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Starting Wood Chunks

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Post Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:51 pm
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
I have a questions for all. I have some well seasoned cherry wood I plan on chopping down inot manageble chunks. I would like to use only the cherry for an all wood fired smoke. Any thoughts on how to start the chunks? Would you start them in the chimney like briquettes or lump? I could conceivably build a fire in the patio fireplace and burn it down to coals to use while continuing to add to the fire to keep the coals coming. I would prefer to work with just the smoker though.
What do you all think?

RichD

Post Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:10 pm
Big D well done
well done

Posts: 616
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I am probably not the best person to ask since I have a gas grill but I'll tell you what I do with my fathers BBQ pit and it may give you some ideas.

He has a brick BBQ pit with two grills.. one is simply a whole in the brick wall with a grate at the top.. Its like a brick square with a grate to hold food over the fire and cook directly over the flame... (It has a cast Iron door to control the flame and the top of the fire is completly exposed from the grate. The second area is the same brick over with cast Iron door but has a brick wall with vents and the grill area is also enclosed in an oven.... The vents allow smoke and heat to rise in the above oven to smoke/sorta indirect grill.

To build a fire over the 1st grill I simply do it like a normal fire, I think this could work with an offset smoker or something but again I dont have experience in that area. I normally use logs for larger cuts but for burgers, steaks ect. I use chunkcs and just put some newspaper on the bottom a few chuncks of wood on top of the paper and some wood kindling and let her go and add fire as needed... I would think this would be the easiest since would burns fairly easily and consistently unlike piles of charcoal which need the chimney.... again I dont know your set up and havent used anything like it almost for sure...

good luck ;)

Post Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:18 pm
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
Thanks BigD. Your right I didn't mention my set up.
I would be using a horizontal with an offset firebox.

RichD

Post Tue Jun 22, 2004 5:47 pm
Big Pappa rare
rare

Posts: 31
Location: Birmingham, Al
When I am smoking with chunks I always just use my chimney. It is easy and all I have to do is pour them out where I want them when they are ready.

Post Tue Jun 22, 2004 6:07 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3062
Location: Atlanta-GA
RichD,
You have to ask yourself two questions first:
1-Do you want to use the wood as fuel?
2-Or do you want to use it as a flavoring agent?
If you were using it for fuel, then I would burn it down to coals and then use it in the smoker (you’ll get very little flavor this way).
If you were using in as a flavoring agent, then you’d want to burn the chunks in the smoker over hot fire.
The chimney works very well to light up the chunks. But if you have a heavy-duty smoker, I would just use logs. Logs will give you flavor and heat
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Post Wed Jun 23, 2004 11:31 am
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
You know Z I hadn't actually thought about that. I guess if I were going to use it I would be using it as a fuel source as well as a flavor source. I had heard someplace that you don't want an actual fire in your firebox. Though I don't see why you shouldn't have a fire in the firebox.

RichD

Post Wed Jun 23, 2004 12:09 pm
YardBurner BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5376
Location: Damascus, Maryland
What you're looking for in the firebox is a good bed of embers with the occasional lazy flame.

If you have a live fire it will be almost impossible to keep the temps down. When you close down the vents to bring it under control you create a soot problem.
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Post Wed Jun 23, 2004 12:28 pm
RichD medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 280
Location: New Jersey
Good point Yb. I hadn't thought of that either. I guess I will use lump and save the cherry for flavor. No sense in wasting it as a fuel source if it isn't going to provide much flavor as Z said.

RichD

Post Wed Jun 23, 2004 1:11 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3062
Location: Atlanta-GA
Some heavy-duty smokers will allow you to start the logs in the firebox, but you’ll have to do that prior to placing the food in it (for the reasons YB mentioned). But using it for flavoring is the way to go.
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