New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

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smokemymeats
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New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby smokemymeats » Sun May 06, 2018 2:44 pm

I just bought the Highland a few weeks ago and had two burnings to get used to it (coming from a propane background). The first run I had a good bed of coal (briquettes) and added chunks of wood on top. I had LOTS of smoke, much like a barn fire, very smokey and eye burning.

Ok, so that cook the meats had a very burned taste to it. I theorized that the wood chunks were damp and the wood just smoldered.

Next burn, yesterday, I was more careful and kept an eye on the wood. I left the firebox lid open and saw the wood catch and obtained good flames. I closed the lid to the box and left the side vent unhinged and wide open.

Noticed that dirty smoke billowing out again, so I opened the lid to the firebox and saw the wood was smoldering again. I coaxed the wood back to flames and fed the box some more wood, 1 more stick (thin stick). Left the lid open for about 20 minutes and it kept great flames. I knew it was safe to close the firebox lid again. Soon thereafter dirty smoke again and saw the wood was smoldering. The rest of the cook I left the Firebox lid propped with a metal tool and the fire stayed lit.

so for some reason, I am not getting enough draft through the system, has anyone seen this before? I can't open the firebox vent anymore because it is unhinged and wide open. I leave the smokestack around half closed.
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby Rambo » Sun May 06, 2018 3:34 pm

could you post a picture of the firebox vent, the stack, and the wood you're using?
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby GRailsback » Sun May 06, 2018 4:20 pm

Open the smoke stack all the way open. That needs to be wide open all the time.
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby Rambo » Sun May 06, 2018 4:28 pm

GRailsback wrote:Open the smoke stack all the way open. That needs to be wide open all the time.



This is what I was thinking; there's something wrong with the wood; he mentioned wet wood?
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby limey » Sun May 06, 2018 4:40 pm

As others have said open your smokestack all the way, second make sure your fire grate has enough space from the bottom of your firebox. I had to flip my fire grade over to give it more space to give the fire to breathe. Also if a lot of ash builds up underneath the grate it tends to smother the fire from the bottom. I use a a fire poker to move the ash to the side to get more air flowing from underneath. Hope this helps.
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby buzz » Sun May 06, 2018 5:40 pm

Like Limey said, raise the grate that is what I did also made a big difference,
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby smokemymeats » Sun May 06, 2018 6:33 pm

Thanks all.. I thought the wood was because it smolders, but when the second attempt burned hot with flames I knew it wasn't the wood. the grate is raised about 2" above bottom with no debris, I bet it is the stack i will leave it wide open.
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby GRailsback » Sun May 06, 2018 7:11 pm

It probably wouldn’t hurt to raise that grate up a little bit. That 2 inch gap will fill up pretty quick during a cook.
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby Red Farr » Mon May 07, 2018 5:41 pm

...the problem is not enough draw....when you open the fire box you flame up cause you have more oxygen...close, fire out...yes keep the exhaust port wide open and the back end fully open..if no work cap that out pipe and cut a new exhaust port below it 5 or 6 inches, weld a new stack curved, two feet long insulate it...it'll work...
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby smokemymeats » Mon May 07, 2018 7:10 pm

Red Farr wrote:...the problem is not enough draw....when you open the fire box you flame up cause you have more oxygen...close, fire out...yes keep the exhaust port wide open and the back end fully open..if no work cap that out pipe and cut a new exhaust port below it 5 or 6 inches, weld a new stack curved, two feet long insulate it...it'll work...
Red


What do you mean insulate the stack? with what?
Thanks for all of the help guys.
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby Markw142 » Tue May 08, 2018 7:53 am

you may be trying to build too big of a fire, I have an OKJ and normally i start off with a pile of charcoal and add 1 log/split about every 45 minutes to an hour. smaller clean burn will serve better than a bigger dirty one. just my 2 cents.
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby Chasdev » Tue May 08, 2018 9:36 am

When I started out I had the same problem with my Pecos, after tons of fussing around and fire tending I ended up cutting up my splits into "mini-splits" and with the firebox door wide open controlled the heat and "clean blue smoke" by adding small amounts of wood.
That method works great until the coal base gets too small to support combustion of the next stick (and sooner or later it will) so you can either maintain a charcoal fire on the side somewhere and add coals as needed or keep a propane torch handy to re-start the next stick if the coal base goes low.
FWIW, the burning wood creates the smoke but the coals provide the heat.
As to using a fire grate or letting the sticks stand in a pile of coals and ash, I've observed that some of the top PIt masters in and around Austin, Lockhart, etc, just stand the sticks on end in a pile of coals (and ash) so the fire climbs the stick and they catch slowly and slowly burn with not a great deal or an excess of flames.
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby Red Farr » Fri May 11, 2018 6:12 pm

...I was at walmart this afternoon and measured the exhaust stack on the Highland..2 7/8 inch i/d..that's pretty small...if you take off the exhaust pipe and put something on that will fit over the outside of that collar you'll go to 3 1/2" , 3 1/4" the increase will be about 3sq" it will help with the draw, if you use a curved or angled exhaust it will lessen the turbulence/resistance of the escaping air from about a 50% reduction to 30%.......if it works home free....if not and it was my rigg I'd cap the top hole and cut a new port under it grate height.......
good luck
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby smokemymeats » Mon May 14, 2018 7:08 pm

Red Farr wrote:...I was at walmart this afternoon and measured the exhaust stack on the Highland..2 7/8 inch i/d..that's pretty small...if you take off the exhaust pipe and put something on that will fit over the outside of that collar you'll go to 3 1/2" , 3 1/4" the increase will be about 3sq" it will help with the draw, if you use a curved or angled exhaust it will lessen the turbulence/resistance of the escaping air from about a 50% reduction to 30%.......if it works home free....if not and it was my rigg I'd cap the top hole and cut a new port under it grate height.......
good luck
Red


Wow thanks for all of that effort and thought. Yeah, I had another smoke this weekend and the results were the same, close the firebox lid with a good fire going, leave the vent on the box wide opened, and the stack wide open. Sure enough a little while later the sticks are snuffed and smoldering. I can leave the box propped with a fire poker (about a two inch gap) and the fire burns great. Must be a design defect... maybe I can try some type of fan?
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Re: New Ok Joe Highland not enough air to burn the wood.

Postby GRailsback » Mon May 14, 2018 8:46 pm

There is a guy on here that goes by KAM. Send him a message, and he will be able to tell you exactly what the dimensioins that stack needs to be in order for the pit to breath. But it may be a combination of stack size and air inlet size on the fire box. I promise you it will be worth your time reaching out to him.

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