Wood VS Charcoal

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Newsmoke
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Wood VS Charcoal

Post by Newsmoke » February 27th, 2019, 3:16 am

I was wondering if you were using charcoal and wood on your offset smoker or only wood?
I prefer only wood as I don't get this ash taste a day later when cooking contrary to charcoal.
Many people are saying that you need coal for temp and wood for taste.
If using only wood how to get a nice coal bed, do you crame a ton of wood at the beginning in the FB? I was thinking to have a separate drum where I would burn wood and shovel the coals from it in the FB and add a piece of wood in the FB.



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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by towtruck » February 27th, 2019, 11:16 am

There is a video here somewhere on how to start a fire......my ability to find it right now is lacking......but a couple of fully lit and glowing red chimneys of charcoal dumped in the fire basket and then a couple splits of wood on top is a great start to getting it all going.



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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by Big T » February 27th, 2019, 7:56 pm

:yth: I start off with about 8 lbs of charcoal in a chimney and once it's all burning I dump it in the fire basket and toss on a couple of splits. If you keep adding a couple of splits every 45-60 minutes you should be able to maintain a good bed of coals.


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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by Dirtytires » February 27th, 2019, 11:12 pm

Keep in mind, we all call it charcoal but many of us actually use lump charcoal instead of briquettes. If you are getting an ash taste I might suggest trying lump next time as is doesn’t have all the coal/binders in it so burns much cleaner.

Nothing better than a steak grilled over mesquite lump....but I get off topic.

I get 2 full chiminey of lump fully lit then dump in the bottom of my firebox. Drop 2 small splits on it and leave the cook chamber and firebox doors and air intakes wide open. After about 5 min and I have a good draft in the cook chamber, I’ll close that door. It usually takes about 5-10 more minutes for the flames to lick out of the firebox and that is my indication to toss 1 or 2 more small splits (this depends on my target temp and the outside temp as well s how impatient I am at the time) and slam the door. In another 15 min I usually start closing down my intakes to keep the fire from getting too big and overshooting my target temp. Once there, add a small stick or 2 every 45-50 min and you will maintain a wonderful coal bed all day long. (If you wait too long between adding, you will loose your coals and have to add another chiminey of lit charcoal. If you add wood too often, your fire will get too big and your cooking temps too high.)

It takes a solid 60-90 minutes from the time I light the charcoal till I add meat.



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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by mp4 » February 28th, 2019, 4:28 am

It really depends on the quality of your wood. I'm guilty of not having a seasoned pile of wood ready so I have troubles maintaining a coal bed an will sometimes have to supplement with charcoal to keep a good bed. I do prefer to cook without it though



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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by McBroom » February 28th, 2019, 11:02 am

Awesome info here. ya hear me.


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Newsmoke
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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by Newsmoke » March 1st, 2019, 4:33 am

Thanks to all of you, just to precise I currently use only wood and no charcoal. Until now I had some problem to maintain temp but this is because I didn't properly make a bed of coal when burning my wood at the beginning. My question: is it possible to make a coal bed just by burning wood or do I have to go with lump coal at the beginning? I saw that Rodney scott only use coal from burning wood separately and shovels them in the cooking area.



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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by McBroom » March 1st, 2019, 12:59 pm

Newsmoke wrote:Thanks to all of you, just to precise I currently use only wood and no charcoal. Until now I had some problem to maintain temp but this is because I didn't properly make a bed of coal when burning my wood at the beginning. My question: is it possible to make a coal bed just by burning wood or do I have to go with lump coal at the beginning? I saw that Rodney scott only use coal from burning wood separately and shovels them in the cooking area.
You can do it how ever you choose. I don’t make a separate fire just to make a coal bed. Start your fire early and build the bed. Using some charcoal first will get the bed hot and build it faster then add wood 2/3 sticks at a time till you find your cook temp. Whole lot faster this way


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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by Dirtytires » March 4th, 2019, 12:36 pm

Coals can, indeed, come from anywhere. I use lump so I dont have to wait 90+ minutes to burn logs down.

A separate fire would be a great source of coals but smoking is time consuming enough without having to maintain 2 fires and rish shoveling hot coals on my Tevas after I’ve had a beer or three.



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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by McBroom » March 4th, 2019, 12:39 pm

Dirtytires wrote:Coals can, indeed, come from anywhere. I use lump so I dont have to wait 90+ minutes to burn logs down.

A separate fire would be a great source of coals but smoking is time consuming enough without having to maintain 2 fires and rish shoveling hot coals on my Tevas after I’ve had a beer or three.
I know that’s right DT. 2 fires not me... it would be sweet if we could make our own lump coal instead of buying someone’s 1/2 burnt wood. But how to do it is another question.


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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by Dirtytires » March 4th, 2019, 12:46 pm

I get great quality mesquite lump for about $13 for a 40 pound bag. Not sure it’s worth the time/work/mess to do it yourself.



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Wood VS Charcoal

Post by McBroom » March 4th, 2019, 1:11 pm

Dirtytires wrote:I get great quality mesquite lump for about $13 for a 40 pound bag. Not sure it’s worth the time/work/mess to do it yourself.
Agreed. That is a great price on mesquite.
If I can ask where you getting it from?


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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by Dirtytires » March 4th, 2019, 5:14 pm

Costco business carries it year round as does my local grocery store (but a few dollars more).It’s a local brand and not sure of the distribution area. I’ve got a bag in front of my truck and will shoot a picture tomorrow morning when I move it.



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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by McBroom » March 4th, 2019, 6:00 pm

Thanks.


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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by Dirtytires » March 9th, 2019, 11:31 pm

I didn’t forget about this.

I have a couple of totes that’s keep my charcoal in which keeps it close to the smoker, easier to use and cuts down on the mess. Unfortunately, it appears I opened up the last of my spare bags last smoke and no longer have one to photograph. I’ll be needing more soon but will probably forget this post.



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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by Mo Smoke » March 10th, 2019, 9:28 am

I think it also depends on the flavor you want and the cooking technique. Coals are good, especially for direct heat. Plus They give you a lot of heat. But most folks are guilty of putting their meat on before they have burned off sufficiently. That’s why you get that ash taste. Lump is great and burns hot too. But because it’s made from wood it has a stronger smoke flavor than coals. Wood by itself is pure smoky flavor but it takes a lot more quantity and time to generate the same amount of heat. Don’t complicate it too much. This is supposed to be fun! Maintaining a separate fire just to make coals...Shoveling them from that fire box to the next... watching the fire you’re cooking with...Keeping an eye on the meat...when are you gonna have time to drink beer . You’re already cooking for hours, now you want to do more work for a longer period of time. Not worth it. Experiment with each and get a feel for how each one performs. Then Use whatever you like and whatever is convenient.


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Re: Wood VS Charcoal

Post by McBroom » March 10th, 2019, 10:04 am

^^^this^^^


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