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Wood Prep and First Cook Questions

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    Wood Prep and First Cook Questions

    OK, so the blue/white and brown trucks have come and gone, depositing $2,100 worth of smoker and accessories on my porch. Big kudos to Bill Karau, who answered all my questions very quickly, and shipped my C-60 the day I placed my order. I was very lucky he had a couple in stock when I finally gave up on finding a used one. Now for the questions.

    My hickory is 16-20" long and 3-5" wide. Which comes first - cut to length, or narrow them down with the Kindling Cracker? I bought the B&D Alligator Lopper if that makes a difference. Also, the owner’s manual says the splits should be between the thickness of a Red Bull can and a brick. What’s the optimum?

    The OM doesn’t mention a burn-in. Has anyone wished they’d done one, or felt the need to do one?

    I have a prime brisket from Wild Fork which I intended to do this weekend on the kettle/SnS, but I didn’t expect to receive the KBQ so quickly. I’m leaning towards sticking with the original plan and getting some ribs or a pork butt for my first KBQ cook, but a part of me (the little devil on my shoulder) says to jump right in. I’ve done tons of reading, and I would experiment with temperature control and fire management before the actual cook, but I’m still undecided. Thoughts?

    Thanks everyone!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Sid P; September 24, 2021, 10:06 AM. Reason: Correct typo.

    #2
    First: Congratulations!! Now, for your questions. Disclaimer: there are many who know much more than me about this. I would split first, as it's easier to split while the pieces are long enough to hit with a hammer without striking the retaining circle of the Kindling Cracker. I then lean the splits against a step, forming the hypotenuse of a triangle, and grab them with the alligator saw. You can line up a bunch, and move from one to the next quickly and safely. Don't drive the blades into the concrete however.
    Also, I never did a 'burn in', and don't think it's needed at all. Go for it!! And, remember, photos or it didn't happen.

    Have fun! (ps, remember, turn it off or unplug before adding wood and tamping down the coals, to avoid throwing a bunch of ash into your food box. Also, use the provided hook to hang the lid on the side of the firebox while tending the fire, adding wood. I will look for and post photos that I took years ago of this technique, which I believe was one of Bill's thoughtful details.)

    Comment


    • rickgregory
      rickgregory commented
      Editing a comment
      "I then lean the splits against a step, forming the hypotenuse of a triangle, and grab them with the alligator saw. "

      Nerd.

    • Sid P
      Sid P commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Daniel!

    • Sid P
      Sid P commented
      Editing a comment
      I see what you’re saying about splitting first. Makes sense to me.

    #3
    Sid P jhoskins I found a photo of my temp probes wires routed over the upper corner. Note how they aren't pinched by the door, but are lying under the flat flap. Also, photos showing the technique of hanging the lid while you are working on the coal bed, feeding the fire. With a little practice you get the hang of this, and avoid placing this extremely hot piece of steel where it shouldn't be.
    Daniel

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    Last edited by Dr. Pepper; September 24, 2021, 12:51 PM. Reason: Added closeup photo of temp probe wire routing

    Comment


    • Dr. Pepper
      Dr. Pepper commented
      Editing a comment
      BTW, I just noticed in the background of the photos my Costco (black with yellow lid) box where I store my split/cut wood. When full, I can do 3 cooks.

    #4
    I thought I felt a little oil or something greasy on mine when first received, so I burned it in for an hour or two. It also gave me a chance to learn it without risking any meat.

    Comment


      #5
      Sid, I bought a KBQ about 2 months ago and have done three cooks on it. I did what you mentioned and did 3 racks of ribs to kind of get the feel for it. I did not find any oily residue on mine and started right out with the ribs.

      The KBQ is so easy to use. The only two things you really need to focus on is: 1) maintaining the coal bed. Coal bed is key in any wood smoker. And 2) keep wood burning in it. Does not really matter (at least to me) that you have flames coming out the top. You have an ATC and that will maintain your temp.

      Since it looks like you got all the other goodies Bill recommends, I assume you got the kill switch too. When you're checking the meat or fluffing the fire or breaking down the wood to maintain your coal bed, just hit the kill switch. When done, turn it back on.

      One thing I will say, WEAR GLOVES WHEN CLEANING IT. I was not paying attention when I cleaned mine the first time and sliced my finger open on a sharp edge around the ATC hole.

      Comment


      • Sid P
        Sid P commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks, I did get the recommended kill switch.

      #6
      Will someone please show me pics of the sledge hammers you’re using with the Kindling Cracker? I bought a short handled 3#, and I can’t split anything…

      Comment


      • Bruceski44
        Bruceski44 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hickory is tough! That's why they make tool handles from it. Just try to get through enough for 1 cook and the next time should be a little easier because the wood will be more seasoned. They do make hydraulic log splitters which will cost a lot more, but are much easier to use.

      • Sid P
        Sid P commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Bruce, it’s nice to know it will get easier. For now I’ll just consider it a replacement for my usual workouts 😩.

      • Dewesq55
        Dewesq55 commented
        Editing a comment
        I agree that hickory is tough, but I'm still able to split it with my kindling cracker and 3# hammer. Although it often takes a greater number of significantly harder blows than my apple does.

      #7
      Harbor Freight
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • Sid P
        Sid P commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks, Bruce. What’s it weigh?

      • Bruceski44
        Bruceski44 commented
        Editing a comment
        8 lb.
        that thing will split an atom but it won't split the check.

        If your wood isn't fully seasoned (but whose is?) it will be tough to split. I did a cook yesterday and noticed my seasoned apple wood is easier now than it was 5 mos ago

      #8
      Sid P I use the back side of my ax. It doesn't take much to split them. Avoid the area with knots from branches, however.

      Comment


        #9
        Bruceski44 I got an 8# long handle like your pic, and it works much better, although most still take 3-4 solid whacks.

        Comment


        • Bruceski44
          Bruceski44 commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, I take 2 full overhead swings, then a bunch of shorter swings before it splits fully. The shorter swings are so I don't bring the sledge full force down on the cracker blade, or the handle onto the rim. The 8-pounder sure beats using the 3# shorty.

          What kind of wood are you splitting? When was it cut?

        #10
        Thanks everyone for all the help!

        Comment


          #11
          That Lopper is SWEET!!! It took 10 minutes or less to cut 8-9 gallons of ready to burn wood.

          Comment


          • Dr. Pepper
            Dr. Pepper commented
            Editing a comment
            I agree about the Gator lopper. It's not made out of the greatest components, and I have had to replace a part once, which cost half the price of a new one, but they're quick, and most important, they're SAFE!

          • Sid P
            Sid P commented
            Editing a comment
            new2smoking I agree 100%. I read a different thread that discussed mitre saws, loppers, and accidental digit removal, and decided to go with the much safer option. I think as long as I wear safety glasses the only way I could hurt myself with this would be if I decided to test it on my leg.

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