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In Reply to: new to BBQ - technique sharing/thoughts posted by Longhorn on February 09, 2009 at 11:35:25:
Burning lump coal was smart. I use a combination of lump coal and kiln dried red oak for my heat source. I use this as my base fire for low smoke and control of heat. Draft control is important too. On colder days I need a better draft for heat flow. Warmer days not as much. I use other woods for my flavors. Wood with higher moistures produce more smoke. Some woods produce stronger flavors than others and need to be used in moderation.
Eveyone has different equipment. You just need to cook, play with draft openings, different fuel sources, and learn by trial and error. You should be able to eat your mistakes. Keep notes and remember what works best.
Go to a competition and talk to the guys who do this all the time. Go to Arrowhead next season and spend time working the parking lot and see who does what and how, but don't wear any Texas football gear or you might be the main course.
Sounds to me that you found something that worked on the third time. Do it agian if it works. I use a gas torch to lite my fires from the bottom up. If you have teenage boys that like to eat, teach them how to tend the fire once you get it down. Nothing like getting some sleep in while the kids are at work or school. They smell the smoker, tend the fuel, let you know that their home, and when can I have some of that pork?
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