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Newbie Questions

jimi1234jimi1234 Posts: 98
edited 12:15PM in EggHead Forum
Hi all,

New to the forum and to the Egg (just got a large). I was wondering if people could give a bit of help with fundamentals.

How much wood chips do you use when smoking? I guess it will also be time dependent- if you were smoking something for say 2 hours or if you were doing a long smoke on say a pork butt - how much do you use?

Related to that is the charcoal. Do you keep it full all the time, or vary based on need? How long should a full box be able to burn for at smoking temps?

Also when do you add the wood chips? Do you mix them all up with the charcoal before lighting? Do you add it after you reach the desired temperature (I noticed a couple recipes where they say to do this)? Combination?

Also, how long does it take you to get your Egg up to temp - either lower for smoking, or high for grilling?

Thanks and I look forward to being part of the group.

Cheers
Jimi
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Comments

  • BobSBobS Posts: 2,485
    Here is a shot at answering your questions

    How much wood chips do you use when smoking? I guess it will also be time dependent- if you were smoking something for say 2 hours or if you were doing a long smoke on say a pork butt - how much do you use?

    I prefer to use wood chunks versus chips. How much to use is really a matter of taste. The smoke ring stops as the meat comes up to temp, but it takes on flavor throughout the cook. we see questions all the time about how to get more or less smoke flavor, so you really have to experiment a little. For a pork butt, I would probably use 3-4 pieces that are more or less 2X2X4"

    Related to that is the charcoal. Do you keep it full all the time, or vary based on need? How long should a full box be able to burn for at smoking temps?

    I normally fill mine to the top of the fire box and then decide before each cook if I need to add more. I probably go 3-4 cooks before adding more, but that depends on the cook. If I am doing a lo-n-slo or pizza, I fill it up more. I had one go 21 hours and there was lump left.

    Also when do you add the wood chips? Do you mix them all up with the charcoal before lighting? Do you add it after you reach the desired temperature (I noticed a couple recipes where they say to do this)? Combination?

    I throw my chunks on when I light the grill unless I know there is going to be a delay starting to cook.
    I do not use chips, but I hear good things about mixing them into the lump.

    Also, how long does it take you to get your Egg up to temp - either lower for smoking, or high for grilling?

    My routine is to stir the old lump and then add more, as needed, or light it with my MAPP torch. I light it in three places for 30 seconds each. I clean the grill, and punch out the holes in my ash grate with a wiggle rod. I close the lid with the bottom and top vents open and go inside the house and set a timer for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, I go out and adjust the dampers. It is usually around 350.
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  • NibbleMeThisNibbleMeThis Posts: 2,246
    Check this out first:

    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm

    It is one of the best single sources regarding the Egg in my opinion.

    I use wood chunks, not chips when smoking. I use 3-5 chunks and distribute them (bury them) in the coal.

    I usually keep my coal filled to the top of the fire box. When it's full, I can easily get 20+ hours on one load at smoking temps.

    Usually takes about 15 minutes to get to temp, sometimes takes longer to get the right smoke (clear or "blue", not thick white).

    Hope that helps. Definitely check out whiz's faq.

    AND WELCOME :)
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  • Rafter RRafter R Posts: 120
    Jimi1234:

    You'll get lots of good advice here, that is for sure! I am a novice myself but will pass on what I have gathered.

    I used one handful of woodchips for my 12+ hour brisket and had plenty of smoke flavor and respectable ring. I added the chips after I had the temp I wanted and put them directly on the hot spot-they were soaked for maybe five minutes to keep them from flaming until I could get the set-up back into the egg and the brisket on.

    I filled the charcoal to the top of fire ring for a long cook and still had plenty left after about 20 hours at 225.

    How fast you get to temp depends on how many spots of fire you light and how much air you give it up front. EVERYONE will tell you to not overshoot your temp by much or for long because it will take a while to cool it back down. Slow a slower rampup is best.

    I personally made a few empty fire runs to see where my vents needed for the temp I wanted.

    I set the bottom at about two wires wide (1/8 inch) and the top daisey wheel only open at about 1/2 to get 225-250.

    I'll step back and let the real experts give you reliable advice now.
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  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 6,112
    Great info so far. Here is my stab:

    Wood: It definitely depends on the cook. For a butt I like to mix in chunks and/or chips throughout the lump. I usually use hickory chunks then some apple chips. For poultry, I just throw in a handful around the perimeter and sometimes drop a few in during the cook.

    Lump:
    I'm a fan of filling to the top of the firebox each time. If I am doing a long cook, I might go even higher (up into the fire ring). Filling to the top of the firebox gives you a more consistent temp each time. Basically, you know where to set the vents if you want to shoot for 350.

    Getting egg up to temp:
    I like to light the egg at least 30 minutes or so ahead of time. If I'm in a hurry you can get it ready faster, but everything works better once the egg is stabilized. For a long low and slow cook I might light 45 min or 1 hour ahead.


    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

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  • dugdbugdugdbug Posts: 244
    As a newb myself I can say what has worked to get me up to speed pretty quick is: do a search of the forum for a cook you would like to do, read all the posts and look at the pictures; then try it.
    You will find out quickly what you may want to do a little different the next time.

    After a half dozen cooks or so it will start to become instinctive.

    Oh yeah, learn how to post your pictures; they will be worth thousands of words...

    Enjoy :)
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  • RoundTownerRoundTowner Posts: 125
    I will start with building your fire. Always mix the left over coals with a stirring stick, "of your choice", so the ash will drop through your fire grate, be sure and always keep the ash clean as possible. No more than about three cooks then you will need to clean your ash out.  I said ash!! I use all the leftover coals I can. Then I take large pieces of lump charcoal and build a teepee in the center of the firebox you will learn how much charcoal you want to use. You will learn how much you would like to use by experimenting, this whole thing is a big experiment, but it is very fun!!
     It is very true it is easier to let your temperature rise, then to try and cut your heat down once it is established. Be careful not to close off your top Dasiy wheel with your bottom open this sometimes will cause a non-flavor full taste in your pallet some may have experienced different situations with this. Don't be afraid to shut the air flow down and open it. It is a good idea to make a trial run or two just to feel comfortable with making the egg work for you.
    On smoking and using wood chips your chunks. I always soak my wood chips for some amount of time from half an hour up to three hours. If I am going to use smoke I get my fire probably about 20 to 30% higher than normal because after you drain your chips that have been soaking your temperature will drop once you put those wet chips on there. I was taught to put the smoke on when the meat is green. The first 20% or so of cooking time, mid to heavy smoke. The other 80% or so will still get smoke just not heavy!
    I like to smoke with cherry chips and apple chips. I just like the flavor.
    I started my egg on a Wednesday night about eight o'clock and turned my egg off the next Friday night about 2 AM., it held temperature at about 180- 200° the whole time. I cooked two different batches of beef jerky:) 
    And I could go on for days....have fun! 
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  • Austin  EggheadAustin Egghead Posts: 3,315
    Welcome to the forum and congrats on your egg purchase
    You might find this helpful. Grandpas Grub has done all the work.

    tip and info
    http://www.eggheadforum.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=843650&catid=1
    Eggin in SW "Keep it Weird" TX
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  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
     
    some thoughts on your questions.

    . The amount and flavor of chips will depend on your tastes. I like cherry, apple most of the time. Grape vine, Jack Daniels both smell odd to me but impart a great flavor in the food. Fowl will take smoke quicker than beef or pork. I have gotten to a point where I use a lot.

    . I load the egg depending on the cook. Longer than a 6 hour cook I clean and fill up. Other cooks I usually just relight what was in there from the last cook. Short timed cooks I may not refill or clean for 5 to 8 cooks. At 250° dome I have had the large cook for 35 or so hours on a full load (filled up to the top of the fire box. Pizza, 550° dome again full. High heat will use a lot of lump.

    . If the cook is going to use most of the lump I may mix in the wood chunks, or chips, try to find chunks. I change flavor wood so I don't like leaving the old chunks/chips if I am going to a different flavor. I may make some foil pouches if using chips and put 4 or 5 large pouches in the lump bed. When the cook is over if the flavor wood pouches still have good wood I will use them again on another cook. But my lump will be clean for the next cook. Punch fork holes in the top of the pouch to allow the wood to smolder.

    . It takes me 10 to 15 minutes to get my egg lit and stable. Once in a while I may have to let the lump burn for another 15 minutes to get clear (sweet aroma smoke). If the smoke coming out of the egg is acrid your food will taste acrid. Put you hand over the smoke leaving the egg then smell the aroma. If it's good put the food on.

    GG
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  • jimi1234jimi1234 Posts: 98
    Hi all,

    Thanks for the useful tips. Sounds like there will be some trial and error involved.

    I have done a few cooks on it but I've always wondered if I was putting enough wood in with the lump.

    I think I will try to find some of these wood chunks. I've only seen chips.

    I'll post some pics of future cooks.

    Cheers
    Jimi
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