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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 05-12-2008, 10:31 AM   #1
hnd
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Default little help guys.

was given a smokenpit. so i've been using it exclusively just so that i can learn how to use it and become more versatile...

i can get that baby going for close to 10 hours without having to touch it and maintain 230-240 most of the time...

THE PROBLEM : everything that comes out of it seems to have this wierd odor/aftertaste. i can't put my finger on describing it...perhaps stale or bitter would be a good description perhaps...

so here is how i set it up and maybe you pros can tell me what i'm doing wrong...

for those who don't know the smokenpit is similar to a chargriller with a side fire box.

my basic set up.

pour in a bag of unlit charcoal into the side fire box. fills it up a little less than 1/2. i then place unsoaked hickory on top of the charcoal...

i light 15 briquets in a starter and add them to end farthest away from the vent.

it will get going and get to abotu 300 and then i mess with the exhaust and sfb vent until its going steady at 230....and then its usually good to go for a good while...

my thoughts:

1. is this indicative of hickory?...something you have to watch out for? maybe i'm giving it too much smoke? to cook butts i'll use about 20-30 chunks of hickory

2. top exhaust vent is usually halfway shut....do i need to leave that cranked open all the way? is the smoke having ahard time escaping?

3. do i need to soak my wood? i never have in my wsm and it seems to work fine...

thats all i can think of....any help from anyone would be nice...
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Unread 05-12-2008, 10:45 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hnd View Post
1. is this indicative of hickory?...something you have to watch out for? maybe i'm giving it too much smoke? to cook butts i'll use about 20-30 chunks of hickory

2. top exhaust vent is usually halfway shut....do i need to leave that cranked open all the way? is the smoke having ahard time escaping?

3. do i need to soak my wood? i never have in my wsm and it seems to work fine...
My $.02 on what you got going on.

1. 20-30 chunks is a lot of hickory, IMO. If you're gonna burn that much wood you need to have a small, hot fire. Otherwise you'll wind up with bitter tasting meat. (On my offset, I fill my basket with lump or Rancher, add a couple of hickory splits, and dump on a chimney of lit. when the charcoal is just a bed of coals, I'll add additional sticks of hickory, but it's a small hot fire at that point). Your smoke should be a very light blue, or none existent also.
2. On my offset, exhaust is always wide open, temp is controlled on the intake side.
3. I never soak the wood, regardless of what I'm cooking on.
Hope this helps. Good luck.
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Unread 05-12-2008, 10:54 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbormaster View Post
My $.02 on what you got going on.

1. 20-30 chunks is a lot of hickory, IMO. If you're gonna burn that much wood you need to have a small, hot fire. Otherwise you'll wind up with bitter tasting meat. (On my offset, I fill my basket with lump or Rancher, add a couple of hickory splits, and dump on a chimney of lit. when the charcoal is just a bed of coals, I'll add additional sticks of hickory, but it's a small hot fire at that point). Your smoke should be a very light blue, or none existent also.
2. On my offset, exhaust is always wide open, temp is controlled on the intake side.
3. I never soak the wood, regardless of what I'm cooking on.
Hope this helps. Good luck.
thanks...i'll try less wood next time. so light blue and non existant....

luckily i've got all summer to perfect...
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Unread 05-12-2008, 10:59 AM   #4
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I'll second what Harbormaster said...........especially point #2........keep that exhaust wide open.
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Unread 05-12-2008, 11:04 AM   #5
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I third what was said (new terminology?). A lot of smoke always gives me bitter meat.

I keep the exhaust wide open and add a 2 - 3 chunks of wood. This will get me through most smokes.

Just my .02 cents.

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Unread 05-12-2008, 11:19 AM   #6
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wow, i'm using way too much wood...thanks again guys....
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Unread 05-12-2008, 11:25 AM   #7
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Yep.....what everyone else said!
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Unread 05-12-2008, 11:27 AM   #8
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hnd, small world. I grew up in Moline and now live out in Viola just south of town.
Apology for changing the subject.

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Unread 05-12-2008, 11:50 AM   #9
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cool. i work for derbytech which owns derbynet which offers highspeed wireless internet in your area...so i've been down to viola numerous times...i also use to work in the door industry and did lots of work out at winola school.
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Unread 05-12-2008, 12:08 PM   #10
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Something along these lines for smoke...they are both going.
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Unread 05-12-2008, 12:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
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wow, i'm using way too much wood...thanks again guys....
Wood chunks are for smokin' and wood lump coal is for the cookin'!
Try mixing up your woods and try some apple & cherry with your pork. You will enjoy the outcome.
I use only lump coal and stay away from briquettes due to the added chemicals used to press the charcoal. Just another added list of unnatural flavoring.
Keep up the questions and eventually it will all fall into place like it you were born with the talent to Que!
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Unread 05-12-2008, 01:23 PM   #12
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I light a HOT fire with nothing but lump in a chimney. The chimney is on the grate, surrounded on three sides by a log, giving them a chance to warm up while the charcoal heats up. I dump the red hot charcoal in the middle and the logs ignite instantly with nothing but blue smoke, right off the bat. When adding logs (I don't use charcoal except for the initial chimney <grin>), I try to heat them up first to reduce white smoke to a minimum. Until she's up to temp I set the intake wide open and the exhaust wide open, then control the temp with the intake. The only time I use the exhaust damper is to control a temperature spike.
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Unread 05-12-2008, 02:17 PM   #13
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Pretty much what they said. In my off set, I burn lump for the fuel and then add one (1) chunk of wood with every fuel addition for the first few hours if I am feeding it by the shovel full.

If I use the basket, I follow a similar approach to what you did with filling the basket with about half a bag of RO lump. Then light a separate chimney and pour that in one corner. Once I am up to temp, I then add the food and toss one (1) chunk, or a large hand full of chips into the fire box (depending on what I have). Then for the first few hours I will add another chunk or hand full of chips ever 30-45 minutes. I finish with just lump.

The only time I kept adding chunks throughout the cook, or when I went much higher than this as far as amount of chunks/chips, I ended up with that bitter over smoked flavor which I suspect is what you have.
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Unread 05-12-2008, 03:57 PM   #14
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i use mostly royal oak briquettes and have never used lump...

i actually just picked up royal oak bags of charcoal for less than 4 dollars a bag....

i really do think that i'm over smoking the food and using too much wood at one time...

thanks again for all thehelp gentlemen...
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Unread 05-12-2008, 04:51 PM   #15
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Have to agree with everyone! sounds like too many wood chunks!! Try some pecan wood if you get a chance, similar to Hickory, but milder flavor. I mix peach or apple in with pecan for most of the smokes I do.
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