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maintaining a fire during smoking

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Post Thu Apr 15, 2004 1:01 pm
smokyblues well done
well done

Posts: 496
Location: Edmond, Oklahoma
I have been smoking food now for a few years and the food always trun out good but, more importantly I really enjoy doing it. I have cooked brisket, turkey, chicken, jerky, salmon, pork sholder, tenderloins, jerky, and, of course, ribs. I have a horizontal 20" Oklahoma Joes smoker made out of 1/4" steel and I love it. My question is this. When you are cooking something for a long time, like brisket or ribs, should you put whole logs directly on your fire or should you have a seperate fire and shovel in the hot ambers to maintain the temp? I have always put my logs directly on the fire and just cover the meat with foil after a few hours so it doesn't get to smoky. I have heard of people doing both, but I just thought I would see what you guys thought on the subject.
keep it smoky

Post Thu Apr 15, 2004 1:17 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
I do it the same as you but minus the foil since I try not to load too much smoking wood at once. My 2nd favorite BBQ joint the Lexington BBQ (Hi Wayne!) uses a 'pre-chamber' as you describe and they shovel coals from this chamber to the main cook chamber.

Post Thu Apr 15, 2004 1:20 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
Welcome to the board smokyblues!

I have four smokers, unfortunately they are all vertical water smokers. So my main fuel is charcoal and I pre-light it prior to adding. However, when I add wood chunks for smoke I place them directly on the coals without burning them first.

Before your food is in the foil I would recommend removing the bark from your logs (at least most of it) as some bark can produce a bitter flavor. Removal can be done with a hatchet or by fire. If your fire is hot enough to recover from adding more wood, just toss it in. But if your fire has cooled to the point where temperatures would drop too much by adding cold wood then I would light them first.

Once the food if tightly wrapped in foil adding wood with bark should not be a problem. Just drop the new logs in before the temp drops.
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