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First Attempt- Baby Backs! More Smoke?

LongboardRLongboardR Posts: 77
edited July 2012 in EggHead Forum

So, last week I posted and commented on my first few sessions with my new birthday present and realized it was all seafood or chicken. I had to get the swine and red meat off the list (change of plans from the scamp). Anyway, I did a few delmonico's and they were awesome! Next time I will go hotter and put in a rest period before finishing. On Sunday, did baby backs and let em have 24 hours in the fridge with dry rub, got the egg settled around 250, went classic with Hickory chips and got things rolling. Had plenty of smoke for the first couple hours but seemed to loose smoke. I stoke up temp a little and that seemed to help but again loss smoke when I droped temps. Any advice would be appreciated. Anyway, pulled the ribs off at 3.5 hours and let em rest in foil and warm cooler, then finished em off for 45 mins at 350ish.

Had a nice gathering of friends and family and eveyone enjoyed and raved about the ribs. In the end dont think they needed more smoke flavor but had wanted to give them more through the process.

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Comments

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    when i want a lot of smoke, like for an overnight, i build the fire in stages.  handful of lump, chips in the middle (or chunks), another handful of lump, and so on. not so much alternating as just mixing in wood with the lump as i build the pile of lump.

    my fire tends to burn downward, not out.  the fire will find the wood
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,851
    chunks last longer than chips and you can also burry some down deeper in the lump. i wouldnt be to worried if the flavor was there but i would add some fruit wood to the hickory, seeems to add more dimension to the smoke flavor, cherry and hickory work good together for me
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    4 oz of chips dont burn any faster than 4 oz of chunks, mang..  i mean, we might think they would, but not sure why that's the assumption.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • MemphisBBQMemphisBBQ Posts: 73
    edited July 2012
    Stike- I have been thinking about this for a while. My opinion was developed like this:
    I use chips if I want some quick smoke, chunks for smoke for more time.

    I think of it as a surface area thing. The chips have more surface area, therefore should burn hotter and faster. Sorta like the good ice from Sonic that is pellets. It gets the drink REALLY cold, better than the ice from my freezer at home. BUT, if you were to toss the same amount (oz wise) into a drink the Sonic ice will melt faster.

    I am no expert on thermodynamics! Just a theory...
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,019
    Should be the same difference as between a large lump and the same weight in small lumps.  Next time I grill I'll put 4 oz of each next to each other on a uniform fire and end this debate.  Some things are counter intuitive, like hot water freezing faster than cold.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,019
    er....rather warmer water freezes faster than cold - boiling water does not.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mpemba_effect
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,293
    As @stike said. Build your fire in stages, ever since he told me about that I have been doing it. It works as it should, my fire like his burns down typically, and I try to center the majority of the chips/chunks mixture that I use. Lately I have been on a pecan kick, pecan and cherry/apple. Really a nice smoke IMHO.



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited July 2012
    contact area is what is important.  how much of the wood is contacting the hot lump.

    now, in a gas grill, open and drafty, that chip is going to burst into flame. but in an egg, it doesn't  no spare oxygen.  toss a stick or something into the lump, it will catch on fire.  shut the dome, and in only about ten seconds, the fire goes out and the stick will only smolder. even if you are at searing temps.

    so the issue of it bursting into flame and being consumed quickly by flames is a non-issue.

    which leaves simply that the wood is going to burn only if it is in contact with the lump. and since the charcoal doesn't know how thick that wood is, why would it burn faster? :)

    i will give you that a chip will not last as long as a chunk. just as a potato chip will burn faster than a whole potato, too. 

    but i'm saying if your fire is 'X' size (a 250-dome  fire is always about the same size, right?), how is that little fire going to burn up a potato's worth of potato chips any faster than it'll burn the one potato?

    but let's back up.  is anyone here actually fretting over how much wood they use one way or the other? "i'm so glad i switched to chunks, because now i only add 5 oz of wood instead of 6."

    it's frigging wood.  anyone that buys it to begin with is already wasting money.  :))

    i'll say that from my perspective, if you gave me the option of a solid single chunk of lump, and the same amount of wood in chip form, i bet you can get more (longer) smoke from the chips.  simply because when you put the one chunk on there, you're hoping the fire won't burn down away from it. that it will sit there and smoke for a few hours with the lump in one spot where the fire is.  but i'dsay that fire is going to move down.  and if you put chips there, it'll find them. 

    i use whatever works.  if it's wood, it'll smoke.  and so i just use it the way that it requires (if it's a chunk, or if it's bits and chips).




    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,293
    contact area is what is important.  how much of the wood is contacting the hot lump.

    now, in a gas grill, open and drafty, that chip is going to burst into flame. but in an egg, it doesn't  no spare oxygen.  toss a stick or something into th lump, it will catch on fire.  shut the dome, and in only about ten secinds, the fire goes out and the stick will smolder.

    so the issue of it bursting into flame and being consumed quickly by flames is a non-issue.

    which leaves simply that the wood is going to burn only if it is in contact with the lump. and since the charcoal doesn't know how thick that wood is, why would it burn faster? :)

    i will give you that a chip will not last as long as a chunk. just as a potato chip will burn faster than a whole potato, too. 

    but i'm saying if your fire is 'X' size (a 250-dome  fire is always about the same size, right?), how is that little fire going to burn up a potato's worth of potato chips any faster than it'll burn the one potato?
    Perfectly worded.



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • So 250 for 3.5 hours are the magic numbers for baby backs?  I haven't tried them yet.  Took a heck of a lot longer than that for spare ribs the other day.
  • MemphisBBQMemphisBBQ Posts: 73
    Like I said, I am not claiming to know the answer OR be an expert. But this talk about potato chips is making me hungry!

    I do think this is a good thread. It would be nice to know the answer. 


  • gte1gte1 Posts: 374

    I am most certianly not an expert on wood chunks, but 4 oz. of chips should not last as long as a 4oz chunk.  More surface area should mean faster burn.  Gunpowder burns/explodes like it does because of the vast amount of surface area.  Compress it into a chunk and I doubt you would get the same result from the same amount of material.

    Now I would believe that the same amount of smoke comes from 4 oz of chunks vs.chips.

    George

     

    George
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited July 2012
    you need to consider the surface area which is actually IN CONTACT WITH THE BURNING LUMP.

    and since the fire is the same size whether it's chips or chunks, the fire cannot have more surface area (or it'd be a hotter fire by comparison)

    if you can somehow get both sides of the chip to touch the fire at the same time, maybe.  even then, we are not talking 1 chip equal to 1 chunk. equal weight of wood is what i'm talking about

    given the same weight and volume of wood in an environment where there is a VERY SMALL fire, and no open flame,... well, that's quite different than your scenario where all sides of all the chips are on fire.  doesn't happen.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • DuganboyDuganboy Posts: 1,118
    I love to read @stike  He could make me believe that the sun comes up in the west ^:)^
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited July 2012
    which implies i'm making up total bullsh!t i guess.

    no skin off my nose.  not like i haven't been staring into one of these things as it cooked for the last 7 or 8 years, trying all sorts of different types of wood (whatever was free).  whens beggars take wood scraps, they find them in all sizes.

    all i'll say is that i once used 6 or 8 nice chunks, laid out in the magical pattern suggested by many (spiral patterns, radial patterns, etc.)

    fire went straight down. missed them all.

    since then, whatever it is goes up and down in the middle, and the fire finds it.

    a word of caution with chunks. if your chunks are not used by the fire, and you find you often put in extra 'to be sure', those that aren't used will be turned into charcoal as they sit therein the hot environment.  and they won't quite smoke as well as raw chunks if you want to try using them again.


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • gte1gte1 Posts: 374

    Stike,

    Just for example.  Throw a 2" cube of wood in the fire.  For arguements sake just one of the six sides touches the fire (4 sq in. of wood in contact with fire).  Take that chunk and section it into 16 1/8" slices.  If they all land on the fire laying flat you would now have 64 sq in. of wood in contact with the fire. Same amount of smoke??  Now again I can agree that by the time it all burns up the total amount of smoke should be equal, but the amount of time it takes to do that should be nowhere near equal.

    George

    George
  • DuganboyDuganboy Posts: 1,118
    @stike   NO  NO NO.  Being totally complimentary. Totally. I will see a topic and I will say, "I want to hear what stike has to say about this".

    Really appreciate the views/knowledge/comments you bring to this board,
  • Whats the rule of thumb on cooking baby backs?
  • So 250 for 3.5 hours are the magic numbers for baby backs?  I haven't tried them yet.  Took a heck of a lot longer than that for spare ribs the other day.
      about 4.5 hours for me.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,019
    What you're sayin, Stike, makes perfect sense.  Lump will burn towards the oxygen.  A pit loaded with fuel is ready to burn as fast as we can give it oxygen.  If we pumped in pure oxygen under pressure, we could combust it all in a short time (seconds).  Given air is about 19% O2 and we have dampers, we're regulating the combustion on our terms.  If you light on the top, it's gonna burn down, not out (at least as much) because the air dampers are above and below the lump, plus we have a special thing called gravity (fire without gravity behaves much different - good thing we don't cook in orbit).

    Getting the wood ignited is one thing, but because we're regulating the O2, we're controlling the rate of burn.  Different story if we left the top open (giant damper is open).  The chips would burn faster because of surface area - we all see this in fireplaces, campfires, etc.

    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,019
    Moral of the story: size don't matter, it's how ya use it.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • BaysidebobBaysidebob Posts: 488
    When I want to bump up the smoke I open the lower vent and daisy wheel until the smoke starts.  Otherwise with the limited O2 on a low temp cook I've found the wood, be it chips or chunks, turns into more charcoal.  Just my experience.
    My actuary says I'm dead.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    what happens is that the limited intake means the fire stops growing. and when the fire stops growing, it doesn't draw more air.

    now here's the cool part.

    the air has oxygen in it (obviously).  it is drawn in from below and up through the lump.  because the fire isn't growing, there's no 'extra' oxygen.  if you open it up, you'll get more O2, and the fire will grow.  conversely, if the fire is growing, then the oxygen is all being used up.

    so the top of the lump bed, where you can toss a chunk of wood, has little or no spare oxygen. it's already been used up.  so the wood just smolders on the lump. it cannot burst into flame.

    this is why chicken and hamburgers and all those fatty cooks don't flare up, even at searing temps, until you open the grill and the fuel (the fat, or added woodchips ) can now fully combust because of the xtra air.

    try it.

    get a good hot fire going. toss in something like a decent stick or twig.  it will burst into flames.  shut the dome, and it will go out (soon, not instantly. not until the spare O2 is gone).

    no oxygen for it.

    no flare ups may be one of the best least-mentioned benefits of a (relatively) airtight cooker
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited July 2012
    gte1.  you just put my 64 square inches of wood on a 64 square inch fire. and you put your cube on a one inch square fire.  not quite apples to apples

    here's my take on it.

    build a fire and set it for 250.  now take a look at it.  it's small.  fist sized.
    put your cube in there, one side touching. fantastic. look, one square inch burning.  got it.

    now, slice it like you said, and then toss all those chips in.  most are not burning, because the fire is small.  but the fire will find them if you put them in correctly (up and down in the middle).

    ok, but that's too easy.  let's just pile all of them on that fire, as close as we can.  you still aren't going to get ALL that wood to burn at once.  your argument simply makes the fire bigger.  not correct.

    that is just not how it works in an egg.

    if you are talking about tossing the chips on a giant open air campfire. well, hell.  of course. but that's not the way anyone uses chips/chunks in an egg.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,281

    I once thought like gte1 and even argued with stike on the forum once after a few drinks about this same topic, but have since learned the error of my ways. What has to be considered is this we are not dealing with flames and fire and unlimited oxygen here. We are talking about smoldering charcoal that is using up all the oxygen.

    @stike - do you remember that conversation? I said some ass-a-nine stuff about sawdust and powder and explosions in grain elevators due to the surface area of the dust produced. Like I knew what I was talking about. 8-| I still don't know what I'm talking about, but I know better than to argue with stike. ;)

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited August 2012
    i don't remember it  griff. no worries.

    i will be totally honest here, i am too easily confused to be able to keep grudges.  i know a lot of people here get ticked off by me and (i believe) take me the wrong way.  but i talk like i would to a buddy who is 'arguing' at a cookout with a beer in his hand.  i sometimes feels bad when people take it the wrong way, but i don't keep track.

    i have had people read me the riot act (once a week, usually :)  ) telling me how i'm an ass.  and a week later i will reply to a question they have and try to help.  not because i'm mr. peace-love-and-understanding, but because i don't remember it, and i don't keep track.

    life's too short to keep track of offenses, especially internet forum offenses.  i have a few people who keep track of me, but after a couple days, i'm back to square one.

    (a little paraphrased/condensed story: a guy at the GA mountain fest came up and wanted to shake hands. i always cringe, frankly. hahaha  he said "hey. glad to meet you.  i hope you aren't mad at me still for that time i corrected you about a comma")

    he was serious. i said hell no.  why would i be? and he told me once i had corrected him about something, and he felt the need to zing me back.

    he was one of the nicest peeps there, and i assured him, no, i hold no grudges re: his comma comment.  it's all good, man.  likewise, i don't remember our fisticuffs re chips vs chunks.  but that may be because after 50 such discussions, they all start to bleed together

    peace
    :)>-
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,281

    :)) Ya never ticked me off and I never took it the wrong way. I just came to a meeting of the minds unarmed. That, and hindered by quite a few Wild Turkeys. Simple as you were more knowledgeable and right and I was wrong. :)>-

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i wish they had a browser plug in that detected alcohol. would save me much embarrassment.

     the ones they do offer detect drunkeness by poor spelling.  problem is, like my pool playing and dancing, my grammar and spelling are better when drinking.  i even capitalize.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,851
    stike i think you chhanged the rules when you burried the chips away from the hot coals, thats the first thing i see, second is who weighs their smoking wood chips and chunks
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited August 2012
    i didn't change any rules.  i have always said to bury the chips or chunks up and down in a column.

    as for weighing, i don't weigh.  no one does.

    just saying of course chunks last longer if you are assuming 1 chip vs. 1 chunk.

    i'm saying an equal weight of each would burn just as long.

    to make it simple, i'll just say again the thing that got everyone quibbling.   chips don't burn faster than chunks.

    i burn whatever i have on hand. i have both.  i just think that warning newbies away from chips is foolish, because there is virtually no difference in our application. not in my case anyway.

    i've long realized i had a magic egg.  doesn't burn in spirals, doesn't need a guru, doesn't need to be burped, doesn't need brand-X charcoal to run well, dis air tight, keeps stable temps, and has no idea it is out in the cold.

    i'd be screwed if i learned that i needed to throw out the chips and bits (twigs even) that i had because chunks were better.  i just know my food smells like smoke, i don't have to buy wood, and i'm using as much wood (actually,  less) than those who toss in three or four big chunks
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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