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Wood chunks under lump charcoal?


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I've recently seen where some people bury the wood chunks under the lump charcoal when smoking. I've read some mixed reviews on this. Has anyone buried the wood underneath the lump charcoal?  If so did you notice any differences good or bad?

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This is what I have done for many years on my Keg.  Produces a cleaner smoke at lower temps on that grill.  The fire burns down towards the oxygen source, and then the wood burning at the bottom requires the smoke to go up through the other hot coals and gets "re-burned"....

 

Similar to using a smoke pot with the holes on the bottom.

 

If you go to YouTube and search some of Harry Soo brisket/pork cooks, this is always high on his recommendation list to do.

 

 

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I do the same as SmallBBQr.   I also use a "smoke bomb", placing the smoke wood products into a 8"X2" long stainless steel pipe nipple.  Caps on both end, one side has a 1/8" hole drilled thru for the smoke to escape.  Makes for a clean smoke aroma & taste on the food (instead of tasting like a forest fire) B)

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I've started doing this on my Kamado Joe.  For long cooks I'll try to find 4 or so good sized chunks and place them in a straight line on the bottom basically from the mouth of the bottom vent to the back.  Then I put the lump on top.  I've been really happy with the results and I'm going to keep doing this.  It feels a lot more consistent to me than placing the chunks on top.

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@taperunner - it actually kind of makes sense now that you mention it to place them inline so once one starts burning, I would think the smoke would just continue on down the line consistently the entire burn, instead of waiting for the coals to catch another one if they are separated.  I am going to try that on my brisket run next weekend!

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My personal opinion on this is that it's insignificant difference no matter where you put it.  I have tried it a lot of different ways I just can't tell a difference.  When it's a low and slow cook at 250-ish degrees, it doesn't matter where the wood is located.  It' gonna smolder.  

 

The BEST way to produce smoke is to not let it smolder.  The BEST result comes form having a wood chunk ignited and burning with a visible flame.  That smoke is far cleaner than anything you will ever get from anything that is smoldering, no matter where your smoldering is happening in your firebox.  This is why the food from offset smokes taste so much better than anything else you can cook it on.  You CAN do this on a kamado if you don't mind tending the fire.  Cook with both vents wide open and have a very small fire going and keep a single chunk of wood on the charcoal and make sure it has a visible flame.... it works great and the results are far better than anything else you will have with a smoldering fire.  But yea... it's not a hands-free set-and-forget operation at that level...

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all for your feedback.  I have always let the coals start burning, then throw a chunk on top, but I think ill try burying the wood to to see if i notice any difference.  My thought behind it would also be that it could help prevent flareups by having the wood buried, but i could be off base there.

@John Setzler, I love your videos!  I have been a big fan of yours for a while!

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