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How do you arrange your wood for long smoke?

Just curious of the different methods out there for how you all arrange your wood for getting smoke for long periods of time without adding. I have a method but I seem to get most of my smoke on the front end and its not consistent (heavy then light). Pics would be awesome. Thx!
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Comments

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,307
    Smoke from a BGE should be light. Almost invisible. The smoke that is heavy and visible will only produce bitter flavors. And, it is mostly from the lump, not the wood. Wood burning cookers will have more visible smoke because even well seasoned wood has lots of water in it. So there is visible smoke that is mostly condensed water vapor. With an Egg, the chips or chunks never get enough oxygen to burn. They just bake away into the vapors that add flavor.  Just sniff the whiffs coming out the top. If you can small anything, the smoke flavor level will likely be fine.

    Mix chips or chunks thru the mass off lump. Light the lump away from any wood, and close the lid.  The charcoal becomes hot enough that when the heat reaches the wood, all the oxygen will already be being consumed by the lump fire. No burning wood, which is a good thing.
  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,273

    Put in the first layer of charcoal.   Hand place lumps in a circular fashion around the charcoal.  

    Cover with final layer of charcoal.  

    I always light in 2 places 4-6 inches apart in the back.   Thinking that the fire will burn towards the oxygen supply coming in from the front.

    With an Egg, not all of the charcoal is on fire at the same time when cooking with low heat.   My theory is as the fire moves, it continues to encounter smoke generators ( chunks).

    Seems to work for me.

     

    Cookin in Texas
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    I use chunks and place them on top of my lump.  I use an electric fire starter.  I get about 2 to 2 1/2 hours of good smoke, and i believe thats about all the meat can absorb.
  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 6,096
    edited June 2013
    @Charlie_tuna and @gdenby have it right, IMHO. I just dump my lump, toss in some smoke wood, dump some more lump, toss in some smoke wood and dump lump again. Gives me a layer or two of smoke wood mixed thru the lump. 
    I've always understood that once the meat temp is over 150ish, it will not take on more flavor or smoke ring. 
    I also light the top front, the fire will burn down to the airflow and eggs are typically hotter in the rear, the fire will burn to the rear on its own. 
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • trout1trout1 Posts: 67
    If you mix the wood throughout the lump then light it, how can you tell when the bad smoke is gone and you have good smoke? Also, you are burning up your wood as you are waiting for things to be right before you put the meat on. Would you share your thoughts on this since we are discussing wood for smoke. Thanks.
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    The smell of the "bad smoke" is much different than the smoke of pecan or hickory.  I get my egg started and clear of "bad smoke" before adding the wood chunks.  And i get about 2 to 2 1/2 hours of good solid smoke on the meat product. image
    Pulled Pork Turbo Style 002.JPG
    2560 x 1920 - 2M
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 7,397
    I dump a bunch of lump in, light it in three places, then put 3-4 chunks in where the fire ain't. Right on top. Cooking with charcoal is enough of a PITA without having to sort, arrange and tinker.
    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

    "Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don't deserve to eat garlic." Bourdain
  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,273
    With the wood in the picture, you are getting more than 2 -3 hourse of smoke.   You cant always tell visually - but you are getting smoke.
    Cookin in Texas
  • WalrusBBQWalrusBBQ Posts: 151
    edited June 2013
  • scottc454scottc454 Posts: 71
    @Charlie_tuna and @gdenby have it right, IMHO. I just dump my lump, toss in some smoke wood, dump some more lump, toss in some smoke wood and dump lump again. Gives me a layer or two of smoke wood mixed thru the lump. 
    I've always understood that once the meat temp is over 150ish, it will not take on more flavor or smoke ring. 
    I also light the top front, the fire will burn down to the airflow and eggs are typically hotter in the rear, the fire will burn to the rear on its own. 
    The smoke only penetrating meat before 150 is old think.
    Meat will take on smoke flavor at any temperature. It lands on meat and doesn't penetrate. Smoke flavor has little to do with the smoke ring. 

    The question is, how much do you need?  If you get smoke for an hour or 2, you're probably good. 


  • scottc454scottc454 Posts: 71
    trout1 said:
    If you mix the wood throughout the lump then light it, how can you tell when the bad smoke is gone and you have good smoke? Also, you are burning up your wood as you are waiting for things to be right before you put the meat on. Would you share your thoughts on this since we are discussing wood for smoke. Thanks.
    If it looks like a steam locomotive, it's bad.  Smell it. It won't smell like nice hickory or applewood smoke. It's not a time thing. Basically, if the wood is burning too inefficiently, it produces high levels of creosote.  Creosote is your base smoke flavor, and will always be present, but you want to minimize it and maximize the more refined fruity/nutty smoke flavors. This occurs with the blue-gray smoke.

    I mix chunks into the lump then put a layer of just charcoal on the top and start my fire there. Ideally, I want to get to temp without any chunks smoking yet (it never really happens that way). After I get to temp, I might throw a chunk on top of the burning lump and put the meat on.  The heavy white smoke occurs mostly before you're up to temp and makes it take forever to heat up.  Assuming you don't put too many chunks into the lump, you won't get heavy white smoke later in the cook.





  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 12,253
    According to the smoke expert of yore (AKA Stike), the smoke flavors the meat as long as there's smoke and meat.  Makes sense, as commercial smoke houses will smoke meat for days and weeks.  What's the point if the smoke doesn't permeate the meat?   

    Here's an old post from STike

    stike Posts: 15,597
    i like a lot of smoke, and tend to put chips or chunks in the center in a column. it'll come and go but generally smokes all the way through.

    if you DON'T want smoke because it may be too much, try chunks at the beginning, placed right down into the coals, and no other wood below that. you'll get early smoke and it'll die off when the chunk quits. you could always add some if you want more.

    as for that pedantic blowhard fidel... :laugh: (that's a joke, since his reply is almost verbatim what half the folks here were probably expecting me to reply with... i have a 'history' re: the smoke ring and 'absorbing smoke' :laugh: )

    i think what his point was is that smoke will flavor meat whenever it is there. all the way thru, at the end, or just the beginning. meaning, it doesn't "stop absorbing" smoke the first couple hours or so. as you said, that flavor is independent of the smoke ring

    ...he just mentioned the smoke ring because many (many) people have heard that smoke stops absorbing in the first hour, and he's doing us the service of pointing out that it is only the smoke RING which stops forming, but that smoke will add flavor at any time as long as it is there. it's a frequent discussion here :whistle:

    essentially something smoked for 8 hours will be 'twice' as smokey as something smoked for four... it won't stop adding smoke

    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

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