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Unread 05-20-2010, 10:29 AM   #1
mbuck
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Default Question about type of charcoal...

Hello all,

been smoking in my drum smoker for the past several months with fairly good results.. last couple of smokes, the wife complained that the meat was "too smoky" and to be honest, i kind of agreed..

i use very little wood when smoking - usually just a 1/2 fist sized piece of hickory, etc.

i light my charcoal with a weed burner - light the top layer and let it burn down. then drop a chunk of wood on..

so anyway, last smoke, i just refrained from putting any wood at all on.. ribs turned out tasting great - everyone like them.

i was frankly, pretty surprised at the amount of smoke that was generated from simply the charcoal.. i'm using kingsford's original in the blue/white bag. am i doing something wrong? i've read that you shouldn't put unlit charcoal in the basket - that it will create off flavors.

i generally smoke at 225-230 degrees. just wondering if there is a way to reduce the smoke from the charcoal, and actually add a smoke flavor from the wood....
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Unread 05-20-2010, 10:49 AM   #2
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Why don't try switching to lump charcoal and don't add any wood. See if that makes it better or worse. Use Royal Oak lump as a starting point.
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Unread 05-20-2010, 11:40 AM   #3
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I would say that perhaps hickory is the wrong wood to use?

It really lays on a strong flavor.

Additionally (as mentioned) lump oak charcoal will provide decent smoke on its on.

Carlos
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Unread 05-20-2010, 12:50 PM   #4
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When you put the meat on to cook, is the UDS burning a light blue smoke, or is there a clearly visible plume of white or gray smoke? When you put the chunk of wood onto the coals, do you immediately put the meat on, or give the wood a chance to burn a bit?

My first thought is that you are cooking over a dirty fire. I like to have the wood in the charcoal at the start of the fire, so it heats with the climbing temperature, less creosote and overly strong smoke flavor. Also, I do not want the entire basket lit, I only light 10 to 15 briquettes or medium sized chunks of lump, then put in basket and allow 30 minutes for the cooker to stabilize. I do not want to see the smoke coming out the exhaust, just a whisp that is barely visible.
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Unread 05-20-2010, 12:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff H. View Post
Why don't try switching to lump charcoal and don't add any wood. See if that makes it better or worse. Use Royal Oak lump as a starting point.
Hi Cliff,

That's actually what I've decided to do, but I'm going to use Gorden's food service lump since I get lot's of discounts there.

{I'm in the same boat as the thread starter is )

unless it ribs then they don't complain at all. And I've always get the light blue smoke, but I put too much wood in like a fist full & a half some times.
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Unread 05-20-2010, 01:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Toro View Post
I would say that perhaps hickory is the wrong wood to use?

It really lays on a strong flavor.

Additionally (as mentioned) lump oak charcoal will provide decent smoke on its on.

Carlos
I'll add my agreement to what Carlos wrote. It may not be the amount of smoke, but the TYPE of smoke. I used to think my wife didn't really like my smoked meat (no jokes, guys!!) because I used TOO MUCH hickory. I kept cutting back on the amount of wood I used, but she still didn't really like it. Then I switched to cherry - and man did she love that. It was NOT about the amount of smoke, but the flavor. Cherry, oak, apple, maple - these she all likes (as do I), but not hickory or mesquite (both of which I also really like). Try some cherry wood and see how that goes. (Others will swear by pecan or peach as well, but I haven't used either of those.)

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Unread 05-20-2010, 01:19 PM   #7
mbuck
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Thanks for the advice guys.. Will try the lump next time.

I get a light white/grey smoke from the kingsford original without any wood on it at all. not billowing, but not "thin blue" like i've been trying to achieve. you can definitely see the smoke coming out of it..

i usually start the coals and wait at least 20-30 minutes.

i've got a big log from a cherry tree that my parents cut down about 3 years ago.. can i just buzz some chunks off that to use?
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Unread 05-20-2010, 01:48 PM   #8
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I think that wood might be too fresh. It has to be seasoned for it to smoke properly.

Definitely ditch the hickory for some apple or cherry.
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