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Wood chunks burning up quickly

Hey, gang..I finally decided to give smoking a try on my (ahem) "black BGE" - err..KJ Large instead of my trusty Cookshack SM025 smoker to see what smoking over lump vs electric would taste like..and am having problems with my wood chunks (roughly 4 total oz of wood [2 chunk of hickory and one cherry] burning up really quickly).

I'm using a combination of Rockwood and FOGO (the huge stuff) lump and controlling the pit with a Flameboss 200 at 235. Wood was mixed in with the lump at roughly 12:00, 6:00 and the midpoint between the two pre-lighting.. FB says pit IS at 235, so not sure why the chunks seem to have burned up in roughly the first 30 - 45 minutes.  (Pretty sure they did - I pulled out the grid and indirect stones and looked at the lump..and there were just big empty holes in the lump pile in the places I had previously put the wood chunks).

I did get a good (white/grey) smoke for about the first 30, maybe 45 minutes..problem is, a lot of that time was the FB bringing the pit up to 235.  By the time I put my ribs (3 racks of baby backs) on, I probably only had another 15 or so minutes of visible smoke coming out of the KJ..

I had to pull the ribs after the first 2h30m to foil them, so added another 4 oz (over 2 chunks) of Hickory..and got roughly 20 minutes of visible smoke before the first chunk was totally burned up. (Checked again after I saw the smoke disappear quickly a second time)..

How the heck is that possible in a pit at 235?  I know the lump is a lot hotter than the grate or the dome, but I didn't think wood ignited before 450 or so..

I know the "good" smoke is not supposed to be visible..but I smelled and tasted the ribs, and they have WAY less smoke smell and flavor than they do when I cook them in the Cookshack.  So, regardless of what's happening..the Cookshack is absolutely crushing the Kamado-over-lump way of smoking, which is kinda surprising..

Appreciate any and all help..this one has me stumped..


Mini BGE, KJ Classic - Black, Cookshack SM025, Weber Gasser (mostly for Kamado storage!)

Comments

  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 9,271
    edited July 10
    I have never taken a weight of my wood chunks before but 4oz total for 3 pieces in my mind are 3 pretty small pieces. And not sure the term mixed is fitting for 3 pieces of wood.
    I normally place 3-4 chunks on the edge of my burn line after the fire is stabilized and shortly before I add my meat. This way the fire slowly burns into the chunks and is not wasted in the pre heat and stabilization period.
    Using larger or more pieces will give you more smoke.
    And on the BGE white/grey smoke is not what you want. You want a slower, cleaner smoke. The BGE has less airflow than your electric smoker so you want a cleaner smoke. Remember, the BGE is a very versatile smoker but not the best smoker in the world. There are compromises for the versatility. 
    Thank you,
    Darian

    Galveston Texas
  • SmokyBearSmokyBear Posts: 383
    4 oz is what I always use in the Cookshack..they recommend not going beyond that as it'll make your meat "too smoky"..so, that was the rationale for the 4 oz total..(2 chunks Hickory, 1 chunk Cherry).

    Even if it's too few chunks, I'm still a bit mystified as to why they burned up so quickly (roughly half an hour and gone).  I can run the Cookshack for 16+ hours on 4 oz or less of wood and have decent smoke most the day.

    What do you guys typically see on your Eggs in terms of how long you'd see smoke?  Guess I'm used to seeing visible smoke all day long on the Cookshack so was surprised to burn the chunks up so quickly in my "black Egg" :)

    Thx..
    Mini BGE, KJ Classic - Black, Cookshack SM025, Weber Gasser (mostly for Kamado storage!)
  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 5,081
    I really don't want Visible smoke other than a wisp of darn near clear...Nefer weighed the chunks but I get them from my oak pile and will put in a piece or two half the diameter of my large---I also bury it within the lump 
    Visalia, Ca
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 9,271
    SmokyBear said:
    4 oz is what I always use in the Cookshack..they recommend not going beyond that as it'll make your meat "too smoky"..so, that was the rationale for the 4 oz total..(2 chunks Hickory, 1 chunk Cherry).

    Even if it's too few chunks, I'm still a bit mystified as to why they burned up so quickly (roughly half an hour and gone).  I can run the Cookshack for 16+ hours on 4 oz or less of wood and have decent smoke most the day.

    What do you guys typically see on your Eggs in terms of how long you'd see smoke?  Guess I'm used to seeing visible smoke all day long on the Cookshack so was surprised to burn the chunks up so quickly in my "black Egg" :)

    Thx..
    During your pre heat, even though your cooker is not up to temp, it's stoking a hot spot or 2 of lump in your cooker. And that area is burning hotter and spreading faster than it will after your ceramic cooker is warmed up and pre heated. Now add your smoke wood as your fire is not spreading as fast just to maintain your low and slow temp. Your electric controller will also stoke your fire and try to bring it up to temp after you add your cold rack of ribs. This time period, if your wood chunks are already heavy in the burn path, will burn faster. I know my BGE will never give me the same clean smoke flavor I get from my offset stick burner but it also can't cook pizza or cook all night on 1 load of lump.
    Give it a few more tries but don't expect it cook like another cooker.
    Moisture content of your wood chunks also play a role in how fast and clean they burn but please don't soak them in water. 
    Thank you,
    Darian

    Galveston Texas
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 24,829
    i dont use fan devices but at startup its more likely to expand the fire with a fan hitting it. for chunks i like to use pieces the size of a tennis ball
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 19,640
    All I will offer is to load chunks throughout the lump load focusing primarily from where you light it (I light forward and slightly off-set to the left of center) toward the back and slightly off-set to the right of center (all looking down) as that is the primary burn pattern that I see.  The smoke that the meat takes is variable but generally fine.  Sometimes I will really lay it on for a brisket and come up short, other times great.  I will use four to six chunks, each about 2/3 the size of a tennis ball if really wanting to lay it on.  FWIW-

    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 5,081
    Photo Egg said:
    SmokyBear said:
    4 oz is what I always use in the Cookshack..they recommend not going beyond that as it'll make your meat "too smoky"..so, that was the rationale for the 4 oz total..(2 chunks Hickory, 1 chunk Cherry).

    Even if it's too few chunks, I'm still a bit mystified as to why they burned up so quickly (roughly half an hour and gone).  I can run the Cookshack for 16+ hours on 4 oz or less of wood and have decent smoke most the day.

    What do you guys typically see on your Eggs in terms of how long you'd see smoke?  Guess I'm used to seeing visible smoke all day long on the Cookshack so was surprised to burn the chunks up so quickly in my "black Egg" :)

    Thx..
    During your pre heat, even though your cooker is not up to temp, it's stoking a hot spot or 2 of lump in your cooker. And that area is burning hotter and spreading faster than it will after your ceramic cooker is warmed up and pre heated. Now add your smoke wood as your fire is not spreading as fast just to maintain your low and slow temp. Your electric controller will also stoke your fire and try to bring it up to temp after you add your cold rack of ribs. This time period, if your wood chunks are already heavy in the burn path, will burn faster. I know my BGE will never give me the same clean smoke flavor I get from my offset stick burner but it also can't cook pizza or cook all night on 1 load of lump.
    Give it a few more tries but don't expect it cook like another cooker.
    Moisture content of your wood chunks also play a role in how fast and clean they burn but please don't soak them in water. 
    ^^^^^^^^^^This^^^^^^^^^^^I quit using my Stoker, I haven't really had any control issues by not using it, and the coals  ( IMO ) burn better and last longer...I bought something to solve a problem that never was there
    Visalia, Ca
  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 14,057
    I use 4-6 fist sized chunks mixed about the lump. I do not rely on kiln dried wood chunks, and I have pieces still left after low and slow burns, which provided a nice smokey flavor for the protein I am cooking.

    4 oz of wood would likely have zero benefit for flavor on my cooks, aside from seafood or fowl, even those may need more than 4 oz.

    I get the majority from Frutia Smoking Wood, (you can find them on line). For me, they seem to provide exactly what I am looking for, to use with my cooks.

    They have a very wide selection of wood to choose from, in varios forms: log splits, chunks, chips, etc., not kiln dried, all top quality.

    I have never had an issue or dissatifaction from any of their products.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • SmokyBearSmokyBear Posts: 383
    edited July 10
    Thanks, guys..definitely a learning experience!  The chunks I used were pretty decent sized - probably half as large as the palm of my hand and a couple inches thick.  Good suggestion to add once the fire has gotten going and has settled down a bit..I'm guessing that adding it to the lump before lighting probably contributed to it getting burned up more quickly, especially since I'm using starter cubes (compressed sawdust) to light.  That said, the flames from the cubes were a good ways from the 3 chunks I added, so...who knows..

    What inspired me to try this is that I had some amazing ribs at a family event on the 4th that were cooked over briquettes (!!) with some Mesquite and were amazing..I thought they were a lot better than my Cookshack ribs..so thought I would try cooking over lump..the Kamado-cooked ribs are OK, but I do think I prefer the (gasp) electric-cooked ribs in the Cookshack.  That thing lays down a tone of smoke and while YMMV, we do seem to prefer a stronger vs. more subtle smoke flavor..

    Glad that we have multiple tools to choose from.  My Mini BGE gets the most use as it's normally just the two of us - and I cook everything from Salmon to Burgers to Steaks on it, and that all turns out awesome.  The "Black Egg" (ahem) has typically only been to do larger quantities of food when guests are over..and it looks like the Cookshack will probably be my go-to for smoking and BBQ, as (all logic aside) it does seem to put out the best Q overall, with the least amount of fuss (go figure)..simple to add ~4 oz of wood to the firebox, plug it in, load up the grub and cook. 

    Appreciate all the help!!
    Mini BGE, KJ Classic - Black, Cookshack SM025, Weber Gasser (mostly for Kamado storage!)
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 24,829
    edited July 11
    SmokyBear said:
    Thanks, guys..definitely a learning experience!  The chunks I used were pretty decent sized - probably half as large as the palm of my hand and a couple inches thick.  Good suggestion to add once the fire has gotten going and has settled down a bit..I'm guessing that adding it to the lump before lighting probably contributed to it getting burned up more quickly, especially since I'm using starter cubes (compressed sawdust) to light.  That said, the flames from the cubes were a good ways from the 3 chunks I added, so...who knows..

    What inspired me to try this is that I had some amazing ribs at a family event on the 4th that were cooked over briquettes (!!) with some Mesquite and were amazing..I thought they were a lot better than my Cookshack ribs..so thought I would try cooking over lump..the Kamado-cooked ribs are OK, but I do think I prefer the (gasp) electric-cooked ribs in the Cookshack.  That thing lays down a tone of smoke and while YMMV, we do seem to prefer a stronger vs. more subtle smoke flavor..

    Glad that we have multiple tools to choose from.  My Mini BGE gets the most use as it's normally just the two of us - and I cook everything from Salmon to Burgers to Steaks on it, and that all turns out awesome.  The "Black Egg" (ahem) has typically only been to do larger quantities of food when guests are over..and it looks like the Cookshack will probably be my go-to for smoking and BBQ, as (all logic aside) it does seem to put out the best Q overall, with the least amount of fuss (go figure)..simple to add ~4 oz of wood to the firebox, plug it in, load up the grub and cook. 

    Appreciate all the help!!
    i dont see much mention of mesquite here too often but i like it with pork. just a little and i buy it in chip form. couple of chunks hickory for flavor, a chunk of cherry for color, and a hand full of mesquite chips to sweeten it up.  doesnt hurt to get fresher, greener wood, i sometimes just use the bark stripped off the shaggbark hickory down the street
    i also would not turn that fan on til the egg is up to temp
  • milesvdustinmilesvdustin Posts: 2,221
    I get the temp stable with the meats in and then add chunks as the cook goes on. I have the AR so the gap on the sides allows this. 

    2 LBGE, Blackstone 36, Jumbo Joe

    Egging in Southern Illinois (Marion)

  • dharleydharley Posts: 355
    This is probably an echo, but I think your fan is burning up your smoke wood on the way up to temp. I wouldn't turn it on until the egg stabilizes and you put the protein on. I don't use one, not that I'm against them.

    As for the wood, I use mostly fruit wood I get from local orchards. (Apple, pear, peach) and white oak from a firewood guy. The fruit wood comes in limbs 2"-4" in diameter. I cut it into 4" lengths with a miter saw and split it in half with a hatchet just before I use it. I use two pieces (Four once split) for smoke.I place them in a spoke type pattern at roughly 12, 3, 6, & 9, and light my lump in the center. I just weighed two average pieces on a digital kitchen scale, 19 oz.

    So, I think those are your two problems; the fan and not enough wood. 

    I hope that ramble helps. Cooking on these things is an art, not a science. Good luck next time!
    LBGE, PSWOO, 36" Blackstone, MasterBuilt smoke box- Playing with fire in Three Rivers, MI

    My '23 & Me' said I'm 2/3 bacon and 1/3 Red Blooded American

    USMC Veteran

    Always do sober what you said you would drunk, that'll teach you to keep your mouth shut.  -EH
  • I usually mix a few chunks around the perimeter and then put one right in the middle in the fire core when I’m about to put the meat on. 
  • rifrenchrifrench Posts: 254
    I bought some of the smoking wood from the Rockwood website, and as others have said I mix them through the lump in the way of the fire as it goes around and down through the lump pile.  It seems to work well. 
    The KBQ 60 works well, too, as a smoker but needs to be tended every 20- 30 minutes. 
     1 LBGE, 1 SBGE, 1 KBQ and a 26" Blackstone near Blackstone, Virginia
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