The smoke flavour I am looking for is eluding me. Here is where I am at.............
Got my first off set used 3 weeks ago and am 11 cooks in. It is a New Braunsfels more rescent small model:
Notice the deflector under the rack - it is from a Bradley smoker.
I starated off with a basket in the firebox with chips and chunks added but soon found that was the wrong path - I was using way too much fuel and was not getting the smoke flavour I was after. My last 4 cooks have been using only a little charcoal and alot of sticks. I started with larger sticks (forearm sixe) and found my heat was way too high. I have shifted to smaller pieces. A shot of my firebox....I am heating pieces in the back so they will fireup quickly:
I first had issues with darker smoke and still have some but my latest cook "tastes" clean and I used more sticks than ever so I think I am over the dirty smoke. I have a few different types of wood.
Cherry - probably not more than 3 months old. I split it and dried it in the oven on low and then on my radiators - it shows splitting so I thought? it was dry but apparantly not. This produces dark smoke even when added to lots of coals or a spot that has good flame.
Apple - cut down at least 2.5 years ago. Fairly easy to get blue smoke - I open the vent and the door on the firebox till the new wood is burning well. If I do not lift the lid as well I get way too much dark smoke. If the dark smoke starts to come out of the cooking chamber stack too much I lift the lid on that slightly as well. I have never used apple wood to smoke more than a few times but the smell of the smoke seems sweet to me.
Plum cut down at least 2.5 years ago. Some of this has bug damage under the bark and when burned throws dark smoke and smell like sawdust. The no bug wood burns clean and smells sweet as well.
Hickory chunks - I prefer the taste of hickory. It costs alot and I have used it but found the taste in the food only fleeting. I am presently out of these chunks and have used only above wood on my last few cooks.
My smoke when it is good.....cooking chamber temp at this point is about 280f (on the right side of the cooker, at meat level, temps are about 270) and there are 2 small splits and 4 handfuls of coals going:
I made a shoulder yesterday:
There is a ring there but the thing is....I want more smoke flavour. It was smoked for almost 5 hours with mostly apple splits but a few plum splits mixed in plus 5 good tin foil packs of dry Jack Daniel's chips. I put the tin foil packs in the back of the firebox not on top of the coals or split so as not to smother the fire. The internal on the meat when I foiled it was about 140f and I was cooking all that time at about 280f. I had a drip tray right up against the top of rectangle leading from the firebox to the cooking chamber thus forcing the heat and smoke under it. I did not have deflector from my Bradley smoker in the unit as I found it made not different in the past.
I have had bbq made in my propane grill than I converted to a indirect charcoal/chip burner that had more smoke flavour in the meat than I am getting with the new equipment.
What am I doing wrong guys???
Is it the older wood? I am running with the vent on the stack open all the way all the time. It leads on the inside to grate level so I do not have to put an extension on I would imagine. Should I perhaps close down the vent on the stack to keep the smoke in longer? Any help on this would be appreciated.