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  • JustinT
    Club Member
    • Aug 2019
    • 28
    • Nottingham UK

    Please help me make sense of this.

    I recently bought @meatheads book and I’m around 10% through it I must say it’s a great read but there is a sentence that is bugging me and seems to conflict itself.

    Im convinced it’s just me but can someone help me make sense of the below.

    “When you smoke low and slow at temperatures like 225°F, many smokers require you to control the fire by damping the oxygen supply. This moves the fire below the ideal combustion zone, creating black smoke, soot, and bitter creosote. The best smokers combust at a high temperature to create the ideal flavor profile.”

    how can the coals be burning at a higher temperature and yet maintain the 225 in the cooking chamber.

    Is this where offset smokers come in to play to play where you have your coals in the side chamber they can burn hotter and the heat and smoke then via convection moves through o the cooking chamber but by the time it hits the meat it’s cooled ?

    but how then does this work in the cases of kamado grills to my understanding this style is heavily sealed and insulated so less fuel is placed inside, so aren’t you controlling the temperature by restricting air low in these and therefore creating the wrong type of smoke?

    And if these were allowed to burn at a higher temperature would you not have to keep refueling them.

    As you can probably tell I am still fairly new to serious BBQing and so far reading meatheads book I have had a lot of what I believed to be true challenged.
  • MBMorgan
    Club Member
    • Sep 2015
    • 5582
    • Colorado
    • > Weber Genesis EP-330
      > Grilla Grills Original Grilla (OG) pellet smoker
      > Pit Barrel Cooker (gone to a new home)
      > WeberQ 2000 (on "loan" to a relative)
      > Old Smokey Electric (for chickens mostly - when it's too nasty out
      to fiddle with a more capable cooker)
      > Luhr Jensen Little Chief Electric - Top Loader circa 1990 (smoked fish & jerky)
      > Thermoworks Smoke
      > 3 Thermoworks Chef Alarms
      > Thermoworks Thermapen
      > Thermoworks IR-GUN-S
      > Anova sous vide circulator
      > Searzall torch
      > BBQ Guru Rib Ring

      > Favorite Beer: Guinness Extra Stout, Fat Tire, Anchor Steam, or Alaskan Amber
      > Favorite Wine: Klinker Brick Old Ghost Zinfandel or Matetic Corralillo Winemaker's Blend
      > Favorite Whiskey: Balvenie Double Wood Scotch or Jameson Irish

    #2
    The bottom line is that you want a small, hot (and therefore clean) fire rather than a large, cool (and therefore dirty) one to maintain your desired temperature in whatever cooker you’re using.

    Comment

    • RonB
      Club Member
      • Apr 2016
      • 10657
      • Near Richmond VA
      • Weber Performer Deluxe
        SNS
        Pizza insert
        Rotisserie
        Smokenator 1000
        Cookshack Smokette Elite
        2 Thermapens
        Chefalarm
        Dot
        lots of probes.
        CyberQ

      #3
      I agree with MBMorgan - small and hot is best. However, if you have a small fire in a large cave, it won't heat the cave very well. But if you put that same fire in a small cave, it may be big enough to heat the small cave. It's the same in your cooker - regardless of the size. The only difference is that the size of the "small" fire increases with the size of the cooker.

      Comment

      • JimLinebarger
        Club Member
        • Jun 2017
        • 627
        • Spokane Valley, Wa.
        • Grills/Smokers
          Blaze 32" 4-Burner Gas Grill w/infrared rear rotisserie burner
          Weber Jumbo Joe
          Weber 22" Master-Touch Kettle
          Pit Barrel Cooker
          Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain Series 36" Vertical Gas Smoker
          Traeger Timberline 850

          Thermometers
          Thermoworks Smoke
          Maverick ET-733
          Thermapen Mk4, Red

          Sous Vide
          Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker, Bluetooth, 800W
          Anova Precision Cooker Insulated Container
          Lipavi C15 container and lid
          Lipavi L15 Rack

          Accessories
          SNS
          BBQ Guru DigiQ (for PBC and 22" Weber Kettle)
          BBQ Dragon
          BBQ Dragon Grill Table for 22" Weber Kettle
          Fire Butler (for Weber 22")
          Grill Grates for Jumbo Joe and Blaze grill
          Hovergrill

          About me
          Name: Jim
          Nick name: Bear
          Location: Spokane Valley, Wa.
          Born at a very young age at Egland AFB, Ft. Walton Beach, FL.

          USAF vet, ECM (F4 & B52)/B52 Crew Chief, Computer Systems NCO, disabled
          Former Computer Tech/Admin
          Campus Manager/Lead Tech/Tech (IT) for The Kemtah Group contracted to Intel, Rio Rancho, NM.
          Short Term Missionary to the Marshall Islands with MAPS of DFM of AOG

        #4
        Some smokers, like offsets, have a higher heat at the smoke box, but by the time it gets to the cooking chamber it cools closer to the 225oF. Smokers/cookers like my PBC do not really like being below 250-275oF because the firebox is also the cooking chamber. If I run my PBC below 250 (which I can since I am using a BBQGuru DigiQ) it produces a little too much dark smoke. The fan helps keep the fire lit.

        Comment

        • Ahumadora
          Club Member
          • Oct 2015
          • 1527
          • Pilar Buenos Aires, Argentina

          #5
          Another reason to cook hot n fast. Much easier to maintain a clean fire.

          Comment


          • Steve B
            Steve B commented
            Editing a comment
            Hot and fast for all cooks?? Ahumadora
            I’m asking you because of your experience and being an offset builder.
            What temps do you like to run for
            Pork ribs
            Pork butts
            Chuck roasts “ chuckies”
            Beef plate ribs?

            I’m really interested in your feedback on this.
            Thanks brother. 👊

          • Ahumadora
            Ahumadora commented
            Editing a comment
            Above 300f for all cuts now. Depends if I am in a hurry or not. Chicken I can do 450f . There's no stall and on some of them I don't bother wrapping. Just blast it and getter done..

          • new2smoking
            new2smoking commented
            Editing a comment
            The KBQ allows you to run at lower temps but still have clean smoke. Like running exhaust through a catalytic converter. But, at the expense of needing to feed it every 25 minutes.
        • jfmorris
          Club Member
          • Nov 2017
          • 2003
          • Huntsville, Alabama
          • Jim Morris

            Cookers
            • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
            • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
            • Weber Genesis Silver A w/ GrillGrates (2002)
            • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
            • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
            • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
            • Anova
            Thermometers
            • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
            • Thermoworks Dot
            • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
            • Thermoworks RT600C
            Beverages
            • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

          #6
          Yepas others say, you want a small but hot fire. It’s only hot at the fire - the size of the fire is enough to get your cooker to the desired temp. This mostly applies to offsets in my opinion, as with a kettle I have to control the burn rate by choking down the vents.

          Comment


          • JustinT
            JustinT commented
            Editing a comment
            This is kind of what I was thinking as with grills like kamado you would be putting less fuel in more heat would be retained due to the insulation.

            So with this in mind are we saying that you would also get better flavour profiles from offset smokers due to being able to burn at the higher temps ?

            And if this is the case why are the kamado grills so much more expensive.

          • Polarbear777
            Polarbear777 commented
            Editing a comment
            Most would say that is correct that offsets are better flavor. Kamados can run unattended and do a great job with ease.

            A good offset needs thick walls and those or the same or more $ than many kamaodos. Cost is relative to the materials and manufacturing. You generally get what you pay for. (Read max’s Reviews to find the platinum rated exceptions to this).

          • Razor
            Razor commented
            Editing a comment
            Hope I don't confuse you JustinT. There is a difference between the amount of fuel and the amount of lit fuel.

            I use an 18" WSM. On long cooks the bottom is loaded with briquettes. However I only light 20-30 in my chimney to start things off. Once they're going good I'll pour them in to the middle of the pile (doughnut method) and set the vents. The vents allow just enough air in to maintain my desired burn rate (which sets my temp), so the fire isn't quickly carrying to the unlit coals.
        • JustinT
          Club Member
          • Aug 2019
          • 28
          • Nottingham UK

          #7
          I have a landman Kentucky smoker as seen below.

          I am am going to dismantle it and put in some smoke seals as between the firebox and the cooking chamber there are gaps which I am losing smoke and heat through and I struggle to get heat in to the cooking chamber.

          There are also also either side of the main lid there is an overlap with around a quarter of an inch gap should I look to try and clock these in some way as well as I mist be losing a lot of heat and smoke through them.

          As as well as this in this type of smoker how would you guys set this grill up for a long cook would you put your unlit coals in the firebox and then add your lit coals on top so this slowly burns downwards ?

          when I have cooked on it previously I used more of a fuse method and stacked my coals around the edges of the main chamber and added my lit coals to one end this seemed to work well but reduced my cooking area quite considerably.

          Im sorry for all the questions 😊
          Attached Files

          Comment

          • Butchman
            Club Member
            • Mar 2017
            • 502
            • Estero, FL

            #8
            JustinT That’s an offset smoker. In your picture you’re using an indirect method with the coals off to the side in the main chamber. It all depends on the fuel and the results you’re looking to achieve. I’d use the indirect method with a hot fire for chicken, steaks, burgers, and chops. I’d use the firebox with a charcoal beginning fire then add wood as needed for low and slow cooks like ribs, chuck roast, brisket etc.
            I don’t have a lot of experience stickburning but they say keep the chimney wide open so as to achieve a clean blue smoke moving through the cooking chamber. Practice practice and keep a journal on your cooks.
            Last edited by Butchman; August 23rd, 2019, 06:33 AM.

            Comment


            • JustinT
              JustinT commented
              Editing a comment
              Butchman thank you for the response I had tried previously to have the fire in the firebox and it hadn’t worked that’s why I tried the above approach.
          • jfmorris
            Club Member
            • Nov 2017
            • 2003
            • Huntsville, Alabama
            • Jim Morris

              Cookers
              • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
              • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
              • Weber Genesis Silver A w/ GrillGrates (2002)
              • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
              • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
              • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
              • Anova
              Thermometers
              • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
              • Thermoworks Dot
              • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
              • Thermoworks RT600C
              Beverages
              • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

            #9
            JustinT as Butchman says, why are you putting fuel in the food chamber on your offset smoker? The fire belongs in the fire box - not in the cooking chamber... we only smoke like that on small charcoal grills like the Weber Kettle or the PK grill, where there is no offset firebox to put the fuel in. In an offset, you use the firebox.... . That is why it is impacting your food space...

            My offset is similar, except it was welded up custom by one of my dad's welders in his shop back in the mid 1980's. What I do if using charcoal is sort of a modified "minion" method in the firebox. I light one full chimney of charcoal, once it is going good, dump it into the firebox, and rake it all up against one end of the firebox. I then pour charcoal in to fill the rest of the firebox, and add 4-5 wood chunks across the width of the firebox. I may start with 1/4 of the firebox full of lit, the other 3/4 full of unlit charcoal. Over a 3-4 hour period, the fire burns across the firebox. After it has consumed most of the charcoal, I rake the remaining coals up against once side, fill it back the other way with charcoal, and a few wood chunks, and let it go again.

            If I use wood for the primary fuel source, I've found that it needs to be smaller sticks and chunks, maybe what they call mini-splits. I will start with one chimney of charcoal, and then use that as a bed for the wood fire. However, if using wood, I have to check the fire every 30 minutes.

            It's just the nature of offset smokers that they use a LOT of fuel and air flow. It also makes the difference in how the food comes out. This is why I have a Weber Kettle (with a Slow 'N Sear) for smoking smaller amounts of food, and when I want to sleep overnight, as I can run 8 to 12 hours on a load of charcoal in the kettle. If I smoke a big brisket or a half dozen butts on the offset overnight, I sleep on the couch and set an alarm to wake me up once an hour to check the fire, or set my Smoke remote thermometer up to wake me if the smoker temperature drops too low or goes too high.

            Back to your question on why kamados are expensive..... I think it has to be based in several reasons. MAYBE the cost of the materials is more - although I would be curious if mass produced ceramic kamado bodies really cost that much more than mass produced metal smoker or grill bodies. It is also heavy, so they increase the cost to cover all the increased freight costs they incur during the production and distribution process. And apparently people are willing to pay premium prices for them, so they can keep the prices up there.

            Comment


            • Razor
              Razor commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm sure the Q/A process adds to the cost. Cast a housing with cracks in it and it has to be scrapped, lowering your productivity.

              I'm sure they have the manufacturing processes down now, but like you said, if the market is paying the current price there is no reason to lower it.

            • JustinT
              JustinT commented
              Editing a comment
              jfmorris thank you for the great reply you make a lot of valid points I had in the past out the coals in the fire box but was unable to get enough heat through to the cooking chamber but I may need to try this again.

              I will try your method and see if that improves it at all.

              Thank you :-)

            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              JustinT I think as leaky as it looks, it will be hard to heat the cooking chamber without a fairly large fire. My offset is more sealed than that, and it takes a full chimney of lit coals in the firebox to get it to temperature.
          • jfmorris
            Club Member
            • Nov 2017
            • 2003
            • Huntsville, Alabama
            • Jim Morris

              Cookers
              • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
              • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
              • Weber Genesis Silver A w/ GrillGrates (2002)
              • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
              • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
              • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
              • Anova
              Thermometers
              • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
              • Thermoworks Dot
              • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
              • Thermoworks RT600C
              Beverages
              • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

            #10
            JustinT I just looked up that Landman Kentucky Smoker, to see some more details on it.

            Unfortunately, I don't like what I saw. The way the lid on both the firebox and the main chamber are designed, it appears there is a lot of gap, and that the top half - the lid - just overlaps the bottom half of the housing all the way around, with no actual metal on metal contact. So I am not sure how you would ever seal something like that up.

            It's made to LOOK like an offset smoker, but the design is really that of a grill, and is very leaky with the lid construction, in a manner similar to that of a gas grill. With gas, you WANT the body and lid to be leaky, to prevent gas build up and potential explosions if there were a gas leak.

            These are the things that I am seeing that concern me, and its the lid to body interface I am looking at - the fact that it appears that the lid overlaps the body, rather than rests on it, for both the main chamber and the firebox. I am looking at the photos on this page:

            https://landmann.com/uk/product/kent...coal-barbecue/

            Have you monitored the grate level temperature with a digital thermometer? Are you able to maintain smoking temperatures with your charcoal fire in the main cooking chamber? Have you tried smoking with the fire in the firebox?

            Maybe the photos are deceptive, and you can seal both lids with some high temperature gasket material. I sure hope so!

            Comment


            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              JustinT yeah you probably spread the coals out too much, reducing the size of the fire too much. In my firebox I keep all the lit coals together at one end, and let the fire spread across.

            • JustinT
              JustinT commented
              Editing a comment
              jfmorris I did a test run last night using only the firebox and followed your advice and my smoker held a fairly steady temperature of 250 which is a little more than I would have liked so I may have to just reduce my starting fuel a little as I had done a completely full starter of charcoal but it’s looking good thank you 😊

            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              Justin T sounds good! And to be honest, there is nothing super magical about 225F. I've been smoking at 250F and even 275F a lot lately. If you can maintain a steady 250F in the cooking chamber with a fire in the firebox, you are in great shape.
          • Smoking77
            Club Member
            • Mar 2017
            • 234
            • Los Angeles

            #11
            Razor Question regarding your #6.3 post, because I have a 18" WSM, too. For your long cooks, what temp do you usually like the cooker at? I ask because I usually light what I think is the equivalent of 10-15 briquettes (I use lump). When those are ashed over, I dump them in the middle (doughnut method), put a few wood chunks in, and set my CyberQ. It seems like the 20-30 lit briquettes you start with would get the WSM too hot. But obviously it doesn't, because that's how you do it, and you're happy with the results. I guess my question is, does it matter in a WSM how much lit fuel you start with to get a clean smoke? I usually get a light white smoke, the occasional blue smoke, or none at all. I like my result, but always looking to get better results. Or as jfmorris said, is this more of an offset issue? Thanks!

            Comment


            • Razor
              Razor commented
              Editing a comment
              Something else I just thought of, I bury my wood at the bottom. It is smothered. I don’t think the wood burns as hot underneath the briquettes compared to putting it on top of the coals.

            • Smoking77
              Smoking77 commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks Razor. I do use a water pan. And I've heard people praise both wood chunks on top of the coals and underneath. Both explanations as to why one is hotter than the other make my head hurt, so I just put them on top.

            • Razor
              Razor commented
              Editing a comment
              Try it on the bottom once. I think they last longer and give off better smoke. Mr. Soo can’t be wrong, right? 😉
          • Mosca
            Charter Member
            • Oct 2014
            • 2735
            • PA
            • Large Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Deluxe, Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Maverick 732, DigiQ, and too much other stuff to mention.

            #12
            It's a fire. You can control fuel or oxygen.

            If you control fuel, the fire always burns clean; adjust the temp by adding or subtracting wood. Bigger fire means higher temp, smaller fire means lower temp. The fire is always hot, always burning at maximum rate.

            Control the oxygen, and you are controlling the temperature of the fire. You are controlling the rate at which it consumes fuel, rather than letting it burn as fast as it can.

            For example, i​​​​​n a kamado what you want to do is get a small, intense fire that burns clean and spreads slowly. It usually takes about half an hour to 45 minutes for that. You can get a big cool 225* fire that gives of a lot of smoke (which will eventually become a big, hot, clean fire), so you choke that down until you have a small hot fire that gives the same cooking chamber temp.
            Last edited by Mosca; August 23rd, 2019, 12:04 PM.

            Comment


            • JustinT
              JustinT commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you for the response I have never used a kamado so was curious how they work in respect of keeping the smoke clean while choking the heat.

            • Mosca
              Mosca commented
              Editing a comment
              You’re welcome! I used the kamado as an example, but it holds true for anything that uses briquettes or wood as well. The charcoal starts smoky, then clears up. With a wood fire, it smokes, then as it matures, it clears.

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          kareubequ bbq smoker

          Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

          The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.

          Click here for our review of this superb smoker


          Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker

          masterbuilt gas smoker

          The First Propane Smoker With A Thermostat Makes This Baby Foolproof

          Set ThermoTemp's dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin'.

          Click here to read our detailed review


          Professional Steakhouse Knife Set

          masterbuilt gas smoker

          Our founder, Meathead, wanted the same steak knives used by steakhouses such as Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, Morton's, Kobe Club, Palm, and many others. So he located the manufacturer and had them stamp our name on some. They boast pointed, temper-ground, serrated, high-carbon stainless-steel, half-tang blades with excellent cutting edge ability. The beefy hardwood handle provides a comfortable grip secured by three hefty rivets. He has machine washed his more than 100 times. They have never rusted and they stay shiny without polishing. Please note that we do not make, sell, or distribute these knives, they just engrave them with our name.

          Click here to read our detailed review and to order


          PK 360 grill

          Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

          The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Beautifully designed and completely portable. Meathead says it is his preferrred grill.

          Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

          Click here to order it direct from PK and get a special deal for AmazingRibs.com readers only


          Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

          fireboard bbq thermometer

          With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.

          Click here to read our detailed review


          Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

          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.

          Click here to read our detailed review and to order