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Wood or Charcoal? Help a newbie out!

 
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gatorpv18



Joined: 27 Jun 2008
Posts: 1
Location: Gainesville, FL

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28 08 12:35 am    Post subject: Wood or Charcoal? Help a newbie out! Reply with quote

OK, so I'm new to the smoking thing. I got a smoker last christmas along with a couple of books, and I've been smoking successfully ever since using the methods they recommended. Basically charcoal in an offset firebox with wet wood chips on top or in a box to provide the smoke.

So I was looking the other day at homemade pits, and I noticed they all had a seperate area for burning wood down to coals, and it got me thinking. Should I be doing that? What's the difference between that and charcoal? If you burn down your own coals, then add those to the smoker, are you still getting the wood flavor or do you add wet wood to that?

Just trying to learn the best practices here...thanks in advance for helping a newbie out! Smile

Peter
Gainesville, FL
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doojr
BBQ Pro


Joined: 04 Jun 2008
Posts: 525
Location: Baton Rouge,LA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28 08 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally on used wet wood(chips) in a smoker box on my gas grill when I was "smoking" food. I used dry wood(chunks) on my smoke-n-grill, when smoking food. On my new pit, I havent made anything big, i.e brisket/butt, but have used mini logs sparingly, over charcoal. I prefer the lump, as it does provide some smoke, but I think better flavor and heat management. Hope this helps some.
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handicap18
Newbie


Joined: 30 Mar 2007
Posts: 69
Location: Burlington, MA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01 08 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been using an offset cheepo smoker for a few years. I always used charcoal. Mostly lump, but occasionally briquettes. 2 of my 3 cooks this year didn't go so well with charcoal. I had a real hard time keeping the temp even somewhat consistent. I was all over the place. For the 3rd cook I put in 2 chimneys of Royal Oak, then started adding wood logs.

WOW!! Holly crap! What a difference. Temperature stayed right around 230 for 7 hours with adding 1 big log and a few small fruit logs every hour to hour and a half. The lowest I got was 210 and the highest I got was 290. In the past I would fluctuate from 170 to well over 300.

I'm am now a converted wood smoker. Not chips or chunks, but full logs.
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SoEzzy
Site Admin


Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 13183
Location: SLC, UT

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01 08 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gatorpv18 Welcome to the forum! Wink
What make and model is your pit?

handicap18 Chances are your charcoal got wet, which ruins its burning characteristics, I've had that happen with briquettes mostly, lump is a different beast, but if it has been wet and then dried out it still won't always burn the way you'd expect.
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