Welcome!


This is a membership forum. As a guest, you can click around a bit. View 5 pages for free. If you would like to participate, please join.

[ Pitmaster Club Information | Join Now | Login | Contact Us ]

There are 4 page views remaining.

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Stick Burner "Wanna-be" Questions

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Stick Burner "Wanna-be" Questions

    Question for owners out there: I've been cooking on a Big Green Egg for decades and a 22" WSM for a couple of years, but have an almost uncontrollable itch for a stick burner (my wife is ALMOST brow-beaten into submission at this point). I've looked at a lot of them on line, but because of my remote location I can't check them out in person. After this never ending research project I have two main questions:

    1) In real life application, how much difference is there between a 3/16" barrel & a 1/4" barrel? I like a lot of the details that I see in the Tejas smokers, but the "stopper" right now is the thinner barrel. Any Tejas owners (you know, people that actually use these) out there? Keep in mind, I live in a cold climate (OK, a really cold climate) - Minnesota.

    2) Based on my WSM experience, I really like the idea of using water in the main barrel. We have a couple of homemade-unit cooks around here that swear by this (even though their cookers aren't much to look at) and their food is awesome. Others have said that this is not a good practice. Any thoughts?

    Thanks. This is my first post.
    Last edited by Handyfan; August 30, 2015, 04:13 PM.

    #2
    I can't give you any advice on your question but I am sure it is forthcoming. Now if you need any Good Advice from North Dakota get a hold of me. I will try to help! Welcome to the Pit, Dan

    Comment


      #3
      I am particularly interested to hear what the Forum says about the thickness. Is 3/8" steel "that" much better than 1/4" steel? Will it hold temps much better?

      Comment


        #4
        Welcome Aboard Dan...

        I am not qualified to answer questions about stick burners... but it stands to reason that thicker steel should hold heat better and longer.

        Also... I like using water for at least 1/2 of long cooks

        Comment


          #5
          Thicker is always better. I know guys that put pans of water in their off sets, and claim it produces a superior product. I've never found the need for it.

          Comment


          • Handyfan
            Handyfan commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for the response. It's amazing to me how many people see this so fast.

            What I've found using the WSM is that water is a great heat sink for low temp cooking. It provides a big mass that can never get above 212 deg. I don't really think water adds much to the food (I've cooked a lot both ways), but it does a really good job of stabilizing my cooker temps. Granted, a WSM is very thin, but it also doesn't hold 5-6 gallons. I go the other way when the temperature drops - I use sand instead. Guys that use water in the barrel also like it for clean up - just drain out the hot water/grease, plus no flare-ups.

            For thickness; as an engineer I know that thicker is better in theory. That's why you don't go to Home Depot and buy a Brinkman. But in practice there is always a point where it doesn't really matter. What I want to know is: what is the experience of the people who use the thinner 3/16" barrel (or better, both)? Does it hold temp well for them? Or do they wish they'd gotten something thicker?

          • SwampDonkeyzBBQ
            SwampDonkeyzBBQ commented
            Editing a comment
            I've had a thinner stick burner before. It held temp well during the summer. In the winter, or when it was windy, is another story. It would eat wood.

          #6
          Handyfan Personally I can not tell you actual difference between the two when it comes to stick burners. In my opinion I would say an insulated fire box or the use of insulation over the fire box would make more of a difference in cold weather as the heat passes through the cook chamber fairly fast. The fire box is approximately 1/3 the size of the cook chamber so if you are able to retain heat in there it will recover faster than an extra 1/16 of wall thickness on the CC. just my opinion,
          Dean

          Comment


          • Handyfan
            Handyfan commented
            Editing a comment
            One of the cooker manufacturers said the same thing. They recommended the heavier firebox instead of a heavier pipe. However this added a bunch to the cost and another 150# or so to the cooker weight (which I plan to move a few times a year). I figured that I could try several things out first with the 1/4" box (including water in the barrel) and see what happens. Then, if I got a square box cooker, I could use some of the many fire bricks that I have around ( or some welding blankets) to insulate some of the fire box in the winter if necessary. Just a thought. Also, I have as much oak wood as I can burn. I cut it year round, and use about 3-4 cords a year to heat my house, so that piece isn't a big deal to me like it would be if I were buying it.

          #7
          I'm in the same situation you are.... sort of. I've got 2 WSM's and use at least one of them 30-35 weekends a year. About a year ago, I got a stick burner for my birthday. The thing just looks really cool and I wanted to master it. I did all the research and most will tell you thicker is better. So I got a 1/4" thick smoker. I also welded a steal plate across the bottom, connecting it to the baffle near the firebox. I put another chimney on the back near the firebox and keep the original chimney closed. All of this in pursuit of the infamous "reverse flow" stick burner. It didn't work. Still have at least 75 to 100 degree variance from one side to the other end. So, I sealed the lids with high heat gaskets. No help. I'm still determined to beat this thing though. Next step is to insulate the firebox. I'm afraid this thing may turn into a money pit but I just can't accept defeat. All this just to be able to get perfect smoke, something you just can't really do well on the WSM. One warning though, the stick burner is labor intensive. You can set your BBQ Guru on the WSM to 230 late at night, get up the next morning and its still exactly 230. You will never be able to do that with a stick burner.

          Comment


          • Handyfan
            Handyfan commented
            Editing a comment
            Really good info. What were your temp spreads before you did your mods and what is your barrel dia? 75 to 100 deg seems a lot higher than most feedback I've gotten unless it's a small dia. I'm just looking at a standard 20"er.
            Last edited by Handyfan; September 1, 2015, 06:31 PM.

          #8
          I'm not sure if this will help with some of your woes, but here's a pit calculator that can help you figure out dimensions of exhaust, inlets, etc. to make your pit draft better.

          http://www.smokerbuilder.com/pitcalc/

          Comment


            #9
            Handyfan, it's a 20" Old Country All American Brazos Offset Smoke. I first mentioned it in a post I did in July 2014. At that time I thought I had it all worked out and "posted" my success. But then I did a longer run with some meat (ribs) on the grate and it just slowly reverted back to all the heat at the firebox. I even tried tilting it so that the opposite end was elevated. I gave up on it and went back to my WSM. Then about a month ago I started looking at the Jambo articles and it got me interested again in the offset. I also think I did not manage the fire appropriately. I made a basket and literally filled it with charcoal. Even added a Guru to the firebox. Thought I was a genius. Now I think I need to focus on a smaller fire and get the heat into the smoker instead of out the lid and damper of the firebox. My goal is to improve my smoke flavor. I can get a great smoke ring on the WSM but that's because its not the smoke so much that creates it. But the flavor is a different story. I add wood to the WSM and initially will get the white, billowy smoke. But even if I transfer red hot coal from a fire pit to the WSM, as soon as you shut the door and it goes into its smoldering mode, I get bad smoke. It seems that this has been eliminated in the offset style by adding burning wood from a fire pit to the fire box. You still have enough oxygen to keep it from smoldering so you get the good "blue smoke". I just haven't figured out how to get the fire hot enough on the far end to be of any value without making the temp on the near end too hot. Till then, 50% of the cooking surface is useless. I will master this though.

            Comment


              #10
              Love the discussion!

              From my experience, about 25+ cooks on my stickburner in the past year, the flavor is more intense in it than in the WSM or the Insulated Cabinet. (I did a head to head Stickburner vs. Cabinet this past weekend, here.

              My stickburner is the 20" variety, and 3/8 on the firebox and 1/4 on the barrel. I call her LilTex. This pic is next to the big trailer pit I borrow from time to time.
              Click image for larger version

Name:	ygA9caALOmaniFmjoWd29w82WIUakqMtPnPzKlk15weEYe_aeO5v4wKZlaFQ-IH8hmxvzuBEOePrgPeFcCh4um5Wlxpkdl-xiDAnYe0M7pWWXp871A7TcV4ru_oKIGqVfZw_aJhuKjwhiJnHIbfgWD6Vk0EdrHaYv-1oNnfAEJD6DKCH0TIvM5RnZw9H3wpS7tY9E6r8DzBifHjeKjfDHva4B1dbRGn9JhAh7ZFmz-Hghclonrl3rUkCvH7ZvGm
Views:	67
Size:	166.4 KB
ID:	106763


              The most successful cooks have a great managed, small fire. My splits are all too big to do this perfectly in such a small pit. Keep all the airflow wide open, and the air flows quickly through the cooker. The first 8 inches or so next to the firebox is like direct grilling, so I don't use it for smoking. And the last 4 inches by the exhaust gets hotter as well, so I only use it when I have to. The center section is all good, and smokes fine. My next cooker that I build will be significantly longer, and have more airflow yet, and that helps that entire barrel have a relatively stable temp, based on the strong airflow.

              I'm thinking that in cold, you are going to enjoy the thicker metal on your barrel. That's only a guess, however. And drnoe is totally correct that there is no set-it-and-forget-it with the stickburner. Tend the fire, set your alarm for 50 minutes and lay down on the couch for a nap, then repeat. That's how my stickburner nights go. But they are very fun!!!

              drnoe on your WSM question, you may consider a Fuse setup for your WSM, allowing you to open the vents more than on a Minion Method, and thereby have better airflow over your charcoal and wood chunks. When I switched, I got better fires and better smoke rings. Not sure how the flavor changed, but I know I like the flavor Now.
              Click image for larger version

Name:	4YYgT-O0W27J0IdnHxl2FoShskYMXegJCLUjA7AjwAYXpaOI-IcCHUKG3Vh5EmunlanYnF1D2hEmrJNalp2H2sv4pjxThmbiVVa_rMhkQO-K764l5qhGWUaBPx02TOjk51gbUq-RbCmKBPDPZ0uPL_2rQ2ZkKFn5MVwCFMS47C0V0lua29w6C-jXbH7fIK2Z0sWVR5ZRxjhaEM0tbK3SwneHlR3HMC-7dnaV9NgDpJthj2jJ8Qz-QzdN77HCFGi
Views:	74
Size:	103.6 KB
ID:	106764

              Click image for larger version

Name:	-BUz4Oot_rzP7RlqMYux5wQLs253_eSMYtMAR1TGktQ9qtaLZIYp3ZZCT0b4VyNyZFDbEcAkTSPtumbDwuDMmoN85ZrGgCXfnipFWiABtput0WjyusQKH59mjqWhJqHiafQwRTELHIKRmx4WAS8DVboCg7i55s-hKXO-igR7MwotrAhf8P1Fu_Fp_cfwWdI_QPh4PC6CfkIpQsaVez5RWxMCZKyRxx_U9zjSrgIaCUuFMTz3H1ibLNUELwZwyzp
Views:	79
Size:	106.1 KB
ID:	106765

              Comment


              • Handyfan
                Handyfan commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks. As for the WSM, I always use the fuse method for pork (minion for chicken's higher temp). My 22" WSM just runs too hot if I don't. I just set up my ring of coals and dump a half a small Weber chimney on the starter end. Do it a few times and you'll see how wide & tall your ring of coals should be for your particular smoker. Mine likes it a lot narrower than the picture above if I want to keep the burning coals hot and the top vent open 100%. You'll also burn less charcoal because, with a pair of long gloves and an ash rake, you can just keep adding to the end of the ring if you need more burn time.

              • drnoe
                drnoe commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes Sir, I tried the fuse method. Narrower than the one above. Problem remains though that as the coals approach the wood and the wood heats, it initially increases in temp and drives out moisture. Until it is a burning coal you still get less than desirable smoke. I think the narrower fuse results in more oxygen being blown in by the Guru and a hotter fire in the particular area burning. This should decrease the problem but not eliminate it. I just don't see a really good, reliable way to get good blue smoke from my WSM. I wouldn't get rid of it for nothing though. Sometimes you just don't have the time to manage a long smoke like a large brisket on a stick burner. I love my WSM. I just wish I could get comparable smoke flavor. Apparently though it's good enough. I hear people still win on those in competition. Do any of you have any experience with the Old Hickory Model CTO? I'm looking at it now to expand on serving larger groups with minimal fire maintenance. It seems to work much like the WSM with a Guru. That being the fan in it that stokes the fire. Any comments?

              #11
              Here is my post on the WSM setup, inspired after I watched @DrBlonder's video
              https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...-to-dr-blonder

              Comment


                #12
                Handyfan And then there's the Karubecue. You could look into that.
                I know DWCowles would disagree but I think it is the best stick burner, let me rephrase that, it is the best smoker on earth.
                ​

                Comment


                • DWCowles
                  DWCowles commented
                  Editing a comment
                  LOL,LOL,LOL...It wasn't to long ago that the PBC was the BEST. What happen Ernest

                • DWCowles
                  DWCowles commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Until I get a KBQ the Lang is the BEST at my place and the RecTec is 2nd best.

                • Ernest
                  Ernest commented
                  Editing a comment
                  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Why are you bringing up old stuff? DWCowles

                #13
                I own a Tejas 2040 and I couldn't be happier. Although I still want the 2442 lol! As far as 3/16" barrel I can maintain temp as high as I want in January. They have a nice large 1/4" firebox. I suggest using hickory or white oak if you cook in winter. As far as temp in the cooking chamber, I can cook sausages 4" from the firebox side and not burn the skin. I put chicken and pork steaks on the top grill. It cooks them perfectly. I do not use water in the belly of the barrel. I only use water with butts, turkey, and brisket. I just put a disposable pan all the way over the baffle. Works great. If you plan on moving it to different locations its best to use a utility trailer with a ramp unless you have 3 or4 people. I enjoy cooking on it. In my opinion you can't go wrong with a Tejas. They also have different options as far as shipping it to you to save you some money. I checked on shipping for a 2442 and I could go pick it up at a freight terminal alot cheaper than door to door. I think it was like $240+/- from Texas to St.Louis.

                Comment


                • Handyfan
                  Handyfan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks, it's nice to hear from an actual owner. The 2040 is what I am looking at from them. I don't have an unlimited budget, so I'm trying to squeeze what I can into it without sacrificing pit quality. I also definitely want a square firebox. The other one that I'm seriously considering is the PitsbyJJ 20x42 FD. Having the firebox door on the front would help me with the porch location that I would be trying to fit this pit into. The JJ is 1/4" all the way around and costs about the same, similarly equipped. Plus they offer a reasonable up-charge for SS cooking racks and their version of a heat management plate.

                  Do you know what your typical temp spread is when you run this with the water for butts? And you're right about the shipping, they do offer a lot of options including the terminal pick-up. Unfortunately, the closest terminal they had listed for me is a 7 hr round trip. Not worth the $100 "savings".

                #14
                As far as temp spread if I have the pan in there there might be a 10-20° spread from one side to the other. And actually the temp by the smoke stack is the hotter of the two. You would think just the opposite. As far as the TOP rack you can add another 40-50° from the bottom rack. I got lucky and found mine used locally. I paid $750 then I bought the cover, poker&rake, and the stainless steel shelf top. Mine is an older model. The middle rack, so to speak, is not framed. I keep the bottom rack in the shed. I've been calling the middle rack the bottom. My mistake. The JJ sounds pretty awesome as well. Myself though, will be cooking on a Tejas for the rest of my life. My son will be getting the 2040 as a house warming gift. I am torn between the 2040CC or the 2442. But will probably get the 24. I'm sure you will be extremely pleased with whichever one you buy.

                Comment


                • Handyfan
                  Handyfan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks. I've been searching the web for specific input for awhile now without much luck. Finding this forum has been great.

                #15
                IMO, more important than wall thickness is how well it seals. You could have 1/2" steel, and if the lids, air controls, etc. have gaps all around, it's gonna eat wood and fluctuate all over the place versus one made of say 1/8" that's very well sealed. As for water, to me it's much more important to have it over the fire than in the actual cooking chamber. The pan directly over the fire will absorb a lot of excess heat from the fire itself, whereas in the cooking chamber, I would imagine a lot of the hot gasses would bypass the water and therefore it wouldn't work nearly as good as a heat sink
                Last edited by Stevehtn; September 4, 2015, 07:30 AM.

                Comment

                Announcement

                Collapse
                No announcement yet.
                Working...
                X
                false
                0
                Guest
                500
                ["pitmaster-my-membership","login","join-pitmaster","lostpw","reset-password","special-offers","help","nojs","meat-ups","gifts","authaau-alpha","ebooklogin-start","alpha","start"]
                false
                false
                {"count":0,"link":"/forum/announcements/","debug":""}
                Yes
                Rubs Promo