Pitmaster Tips

How to Build a Fire in the Firebox


The best way to build a fire would be to use kindling or charcoal and have a propane or electric starter or charcoal stack when building a fire in your smoker. First, you will need to chop some kindling from the driest, most seasoned wood available. The kindling is best shaped into long slivers about the diameter of a match using a sharp ax. Simply make a teepee with the long slivers and place some small pieces of thin cardboard or rolled up paper under the teepee. Light the paper under the teepee and blow gently on the kindling to get it going… as the kindling begins to burn, add some larger pieces on top also in a teepee like fashion.

To increase your fire, add some of your bigger pieces of seasoned, dry wood.. this will create the bed of coals to sustain the heat for the long smoke. You will need to add wood to sustain a steady 225-degree fire. Depending on the size of your smoker, add a piece of wood to the fire about every hour or so to support a constant temperature.

Seasoned wood drying in the open air for 6 or more months up to a year, will give the much desired smoky flavor in the meat. Wood sitting out for more than 2 years will not offer as much flavor but may work fine as a base to get the fire started.

Also important factors are the smoke stack and firebox intake settings. The intake should start out at about half-open and the stack 3/4 to fully open. As you learn your smoker you may find that you need more smoke and you can close the smoke stack cover a little.

Make adjustments to the heat by using the intake on the firebox.. opening the intake lets in more oxygen and will create a better burn and more heat. Closing the intake some will have the reverse reaction.

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