Originally Posted by bigabyte
Interestingly enough, not only can you tell a good clean burning fire by the simple observation of thinner smoke, but the color is different too. A clean fire is a thin blue smoke, and dirty fire is a thick white smoke (or even yellow if really dirty). Here is a picture to demonstrate.
Thanks Bigabyte. That's the kind of answer I was looking for with all the technical details.
I am a science buff, so I knew all that about the reaction, I just didn't know exactly what the evidence of a bad reaction should look like. It does seem counter intuitive that to add good smoke flavor to meat would require a fire that produces LESS visible smoke.
What are the common mistakes that lead to the wrong conditions?