Sorry, but don't blame the hickory, it's the cook. Matchlight, really! I use kiln dried hickory EXCLUSIVELY in my RF offset stickburner and don't have issues with too much smoke, even on long cooks. Maybe I just can't appreciate the challenges of cooking on a charcoal cooker that uses wood chunks for smoke or maybe I just pay attention to managing my fires, paying attention to the product and checking temps like most folks. If you run a hot clean fire and use quality wood it is not hard to get good results.
Got a bunch of cooking toys and a custom metal fabrication shop where I spend my time building all sorts of smokers & outdoor cooking gear.