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Wood Chips/Chunks

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Since there is a Basket for the Lump Charcoal, where or how do you all put/place the Wood Chips/Chunks in the basket along with the lump charcoal ? How much ? From the BGE Forum it says not to use a lot, so I use 2 - 3 chunks.

When doing a Low and Slow how many chunks would or could be used?

I will have more questions as I soon as I get my KK. It is suppose to arrive tomorrow in the port. If not, no big deal. It will eventually get here.

Thanks.

Gary

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

For a long slow cook I will put three or four chunks in and throughout the basket so not all burn at same time. This has worked well for me. For a quick hot cook I will drop 2 chunks on top of hot coals as food goes on..the amount depends on your tastes.

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

I can only buy wood chips where I am, so on long, indirect, cooks I put a mixture of soaked and dry chips in a foil pouch on top of the the charcoal. For searing I put nothing as the charcoal flavour is enough.

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

Actually it depends on how much smoke flavor you prefer. I personally like a lighter smoke flavor, for a long slow cook i usually put two chunks of pecan on top of the charcoal and thats it. Hickory gives a bit of a different smoke flavor and stronger, so just keep cooking and experimenting, you will find your stride! The fruitwoods are good also, peach, cherry, apple.

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

If you like milder smoke flavors, take a look at szyzgies smoke pot idea. It forces all the smoke down through the fire, resulting in a milder, smoother profile for a given wood. Just search for "smoke pot" :smt033 and you should find a few threads, some with pictures.

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

I can only buy wood chips where I am' date=' so on long, indirect, cooks I put a mixture of soaked and dry chips in a foil pouch on top of the the charcoal. For searing I put nothing as the charcoal flavour is enough.[/quote']

Put the few small holes in your foil pouch facing down into the hottest part of your charcoal so the smoke is forced into the heat where the first dense grey smoke with the large molecules will get re-burned and cleaned up.. Sorta like a afterburner for smoking.. the water/soaking just gives you a little more time to put everything in your grill before it goes off.. think of it as a fuse used to keep your hair and clothes from smelling like smoke...

;);)

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

Cheers Dennis. Good idea with the holes. And yes, the mixture of soaked and dry wood gives me a chance to get KK to a constant temperature before I put my food on, and to catch the maximum smoke over an extended period (given only using wood chips). I've had best results so far with mesquite, which turns to blue smoke reasonably quickly.

Question: can I experiment with any wood chunks in the KK? I can't get chunks of fruit wood, or mesquite, however, at my holiday home we have a lot of wild manuka trees, which is a native hardwood here - we burn it on our log burner there, so can't see why I couldn't throw a few chunks in with the charcoal. I know manuka is used for smoking flavour. I ask, though, because it's a very hard wood, and burns very hot - but I suspect the KK could take it.

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

Cheers Dennis. Good idea with the holes. And yes' date=' the mixture of soaked and dry wood gives me a chance to get KK to a constant temperature before I put my food on, and to catch the maximum smoke over an extended period (given only using wood chips). I've had best results so far with mesquite, which turns to blue smoke reasonably quickly.[/quote']

Best to let your grill become heat soaked and stable before putting in your smoking wood grills/grids. Always remember that temp is airflow so once you have a stable temp in your grill make a mental or physical note of the settings because they will be exactly the same every time. Unless you have family in Texas, you probably want to use that mesquite sparingly :lol:

Question: can I experiment with any wood chunks in the KK? I can't get chunks of fruit wood' date=' or mesquite, however, at my holiday home we have a lot of wild manuka trees, which is a native hardwood here - we burn it on our log burner there, so can't see why I couldn't throw a few chunks in with the charcoal. I know manuka is used for smoking flavour. I ask, though, because it's a very hard wood, and burns very hot - but I suspect the KK could take it.[/quote']

You probably want to stay away from trees that have white sap.. usually toxic but nothing is going to hurt your grill. You of course want to stay away from pine and other sappy woods that will create lots of creosote. Most important is to make sure what you're smoking with is not poisonous..

;);)

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

For those of you that use the 'smoke pot' technique, how long does it take for it to start smoking once you place it on the hottest part of the fire? I recently had a small cast iron dutch oven drilled with a hole in the bottom, put some wood chips in it, put it over the hottest coals (KK already heat soaked), and did a 3 hour rib cook....upon finishing the cook, I found that hardly any of the wood chips in the smoke pot had smoldered....and the ribs didn't have much smoke flavor.

Second question: For those of you that use the foil pouch technique, how long do you reckon' the pouch with a handful of chips will smokes for? I've done this a bunch, and never seem to get enough smoke flavor for my tastes. Anybody layer in pouches to get the delayed / fuse effect? -- I've thought about this, but have never tried it, fearing multiple pouches could mess with airflow.

After 12+ years of Kamado'ing I've only had what I consider to be "great" success with chunks mixed in with the lump or KK extruded. Chips always seem to burn up too fast for my taste...

So, why do I mess with the tried and true method that I've come to know and love over the years, the method I know works to my liking every time? Because chunks are harder than hell to find in Singapore. Chips in many wood types are much easier to source...I just can't seem to get enough smoke to my liking out of foil packs with chips, and I've now tried smoke potting without great success.

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

Cookie, I've exactly the same problem as you: in New Zealand I can't source chunks, only wood chips, hence I use the foil pouch with mixture of soaked and dry wood.

Regarding your first question: that is a bone fide problem. I have found I can't get the dry chips (including the soaked chips that have dried) to smoke until I get up to at least 150 F. Which is a problem, but I'm mainly using indirect method for lamb, chicken and ribeye roasts, so around that temperature is fine. I couldn't smoke using this method below this temperature, however, I've not been putting holes in the foil, so I was hoping from Dennis's comment above the holes would give me smoking at lower temperatures. I think you'd have to use thin foil, though, not your caste iron dutch oven: you'll probably get no smoking at low temperatures on that (certainly not below150 F).

Regarding your second question, I make a foil semi-circular pouch that covers almost the bottom half of the pit, with dry chips at one end, soaked at the other: at 150 F I can get it to smoke for about an hour. I would like a bit longer, and to do lower temperature smokes/cooks, so after I get up to the holiday home next month, I'm bringing back some manuka chunks to try those.

In the meantime, Singapore isn't far from New Zealand: perhaps we should meet about in the middle, the Australian outback somewhere, and chop us some fruit wood :)

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

Mark,

Just curious, are there many fruit trees in New Zealand? I can understand why I can't source chuncks on this tiny little island, but you Kiwis have some serious land mass and a variety of climates! Please tell me you smoke fresh New Zealand mussels on a regular basis? I would be smoking seafood day and night if I had access to what you do down there...

I doubt that with a 6 month old baby boy my wife is going to let me go on walk about in search of fruit wood, but if I come across any in the region, I'll let you know. Likewise if I make it down your way, I'll let you know... Let me know if you are every passing through Singapore and want to catch up...

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

Ditto if you're in NZ, just let me know.

We live between two houses, one in Geraldine (middle of South Island), one in Marlborough Sounds (top of Sorth Island, on sea) - actually a third in Diamond Harbour, Christchurch, but we've left that owing to the Christchurch earthquakes, and are stuck with it until we can sort out all the insurance issues.

In Geraldine, the entire area is simply a big dairy farm essentially, with two and three thousand cow herds. That activity has squeezed out everything else. Orchards are are now nearly all a five hour drive down in Otago, and I've never seen fruit wood advertised.

Marlborough Sounds offers more scope: it's on the sea (mussels and oysters growing wild on our beach :), plus surrounded by bush, mainly manuka trees, which I know are used for smoking. I've got lots of dry manuka wood up there for a log fire, so I'll bring some back and see how it goes. Note my KK is not at my holiday home ... bad planning. I love it now, so may get a 19" one for up there soon ... just need to be sure we'll keep it (thinking of selling and buying a holiday home closer to Geraldine (the Sounds from Christchurch was okay).

So, my best bet is manuka. Mind you, the Sounds is also New Zealand's primary vineyard/winery area, so I'm also thinking grape wood. Might see if I can source some of that also. I'll report back.

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

Why didn't I think of grape vines / wood for you....I'm a big fan of the white wines from your homeland... And I like the Shiraz your neighbors are producing in the McLaren Vale and Barossa regions...

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

I drilled a 2 Qt dutch oven as a smoke pot. I usually light the grill, then go into the garage and fill the pot with various woods, and then a couple tablespoons of flour and water in a snack sized ziplock to seal the lid on. This whole process takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes, and once the lid is sealed, I place the pot right on top of the lump. After that (for low and slow), its business as usual for the cook.

I start the grill with a torch, one nice hotspot right in the middle of the basket, and that is where I place the pot. Im often impatient, so I may start a little more than most people do initially. I sometimes will get a tennis ball sized hot spot going for a low and slow, because I know that when I add a cold cast iron pot, and cold grates on top of it, as long as my airflow is set correctly it will not overshoot my 250 target. When I do this, the smoke will take about 45 minutes or so to start going. I let the pot come up to temp along with the grill.

I suspect that your preheated grill may not have had enough heat being generated in the fire to get the pot heated and wood burning. Once heat soaked, a bunch of the heat from the KK is being radiated from the walls. Also, it took a certain amount of your 3 hours just to warm the cold iron pot. Try placing the pot on the fire when you light it, and let it get heated up along with the grill.

I will also that I am also a fan of mixing chunks into the lump, and always get great results. I got the 2 Qt dutch oven to use as a smoke pot based on posts here, and wanted to give it a try. Do I use it every time? Nope. Sometimes I am too lazy, sometimes I want more "pit" flavor, but sometimes I need a milder smoke - and that is where the pot comes in handy. Not everyone I cook for enjoys the same level of smokiness that I do, so using the pot I can strike a compromise. I also have a bunch of smaller branches that neighbors trim from their peach tree, which would burn up too quickly if tossed in the lump. I all I could get was chips, I would definitely use the pot often.

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Re: Wood Chips/Chunks

Great feedback, thanks Firemonkey, I think you have helped me to understand where I may have a problem with the smoke pot method...I'm generally doing my low and slows at 200F....perhaps not hot enough to get my pot smoking...I'll move up to 230F-250F and see if that makes a difference...

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