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Tips for maintaining a clean fire using charcoal?

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    Tips for maintaining a clean fire using charcoal?

    I have been trying to teach myself the magic of the grill, but I can't shake the feeling that I still need to review the basics. I use charcoal, lighting in a chimney. I throw in wood chunks throughout the cool for added smoke- probably too much.

    Any tips on keeping the burn clean? I figure I should only add lit charcoal, but other than that I just guessing. Ideas?

    #2
    More info on how hot, and for how long you are trying to cook would be helpful. Are you using some type of snake method with the charcoal? Adding cold wood chunks to fully lit charcoal can give you heavier smoke than you want.

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      #3
      Two quick thoughts:

      1. you typically dont need to keep adding wood, most of the smoke flavor will come early in the cook

      2. its ok to re-up with unlit coals. Yes you will get that burst of white smoke but personally ive found you dont get the same negative impact when its hours into the cook as you would if you put the food on when they were improperly lit in the beginning

      Comment


      • Andrrr
        Andrrr commented
        Editing a comment
        +1

      #4
      I have been mostly doing pulled pork or pork ribs so far- so trying to stick to about 225. I haven't been using the snake or donut method.

      Comment


        #5
        It would help if you told us exactly what you are doin' and what you are doin' it on. Neither butts nor ribs need 225°. I think a lot of people here are cookin' hotter with 250° to 275° being popular. Some even cook hotter than 275°

        What you want is a small hot fire that burns clean. If you have a fire that is too large, you have to restrict the oxygen, and that will make the smoke dirty because lots of "stuff" doesn't get burned.

        Using a snake or SnS helps solve this problem because either method helps keep the fire small and hot.

        Comment


        • RonB
          RonB commented
          Editing a comment
          Smokerstoker - you need to add chuck roast to your rotation of meats. It cooks like a pork butt, but may have to go a bit higher in temp to be probe tender, (if you want to shred it).

        • Smokerstoker
          Smokerstoker commented
          Editing a comment
          Would you recommend big bad beef rub for that?

        • RonB
          RonB commented
          Editing a comment
          @Smokestoker - many here love BBBR, but it really doesn't suit my taste. I prefer salt and pepper with the salt being applied as a dry rub. I will occasionally add granulated onion and garlic though.

        #6
        As with most things here in BBQ land the "rules" are just guidelines. "Low and slow is only at 225*". Not really. "You should reverse sear your steaks" Only if you like it that way. "Only smoke worth smoking with is the light blue smoke." Awe come on. "Only 3 oz of wood for the optamum smoke flavor". Say what!?!
        Sure let your cooker come up to temp and let that white smoke diminish before putting you food on but if you need to add more charcoal during a cook, go ahead, a little at a time. Life is to short to get all tied up in rules. Open a beer. Enjoy!

        Comment


        • Andrrr
          Andrrr commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, I don’t even know what 3oz odd wood looks like. I keep the smoke rolling and I e never thought anything was too Smokey.

        • HawkerXP
          HawkerXP commented
          Editing a comment
          See? To each his / her own. Experiment. Find out what you like. Open another beer.
          Last edited by HawkerXP; February 24, 2020, 07:56 AM.

        • fzxdoc
          fzxdoc commented
          Editing a comment
          Amen to all of that.

          Kathryn

        #7
        I am betting you are not getting dirty smoke, just thicker smoke. Wood chunks do burn much cleaner than chunks I make at home with bits of bark. In my Vision Kamado they do smolder much more and last for a long time. When I add splits to my cabinet I always get initial burn. It really only gets bad looking when I realize I have overshot the temp and choke down the vents to get it back to the proper temp.

        Comment


          #8
          I'm still learning but a couple of thoughts:

          1) yeah, add lit coals if you look in the cooker, think "man, I have hours to go" and you can spare the ~30mins to get the new coals lit.

          2) Err on the side of too many coals vs too few at the start. Charcoal is inexpensive... Don't skimp and try to end the cook JUST as the coals expire. I'm not saying add tons more than you need, but add enough that you can comfortable smoke for however many hours you think your cook will take.

          3) Try different brands. Kingsford, weber, B&B, Royal Oak all seem to last different lengths. On a 2 hour smoke? Meh. On an 8-10 hour smoke.. you might see a difference (many here say that Weber and B&B last longer for them).

          Comment


          • Steve R.
            Steve R. commented
            Editing a comment
            #2: totally agree! It is so frustrating to get your cooker going and realize you don't have enough fuel to get up to temp or finish the job. I would much rather be saying "whoa!" than "giddy up!"

          • WildBill
            WildBill commented
            Editing a comment
            You can add unlit lump and will do fine.

          #9
          how do they TASTE? is the texture right for you?

          Comment

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