it but it is mostle because of the design. Efficiency has a lot to do with it. The firebox of an offset is not directly under the food like in a UDS so any heat that enters the cooking chamber is being forced there against its will (Heat wants to rise, not go sideways). Its okay to have whole logs blazing away in a offset because you likely need it to get the desired temp. Also, the high temperature effects of flames are less noticeable to a well built offset. Even less so in a reverse flow cooker. They also draft completely different than vertical smokers and require larger intakes and exhausts vents to properly heat the cook chamber. The large vents, although allow the fire to burn much hotter and with actual flames, allows the fire to burn clean. That is what creates your TBS; a clean burning fire.

Any time you get white smoke is because the fire is receiving less oxygen than it was at a different point in time.

For example, you are rolling sweet blue for 2.5 hours during a rib cook. You open the top of your drum to lay on some sauce. As soon as you disrupt that flow of oxygen and introduce more via removing the lid, your fire begins to take off. You get flare ups from the grease, a temp spike, wood chunks that fully ignite, and more TBS that appears to be good...until you put the lid back on. The lid goes back on and you reduce the oxygen flow, essentially choking down the fire a small amount. The grease flare ups stop but still smoke white (think bacon grease that is too hot in a skillet), the little bit of extra charcoal that was starting to ignite because of the extra oxygen starts to go out (creating..you guessed it, white smoke), the fully lit wood chunks are starved of oxygen (more white smoke), and your previous temp of 275 is now up around 325.

But all is not lost, once the lid goes back on (the sooner the better) the fire will settle back into a spot where it can live and burn clean with the flow of oxygen set by the intakes. Usually in a few minutes you get back to sweet blue and all is well.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 07:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingbassman5 View Post
IMO, the idea of not having wood chunks catch fire in a UDS/WSM is because of the amount of heat it puts off. If you allow your UDS to consume enough air to freely allow the wood chunks to catch fire, you will be battling temps all day long. In a vertical charcoal cooker, the heat comes from the charcoal and the smoke flavor comes from the, yes, smoldering, wood chunks.

So why is it different in a large offset cooker? A lot plays into it but it is mostle because of the design. Efficiency has a lot to do with it. The firebox of an offset is not directly under the food like in a UDS so any heat that enters the cooking chamber is being forced there against its will (Heat wants to rise, not go sideways). Its okay to have whole logs blazing away in a offset because you likely need it to get the desired temp. Also, the high temperature effects of flames are less noticeable to a well built offset. Even less so in a reverse flow cooker. They also draft completely different than vertical smokers and require larger intakes and exhausts vents to properly heat the cook chamber. The large vents, although allow the fire to burn much hotter and with actual flames, allows the fire to burn clean. That is what creates your TBS; a clean burning fire.

Any time you get white smoke is because the fire is receiving less oxygen than it was at a different point in time.

For example, you are rolling sweet blue for 2.5 hours during a rib cook. You open the top of your drum to lay on some sauce. As soon as you disrupt that flow of oxygen and introduce more via removing the lid, your fire begins to take off. You get flare ups from the grease, a temp spike, wood chunks that fully ignite, and more TBS that appears to be good...until you put the lid back on. The lid goes back on and you reduce the oxygen flow, essentially choking down the fire a small amount. The grease flare ups stop but still smoke white (think bacon grease that is too hot in a skillet), the little bit of extra charcoal that was starting to ignite because of the extra oxygen starts to go out (creating..you guessed it, white smoke), the fully lit wood chunks are starved of oxygen (more white smoke), and your previous temp of 275 is now up around 325.

But all is not lost, once the lid goes back on (the sooner the better) the fire will settle back into a spot where it can live and burn clean with the flow of oxygen set by the intakes. Usually in a few minutes you get back to sweet blue and all is well.
OMG, i get it now. You are going to laugh but my wife has no idea what an offset is but she said this "Honey, if the word offset means what i think it means, the fire is not directly under the food so wouldnt you need the fuel to burn hotter to get it to the food?" LOL. she is smart AND IM the one going into Mechanical Engineering. BWAHAHAHA

AWESOME. It has been a LOOOOONG winter. I have alot of info written down. I have so much info, i could write a 10 page report for english class now on just a clean burning fire. I may just do that.

I have discovered that when wood is in a kiln or some oxygen deprived environment, then heated, it will give off nasty yellow smoke, then white, and once the smoke goes blue, its been chared and turned to carbon. that is how charcoal is made. So it seems that once the wood hits a stage of becoming carbon, that is when the TBS happenes. I checked this out the other day on my drum. I saw no smoke, opened it up and saw TBS. The wood was charring up. after the cook. the wood was perfect for charcoal. haha.

there should be a sticky all bout TBS including the differences between TBS in cookers.

thanks all for the info. now i can sleep.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 07:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingbassman5 View Post
IMO, the idea of not having wood chunks catch fire in a UDS/WSM is because of the amount of heat it puts off. If you allow your UDS to consume enough air to freely allow the wood chunks to catch fire, you will be battling temps all day long. In a vertical charcoal cooker, the heat comes from the charcoal and the smoke flavor comes from the, yes, smoldering, wood chunks.
I concur senator. I had the same issue with my ECB (RIP) from back in the day. I had to fight that thing to the bitter end. I tried to create a mini WSM with my ECB (RIP) and Weber Smokey Joe (RIP)for that reason and they both died during the operation....poor ole things.
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*BSKD
*Weber 22.5" OTS
*40" MES
*ECB (RIP)
*Weber Smokey Joe (RIP)
*Maverick ET-7
*Weber tongs and such, hd alum foil, chimneys, matches, wood and other misc doo-dads and thing-a-majigs
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Unread 05-23-2013, 07:52 PM   #9
LT72884
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeDiddy View Post
I concur senator. I had the same issue with my ECB (RIP) from back in the day. I had to fight that thing to the bitter end. I tried to create a mini WSM with my ECB (RIP) and Weber Smokey Joe (RIP)for that reason and they both died during the operation....poor ole things.
LOL, one day i will upgrade to a stick burner, but for now i have my drums and mini wsm. haha.

im gonna build me a small cinderblock pit and do some texas style bbq, then again i can do that in my kettle. haha.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 08:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by LT72884 View Post
OMG, i get it now.

I have discovered that when wood is in a kiln or some oxygen deprived environment,
Not quite! A wood kiln does not char wood it drys it with plenty of O2.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 08:14 PM   #11
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Check out Langbbqsmokers.com for a great stick burner. I have a 36 patio and love it. It is a great grill.
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