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Akorn and a smoke box


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Have a grandson in Calif that is learning to use an akorn (he's only had gas grills) and he askedif he could use his ss smoke box on the deflector plate. He wants to use up his pellets that he used on his gas grills. I have a KAmado and can't answer his questions 

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16 hours ago, JeffieBoy said:

Instead of that, I’d lightly pepper them through the charcoal pile in the fire box.  

I think this is a really BAD suggestion; surprised no one else sees the problem: pellets burn too fast!

 

Size of wood determines burn rate and so smoke duration and intensity. You want long, gentle smoke, that thin blue stuff. That requires big hunks of wood that will smolder slowly. My local Home Depot has logs, chunks, chips and recently pellets. 

- logs are for stick burners. I'll bury a small one at the bottom in the Big Joe for a long smoke. 

- chunks are the most common in Kamados; drop a few on top once the fire's going well, or bury at the start. 

- chips are for low-heat smokers; I used them in my first, an electric. Needs a container in high-heat grills. 

 

A SS wood box is designed to use chips and sit on the coals of a conventional gas or charcoal grill. Sealed in a box, the wood never sees enough air to burn. It's not hot enough on top of the deflector; they'll do nothing at low-n-slow temps where we want to taste smoke. Put the box on the coals, and soak the chips/pellets in water if there are concerns they'll burn too fast. Same with chunk; damp wood is good (in this case).

 

Stay well,

Frank

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3 hours ago, fbov said:

I think this is a really BAD suggestion; surprised no one else sees the problem: pellets burn too fast!


Good input Frank,  i will withdraw my earlier comment. Was thinking that a handful spread throughout wouldn’t be a major influence.

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5 hours ago, fbov said:

You want long, gentle smoke, that thin blue stuff. That requires big hunks of wood that will smolder slowly.

 

I'm not convinced that he wants the wood to smolder.  He probably wants it to burn.  From what I've seen, smoldering wood makes rather bad smoke.  Sweet smoke is produced in a stick burner with high air flow producing a visible flame and sweet blue smoke that’s sometimes almost invisible.  In his low airflow situation his best solution is to let the pellets burn.  If they're "peppered throughout the charcoal" the burning charcoal may purify the smoke somewhat, much like what Harry Soo recommends or what the KBQ C-60 pit does.

 

5 hours ago, fbov said:

Put the box on the coals, and soak the chips/pellets in water if there are concerns they'll burn too fast

 

If he soaks the pellets in water he'll have mush that'll not burn for quite a while.  It's as hard as concrete when it dries.  IMO, soaking chips or chunks in water is generally a poor idea.  Nothing happens until the wood dries out.  Then you get poor smoke.

 

The above is based on my experience.  Others may have done something a bit different and had better luck.  It's hard to tell.

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Thanks for all the help. We had a communication problem he's using chips after all, the as box is one he used on his gas grill for some smoking. He's planning on soaking them and use the box on the coals. Doing ribs,sat or Sun  I suggested chips on the coals but he wants to try the box first. Will keep you posted

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If his stainless box has holes in it then it won't work well positioned in the firebox as everything inside will probably quickly combust and turn into ash. He would most likely be better off sprinkling his pellets throughout the pile to get a more even result in terms of smoke. Furthermore, all stainless steel is not the same in terms of heat resistance and he might find that the heat of a charcoal fire in the firebox destroys his stainless box. He could try to elevate the stainless box but results will vary.

 

A cast iron smoking box that has no holes for oxygen to enter will be a better option in my opinion as what's inside (pellets, chips or chunks) will off gas a beautiful aroma and actually turn into charcoal itself. Apple wood will smell different from oak and cherry and hickory and so on. Some people become attached to the flavor of the pellets that they like and this would allow your grandson to use the pellets that he already has.

 

Mine is made from a tiny dutch oven and is about 4 inches in diameter and holds a couple of chunks of wood or a handful or two of pellets. Here's a picture after a cook with "new" charcoal inside that was transformed from oak wood chunks.

 

200274993_castiron.thumb.jpg.560d7d3f3eac967b946d3adb19fbd9d8.jpg

 

The beautiful thing about barbecue and smoking is that everyone can experiment with what works for them. Let us know how it works out for your grandson.

 

Happy cooking

 

 

 

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May I ask where you got that cast iron 'pot'? I have never been satisfied with the smoking aspect of kamados--pellets are gone in a flash, chips not much later and chunks either burn off too fast or never get lit.

 

Undoubtedly it's user failure--not doing things the right or the best way but the CI pot seems like it would work a treat.

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3 hours ago, DWFII said:

May I ask where you got that cast iron 'pot'? I have never been satisfied with the smoking aspect of kamados--pellets are gone in a flash, chips not much later and chunks either burn off too fast or never get lit.

 

Undoubtedly it's user failure--not doing things the right or the best way but the CI pot seems like it would work a treat.

 

I got it at Bed Bath & Beyond.  https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/artisanal-kitchen-supply-reg-pre-seasoned-cast-iron-4-inch-mini-dutch-oven-in-black/1061633827?keyword=cast-iron-dutch-oven

 

I took the original handle off of the top since it's an unknown metal and used a tiny steel bolt and nut to seal the hole. Since it's cast iron it will stand up to a fire and last virtually forever. Some people use bigger dutch ovens but 4 inches works well for me and doesn't take too much room in the firebox. That gives an opportunity to play around with the placement.

 

The idea isn't mine and I read about it on this forum.

 

Thanks for asking.

 

Happy cooking

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Thank you for answering. And thanks for the link.

 

I see BBQ Delight used to make onethat was alost identical (and you can still find them on Ebay) but They seem to have discontinued making them. I don't know why, but every cast iron or stainless steel smoker box I've seen elsewhere has holes in it. Is it because the BBQ Delight pots doesn't work so well without holes?

 

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54 minutes ago, DWFII said:

Thank you for answering. And thanks for the link.

 

I see BBQ Delight used to make onethat was alost identical (and you can still find them on Ebay) but They seem to have discontinued making them. I don't know why, but every cast iron or stainless steel smoker box I've seen elsewhere has holes in it. Is it because the BBQ Delight pots doesn't work so well without holes?

 

 

I have seen the BBQ Delight smoker that you speak of. As far as holes or no holes, my smoker box is so small that I found it worked better without the hole in the top (which was too big). Too much air and everything inside just combusts which defeats the purpose. The lack of any holes also mitigates the fact that my little pot doesn't have a perfect seal between the top and bottom. if I drilled holes in the bottom then the top seal would be more critical than it otherwise is. Larger cast iron pots might do better with holes. I can't say. I could drill tiny holes in the bottom of mine but I'm satisfied with how it works.

 

Here is a link to some older content from this forum: https://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/23843-2-qt-wood-chunk-smoking-pot/#comments

 

Happy cooking

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I have used wood chunks in a SS smoker box I had from my gas grill.i put it along side the pile of charcoal in the bottom[. I lean it up on the pile but not all the way over it to one side mostly. What I have found is two things it’s moles great slow and long and when you are done if you look in the box you now have charcoal lumps. Which I dump onto the pile for the next cook. Recycle your wood smoking chunks i a win win

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