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Using all Oak Chunks instead of Lump??

Planning to cook a pork butt tomorrow... Has anyone tried using just wood instead of lump? I have a bunch of seasoned oak I would like to try.



  • I never went all chunk... but darn close to 50-50... worked great... I'd just let the fire "settle in" until the flames die down. I had my son-in-low bring over some well seasoned hickory, and it sure did seem to burn a bit hotter then usual (a-la high BTU).

    I'm sure there are others more experienced than I.
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    Consistent temps are tough with all wood. By the time you get the fire burning well, you're going to be over heated. The volume of fuel per pound (and sq. inch) is better with charcoal. Not impossible, but not easy, either.
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    If it's white Oak don't bother. Lump is made from various white oaks

    If it's red oak then use chunks of it with the lump.

    Lump is sort of tempered to burn cleanly and consistently. Raw wood is not
  • That was a question I asked when I first got my Egg. Someone here directed me to an article about it- I think the Naked Whiz- that discussed it in some detail. Bottom line, as I recall, was that it is hard to control and there is a buildup of creosote. I guess I was convinced not to try it. There have been other articles about making your own lump charcoal that may be useful.
    Wish I could remember where I did the reading on it.

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    the idea behind charcoal is that it burns far hotter than the wood it was made from.

    of course you can get a fire going good and hot, but it takes a lot of wood to get the same heat as from charcoal. when you burn wodd, you are n=burning a lot of things. when you are burning lump, you are burning carbon.

    for a low and slow maybe there's no big difference. most pit barbecue joints on the side of the road burn wood, then shovel coals in as needed. that's fine. in the egg, you won't need many coals to get to 250. the problem i see ("burning hot"" as mentioned below), is that to hold it back to 250 requires choking the egg down. lump burns efficiently, but wood does not. when you limit the oxygen to a carbon/lump fire, the size of the fire is limted but the lump still burns efficiently (at 1100-1200 or so. when you dial back a WOOD fire, the fire goes out and smolders. you need to be more open (vent-wise) to get the wood to burn cleanly, and that will make the temps go up.

    (a little OT, because you didn't ask this, but it comes up a lot: contrary to popular opinion, oak lump does not have the same 'flavor' if you will of oak wood. most everything that flavors the smoke is long gone when you have lump as your fuel source. there are small amounts of organic material that will smoke and add flavor, but not like the wood sugars that are present in wood itself. you will get SOME good tasting smoke, but smoking over oak lump does not mean you don't need oak chips (if that's the smoke you want). volatile organic compounds are NOT good things, and they aren't what flavor wood smoke. well, they can flavor it, but badly. they are flammable compounds (like methane, hydrocarbons), which are present in lump but get driven off by heat and draft. they do NOT taste good. it's the sugars in wood cellulose that primarily give us the flavor in smoke we are looking for. and that cellulose is long gone after the wood has been carbonized)

    whew... in short (TOO LATE FOR THAT!)if you use real wood, you will be doing what a lot of traditional barbecue did. but often, the fire was separate from the pit, and you could shovel the nice burning lump into the pit, rather than try to control the fire itself, at the risk of smoking, creosote (from burning poorly), etc.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    well said. wish i read yer post before i wrote mine!
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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