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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 10-31-2010, 08:37 PM   #1
Louisiana Smoker
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Default Worst q ever and not sure why

My dad came to visit me for the weekend and asked if I would smoke some ribs. Threw down some pig candy, beef and pork ribs and pig newtons for dessert. The temperatures were all over the place. They were up to 250 down to 180 and back and forth. Spent 2 hours getting the temp to stabilize and then once the temp was taken care of the thin blue smoke went away and was replaced with thick sooty smoke.
Needless to say the ribs were nasty, the pig candy and pig newtons were sooty and the only saving grace was, his back started hurting and he had to leave before dinner was ready.
Ate a couple of the ribs and threw everything else away.
Any idea the temperatures would swing like they did and what caused the sooty smoke?

I was using my UDS and used it many times before without any problems. The temperature outside was 75 degrees and low humidity.
I use the same methods for reaching and maintaing 225 degrees. Start with 10 lbs of briquettes, use my weed burner for 30 seconds and put the lid on top. When the temp reaches 150 I close one of the vents, at 200 I close the second and at 225 I close the valve 1/2 way and put the meat on. Today as soon as I put the meat on the temps continued to climb to 250 and then dropped to 180 and the battle began.

Last edited by Louisiana Smoker; 10-31-2010 at 08:55 PM..
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Unread 10-31-2010, 08:41 PM   #2
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What are you cooking on?
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Unread 10-31-2010, 08:42 PM   #3
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What were you cooking with and on?
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Unread 10-31-2010, 08:43 PM   #4
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weather conditions? cooker? fuel?

never had sooty smoke...

someone smarter than i might have some thoughts.
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Unread 10-31-2010, 08:44 PM   #5
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Yeah, ^^^^^kinda really important info to know !
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Unread 10-31-2010, 08:44 PM   #6
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Using my UDS, temperature was 75 and low humidity. Put 10 pounds of Kingsford and hickory chunks for wood
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Unread 10-31-2010, 08:48 PM   #7
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You were cooking on your drum? I suspect you chased the cooking temperature around and closed some air vents down starving the fire for air, thus creating a nasty oxygen starved fire.
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Unread 10-31-2010, 08:53 PM   #8
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Question Was it windy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Louisiana Smoker View Post
Using my UDS, temperature was 75 and low humidity. Put 10 pounds of Kingsford and hickory chunks for wood
I had a little trouble chasing temps on my UDS this week because we had 30 mi/hr wind gusts.
Where did the hickory come from (i.e. known source...or questionable history)?
If nothing has changed in your method and the weather/wood are not suspected, any recent mods to the UDS?
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Unread 10-31-2010, 08:55 PM   #9
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kevin seems like he has the answer.

did you light up all 10 pounds and then try to lower the fire temp?

that'd wind up with a starving fire ans some bad smoke.
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Unread 10-31-2010, 08:58 PM   #10
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I have used wood from the same bag before and never had a problem. No winds and no recent mods to the UDS. Come to think of it, I cleaned out the UDS before cooking on it. Would that matter? I just used water and dried it out with my weed burner
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Unread 10-31-2010, 08:59 PM   #11
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My thought exactly Kevin. Also sounds like you might have had some fuel that was full of moisture for some reason. Just a thought but if you are getting temps from 250 to 180 and back and forth, you are waaaay over adjusting a UDS. Just an example, I smoked some ribs last weekend and the temp jumped to 250 on the side therm, which was about 275 at the grate, closed all the intakes and 7 hours later the drum was still at the same temp. Obviously, the ribs came off before then but my point is that you may need to deal with the temps you get and adjust the cook time from there and not try to make a UDS adapt to you. They have a mind of their own sometimes. Stay after it brother. Just on of those things.
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Unread 10-31-2010, 09:05 PM   #12
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Just a thought, but are you using a digital thermometer? If so a bad connection could make your reading jump around. Also if your probe is worn out. If so maybe your temps arent really that bad.

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Unread 10-31-2010, 09:05 PM   #13
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Damp charcoal maybe... Having to chase the temps like that sounds like something I have had happen when my charcoal wasn't fresh...
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Unread 10-31-2010, 09:13 PM   #14
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Based on what you've posted, I'd say Kevin's explanation is probable spot on...did you shut down the air intakes more than you normally do when it hit 250? A smoldering ,ie O2 starved, fire would burn sooty. I suspect you lit off a little more charcoal with the weed burner this time than you normally do.
How much time do you allow between adjustment of your air intakes (I give mine at least 15~20 minutes)? I always shoot for 225, but if it's stable at 250 I'll go with it. As long as it's stable, 25 degrees over a long slow cook isn't going to matter.

There's alway next weekend.

Best of luck.
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Unread 10-31-2010, 09:15 PM   #15
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^^^^^^^What GreasePig said^^^^^^^^it sounds like damp charcoal to me.
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