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.
Weber 26.75 OTG w/CI grates & SJ/WSM Mini
Home built 24"x72" reverse flow stick burner trailer with 18"x44" grill w/CI grates and upright SS gas oven/smoker.
Home built 48" fire pit with a 30"x30" Santa Maria style ranch grill.
Home built lump charcoal retort, iGrill & a bunch of other cooking toys.