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Time to Stabilize Temp & When to Add Wood

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    Time to Stabilize Temp & When to Add Wood

    I'm using a kamado grill with lump charcoal (don't judge me on my lump preference!)

    When you bring your grill up to the magic temp of 225, how long should you let it stabilize before you add the food?

    And while I'm on the timing question, if you bring your grill up to temp, when do you add the wood? After the grill has stabilized? Do you let the smoke start going for "X" minutes before you add your food to the grill?

    I don't run a kamado, but maybe my methods will be of use to you. When I cook on my kettle and use charcoal & wood chunks I typically will add the wood right after I put the meat on, or immediately before, so the smoke isn't wasted pre-meat. I don't let it sit at the target temp for any specific length of time. I like to take advantage of the BTUs available in the coals so I add the meat right when I hit the temp I want. Then I get the longest run I can. The only time I wait is when I'm using the stickburner- if the smoke is too grey & billowy I'll wait until my fire is good and hot (thin blue smoke) before I add the meat in most cases, even if they cooker is up to temp. I personally don't find it necessary to wait with the kettle, and I imagine a kamado would be the same principle.


      I have some Kamados. You want to wait until it is stable, and that may mean an hour while the walls waarm up. It depends on your device (metal, ceramic, etc.) and the weather.


        After hearing the Smoke talk Meathead produced, I have been adding meat as soon as I get a stable fire, so I can get the longest exposure of the right smoke on the cold wet meat. On my WSM's, this means I put the meat on as soon as I put the 2/3 (my typical amount) of ashed over charcoal into start my fuse (my new preferred charcoal and wood chunk method. I've been putting the wood chunks on the bottom and the charcoal on top. Using a fuse, and depending on how much meat I am putting on, it takes a little while for it to heat up to 225ish. This weekend, i put 10 racks of St. Louis in each 22.5 WSM, and it took around 90 minutes for it to get up to temp on both grates. My smoke rings have improved significantly with this technique.
        On the stick burner, I put the meat on as soon as I get a bed of coals and good smoke, and the cooker is also typically heated up by then.


        • richinlbrg
          richinlbrg commented
          Editing a comment
          PaulstheRibList you may want to look at thread under doc blonder's smoke seminar. It seems a few of us are experimenting with the fuse method. Your experience may add a lot to the thread. I tried a 2x1 fuse (under-powered), changed it to a 3x2 which was better, but still not enough. I'm interested in how you set up your fuse. http://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/for...-the-smokering
          Last edited by richinlbrg; June 3, 2015, 05:05 AM.

        Thanks to all the comments! I just put some ribs on after 45 minutes of heating it up, and getting some smoke. As soon as I put the meat on, it dropped the temp dramatically, and I started working hard to get the fire back up so I don't get the "bad smoke". I think I'm back in business at 225, but maybe I need to go 1 hour or 1.5 hours to ensure the fire and temp is built properly.

        I'm a new grill owner, so I'm just figuring all this out! Thanks to AmazingRibs for educating me!


        • richinlbrg
          richinlbrg commented
          Editing a comment
          scottranda I didn't worry as much about the smoker temp as I did about the color of the smoke. Anytime you open up the smoker you are going to lose a lot of ambient heat. That is OK as long as your fire is burning cleanly. I heated mine up (with wood on) until the smoke was blueish. The drop in the smoker temp didn't change the color of my smoke. That is how I understand it, and my experience, but hopefully someone with more experience will weigh in and correct any misconceptions!

        • PaulstheRibList
          PaulstheRibList commented
          Editing a comment
          When I start, I'm adding 2/3 a chimney of ashed over coals onto my fuse, and if it's full cooker of ice-cold meat (10 racks in a 22.5 WSM) it takes well over an hour for the cooker to stabilize at 225, if memory serves. 6 hours total...manifique!

        Also, are you stabilizing the temp WITH or WITHOUT the wood added to the pit?


          I place my large wood chunks in the chimney and set em on fire.
          Then add some coals on top. Once the chunks are coaled over I dump them in the cooker, set my vents, wait for clean smoke while I shoot for 250. Then place the cold meat (I do put the meat in the freezer while I prep the cooker).
          When the meat is on, the temp will drop to 215 - 230.

          Takes about an hour.


            Wood, in the case of chunks added to charcoal, is a seasoning for your meat. Not necessary to add it while heating the smoker up. However, if your pieces are wet or green and can benefit from being preburnt & dried somewhat, then by all means add them right away.


              Right, that's why I specified "large" chunks. I guess small chunks just burn out, I prefer large chunks.
              I guess one could get away with not heating small chunks in advance.
              Large chunks pre-burn nicely to "charcoal" and produce sweet smoke longer.

              I'm actually eyeing those wood blocks from smokinlicious.



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