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Old 01-25-2009, 09:39 AM   #1
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Practice Practice Practice

Hey Gang,

While at a contest last year a visitor asked me if I had ever tried to get the fire in the OK Joe to "walk". I had never heard this term used and was enlightened to find out that many offset owners were using a fire system that was designed to make fuel consumption more efficient. The suggestion was to use bricks set up in different configurations to make channels for the charcoal, light one end and let the fire "walk" to the other.

I cooked 5 racks of ribs, 4 Boston butts, and 3 briskets. I used Royal oak lump charcoal, pecan and hickory for flavor, dalmation rub on the pork, Canadian Steak Seasoning on the briskets. I also injected one of the briskets to try out a new concoction.

I used a cinder block to break the firebox into two sections and got about 41/2 hours out of the first load of two bags of charcoal. The subsequent charges were a little shorter, but I'm happy with the results.

http://picasaweb.google.com/jwaiboer/Pr ... directlink

Jack W.
Charleston, SC
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Old 01-25-2009, 10:40 AM   #2
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If were a talkin bout the same thin, I've heard it called the "minion" method. Used on charcoal cookers fer longer smokes, start out with some hot ones an they just keep a workin there way ta some fresh ones, ain't never done it, but know a few folk what have. Seems ta work perty good once ya get the hang of it.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:03 AM   #3
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yeah it sounds like a Minion method technique. Me and Bill were talking
about that just yesterday in Lumberton, about using a winding piece
of metal that holds the charcoal under a whole hog, and basically uses
the Minion method....you light one end, and the rest goes just fine.


Never seen your offset, but it makes perfect sense....if you were happy with the results, and you had to work less, then good for you. I do know
how much you like to play with the fire though, so I wonder if you can
leave it alone for 15 minutes!
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:40 PM   #4
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It's a little more complicated than straight "Minion". I have employed classic Minion techniques to that cooker but the fire always seems to get out of control. You have to get a really good seal to the fire system, which is hard to do in the big offsets. The box is so big, there is too much oxygen in the process to effectively control the burn rate. Fuel will catch too fast. IMHO I had better control of the system because I reduced the surface area of available fuel.

Good Q!

Jack
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Old 01-25-2009, 04:30 PM   #5
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makes sense cause those fire boxes ain't designed for that kind
of burn...now if you can figure it out, perhaps you could get a
Waiboer Cooker that you could sell?

It's all about learning your cooker...if you can get your time
and temps under a schedule in an offset with this method,
you could make hundreds. Not as good as millions, but better
than a kick in the butts.

Hope to talk to you and Finney in the next year on my design.
In the meantime, I'm looking at going small...3 cookers on a trailer.

I don't know about this reverse flow/offset kind of stuff, but I wonder
if you'd get less of a smoke flavor in your meat doing it the new way.
Or some kind of change in the profile.
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Old 01-25-2009, 04:39 PM   #6
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Well if the physics of this operation actually do depend on reducing the surface area of the charcoal..think the task could be duplicated with a burn basket..which as far as I can tell is the intent of those thangs. Now how anybody get by with cider blocks in the firebox is beyond my realm of expuriences. Can't imagine them thangs not exploding. I laid a couple of non firebrick bricks on top of my firebox one day and they exploded great. I must be doing something wrong.

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Old 01-25-2009, 06:02 PM   #7
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For my money a compact load of sticks is the best way to go. Charcoal costs a fortune if you expect to do multiple long cooks in a large offset. I can buy an 800lb log of hickory for $50.

I start with a good base of charcoal then load the wood and get pretty good burns. I used to get a lot of smoke - because I thought that was a good thing - but I now realize that by controlling the oxygen I can have a clean burning fire with hickory - almost no smoke to speak of after the first hour. To see what I mean by a compact load check out the November 11th entry on my blog http://slowfoodrebellion.blogspot.com
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:22 PM   #8
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I have a charcoal basket to use in the firebox with not muck luck. Tried it a couple of times and have not figured out the air flow yet. Put a couple of pieces of wood in there with the chaorcoal and it ignites the reat of the charcoal and burns out really fast.
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigwheel
Well if the physics of this operation actually do depend on reducing the surface area of the charcoal..think the task could be duplicated with a burn basket..which as far as I can tell is the intent of those thangs. Now how anybody get by with cider blocks in the firebox is beyond my realm of expuriences. Can't imagine them thangs not exploding. I laid a couple of non firebrick bricks on top of my firebox one day and they exploded great. I must be doing something wrong.

bigwheel
Hey Wheel,

I used the cinder block to try some configurations that may lead to a basket being built. I've got a ton of advice and research going on. It might work, or I might just have to feed ole Mary J a stick every 45 minutes. It's fun to figure out. If you want to really complicate this stuff, try adding a stoker to the mix. I miss Bob.

Good Q!

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Old 01-25-2009, 08:34 PM   #10
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I think what you're talking about is a maze. Several pit makers offer them. Check the Klose site, I know he builds them for his offset smokers or they are easy to make if you can do a little welding. I have made a couple for my pits. Here's one for a Spicewine..........

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Old 01-25-2009, 09:39 PM   #11
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Taking a good look at the picture, that's exactly what I made.

Good Q!

Jack
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:44 AM   #12
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I have used a similar basket (expanded metal) and fire bricks.
I like the firebricks because they are easy to move and try different configurations.
It seems that the s pattern with fire starting in back of pit burns best for me.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonboy
I have used a similar basket (expanded metal) and fire bricks.
I like the firebricks because they are easy to move and try different configurations.
It seems that the s pattern with fire starting in back of pit burns best for me.
jon
Which end do you consider the back of the pit? Direction seems to change from Pit Master to Pit Master.

Good Q!

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Old 01-26-2009, 11:33 AM   #14
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Do those different chambers light them selfs from the previous chamber or do you have to light them at various times yourself?
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:54 PM   #15
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In my experience with ole Grandad I would make a pile then place a couple of coals single file to another pile. Kinda like big pile then single file stepping stones touching, then another big pile. And continue till you run out of room.

The big piles will burn down and light the edge of the stepping stone which will then migrate to the next big pile, and so on.

That is the only way I can hold temps below 300 in that old leaky SOB but it works for a long slow cook. You can even add a chunk of wood on the stepping stone parts to generate a new souce of smoke each time it migrates to another pile.

You just got to play with the size of the pile for your pit and the temps you want to hold.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:33 PM   #16
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Well that is cute. Thanks for sharing. I bet that be just the ticket on any of the upright insulated cookers..BWS etc. Course I dont like the idear of that Kingsford busting off from an unlit state too much. That stuff burns purty nasty when it first gets going ya know? As does some lump B&B to be eggxact. Now I would not be skeered to fill them little cubicles up with Ozark Oak in the least. It smells sorta odd when it first catches but thats about as far as it goes. Make a person chunk rocks at Briquettes.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BYBBQ
I think what you're talking about is a maze. Several pit makers offer them. Check the Klose site, I know he builds them for his offset smokers or they are easy to make if you can do a little welding. I have made a couple for my pits. Here's one for a Spicewine..........

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Old 01-27-2009, 08:27 AM   #17
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jack w,
The back of pit, i should have said, start the fire away from the fire door.
When i have started the fire by the door the fire burned faster. I guess the air flow pushed the fire thru the charcoal, instead of it burning toward the air.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx00 (fire starts here)
x
x......................... fire brick
x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
........................x
........................x firebrick
........................x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I dont have a picture. But that is how is working best for me.
Spaces are firebricks standing on edge
I have not used three bricks yet, but it might work to have less charcoal burning at a time.
I think that i will try the new kingsfork lump briq and see what type of burn time i get.
I havent seen it in stores yet.
i had to add dots to get spacing right. Not sure why...
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:24 PM   #18
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Thanks Jonboy,

I can see it very clearly now. I'll let you know how it goes in the Joe.

Good Q!

Jack
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