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mr drinky
05-25-2011, 11:22 PM
The title probably fooled you handle freaks into reading it, but what I am talking about is grilling wood.

Grilling season is starting, and this weekend I am going to be using my smoking chips from Maine Grilling Woods (http://mainegrillingwoods.com/). I got their sampler late last year, and I really love them. 10 varieties of wood to try out, and I actually soak them in a mixture of (cheap) red wine and water.

Of course, I could also hang out near the garbage bin behind BoardSmith Dave's shop for wood chips, but he is too far away.

King salmon is on the menu this weekend.

k.

Potato42
05-25-2011, 11:26 PM
Of course, I could also hang out near the garbage bin behind BoardSmith Dave's shop for wood chips, but he is too far away.


That's a good idea! I think I remember someone getting some at one point before. Maybe I'll be able to get some when I visit. That man goes through tons of wood...

Salmon sounds good, can we expect some mouth watering pictures?

mr drinky
05-25-2011, 11:31 PM
Salmon sounds good, can we expect some mouth watering pictures?

Maybe. But it depends upon how much wine I drink before those chips finish soaking.

k.

watercrawl
05-25-2011, 11:41 PM
I just did salmon with apple and pear chips. Best salmon I've ever had. Wife thought so too. :D

I want some grapefruit wood, but it's not so easy to find around here.

mr drinky
05-25-2011, 11:46 PM
Where did you get pear chips?

k.

mano
05-26-2011, 08:13 AM
When we cut down a pear tree I saved some logs for chips. There are some BBQ places not far who sell me a box of wood when I need it.

There are some real distinctive woods like mesquite, which is too strong, but I don't have much of a preference between most woods. Fruitwoods for pork and poultry but I mix in oak or whatever is available. I also stopped soaking several years ago when it didn't seem to make a difference. The liquid coats but doesn't really penetrate much.

Is using mixed firewood okay?

watercrawl
05-26-2011, 09:14 AM
Where did you get pear chips?

k.

Locally. A guy had them advertised on Craigslist. I bought several pounds...almost out though.

watercrawl
05-26-2011, 09:15 AM
Is using mixed firewood okay?

I mix different types of wood all the time...in fact I rarely use a single wood type for smoking anymore.

Lefty
05-26-2011, 09:35 AM
Oak is a great neutral base smoke, paired with whatever else you're trying to work in, such as pear chips. It would be a good way to make those chips last a little longer, Adam.

watercrawl
05-26-2011, 09:38 AM
Oak is a great neutral base smoke, paired with whatever else you're trying to work in, such as pear chips. It would be a good way to make those chips last a little longer, Adam.

Great idea. :) Thanks!

mr drinky
05-26-2011, 09:48 AM
I like the idea of pear chips. Found this guy selling them online too.

barbecuewood.com (http://www.barbecuewood.com/-strse-Pear-Wood-cln-Chips/Categories.bok)

k.

Jim
05-26-2011, 09:56 AM
Mmmmmm BBQ!

Lefty
05-26-2011, 10:40 AM
Mmmmmm BBQ!

More honest words have never been said!

mhlee
05-26-2011, 10:52 AM
When we cut down a pear tree I saved some logs for chips. There are some BBQ places not far who sell me a box of wood when I need it.

There are some real distinctive woods like mesquite, which is too strong, but I don't have much of a preference between most woods. Fruitwoods for pork and poultry but I mix in oak or whatever is available. I also stopped soaking several years ago when it didn't seem to make a difference. The liquid coats but doesn't really penetrate much.

Is using mixed firewood okay?

Absolutely.

I feel that the key is using a balance of different woods so that you're not getting too much flavor from one, and controlling the fire so that you get a steady slow to moderate stream of smoke, rather than a big blast of smoke. I've been using various mixtures of peach, apple and cherry wood recently. For pork and chicken, I like mixing a little hickory with fruit woods to give it that distinct flavor of hickory, but the sweetness and aroma of fruitwoods.

Personally, I do not soak my wood before using. I've found that in a Weber Kettle (22.5 inch), using fully soaked wood chips with an indirect fire setup, you'll cause the fire to drop in temperature and the charcoal will tend to smolder instead of burn.

If you're running out of chips, I've seen a number of people use pellets (for pellet smokers) instead of chips or chunks. I recall seeing Byron Chism (maker of Butt Rub) throw pellets onto the fire when cooking chicken on a rotisserie to provide smoke. Although the amount of smoke is less than using chips or chunks, the wood is clean and leaves little ash and is regularly available.

I'll also try and post pictures this weekend. I just got an XL Big Green Egg and will be doing my first cook this weekend. We still haven't decided on what we're cooking, but I'm looking forward to it!

Lefty
05-26-2011, 11:01 AM
Very nice, Mike!
You should make an apple pie for dessert with cinnamon in the wood mix!
I'm jealous of your new Egg, but I love my weber kettle grill!

watercrawl
05-26-2011, 11:01 AM
I'll also try and post pictures this weekend. I just got an XL Big Green Egg and will be doing my first cook this weekend. We still haven't decided on what we're cooking, but I'm looking forward to it!

Having a ceramic cooker/smoker/grill/etc. has changed my summer life forever. I have a Primo....like a BGE except oval and made in the USA....and it does some amazing things I tell you.

Made pizza the first weekend....that was very fun....melted the gasket at around 750 degrees. :D

Pork shoulders, brisket, chickens....oh my!! I love that thing so much.

I've had A LOT of fun trying different lump charcoal's. Can't find a huge variety locally, so I've had to order some. There is a big different between them too.

It will hold temperature +/- 5 degrees for 18 hours on a single load of lump. That's without the fancy blowers and such....just adjusting the vents.

Sorry...rambling. I'm very enthusiastic about the thing....you will love your new cooker.

Lefty
05-26-2011, 01:22 PM
The Egg isn't made here??? Here to me can be anywhere in N. America for most things.
I was thinking of adding a gasket to my weber. Think it would help the performance at all? I've already added the thermometer and easy charcoal access port. Basically, I'm making a poor/tinkering man's BGE!

SpikeC
05-26-2011, 01:48 PM
The BGE is made in America. And the gasket is felt and does not burn!

SpikeC
05-26-2011, 01:52 PM
Ok, so the egg is made in Mexico now. Bummer.

watercrawl
05-26-2011, 02:04 PM
You can melt a felt gasket fairly easily though. I'm not certain the felt gasket on the BGE is the same or really similar to the one on my Primo, but they certainly look very similar.

mhlee
05-26-2011, 03:53 PM
Thanks guys. I'm really looking forward to my first cook.

Yeah, the BGE is made in Mexico. And the felt gasket DEFINITELY can melt.

I got my BGE this past weekend at the SoCal Eggfest. It was a once used egg. (They let cooks use new eggs for demonstrations, and then sell them used.)

Adam - I bought the BGE so I wouldn't have to wake up two or three times during the night on my long cooks, and without having to commit to using 10+ pounds of charcoal for one cook. I certainly hope it's everything it's supposed to be. I got a platesetter as well, so I may just have to make pizza too! :bbq:

Also, for those of you who are interested in buying a BGE, there are Eggfests throughout the US and most sell once used eggs at a discount. I got mine for about 40% off the list price.

My felt gasket is a little melted in a few places already. But from what I can tell and what I've read, it's not a big deal at all.

watercrawl
05-26-2011, 04:24 PM
I reckon I put about 3 pounds of lump in mine and that lasts nearly 18 hours on a warm summer day/night. In the winter, when it's sub-freezing, it won't last that long though. But, even on the day before Xmas in Nebraska when it's 30 degrees outside and you have to slip one of the flame cubes used to start the lump in through the top vent to heat the cooker up slowly to unfreeze the frozen together gaskets....you can still smoke a turkey in it with no worries.

The gasket getting melted becomes a problem if it melts completely gone in spots like mine did.....yeah, that sucked. :D It then becomes a spot for air leakage and on long cooks it screws with the temperature holding....or at least it did for me on my cooker. I ordered 3 gaskets from Primo and they were quite cheap just in case.

Lefty
05-26-2011, 04:30 PM
That's it. I'm adding a gasket.

SpikeC
05-26-2011, 04:41 PM
I have never had a problem with the gasket on mine, and I have done numerous 700+ cooks. You have to make sure that it does not protrude into the cooking chamber, then the ceramic acts as a heat sink to prevent problems.

mhlee
05-26-2011, 07:12 PM
That's it. I'm adding a gasket.

Lefty:

You have a Weber Kettle, right? I'm not sure if it will provide the same benefit.

First, the felt gasket will undoubtably melt since the Weber likely runs hotter than the BGE. Second, the recommended method of taking a gasket off is using a straight edge or box cutter and scraping off the old gasket from the edge of the BGE. Since the Weber is porcelain coated, you may scrape off the porcelain if you do that.

SpikeC
05-26-2011, 07:29 PM
Tree is no way that a Weber can approach the temperatures that an Egg can make.

mhlee
05-26-2011, 07:56 PM
Tree is no way that a Weber can approach the temperatures that an Egg can make.

Spike:

I wasn't referring to the temperature inside a Weber Kettle. Rather, I was referring to the temperature of the actual Kettle. I'm pretty sure that the actual Kettle itself is generally hotter than the BGE because it's thinner and closer to the heat source, thus, the higher likelihood of the gasket to melt.

One other thing that I thought of. A Weber kettle is not as deep as a BGE. If there are any flareups, which there usually are (I own an OG model of the Performer and use it regularly), the flames could also melt the gasket.

As for actual interior temperatures, I'll know in a few weeks. From what I've discussed with retailers and distributors, you generally want to "break in" an egg by doing a few 300 or so cooks. I'll start with a cook like that this weekend.

What size BGE do you have Spike?

SpikeC
05-26-2011, 08:33 PM
I have a large. The issue with the Weber, I think, is that the heat would be concentrated on a thin edge, where the Egg has it spread out on a wide ceramic band.

Lefty
05-29-2011, 01:03 PM
Hmmm. All very good points guys.
I just wish there was a way to make the weber kettle to hold it's heat in a bit better. I feel like after an hour there's a HUGE dip in temperature. From what I've read about BGEs, keeping the damper open a certai amount regulates and holds the temperature really effectively, while the weber seems to die out if they aren't wide open. Temperature control with the weber is almost purely based on how much coal you have burning, and with BGEs, it seems that's more for how long you want it to burn.

mhlee
05-29-2011, 05:02 PM
I can get my 22.5 Weber Performer to keep a steady temperature between 250 and 275 for 2 to 3 hours doing the following:

1. Using large chunks of natural hardwood charcoal banked to one side (or in one of the charcoal holders opposite from the top vent), only partially lit, keep the bottom vent only 1/4 to 1/3 open;
2. Keep the top damper completely open;
3. Pile large chunks of hardwood charcoal on top of what is lit; and
4. DO NOT OPEN THE LID once you've hit your target temp in that range.

I think the thing to understand is that the Weber seems to have a sweet spot around 250 to 275. As I've come to learn, understand your cooker and don't shoot for a temp. You can fidget with it constantly to get it to a target temp, but it's a lot more trouble than it's worth. Just adjust your cooking time according to the temp. You can make minor adjustments to the bottom vent, and in my experience, you can swing the temp +/- 25 (225 to 300). That'll give you a good range for almost any kind of product for smoking.

Lefty
05-30-2011, 07:29 PM
Awesome explanation! I'll give the vent and damper position a try, along with not shooting for 325*! Haha.
Thanks Mike!