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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 02-06-2013, 07:09 PM   #1
Oldhoss
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Default Not Enough Smoke Flavour On Cheap Off Set

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.

Last edited by Oldhoss; 02-06-2013 at 07:25 PM..
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Unread 02-06-2013, 07:33 PM   #2
El Ropo
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The only thing that jumps out at me is you are foiling and you are doing it way too early. I would try a cook with no foil, that way you aren't turning your smoker into an oven when the meat hits 140. Even If I wanted to use foil, I wouldn't wrap or pan and cover till meat hits at least 165. that would give you more time in the smoke, and help bark development.

You might try to get your hands on some hickory or oak wood for flavor. Fruit woods tend to impart a more gentle flavor into meat than nut woods. This is the reason I love apple and cherry though. Not overpowering.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 08:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Ropo View Post
The only thing that jumps out at me is you are foiling and you are doing it way too early
I was afraid I was going to oversmoke it. I put the butt in a shallow foil pan and covered tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil. I have cooked prime rib, halved chickens, back bacon, beans and chili.....all of which I smoked for the full cook and all of them did not have the depth of smoke flavour I get off of my propane grill being converted to a charcoal/chip offset cooker. And my Bradley that used sawdust pucks and electric heat does a better job as per smoke flavour on the prime rib, chili and beans than the New Braunsfels.

I shall be looking for some oak or hickory logs.....gotta get me some seasoned peices though.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 08:29 PM   #4
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Agree with the foil issue & also the stack vent should be left open only a bit or as little as possible.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 08:35 PM   #5
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If your cooking with wood there is smoke flavor in your meats, a lot of times people spend long hours cooking on off sets and are around the smoke so much that they cant taste it. If you ever have left overs you'll see that when you open the ziploc/ vac suck bags you can tell there was smoke put on the meat.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 08:50 PM   #6
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Oldhoss - welcome, nice to see a Canuck brother from London. My parents used to teach at CCH.
Anyway, I tend to agree with AustinKnight - your clothes and skin are probably steeped in smoke and your senses of smell and taste are dulled to it. You might want to try changing your clothes and washing your hands AND face, or grabbing a shower while the food is resting. I know it's hard to resist chowing down after all that fun cooking. See if that works.
Beyond that, I think you are on the right track with the hickory, it's pretty strong. I like apple myself, but to each his own.
I hope you can sort out your dilema and have lot's of worry free smokin' fun!
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Unread 02-06-2013, 08:54 PM   #7
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That shoulder looks awesome by the way!

I could never get results like that on my POS offset. I think I have the same one as yours - it sits dejected in the garage...
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Unread 02-06-2013, 09:07 PM   #8
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Loose the foil. It is very difficult to over smoke in an offset if your burning splits and you have a clean fire. I would extend the exhaust stack down to grate level this keep the heat and the smoke lower in the pit and that is where you want it and run the damper WFO choking the exhaust will give you a dirty fire.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 09:15 PM   #9
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Foil later and use a hardwood instead of a fruit wood. I like hickory best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KotaChuk678 View Post
Agree with the foil issue & also the stack vent should be left open only a bit or as little as possible.
Be careful if you do this^^^^^

Creosote build up will COMPLETELY ruin your meat. It becomes nasty tasting and is just money thrown into the trash. Learned this the hard way when I had an offset and after that cook I cooked with the stack wide open with great results. I recommend leaving the stack wide open so you don't learn the same lesson I did.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 09:24 PM   #10
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I don't foil till 160 and hardwood is the way to go, Hickory or Pecan have great flavor.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 09:30 PM   #11
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My bad, didn't realize it was an offset

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingbassman5 View Post
Foil later and use a hardwood instead of a fruit wood. I like hickory best.



Be careful if you do this^^^^^

Creosote build up will COMPLETELY ruin your meat. It becomes nasty tasting and is just money thrown into the trash. Learned this the hard way when I had an offset and after that cook I cooked with the stack wide open with great results. I recommend leaving the stack wide open so you don't learn the same lesson I did.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 09:33 PM   #12
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I agree with ^^^^. It is not a Jambo so leave that stack wide open and wait until 165 IT if you choose to foil.
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Unread 02-06-2013, 11:08 PM   #13
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Don't foil to target temp. Pull the foil about 3 to 5 degrees short and put the roast back in the smoker. Don't add fuel to the fire and let the fire burn out with the roast still inside. This is where I let my meat rest. It will stay warm enough in the smoker to rest for a while. I usually glaze my pork shoulder at this time. It makes for a nice sweet and smoky glaze.
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Unread 02-07-2013, 09:35 AM   #14
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Meat looks great and you seem to be doing what I've been doing. Alot of people say offsets are junk. I started with one about 15 years ago. The fire box on the cheapo's would last me about a year. So I went through several and finally went with the ole oklahoma joes long horn. To me an offset takes alot more practice to get right than your other style smokers. I can't remember my last failure.You are doing great and meat looks superb. Did you use one type of wood on this cook?
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Unread 02-07-2013, 03:00 PM   #15
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That pork looks real good and you've gotten enough good advice. I'm chiming in to say I have that exact same garbage can!
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