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Fuel Efficiency of Backwoods Smoker

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  • Fuel Efficiency of Backwoods Smoker



    by BBQaroma.com

    Backyard smoking with competition style results, that is what Backwoods Smoker provides with its series of charcoal fuelled cookers since 1987. Key to their design is a patented double wall construction, with high-quality insulation, allowing the outside of the cooker to stay cool whilst your food is roasting inside.




    Their latest model to come to the market is the Chubby 3400, which is aimed at the weekend enthusiast looking for a compact and moveable pit design. The Chubby 3400 is aimed at the beginner but also the experienced barbecuers can see the advantages of taking one of these on the road, as the heat comes from the top down, similar to how high-end competition offsets cook.




    It definitely can be used as a multifunction cooker, convertible to use as a charcoal grill by simply removing the stainless steel water pan above the fire chamber.




    This smaller but heavy duty Chubby 3400 charcoal smoker has 4 racks but enough space to cook a small brisket, leg and thigh combos, a rack of ribs and a pork butt all at the same time! Yet the impressive bit is the long cook time that can be achieved with such little amount of charcoal used.




    In our experience, we get consistent heat and at least 10 hours of cooking on just 2.5 kilos of Australian Red Gum Charcoal branded by TruFlame. Filling the CHUBBY 3400 charcoal tray with various sizes of natural lump charcoal making sure that you mix big and small as shown pictured. In this case, we have 2.46kg weight of charcoal in this tray.




    Our method is to use 2 cubes of wood and wax natural firelighters to start the charcoal burning in one corner of the tray. We place them under the charcoal tray, on top of the ash catch tray allowing the flames to ignite the charcoal above.




    Best to wait for the lighters to burn out before placing the entire charcoal and ashtrays inside the bottom fire chamber of the Chubby 3400. Meanwhile, you can add your wood chunks, pellets or chips on top of the unlit charcoal but you should not soak them first as the water will not allow the charcoal to burn efficiently.




    Note the top back, right corner is where we lite our charcoal. The intention is for the burning charcoal to burn like a fuse from the back towards the air vents on the sides. In that way the heat is steady and slower burning.




    Slide in your charcoal tray into the bottom chamber of the Chubby 3400 then slide in the heat deflector tray on top, which stops flames from directly heating the water pan sitting just above. Open your two air vents on the side as well as the chimney to allow the Chubby to get to its target internal temperature of 250F/120C. We normally put the meat in a bit early before it hits the target temperature as food is safe to sit inside once the heat reaches 140F/60C.




    Note we lined our water pan with foil and added water past halfway or two thirds full. The foil is just to make it easier to clean out once finished, as the water eventually boils out and any grease and juices remaining will stick to the water pan.




    Once target oven temperature of 250F or 120C is reached, start to adjust your air vents and restrict/slow down the air supply to the burning charcoal. Heat travels upwards inside so it is important that the Chubby is sucking in air via its two side vents. The smaller the gap for the air to be drawn in the less oxygen gets inside and the slower the burn – this is the key to a long cook!




    We adjust the two bottom vents from fully open when starting to about a fingers width when it just reaches target temp. Air should be drawn in at the bottom vents and no smoke should be coming through those vents.




    The top chimney should be your air throttle to speed up and slow down the smoke traveling throughout the cooking chamber. That is the wider opening it has, the more air is drawn in through the bottom vents and the faster the airflow is pushing inside the cooking chamber. We suggest to slow the airflow down by closing just past halfway at the chimney. This will have the effect of smoke lingering longer around your meat and a better smoke ring.




    Once you set your vents and the heat is stable, the charcoal will burn slowly from one corner to the other. We pulled out the tray an hour in the cook to show how it activates the wood chunks and how slowly it is burning across the tray.




    Our pork shoulder inside was done in 8 hours and the heat enters from the top and pushes down towards the water pan. Exit point for the smoke and heat is at the rear of the chamber just above the water pan.




    Another point is to make sure you have enough water in the water pan during a long cook. A tell tale sign that the water has evaporated out is an increase in temperature on the front temp gauge. This could be that the charcoal is burning hotter than it should or perhaps not enough water to start with.




    At this stage we have had 8 hours of cooking done and the water pan litterally maintained a constant tempurature inside at 250F/120C with some small variation. If your meat hasn't completed its cooking after 8 hours then its a good time to add a bit more water into the water pan and check you have some charcoal fuel left to keep going.




    The final shot of the charcoal tray in the Chubby 3400 after 8+ hour cook. Most of the charcoal is still burning and there is some unburnt charcoal fuel left on top of the ashes. Possibly another 2 hours of fuel time left and of course you could add fresh charcoal onto the burning charcoal to extend cooking time if needed.




    The result of our cook... moist and tender shreds of pulled pork, smoked with apple wood chunks. Total fuel cost was $5.33 for 2.5kg of charcoal and about $3-4 in wood chunks, cooking over an 8 hour period. Roughly over $1 per hour to make this pulled pork using the Backwoods Smoker Chubby 3400 – not bad!
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    • Fuel Efficiency of Backwoods Smoker
      by Backwoods Smoker


      by BBQaroma.com

      Backyard smoking with competition style results, that is what Backwoods Smoker provides with its series of charcoal fuelled cookers since 1987. Key to their design is a patented double wall construction, with high-quality insulation, allowing the outside of the cooker to stay cool whilst your food is roasting inside.




      Their latest model to come to the market is the Chubby 3400, which is aimed at the weekend enthusiast looking...
      03-07-2018, 04:51 PM
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