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Loaded Wichita & Fireboard Drive

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  • ShellandSwine
    Club Member
    • Jun 2019
    • 15
    • Bobtown, PA
    • Yoder Loaded Wichita (Summer 2019)
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      Brookstone 36" Griddle
      Member's Mark 2-Burner Gas Grill
      Char-Griller Smokin' Champ (modded)

      Thermapen Mk4, TimeStack, Fireboard, Wustof knives

      Southwestern corner of Pennsylvania

    Loaded Wichita & Fireboard Drive

    So I'm noticing a low airflow issue with the Wichita that I've seen mentioned a few times. I've seen complaints but not many solutions other than opening the side door. Has anyone tried using a Fireboard Drive fan with the Wichita? Or does anyone have an opinion on trying it?
  • Mr. Bones
    Birthday Hat Master
    • Sep 2016
    • 8727
    • Kansas Territory
    • Grills / Smokers
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    #2
    Despite bein a Card-Carryin, Knuckle-Draggin Stickburner, my dang self, I'm not quite sure what issues yer facin? Are ya tellin me if ya shut yer firebox door, vents wide open, it snuffs yer fire out? Cause, see...I jus cain't quite feature that...

    Granted, I often cook with my firebox doors open, an adjust my fire accordingly, but before I learned better, made (hundreds of) lotsa successful cooks with it shut, an varyin th dampers...there should be more than sufficient airflow, in door closed, vary th vent(s) mode...

    Huskee has a Loaded Wichita, mebbe he can address yer issues, more specifcally...he's always here to help us all, bless him!

    Please. Sir, when ya have th time to do so, give us more details, so that we may all be of more assistance

    Comment


    • ShellandSwine
      ShellandSwine commented
      Editing a comment
      Well I'm a complete noob at this stick burning, so it may be that a facebook group (I know, sacrilege, but old habits are hard to breeak) has led me astray with this. I've done a dry run and a run with some spare ribs last week.

      My trouble is I'm pumping heavy white smoke out the chimney. I followed a video by Chef Tom at ATBBQ and started with charcoal and then would add a pre-warmed log every hour or so.

      Went well at first, but then i started started seeing that white smoke. Then...

    • ShellandSwine
      ShellandSwine commented
      Editing a comment
      Then I opened the door, knocked around the coals some and got it going again. Closed the door back shut. This happened a couple times. The ribs had a heavy... I don't know... bad taste.

      I am using some oak wood I got from a tree farm, not that expensive bagged stuff. Maybe that has something to do with it?

      I don't know, I'm a charcoal guy in the strange, new world of stick burning. Right now I'm feeling pretty failed, but I want to try another dry run tomorrow.
  • JakeLester9
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 10

    #3
    I have a loaded Wichita too and do not have the same problem. I have found the key is to leave the door open at the outset to get my fire started. Once I hit my desired temp, so long as I warm the logs up before they go on the embers I can leave the door halfway open--maintain my temp--and not have any issues with white smoke.

    Comment

    • Steve R.
      Club Member
      • Jul 2016
      • 2164
      • Elizabethtown, KY
      • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Ranch Kettle w/ Guru adapter.

      #4
      Is the wood well-seasoned? Based on the white smoke, it sounds like there may be too much moisture remaining in the wood. I have an abundance of Northern red oak on my property, so that is my standard wood that I use. It can take a long time to get to the desired moisture level.

      Comment


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        I was thinking the exact same thing. I don't see how it's the stickburner's fault, sounds like some unseasoned wood.
    • mrteddyprincess
      Club Member
      • Sep 2018
      • 316

      #5
      Sounds like too much moisture in the wood. Consider buying a bag of hickory splits that you know are dry and see if you have the same issues. A bag at Menard's is about $15 and is enough for at least one rib cook. Also, lump charcoal is a great way to establish a coal bed in an offset without burning up your wood. Get a nice hot bed of coals and then add splits and if they are dry, they should take off with minimal white smoke. The other thing you can do if your oak is not quite seasoned yet, is split into smaller pieces and mix it in with dry wood. You should be able to maintain good quality smoke with the door closed during a cook. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

      Comment

      • ShellandSwine
        Club Member
        • Jun 2019
        • 15
        • Bobtown, PA
        • Yoder Loaded Wichita (Summer 2019)
          Pit Barrel Cooker
          Brookstone 36" Griddle
          Member's Mark 2-Burner Gas Grill
          Char-Griller Smokin' Champ (modded)

          Thermapen Mk4, TimeStack, Fireboard, Wustof knives

          Southwestern corner of Pennsylvania

        #6
        You guys are awesome, thanks for the help! The wood was cut last fall. I bought a bag of hickory splits from Home Depot and did a dry run yesterday. Left the door open while it got to temp as Jake said. Warmed the wood before adding it to the coals as a few suggested. I had good results with this. Doing a dry run again this afternoon. I have some lump charcoal I’ll try that as a starter. Next time I’ll try resplitting some of my wood and adding it to the dry. Only changing 1 variable at a time. Thank you again for all the replies and no nasty comments!

        Question: do you leave the chimney damper all the way open? I had a COS before and left it open and only controlled the firebox damper. Is that what you all do with the Wichita?

        Comment


        • Sweaty Paul
          Sweaty Paul commented
          Editing a comment
          Folks here always try to be helpful and often have creative and varying solutions to a variety of problems. Sounds like your figuring things out quickly! Good luck and welcome!

        • mrteddyprincess
          mrteddyprincess commented
          Editing a comment
          One of the best pieces of advice I have gotten here is to keep the dampers open and build the fire to the temp you want. Clean burns happen with plenty of oxygen on a stick burner. Opening the door to control the temp is fine if you need to.

        • Steve R.
          Steve R. commented
          Editing a comment
          We don't do nasty around here, and that goes for comments and food.
      • Huskee
        Pit Boss
        • May 2014
        • 14679
        • central MI, USA
        • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

          Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

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        #7
        I leave my chimney damper open most of the time. If I start running hotter than I want I may close it a little to 3/4 or 2/3, that tends to cool down the chimney end a bit, but it's usually open. My firebox damper is always open, but I personally never open the firebox door. A trick that I've found for those still windless days is to use a BBQ Dragon and blow it in the firebox on low. Rechargeable batteries, something there to clip it to, and it's a beautiful thing on the cheap!

        Comment


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          Or maybe even the larger Pit Viper fan hooked to the Fireboard ??

        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Troutman, not for me, I'm about what works on the cheap. My personal thought is if you need a controller fan you don't want a stick burner, and vice versa. The two really don't go hand in hand. There's no controlling. You do benefit from a breeze blowing in the firebox, but no need to overspend to get that.

        • Steve R.
          Steve R. commented
          Editing a comment
          A smallish desktop fan blowing into the firebox damper does the trick for me on those days when there's no wind or it keeps shifting from west to east. I'm really close to an electrical outlet where I cook just outside the garage, so battery power isn't a consideration for me. I could always use an extension cord if it was.
      • ShellandSwine
        Club Member
        • Jun 2019
        • 15
        • Bobtown, PA
        • Yoder Loaded Wichita (Summer 2019)
          Pit Barrel Cooker
          Brookstone 36" Griddle
          Member's Mark 2-Burner Gas Grill
          Char-Griller Smokin' Champ (modded)

          Thermapen Mk4, TimeStack, Fireboard, Wustof knives

          Southwestern corner of Pennsylvania

        #8
        Very interesting huskee, I’ll look into the dragon. May help since the wind blows the wrong direction.

        Comment

        • PaynTrain
          Club Member
          • Sep 2016
          • 130
          • Wadsworth, OH
          • - Yoder Durango loaded
            - Big Green Egg large
            - Ducane Stainless 7 burner
            - Weber kettle
            - Aussie kettle
            - GoBBQ Portable

          #9
          I have a loaded durango, and on occasion experience issues. Mostly I would say wood that is not cured enough. I also realized that if I run a very small (maybe 1/4 of the firebox real estate) fire, this helps it become waaaay more efficient. I used to have a bed of coals over most of the grate, then it would run hot, and tightening up the damper then snuffed the fire a good bit. Still messing around with it, but the small hot fire and dry wood seems to rock.

          Comment

          • Henrik
            Founding Member - Moderator Emeritus
            • Jul 2014
            • 4077
            • Stockholm, Sweden

            #10
            I'm with the rest of the gang on this one. Use dry wood. And I would def. leave the smoke stack vent fully open. The smoke stack is the engine, let it run free. Try using splits instead of logs, they should catch fire faster, and won't affect a clean burning fire as much as when putting a full log on. This advice is for your size offset, which is a good one by the way.

            Comment

            • Belfagor
              Charter Member
              • May 2015
              • 9
              • Thornton, CO

              #11
              How have the changes worked? I have the same smoker that I've been learning this summer. Based on my summer experiment, I'll echo most of the advice others have given: a small hot fire rather than coals spread all over the grate, dry wood and smaller splits. What I've found is any split or log much larger in diameter than a beer bottle requires the door be left open, but if you take the same size log and split it, everything burns fine and temp stays steady with just the damper left open. Just my experience, I'm also at 5200 ft elevation. I have oak from a firewood supplier, so the splits and logs are mostly 4-5" diameter. I got the Kindling Cracker and a 4 lb hammer to crack out smaller splits, and since I've been using smaller splits the Wichita runs like a champ. Cracking the splits also lets me see which ones aren't dry in the center and set those aside. The BBQ Dragon helps for days when the wind blow opposite -- thanks Huskee for that tip! I'm in a new house and discovered it has a set wind pattern, usually have a breeze from the west until noon, and then after 1pm the breeze switches to come from the east. Frustrating beyond belief, especially after you set your smoker up to move air west-east based on the belief the wind blows predominantly from the west. But the Dragon cured that!

              Comment

              • ShellandSwine
                Club Member
                • Jun 2019
                • 15
                • Bobtown, PA
                • Yoder Loaded Wichita (Summer 2019)
                  Pit Barrel Cooker
                  Brookstone 36" Griddle
                  Member's Mark 2-Burner Gas Grill
                  Char-Griller Smokin' Champ (modded)

                  Thermapen Mk4, TimeStack, Fireboard, Wustof knives

                  Southwestern corner of Pennsylvania

                #12
                Sorry for the absence, I wasn't well for a while. I've got the dragon directing airflow through against the natural wind, split the wood smaller, got some more seasoned wood, and low and behold the Wich and I are smoking like champs! Just had a party this weekend and cooked everything on this pit. So happy now. Huge thanks to everyone who helped me out with this issue!

                Comment


                • Huskee
                  Huskee commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Woo hoo! Can't remember if I said it above (too lazy to look) but I too use splits about 10"-12" (give or take) quarter or smaller split. Works like a charm for me. The Kindling Cracker XL and a 4lb sledge is a fantastic tool for us stick burners too.

                • HawkerXP
                  HawkerXP commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Glad to hear that things working out for you. Both with cooker and your health. Show us a pic of it in action.
              • Mtrcylman
                Club Member
                • Jun 2019
                • 7
                • Wisconsin

                #13
                " I got the Kindling Cracker and a 4 lb hammer to crack out smaller splits, and since I've been using smaller splits the Wichita runs like a champ."

                I echo what others have said. On the Wichita Loaded a good coal base is needed. Old wood stove adage holds: Small fire, small heat, big fire, big heat... smaller splits can be preheated more easily, catch sooner with less white smoke. OAK TAKES A LONG time too dry. Better than a year, maybe two!

                Comment

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                Green Mountain Davey Crockett Grill

                Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

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