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Minor Question re: Adding Wood For Smoking

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    Minor Question re: Adding Wood For Smoking

    This ain't a terribly important matter but the curiosity is killing me. I am smoking ribs tomorrow, and usually I get the lump charcoal lit then throw the wood chunks on top. That's what I see in pretty much every video I watch as well. But the other day I was watching a guy doing a BGE video and he did this:

    First he filled it up halfway with charcoal, added wood, filled it up the rest of the way, then added more wood on top. Is there anything to this? That video was the first time I had seen somebody do it, and he didn't state a reason for it. Just wondering

    It is something you will experiment with. I have wood for my smokers and small branches for my Vision grill. If you are going for a very long cook, overloading with wood and charcoal is OK. It can impede air flow at best and at worst, could cost you to get way too hot. Wood chunks are nice because they are devoid of bark and you get a cleaner fire. When you watch your cooker, you will see period in which it appears smokey and other times in which it looks really clean. I would start with charcoal and some lumps. Do not overshoot the desired temp. Watch the smoke. It will likely be thicker at the beginning and light at the end. Determine if you achieved the smoke profile you wanted and experiment with the different techniques see/read about.
    Last edited by tbob4; December 19, 2020, 08:42 PM.


      Yeah, people will swear by both which means they’re both right and wrong. I recommend trying it both ways over time and do what you think is best. Me? I just throw it in top of the lit charcoal (hottest part) and let it catch a bit, and close down lid. Then make sure you get good smoke coming out of top, and smoke on!


        I light the kamado in the center and space wood around the epicenter at staggered intervals but not on top of the lit charcoal. As the fire spreads during the cook I'm hoping one chunk at a time ignites for an even smoke. I have not tried mixing the wood throughout the charcoal very often. I feel like putting it on the surface is more predicable and easier to strategically place.


        • Oak Smoke
          Oak Smoke commented
          Editing a comment
          +1 I place mine around the the hot center. In a very short time I have that thin blue smoke we all love. As Attjack notes the chunks don't all seem to catch at once, giving you a longer time with good smoke on your food. The other method may work just fine, but I know this one does.

        • Jim White
          Jim White commented
          Editing a comment
          +2 This is exactly what I do with my Kamado as well.

        • painter
          painter commented
          Editing a comment
          yup--that's my experience with a kamado

        Doesn’t hurt to try different ways. This week I put several big applewood chunks underneath the lump charcoal in my Kamado for a four hour cook. Seemed to provide pretty good clean smoke for most of the cook. Just thought I would try it.


          Harry Soo swears the wood has to go under the charcoal. I've seen a lot of other top competitors put the wood on top of the charcoal. My thought is, if one way was really superior to the other, then there would only be one way. For me, it usually comes down to who's video I watched last. Then I do it like they did.


          • bbqLuv
            bbqLuv commented
            Editing a comment
            ". . . The Video I Watched Last," Ain't that the truth.

          Depends, for me, on how big the chunks are; if they are of a more robust size, I might bury them a bit to keep the level of charcoal evenish (it's a worthless visual thing I like) and to help keep them from smoldering. But small chunks I usually just poke around the charcoal a bit until I find a nice spot in the SNS to drop them so they burn clean.


            Yeah, I do not think there is a better way on this one. For me, I always place the chunks on top but like others have said, it is hard to disagree with Harry Soo, so I think whatever method works best for you.


              Here is a video discussing it:



              • BradNorthGA
                BradNorthGA commented
                Editing a comment
                Interesting. Thanks for that!

              I’ve tried many different ways. In the end, I don’t think it matters, the food tastes the same. Do the one that’s easiest for you.


                Prefer wood on top, but probably makes little difference. However, I avoid using lump because it's inconsistent and burns faster than briquettes. That's what Meathead says, and after using both I agree.


                • BradNorthGA
                  BradNorthGA commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Is it OK to use briquette on BGE? I was always under the impression that you really needed to go with lump for that specific equipment

                Illustrating what we are talking about above in @Attjack's comment, here's a picture from my last brisket cook. Those are mesquite chunks spread around the Tumbleweed fire starter in the center of my Kamado with lump charcoal. I've also gone to putting the meat on and closing up the Kamado after only about 10-15 minutes (when the Tumbleweed has burned pretty completely) and letting my controller fan finish getting the cooker up to temp so that the meat gets plenty of smoke time at low temperature for maximum smoke flavor.

                Click image for larger version

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