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Old 01-11-2013, 04:43 PM   #1
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Join Date: 12-18-12
Location: Atlanta, GA
Name/Nickname : Mark
Default WSM - Smoke quantity on food issue


I have a 22.5" WSM that I use for smoking an 8 - 10 lb pork butt for pulled pork and I put a mix of 8 - 9 big fist size hickory and oak - usually 5 hickory and 3 or 4 oak. The food turns out awesome but it seems like I dont get enough smoke in the meat. I dont want to over smoke but I feel I am putting plenty of wood chunks. The problem appears to be that I use a BBQ Guru with a 10 CFM and the wood chunks have trouble catching on fire and buring for smoke. I usually do the mininion method and bury 4 - 5 chunks in the charcoal and put the rest on the top from the very beginning. I love the GURU but wonder if it controls the fire so much that the charcoal doesnt burn well enough to really good the wood smoldering. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated as I am smoking this weekend. I do get a decent smoke ring but would like more smoke flavor. I use a dry rub on the butt too and sometimes foil after 5 hours and sometimes dont.


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Old 01-11-2013, 04:48 PM   #2
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You may be burying the wood too deep so by the time you foil, it hasn't had a chance to light the wood and smoke.
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:50 PM   #3
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Just my opinion here but, I start with my more potent woods first. After 140 big meats typically don't take on much smoke. If you start with your more robust wood first, that robust smoke will be the one that carries through more. Quality of wood is essential as well. In my experience good Western Wood Products and Fruita Woods and very reliable and prove good quality smoke.
Just my experience, and I hope to read more from others.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:05 PM   #4
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Hi Mark,
I have yet to fire up my 22 and I don't use any control beyond tweaking the bottom vents, but I've been smoking satisfactorily on my 18.5 and mini-WSM for several years now.

Tell us more about your process. What temperature are you going for and how are you measuring? Are you foiling the butts or just leaving them on the grate for the whole cook. What temperature are you pulling them at (though that shouldn't matter much - I think most smoke flavor is picked up during the earlier portion of the cook.

How do the butts look when they come out? A very dark color indicates smoke. A pink layer directly under the dark surface is also a good sign (the smoke ring.) Do you see these?

Also realize that a butt has a lot more interior than exterior. You won't get the same proportion of smoke as you get on something like ribs which have a lot more surface area.

If you have a Woodman's near you (I use the one in North Aurora) they have boneless rib tips that have more surface area and smoke up pretty good. I used them until they got more expensive than butts at Sam's.

Hickory and oak should be a good combo for pork. I also use apple and maple which you should be able to find locally (perhaps even in your own yard.)
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:10 PM   #5
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Put your meat on at a lower temperature initially and then after an hour bring the heat up to your target cooking temperature. This will help with getting smoke onto the meat.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:25 PM   #6
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I've mentioned this in other threads, and got several supporting posts. Pork butts are big hunks of meat. No matter how much smoke you have, it is only going to penetrate maybe a half inch -- at most. A ten pound butt is not going to have a strong smoke flavor, even after you pull it an mix the outer parts with the inner parts.

A rack of pork ribs will have a lot more smoke flavor, because ribs are relatively thin, compared to a butt. A quarter-inch of smoke penetration on a rack of ribs will give you a pronounced smoke flavor. Smoke can only penetrate so much, no matter how long you expose the meat to smoke -- two hours or ten hours, the smoke can only go so deep.

From my experience, if you want more smoke in your meat, smoke smaller pieces of meat. Smoke has its limits.

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Old 01-11-2013, 11:42 PM   #7
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There's a couple of real easy things you can do...

1. If you are using a briquette like kings ford switch to the copmpetition(at least) or a lump hardwood charcoal.

2. Add more wood. This open is a pretty simple idea, more wood = more smoke

3. Start with colder meat. Go right from fridge to grill don't let it warm up first. This will take a little longer but will give you a deeper smoke ring and longer time for the meat to absorb the smoke.
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:10 AM   #8
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You could try, making sure the outside of the meat is dry,not slathered in mustard, EVOO, ect, a good dry rub and thats it, however (slammed) is correct, keep the meat cold not frozen, and put it on.
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