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Starting a fire in an offset stickburner

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    Starting a fire in an offset stickburner

    Now, onto the fire prep for the Yoder...

    I like to use about 1/2 - 2/3 of a standard Weber chimney of Kingsford blue to help start my log fires. Use whatever method you like to start your logs.

    I start my chimney with paper and a small torch. Half a chimney full will be ready in 10 mins flat. Watch for the blue smoke to disappear. Remember, we're not cooking with this load so being 'ashed over' isn't necessary here, this is for preheating and starting the logs. When the blue smoke stops is a great signal for when the coals are hot enough to do their thing.

    While the chimney is heating I use the ash rake to clear out last smoke's ashes.

    ...and clean....

    Click image for larger version

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    Then once the chimney is good to go ....

    Click image for larger version

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    ..dump it on the charcoal grate in a line (not a pile).
    I use tongs to grab the stragglers and tighten the line up Click image for larger version

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    Then place a couple logs on, leaving the lid open to encourage a good flame
    After they're lit and flaming (maybe 10 min or so), add a couple more logs like you would when building a regular ol' bonfire. Click image for larger version

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    Watch for a good hot fire to begin. Notice a little moisture bubbling out on this log- even seasoned wood still has some. Best to let the logs burn to black and not begin smoking with freshly added wood. Click image for larger version

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    Here's the smokestack with this freshly-added wood burning up

    Click image for larger version

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    And then a couple more logs to get a good rip-roaring fire going (it's kind of cold outside here). BBQ Dragon is going to help boost things along.

    After about 10 more minutes with the BBQ Dragon, the fire is good 'n hot and the bottom logs are mostly black. Click image for larger version

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    Notice the smoke stack at this point- thinner bluer smoke (good).

    Click image for larger version

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    I shut the BBQ Dragon down to see how the fire will behave on its own. After about 3 or 4 minutes this is what I find the smokestack doing:

    Click image for larger version

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    So I check my fire. No wonder, there just isn't enough oomph in them to keep it going real good. It's a still evening. They've cooled to the point of smoldering and kicking up heavy grey smoke. So I fire the Dragon back up. (This is why I LOVE this unit for my offset). Click image for larger version

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    And with a little more log shifting and the Dragon running for about another 15 min, we're soon back in business. This time the wood has burnt enough to run on its own without the Dragon. So I close the lid and let her heat up.
    Click image for larger version

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    The smoke begins looking much better.

    So, after about 1.5hrs from when I first started the charcoal in the chimney, my Yoder is up to ~325 and I put the bird on. The temp continues to rise (with no Dragon running, just ambient airflow) after the bird is placed on up to 399, then begins to slowly decline. The chicken took about 1.5hrs. Best chicken I've made yet. Here's the post on the chicken cook.

    Here's my coals after the cook is done, average temp in the cooking chamber at this point: ~370. Firebox temp, a zillion or so. Hard to keep my hand on the camera to get these shots. Ideally this is what you want to smoke with- red hot embers and coals! Click image for larger version

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    Attached Files
    Last edited by Huskee; December 5, 2014, 12:56 AM.

    #2
    Nice write up. I don't have a stickburner (yet) and have wondered what the process was like.

    Does anyone else have problems viewing any of the photos? The first one that I can see, that isn't a broken photo icon, is the firebox photo over the blue smoke photo.
    Last edited by The Burn; December 5, 2014, 12:14 AM.

    Comment


    • DWCowles
      DWCowles commented
      Editing a comment
      I can"t see the first 6 photos

    • The Burn
      The Burn commented
      Editing a comment
      Now why didn't I just count the non-photos. *head slap*

    #3
    Yikes, thanks for the heads up guys. They appear fine to me. I will re-upload.

    Comment


      #4
      Better now??

      Comment


      • DWCowles
        DWCowles commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes I can see all pics now

      #5
      Yes, looking good Huskee! Another great post, I love the attention to detail. Especially mentioning the fire about to choke, and how you look at the chimney. I do that everytime I start my kamado, it took me a few times to learn, and (on my grill) it happens in seconds, so I monitor it very closely during startup. Quality stuff right there! Thanks for sharing.

      Comment


      • Huskee
        Huskee commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you sir for the compliment, and you're welcome!

      #6
      Good post Huskee! With a stick burner, do you ever find any difficulty drafting the smoke out of the stack? What I mean is does wind or temperature make it more difficult or easier? With good sealed doors eventually the exhaust will find it's way out the stack but I'm just wondering if you ever have to turn it into or away from the breeze?

      Comment


        #7
        Originally posted by cdd315 View Post
        Good post Huskee! With a stick burner, do you ever find any difficulty drafting the smoke out of the stack? What I mean is does wind or temperature make it more difficult or easier? With good sealed doors eventually the exhaust will find it's way out the stack but I'm just wondering if you ever have to turn it into or away from the breeze?
        No trouble, it flows quite naturally and fast too. It surely would work best if you could aim it so the wind blows into the firebox, then you could shut the damper if it get too hot and all is well. Mine is positioned on the west side of my property, with the smoker running N & S along the fence. Hence, I cannot get those prevailing westerlies to blow directly in. Sometimes I wish I could take advantage of the wind like this, but that's where the BBQ Dragon comes in....it can be a lifesaver on still days. As the post shows, once the wood is burning good it runs all by its lonesome.

        Cold temps, like now for instance, makes no difference once it's running as far as the flow. It just takes longer to heat it up obviously and uses a ton of fuel, but if you use firewood you don't notice. It's just like running your stove or fireplace.
        Last edited by Huskee; December 12, 2014, 03:57 PM.

        Comment


        • Pork Lord
          Pork Lord commented
          Editing a comment
          I light my fire the exact same way Huskee except with one slight difference. I take a corded sawzaw and cut my logs into smaller pieces usually in 1/3rds or half's. I find that the wood actually burns up faster ti get to the kind of smoke we are all looking for. The wood catches faster and it seems to help with oxygen flow when it's sitting on the charcoal. Just my two cents anyway.

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          @Pork Lord- are you talking chunking it up? Yeah more surface area will sure help things go faster early on.

        #8
        Nice write up Huskee, I'm looking at getting a Yoder, I' m still doing some research though. Do you have the Cheyenne or the Wichita? How long did it take to get your pit once you ordered it?

        Comment


        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          I remember too they emailed a FedEx tracking number so I could spy. And the driver called me when he was getting close (semi truck). Can;t remember if I requested that or if it was a standard thing. I was very happy with the whole process.

        • Spinaker
          Spinaker commented
          Editing a comment
          Awesome man thanks. I'm getting close to ordering my loaded Wichita. I wasn't sure if it took them weeks because of back orders and what not. I'm in Minnesota, so I would assume that the shipping is pretty similar to your rig. How amazing is that thing?

        • Marauderer
          Marauderer commented
          Editing a comment
          I do have the BBQ Dragon on my short list of accessories that I need for my grills, especially the stick burner.

        #9
        Originally posted by Huskee View Post
        No trouble, it flows quite naturally and fast too. It surely would work best if you could aim it so the wind blows into the firebox, then you could shut the damper if it get too hot and all is well. Mine is positioned on the west side of my property, with the smoker running N & S along the fence. Hence, I cannot get those prevailing westerlies to blow directly in. Sometimes I wish I could take advantage of the wind like this, but that's where the BBQ Dragon comes in....it can be a lifesaver on still days. As the post shows, once the wood is burning good it runs all by its lonesome.

        Cold temps, like now for instance, makes no difference once it's running as far as the flow. It just takes longer to heat it up obviously and uses a ton of fuel, but if you use firewood you don't notice. It's just like running your stove or fireplace.
        Ben Lang talks about positioning his stick burners so the breeze/wind blows into the firebox and that it is a very necessary thing to do with a stick burner. So when you get a Stick Burner it needs to have good wheels and be able to rotate to accommodate the wind properly.

        Comment


        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          It's necessary to have good airflow, yes. Very necessary. But if you happen to have very still days, there's no airflow I highly recommend a BBQ Dragon for those days. For $50 if it saves you one big important dinner from taking until 9pm to get done it's worth it. But yes, taking advantage of natural wind is a great thing to do. I recently repositioned mine to do just that.

        #10
        Thanks Huskee, exactly what I need to learn as soon as I get my Brinkmann fixed up!

        Comment


        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          You bet. Playing with fire is fun fun fun.

        #11
        I am a new member and have had my stick burner for about 1 year.Through much trial and error,my starting method is nearly identical to your instruction.Only I waste more charcoal and just use a full chimney.Have never given any thought to direction of wind flow into the firebox,although once I remember placing a fan close-by for whatever reason I can't recall.It did resolve my issue.I was going to share a photo,but the ???????? is like 6000 by 4000.LOL

        Comment


          #12
          Huskee, how do you add more logs for a long cook? Seems like you'd get a whole bunch of undesirable smoke if you add it in the middle. Do you preburn them somewhere else?

          Comment


            #13
            Originally posted by eugenek View Post
            Huskee, how do you add more logs for a long cook? Seems like you'd get a whole bunch of undesirable smoke if you add it in the middle. Do you preburn them somewhere else?
            I preburn a lot of them yes. Then I store them either under my smoker or in my old cabinet smoker. Tossing them on is great, assuming they're dry, they light up quickly as you'd expect. If I happen to not have any preburnt ones or if I run out on a long cook, I will toss on one or two thin log splits at a time. Try to keep a HOT fire so that tossing on a fresh log has little effect.

            What I have been doing lately is when starting my fire I will leave the firebox lid up and put on 5 or 6 logs, then when the bottom ones get half burnt I pull them off and add more. I keep pulling the blacker ones off. This process does 3 things- it preheats my smoker nicely (even with the firebox lid up some heat still travels through), builds up a nice bed of hot coals which is the best to cook with, and build my stash of preburnt logs. Assuming I give myself a good 2 hrs to do this before I need to start the cook, all is well!
            Last edited by Huskee; December 22, 2014, 10:28 PM.

            Comment


              #14
              Thanks for the great information! I've got a bunch of bricks laying around that I could probably use to make a small firepit to catch the embers. Sounds like a fun project.

              For adding split logs, I assume you avoid those that have the bark on them?

              Comment


                #15
                Originally posted by eugenek View Post

                For adding split logs, I assume you avoid those that have the bark on them?
                No, I only worry about bark that's loose or spongy. Otherwise I burn it with the wood. If there's a lot of moss or lichens on the bark I'll try to scrape it off on the metal wheel of my smoker or a brick, but I don't go crazy over it. I used to be more worried but I never noticed an appreciable difference either way.

                Comment

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