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Is there an accepted tecnique for reloading a firebox?

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  • hummelj
    Former Member
    • Apr 2018
    • 8
    • Houston

    Is there an accepted tecnique for reloading a firebox?

    I'm planning on getting myself a Backwoods G2 Chubby which I see is incredibly efficient with fuel, holding temp for 8+ hours. However, I plan on doing a lot of experimenting with brisket which can cook for around 14 hours. I might be making a mountain out of a molehill but, I can think of so many variables. Do I just add unlit coals around the remaining few still-burning ones? Do I get more going in a chimney and then add them? do I bother clearing ash? My thoughts are that the G2 will do well in preventing too much of a temp drop, but I am slightly concerned about a spike. Basically, I'm wondering if there's a "right" way to handle reloading the firebox of a smoker. Thanks!
    Last edited by hummelj; May 7, 2018, 04:01 PM. Reason: added a word or two
  • Nate
    Former Member
    • Apr 2015
    • 3811
    • Quarantined

    Welcome from Indiana


    • Frozen Smoke
      Club Member
      • Nov 2017
      • 1528
      • Northern Mn

      Welcome to the Pit! I'm not familiar with the particular smoker you are talking about but no doubt somebody will be along to answer your questions.


      • texastweeter
        Club Member
        • Jul 2017
        • 2880
        • Republic of Texas

        I always START the same way, i fill the box about 2 briketts deep. then I take a basketfull out of the end closest to the door. I take that basket and light it. once ashed over dump it back in in the empty void. smooth out with some kind of non flammable tool. scatter wood across the top in the form of chunks or splits. Let that burn all the way across while monitoring temps to get a baseline of how your cooker performs. adjust from there.


        • texastweeter
          texastweeter commented
          Editing a comment
          i use a pitmaker vault smoker often which looks very similar and this is the technique I use on it. I keep the top vent all the way open, and the bottom just big enough to stick the tip of my pinkey finger in the hole. Holds temp like a boss.
      • RonB
        Club Member
        • Apr 2016
        • 12570
        • Near Richmond VA
        • Weber Performer Deluxe
          Pizza insert
          Smokenator 1000
          Cookshack Smokette Elite
          2 Thermapens
          lots of probes.

        Welcome to The Pit. Sorry, but I can't help you.


        • Mr. Bones
          Birthday Hat Master
          • Sep 2016
          • 9153
          • Kansas Territory
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          Howdy from Kansas Territory, Welcome to Th Pit!
          I ain't got no cookers like yers, so feel rather unqualified to answer, but th Good Folks here will git ya all set up, an tickin over proper, like!
          Glad yer here, an git involved with all of this goodness...


          • Henrik
            Founding Member - Moderator Emeritus
            • Jul 2014
            • 4246
            • Stockholm, Sweden

            Hi hummelj! Yes, you just add unlit around the lit coals. Some fireboxes (depends on model) even have "walls" inside the firebox to create an S-shaped 'path' for the briquettes to burn. Effectively creating a long snake of briquettes. If that's the case, and this is what I do in a Slow 'N Sear also, I start refilling when the fire has reached the end. That way the 'snake' starts making its way back where it came from.

            Since you’re new, and if you haven't already done so, please check out our homework assignment post for new members, it contains a few how-tos and please-dos. This will help you learn your way around so you can get the best experience from our forum.

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            • hummelj
              hummelj commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for the response! I've got my homework done, and I appreciate the advice regarding my post! I'm looking forward to lots good info and conversations here.
          • RAmorris
            Charter Member
            • Dec 2014
            • 449
            • Winter Haven, Florida
            • Equipment:
              Thermoworks Chef Alarm Food and Smoker Thermometer
              2 Landmann 2 Drawer Vertical Water Smokers
              Backwoods G 2 Party Insulated Vertical Water Smoker
              Brinkmann Trailmaster Limited Edition Offser Smoker
              Weber Spirit E-310 t Three Burner Gas Grill
              Char-broil Classic 4 Burner Gas Grill

            I have a Backwoods G2 Party. The removable water pan holds about 3.5 gallons when filled to an inch below the top. The charcoal pan holds 12 pounds of charcoal briquettes. It is good for 9 hours of cooking at 250 degrees, and I haven’t needed more cooking time. If I had to add charcoal, I would start charcoal in a charcoal chimney before I had to add charcoal. Then I would remove the charcoal and ash pans and close the fire box door. I would dump the burned ashes in a metal can, refill the charcoal pan with lit and unlit charcoal as described below, and put it back in the smoker. Since this should only take about 10 minutes, I doubt the smoker temperature will drop by more than about 10 degrees.

            Here is the process I follow to operate this smoker.

            Open side air intake dampers and top exhaust damper wide open
            Put 2 layers of unlit charcoal briquettes in the charcoal pan, and leave a space in the back left corner, with additional but less space across the back, to put the lit charcoal.
            Bring a large pot of water to boil.
            Light charcoal in a charcoal chimney
            Just before the charcoal is ready, get three large wood chunks.
            Use a sauce pan to dip the water from the larger pot of boiling water and put it in the water pan in the smoker. Fill the water pan with the hot water about ¾ inch from top. Leave smoker door open until the charcoal goes in to minimize condensation on inside from steam. The objective here is to time the filling of the water pan so that the charcoal isn’t burning up in the chimney while the water pan is being filled. If the water cools some before the charcoal is ready to go on, that’s okay. The water pan on my smoker is good for 3.5 hours from when the smoker reaches 250 and will need to be filled again after that.
            Dump the lit charcoal mostly toward the back left corner (near the damper), but some across the back of the fire pan, at least two layers high, being sure it touches the unlit charcoal. If you put two layers of lit charcoal against two layers of unlit charcoal, the lit charcoal should spread to both layers of unlit coals at the same time. You need at least two layers of unlit charcoal for a more consistent burn.
            Put two wood chunks on the lit coals and two on the unlit coals near the lit coals.
            Position charcoal pan and ash pan back on rack that holds them
            Push fire pan with lit coals into the smoker and close firebox door to smoker.
            Put the meat in the smoker. The meat should be as cold as possible when it goes on the smoker because smoke penetrates cold meat better. When it gets up to 240 degrees, close the side dampers to ¼ to ½ inch open, leaving the top damper open all the way. Adjust vents for a cooking temperature of 250. Always leave top vent wide open. Record the start time as the time the meat began cooking at 225 degrees.

            For brisket or pork shoulder, when it reaches an internal temperature of 150-160 degrees, take the meat up, wrap it in two layers of foil, and put it back in the smoker or in the oven to finish cooking. This is called the Texas crutch and avoids the meat going into the stall. Avoiding the stall decreases cooking time. A 13.5 pound packer brisket, with the point separated from the flat, took me a total of 6.5 hours to cook the flat to 205 degrees and 7 hours to cook the point to 202 degrees.


            • EdF
              EdF commented
              Editing a comment
              You're an engineer, right? ;-)

            • MeatMonster
              MeatMonster commented
              Editing a comment
              Good info!



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