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SnS wood cook experiment inspired by Ernest

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    SnS wood cook experiment inspired by Ernest

    I've always wanted a wood burner and around where I'm from, about all I can get for wood to cook with is birch. I've used it with charcoal as a smoking wood with good results but when Ernest did his all wood experiment with the SnS I wanted to try it out with birch. I've run two tests, and the first was not so successful.

    I used 3 pieces of birch the first time around similar to how Ernest did his first cook. Alas there wasn't enough heat and the coals burnt out quickly. I saved that cook by starting a full load of KBB and finishing it with that.

    The second attempt today was quite a bit better but still not an all wood cook. The result though was fantastic.

    These two shots were from the first try. I used three pop can size pieces of birch and burnt them down to coals. I didn't take any pictures of lighting the wood for todays cook. If you can imagine about a 7 inch diameter birch log about 16 inches long. I sawed it in half and split each piece into quarters (8 quarters total). 4 quarters fit nicely into the chimney standing upright. First though I laid about 8 or 10 briq's on the bottom to help light the wood. Then with the wood standing in the chimney they were just above the rim. I lit it with some paper and birch bark (that bark is my favorite for lighting the chimney!!).

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    Like I mentioned before, these pics were from a previous cook. Once the wood was burnt down sufficiently today, I dumped them into the kettle and put the probe in. Soon the maverick was reading 380. Woohooo, now I'm cooking with fire!! I quickly grabbed the chiken and laid them out on the grate.

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    Here's where the difficulty came in. I put the lid on and soon the smoke was rolling out the vent. Nice blue in color so I thought it was going to be ok. The temp rose to about 280 and stayed there. Oh crap, I was shooting for 350+ and with the vents fully open it was just not going to happen. So I lifted the lid and put it down on the kettle with about an inch open on the fire side. Soon it flamed a bit and the temp rose again to about 380 and stayed there for about 20 minutes or so. It started dropping. Well, ok so I put two wood quarters into the chimney with a few more briq's and got that lit. I soon realized that I was going to run out of coal in the kettle before the chimney was ready and there might not be enough wood to finish. So I decided to dump a bunch of briq's into the chimney and fill it up with the wood already in it to quickly get some heat into the kettle. So by the time I dumped the chimney into the SnS about 10 minutes later the temp was about 250 or so at the grate. I put the lid back on ajar like I had it before and soon the temp rose to 410

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    The results were pretty dang good! Oh, the blackness on the chicken is not burnt .. I'm calling it bark and I'm sticking with that!! Awesome crispy skin. I used mayo and bbq rub on 5 and mayo with Turkish Baharat on the other 5. Mayo mixed with spice is my new fave on chicken!! Thanks Ernest for that tip.

    Some of the things I learnt:
    1. Kettles are probably not a real good substitute for a stick burner. Not that I have any experience with a stick burner .. just what I'm imagining.

    2. With all the smoke coming out the vents the chicken was not smokey at all. That leads me to think that birch in a wood burner might have a nice subtle smokey flavor.

    3. Birch burns quickly and might need more attention or I'd have to use larger pieces.

    Difficulties today could also be attributed that the outside temp was only 6C and a slight breeze from the south. However I was pleased and only confirms that birch is a viable cooking wood. I wonder if Bill ships his KBQ's up here!!!

    Awesome, thanks!


      cdd315 that's a nice experience. Was your wood on the light side as far as weight? Try picking the heaviest pieces you can find anger try it again.


        If you ain't cookin' for bark why ya cookin'????


          Oh here's something to try out cdd315 . When the wood is almost ashed over, take it out of the chimney and pile it like a small hill in the SnS. I think you left them too long in the chimney.
          A pile will give you much more concentrated heat for a longer time.


          • cdd315
            cdd315 commented
            Editing a comment
            You could be right that I left it too long in the chimney. Like I mention below I'm going to try lighting in the SnS and start cooking a little earlier.

          Ernest I don't think it was on the light side .. I'd have to say it was a typical piece. I should mention maybe that it had been seasoned for two years and it was a full piece and not previously split. It wasn't wet and it wasn't rotten. It was the best I had on hand. I'm thinking that is the trait of birch. Not a full hardwood like maple or oak and not a soft wood like aspen or spruce. Weather permitting I will try again. Next time I'm going to light the wood in the SnS and not use the chimney.


            cdd315, I think if you could beg, borrow or Steal some Oak, Ash or Hickory you would be able reduce your fire management to more user friendly! Great Looking Chicken! 👍👍🍻👍👍. Dan


              Danjohnston949 Yeah Oak would treat him right, long steady heat.


                I would also try experimenting with the size of the wood- like maybe cutting it all into small chunks that are 1 1/2-2 X the size of the briquettes and just directly add a couple every 15 minutes or whenever the interval turns out to be to keep your temp? Just an idea- like managing the fire in a regular stick burner? Could work...


                  Bmyoung that's not a bad idea! Thanks


                    Bmyoung adding unburnt chunks would create heavy smoke until they burn out. Definitely wouldn't want to do that with mesquite would.
                    Smaller chunks will be next to useless by the time you're ready to cook.



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