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Where to put wood chunks for best results?


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I've only had a chance for a few low and slow cooks on the big joe and haven't had much luck with getting the smoke I want.  Either my chunks don't get ignited because I have them too far from the center of my fire and I don't get the smoke flavor I want in my food, or they are too close to the fire and end up catching on fire and then I end up overshooting my temp.

 

Any suggestions on where and when I should put my chunks in order to get the best flavor?  

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I think it depends on how low your cook temp is and how long your slow is.  Last week I did a brisket at 225 for 9 hours.  I use a Flameboss on my KJ Classic and I hardly used any lump.  With the Flameboss (or any controller I guess), my top vent is only open about 1/8th to a 1/4 of an inch.  All the airflow comes from the fan.  I had sprinkled several small chunks of wood around the top of the lump, but the only ones that lit were right in the center.  So basically if you are doing 225 you need you smoke wood right in the center.  As you go hotter you can spread out from there.      

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I've been experimenting lately with using pellets instead of chunks.  Has been working pretty good.  I get my Keg up to my set temp and have pellets sprinkled evenly throughout the charcoal.  I get a long, consistent smoke so far as the pellets seem to continuously catch/burn etc.

 

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For the past 6 months or so I've just been tossing a few chunks in randomly then toss lump over it to top off the fire bowl. I've been really happy with the results for the most part. I don't get too much smoke and it's always the good, thin blue smoke, but I do get a nice smoke profile. I've noticed that after stirring out the ash before my next cook that the wood chunks don't really appear to be charred from actually catching fire, so my guess is they're just smoldering from the fire above them. The only downside I've found with this is that if I want to cook something that I don't want much of a smoke profile, chicken for example, I need to fish out the unburned chunks prior to that cook.

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On 6/1/2018 at 7:40 PM, Bgosnell151 said:

not sure if you have a classic or a big joe... I wrap mine in aluminum foil and poke a few holes in it.  Others here get fancy and drill holes in the bottom of small dutch overns to creat smoke pots.

Ya like the man said wrap them chunks up and put a few holes in the foil. Or you can try to soak your chunks and spread them around just outside the diameter of your fire get up to temp and cook (works and lasts a long time lots of smoke Flavor) Herman :good: 

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I did a low and slow yesterday and I tried wrapping my chunks in aluminum foil and placed them right in the center of my coals..huge difference. 

 

That approach seemed to work really well.  All my chunks cooked up and I was able to keep my temp low.  The only down side i saw was maintaining a consistant temp was a little challenging.  I dont know if the wrapped chunks keept the fire from breathing properly or not but my temp was fluctuation way more than i liked.  

 

This approach looks promising. I think next time i wont put the chunks right on the fire but maybe around it in hopes of not smothering the coals.  

 

Burying a dutch oven with holes and chunks in the lump pile also sounds interesting...may try that approach eventually.

 

Thanks for the feedback peeps!

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