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Using Charcoal in a Lang Smoker

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  • 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

    Using Charcoal in a Lang Smoker

    My surprise Christmas present from my wife, Kate, was a 48” Lang smoker, which our son, Stephen took me to pick up at Lang’s factory in Nahunta, Georgia on January 19. I plan to cook spare ribs and chicken on it for our Super Bowl party on Sunday, so today I tried to season it. As you probably know, Lang smokers are stick burners. However, since I live in Central Florida, I can’t get quality logs at a reasonable price. The local live oak and citrus woods give an acid taste to meat smoked with them, so I plan to power it with charcoal. Since the design of the firebox could lead to charcoal spilling out of the front door of the firebox when it is opened, I purchased a 12” X 10” X 6” charcoal basket. I filled the charcoal basket level to the top full with Kingsford briquettes, dumped a charcoal chimney of lit briquettes on top of this, and put the basket full of lit and unlit charcoal in the firebox of the smoker.

    The seasoning instructions are to spray the cooking chamber with PAM or some other vegetable oil, heat the smoker to 3000 F, let it cook for 45 minutes, then steam clean the hot cooking chamber of the smoker by spraying it with water. Then heat it to 3000 again, and steam clean it again. The problem was that the basket of charcoal would not heat the smoker hotter than 2250 F. Then the coals died down and were used up. The 12” X 10” X 6” charcoal basket has 720 cubic inches of space for charcoal. My Backwoods G2 Party smoker’s charcoal pan only has 572 cubic inches of space, yet it will heat the smoker to 275 degrees, and
    cook at that for 6 hours. Does anyone have any experience with using a charcoal basket in a Lang smoker?

    Click image for larger version

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  • ComfortablyNumb
    Club Member
    • May 2017
    • 3464
    • Northeast Washington
    • KBQ C-60
      PK360
      Thermoworks Smoke
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      Thermoworks Dot

    #2
    I don't, however I suggest you treat your lovely, devoted wife to a nice little trip. Maybe a weekend at a Bed and Breakfast. Just pick someplace renowned for smoking wood and fill up the back of the truck before returning home.

    Comment

    • Mr. Bones
      Charter Member
      • Sep 2016
      • 9870
      • Kansas Territory
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      #3
      How many chimleys do ya have?
      I tried usin a charcoal basket in an Oklahoma Joe's; it just wouldn't get hot enough to be useful...
      My diagnosis was simply not enough fuel lit at one time, as I filled my basket, then dumped a chimley of lit into it. Same as yerself.

      If everything in yer basket is burnin, all at once, with briquets, bet ya can prob'y reach yer desired temp. Dump several lit chimleys in there, fer lack of stick wood.
      That has been my experience with my two offsets.
      Hope mebbe this helps ya get burnt in, lookin forward to seein yer Lang cooks!
      Last edited by Mr. Bones; February 1, 2018, 08:11 PM.

      Comment


      • Danjohnston949
        Danjohnston949 commented
        Editing a comment
        Mr. Bones, Thanks "CUZ", Now I Know Why My OK Joe Stickburner Runs Cool, Not a Big Enough Fire❓ Generally I've Used 1 Weber Starter of Lit KBB Topped With 2-3 Splits of Red Oak if Available❗️ Apple Wood Chunks for Smoke‼️ Pit Bull Fan (20CFM) with either the DigiQ-DX 2 or FireBoard Temp Control‼️ Dan
        Last edited by Danjohnston949; February 1, 2018, 06:59 AM.

      • Mr. Bones
        Mr. Bones commented
        Editing a comment
        @DanJohnston49 I do similar; lit chimley, then some splits, 2-3, more/less dependin on ambient, wind, etc. I make a helluva bed of coals, then maintain it as needed accordin to thermo indications.
    • Steve R.
      Club Member
      • Jul 2016
      • 2465
      • Elizabethtown, KY
      • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Smokey Mountain 22" w/ Guru adapter.

      #4
      Find a way to acquire some proper fuel for that beast! The wife has already signed off on the new smoker, so she would surely understand. Think about it this way: to heat that thing with charcoal will cost quite a bit more than whatever you will pay for wood. Craigslist is a gold mine for cheap or free wood. I would also check with a local tree service.

      Comment

      • ComfortablyNumb
        Club Member
        • May 2017
        • 3464
        • Northeast Washington
        • KBQ C-60
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        #5
        Pecan/cherry Lakeland CL

        Comment


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          ....ahhh, isn't this the answer right here? Lakeland is like right next to Winter Haven, guy seems to have tons of wood ?????
      • DWCowles
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 9702
        • Smiths Grove, Ky
        • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

        #6
        I also cannot help even though I do own a Lang smoker. I have never put charcoal in it just wood. Ben Lang might have been able to turn you on to some firewood if you thought about asking him. He has a lot of connections around that area.
        Last edited by DWCowles; January 31, 2018, 09:15 PM.

        Comment

        • jerrybell
          Charter Member
          • Aug 2014
          • 372

          #7
          I don't own a stick burner so I'm no help on your charcoal question. I have seen good selections of chunk wood, 4" or so chunks, at Sportsman's Warehouse and Cabela's. Do you have either of those stores near you? Maybe it's not practical to fire a stick burner these wood chunks - I don't know.

          I just realized I'm trying to help you and I probably have less than 1/10 of your knowledge on stick burners.

          Comment

          • Dadof3Illinois
            Club Member
            • Jul 2017
            • 938
            • Southeast Illinois

            #8
            Sounds like your need to make a trip up here to the Midwest. Lots of folks selling firewood up here like Hickey, Cherry, Oak all for $60-70 a pickup load and that’s split and delivered. I just got a load of Ash for my fire pit.

            Comment

            • DWCowles
              Founding Member
              • Jul 2014
              • 9702
              • Smiths Grove, Ky
              • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

              #9
              Another thing you can do is check with some of your local BBQ joints and ask them where do they get their wood from. Who knows they might sell you 15-20 logs to get started with.

              Comment

              • Dadof3Illinois
                Club Member
                • Jul 2017
                • 938
                • Southeast Illinois

                #10
                In all seriousness though I think comfortablyNumb has a great idea. Take the wife up somewhere in the Carolinas or Tennessee for a long weekend and while your there grab some good wood!!

                Comment

                • vandy
                  Club Member
                  • Aug 2015
                  • 611
                  • Olive Branch, MS

                  #11
                  I can say this, we have a lot of hickory wood in Tennessee and there are quite a few tree services in my area an I am sure all over the state that are more than willing to sell you all you want. The fruit woods, apple, cherry and so forth are quite rare around here so when you can find them you usually pay a premium price for them. If you can make a trip up close this area I am sure it would be worth it to find some good quality wood.

                  Comment

                  • jfmorris
                    Club Member
                    • Nov 2017
                    • 3405
                    • Huntsville, Alabama
                    • Jim Morris

                      Cookers
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                    #12
                    I got a half cord of firewood delivered recently by a local tree service - oak and some hickory. They told me they could deliver specific species of wood for cooking if I wanted it. I would check with a tree service in your area first.

                    Comment

                    • Henrik
                      Founding Member - Moderator Emeritus
                      • Jul 2014
                      • 4471
                      • Stockholm, Sweden

                      #13
                      That's my experience too, I can't get mine hot enough with briquettes. You need wood. Get whatever you can, birch, oak, et.c. That will get your smoker hot enough guaranteed.

                      Comment


                      • Danjohnston949
                        Danjohnston949 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Henrik, See My Comment on Mr. Bones Above‼️ 👍👍👍👍👍
                        From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan
                    • Jerod Broussard
                      Moderator
                      • Jun 2014
                      • 9946
                      • East Texas
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                      #14
                      You wood need to insulate the firebox and use B & B briquets (or some other hardwood briquette) to MAYBE get by without wood, but even then you would be refueling quite a bit.

                      Comment


                      • Danjohnston949
                        Danjohnston949 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        @Jerod Brouussard, I Think You are Right About Double Insulation of the FireBox‼️ I Have Been Trying to Figure Out the Best Way for My
                        OK Joe Highland Stick Burner❓ I also I've Been Looking at a Char-Broil
                        "Smoke" $ $ $ $ Will Solve All❓❓ 😪😥😭😥😪
                        From a Backyard Cremator in Fargo ND, Dan
                    • jfmorris
                      Club Member
                      • Nov 2017
                      • 3405
                      • Huntsville, Alabama
                      • Jim Morris

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                        • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
                        • King Kooker 94/90TKD 105K/60K dual burner patio stove
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                        • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
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                        • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

                      #15
                      RAmorris it sounds from a little googling around that reverse flow offsets, once up to temp, can use a charcoal basket to maintain temperatures, but it probably will not burn overnight - you may get 3 hours from a load of charcoal, but that is still better than feeding sticks to the fire every 30 minutes. There's a lot of air flow in offsets by design, and its got a lot of space to heat up. I can burn my Weber kettle + SNS for a couple days off a 20 pound bag of charcoal. My fairly small offset (not reverse flow and probably 36" versus your 48") - I can go through 30 to 40 pounds of fuel for a single run of Boston butts. On the plus side, I can fit 8 to 10 butts on the grate if I have to, or with rib racks, probably 15 slabs of ribs. So there is a lot more capacity than on the Weber kettle.

                      Here are a few discussions that may give you some insight:

                      https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/s...ad.php?t=65660

                      http://bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=100445

                      And most importantly this FAQ:

                      https://www.langbbqsmokers.com/resou...er-cooker.html

                      Read where they say it is OK to season by using charcoal and getting the smoker to 250 for 4 hours.

                      I think you will need to use more lit coals to get the initial temperature up, then you can add unlit charcoal and wood chunks or splits to add smoke and flavor.

                      On the positive side - you found how to get a 225F temp, which is good for your low and slow cooks with beef and pork. You just gotta get it up to 325 now for some chicken!

                      Comment

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