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JTurner538
08-05-2012, 05:02 PM
I've read that one of the biggest mistakes newbies make is having too much smoke. However, I've been wondering how it's possible to have too much smoke using chunks or chips when people use stick burners that are effectively smoking the entire time and in greater quantities than chunks or chips put out. Anyone want to help a newbie understand?

El Ropo
08-05-2012, 05:14 PM
It's all about clean burning fire. Bad smoke (white poofy) is well..... BAD. Invisible is best.

Many newbs think they need to see tons of smoke to be smoking. TBS is the best. TBS = Thin blue smoke.

Some of the best cooks I've ever done you couldn't see any smoke coming off exhaust. But the whole neighborhood smelled yummy.

I still see pics posted here where there is tons of nasty white smoke coming off the cooker. Not what I want when trying to make good food.

Lake Dogs
08-05-2012, 05:16 PM
Sure. First, clean burning fire that results in a sweet "thin" blue hue smoke is the smoke that you want to cook with. Most newbies (me included) think that the more billowy white smoke you have the better, when nothing could be farther from the truth. Use clean dry wood, whether chunks or chips or splits. The perfect smoke is allllllmost clear.

This (above) is where most newbies make their mistakes. Learning fire control and what is great smoke.

Also, later you'll find that you can still over-smoke meat in most peoples eye/opinion. Mind you, some like hard/strong smoke flavors that are powerful. Others like the smoke flavor to enhance the flavor of the meat, not consume it. Later there's a balancing act at hand. I use charcoal (in a stick burner) and some foil techniques to help me find my balance. Yours certainly can vary.

"Bone to Bark" BBQ
08-05-2012, 05:48 PM
Pitmasters that are running stick burners are using different techniques that DONT give them smoke the whole time. They pre-heat the wood, sometimes they will char the wood ahead of time so it is similar to lump charcoal and things like that. In terms of smoke, most of the time less is more! And make sure it is TBS when you are seeing it!

Boshizzle
08-05-2012, 06:02 PM
Too much smoke is, well, it's...

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=506&pictureid=6224

That being said, I'm not sure that it is too much smoke as much as it is the wrong kind of smoke. Thick white or dark colored smoke imparts a bad flavor ranging from bitter to petroleum tasting.

Wiffs of blue to clear smoke is the target.

lowe&slow
08-05-2012, 06:07 PM
http://i788.photobucket.com/albums/yy166/pgallier/sweetblue.jpg

if my phone camera wasnt so bootleg, this would be a perfect example of sweet blue, well it was actually closer to violet than blue.

Boshizzle
08-05-2012, 06:14 PM
Here is a pic of the smoke coming from my Keg running at 275 degrees. It's invisible.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=325&pictureid=6241

deguerre
08-05-2012, 06:31 PM
Here is a pic of the smoke coming from my Keg running at 275 degrees. It's invisible.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/picture.php?albumid=325&pictureid=6241

Yeppers. That's what I go for. I use a CHITLOAD of chunks when doing pork shoulder because I LOVE the intense smoke flavoring. I always wait for my cooker to start producing the almost invisable blue before putting the meat on though.

SmokingJo
08-05-2012, 06:39 PM
I'm using only lump charcoal and not wood. Sometime I see TBS, sometime I don't see smoke at all. I like the smokey flavour I have, but do you think i'm really smoking? Or "smoking" needs woods?

Boshizzle
08-05-2012, 06:42 PM
Lump is wood, so yeah, I think you are smoking.

El Ropo
08-05-2012, 06:43 PM
I've probably mentioned this over a dozen times here. But there has been a huge influx of new folks, it might be worth mentioning again.

Hover palm of hand over exhaust for several seconds. Smell hand. It'll tell you if the cooker is burning clean.

caseydog
08-05-2012, 06:49 PM
I've read that one of the biggest mistakes newbies make is having too much smoke. However, I've been wondering how it's possible to have too much smoke using chunks or chips when people use stick burners that are effectively smoking the entire time and in greater quantities than chunks or chips put out. Anyone want to help a newbie understand?

The science behind it is that wood burns very inefficiently when it first catches fire, which gives you a thick white smoke that doesn't taste good. A hot fire with nice red coals produces very little visible smoke, but it is there, and it tastes better on the meat. Any time you burn any fuel, and you have thick smoke, that means the fuel is not completely burning. In the world of BBQ, that "not completely burned" fuel does NOT make food taste good.

Guys using stick burners are adding small amounts of wood at a time to an already red-hot fire, so the wood gets up to efficient burning temperatures pretty fast, so you might get a little white smoke for a little while, but not long. Some even pre-heat their wood on top of the fire box, or have a separate fire-pit to get the wood burning before shoveling it into the firebox.

If you were to load a whole lot of cold wood into a firebox at one time, you would get a lot of white smoke as that wood slowly catches fire.

I use charcoal and wood chunks, using the Minion method. As the fire spreads from one coal to the next, it is also pre-heating the surrounding unlit coals, so they ignite and burn efficiently. Same with my wood chunks, which are mixed in with the charcoal. They are already really hot when they start to burn, so they burn efficiently.

The mistake I made as a noob was to think that thick white smoke was a good thing. So, I tossed a lot of cold wood chunks into my fire to keep that smoke coming. That's what veterans mean by noobs using too much smoke.

A better way of saying it would be that noobs use the wrong kind of smoke.

CD

twinsfan
08-05-2012, 06:50 PM
^^ Good point.

I pretty much only burn logs with bigger cuts like butts and briskets, as we live on a woody farm. Right now I have pretty much ornamental pear and some strange kind of oak. It's not the best but it works. I get a lot of white billowing smoke, then TBS. The thick white smoke smells good 95% of the time though, and when it doesn't, I'll use a different log.

Trumpstylz
08-05-2012, 06:56 PM
Hover palm of hand over exhaust for several seconds. Smell hand. It'll tell you if the cooker is burning clean.

What smell are you looking for?

Swamp Donkeyz BBQ
08-05-2012, 07:19 PM
I was going to post almost the same question today. My chicken turned dark as night yesterday. It was moist and tasted excellent, it was just UGLY. Thanks for the info. I guess I need to change my wood and maybe think about the pre heating idea.

lowe&slow
08-05-2012, 08:18 PM
What smell are you looking for?

you will smell the meat. when sweet blue is coming out the top you will smell the meat. When White smoke is coming out it smells like a shirt you wore to a bar with people smoking the night before.

when you cup your hand and it smells like sweet yummy pork butt or brisket, you know your in good shape.

Shadowdog500
08-05-2012, 10:17 PM
A video of this would be helpful!

I have light smoke, but I don't know about "blue"?

I do sit near my smoker and have pulled out a piece of smoke wood or two that smelled like a burning 2x4, but I never tried to smell the meat in the smoke.
Chris

El Ropo
08-05-2012, 10:28 PM
What smell are you looking for?

LOL, you'll know when you smell it.

Sniff palm. It'll do one of two things. It'll smell like heaven, or it'll smell like a bunch of railroad ties smoldering.

As I said above, you'll know in a heartbeat.

I use lots of pecan apple, and cherry. When the exhaust is sniffed, it smells like heaven for sure. The whole neighborhood gets the same smell.

Ye Olde Party Palace
08-05-2012, 10:43 PM
When my UDS is really cooking, there isn't really any visible smoke coming from it at all. I may occasionally see a very thin blue smoke, but mostly there is no visible smoke at all. But, the flavor is out of this world. Probably, one of the better compliments that I have received was from a bar owner friend that said my pulled pork and brisket were so good because the smoke didn't overpower the flavor of the meat. :bow:

charrederhead
08-05-2012, 11:14 PM
I watched a youtube vid the other day, 2 guys smoking a turkey, and man, they were loving that thick, white, billowing smoke!

When a respondent suggested they aim for TBS, they blasted him. Lol.

Pitmaster T
08-05-2012, 11:18 PM
You know... I am not sure how people are going to take this but I did the "loaf Pan chicken" the other day by Chris Lilly. I did it precisely like he did it, even the rub. I sprinkled the rub on just like him too.

I put it in my weber, not the other two beast I have, and fired up the same fire I always did and lowered the temp to 300 like he asked. I never had a white smoke touch that bird and yet with my rub I use for chicken and my method I have smoked a bird at times with white smoke,,,

the results.... it reminded me of why I used to hate what people did to a bird or the types and amount of rubs they used. It was oversmoked I thought.

Heres the point.. and its not a dis on Chris because his normal chicken (not in pan) is stellar. I think what we put on the bird and its amount contributes to the amount of smoke it retains.

I have made quite a few fire foul ups over the years and with my rub... which is salt and pepper and conservative amounts of rub, I never have a problem.

caseydog
08-05-2012, 11:28 PM
A video of this would be helpful!

I have light smoke, but I don't know about "blue"?

I do sit near my smoker and have pulled out a piece of smoke wood or two that smelled like a burning 2x4, but I never tried to smell the meat in the smoke.
Chris

It is not easy to see the "blue" folks talk about. Most of the time I can't tell what the fark the color of the smoke is. But, it will be thin, and will tend to dissipate quickly... and smell really good.

Bad smoke will be noticeably white, and linger above the smoker, and may or may not smell particularly good. If it does offend your nose, don't expect it to please your palate.

CD

pigdog
08-05-2012, 11:37 PM
Depends on what type of cooker you are using. If you are using a drum, when the juices hit the coals, you are naturally going to get some white smoke as a result.

neuyawk
08-06-2012, 08:58 AM
I think when people say "over-smoked" it's different than "Badly smoked i.e. white". Seems more like a problem with the environment one cooks on.

I was confused by this when I first started smoking as well given that I use all wood in an offset how does one "over-smoke"? then I realized cooking something in my weber and getting a little too free handed with the hickory chunks what over smoking was. Because of the enclosed environment the good fist full of chunks I burned produced a more concentrated flavor than my all wood burning offset.

So it seems to me that when people think over smoked, it's on a primarily charcoal burning pit with too many chunks thrown in.

MrsBigBarry
08-06-2012, 09:32 AM
We don't smoke during the day too often, but when we do, I rarely see the blue smoke. I find it much easier to see when we're cooking overnight. When the sun is down, the blue of the smoke is more noticeable to me and it only seems to be around for a little while and then gone. We refer to 2 or 3 AM during a comp as sweet blue time.

KnucklHed BBQ
08-06-2012, 09:35 AM
Everything above is good advice, I'd just add this -

You can over smoke in just the same way that you can over salt your food, what's too much for one person might not be enough for another. Smoke is an ingredient, over using it is just as sinful as under use.

Along the lines of El Ropo's suggestion of putting your hand over the exhaust and then smelling your palm, I'll stick my nose over the exhaust and draw in a slow steady whiff of smoke, if it smells good AND you're not choking/gasping/wheezing, you're prolly on target. :thumb:


And please, don't soak your chips or chunks... what does wet fire wood smell like when you burn it? Horrible! How are wet chips or chunks going to smell when smoldering on top of coals? Horrible! :becky:

deguerre
08-06-2012, 09:41 AM
Don't listen to KnucklHed...he doesn't even know the difference between chipotle and smoked jalapeno...

Bob in St. Louis
08-06-2012, 09:42 AM
Wow, this is a great thread. I've been doing it sooo wrong for sooo long, I'm having a hard time even wrapping my head around this concept. :doh:

My confession:
Generally, I'll have 5 baseball sized chunks of mesquite soaking in water for an hour or so before I starting smoking.
Just before I put the meat on, I'll put three of them on the charcoal fire, then immediately put on the meat and close the lid.

That's when I start praying to the God Of Billowing Thick White Smoke. :oops:

During the coarse of the session, I'll drop another chunk on as they burn away.

I guess I'm not only over smoking, but soaking them in water is bad too?

Bob

EDIT: Thanks knucklhead, for the comment about soaking the wood.

SmokinAussie
08-06-2012, 09:55 AM
Don't worry Bob. Most of us started out a little like that. I sure did.

Cheers!

Bill

NickTheGreat
08-06-2012, 10:01 AM
Don't worry Bob. Most of us started out a little like that. I sure did.

Cheers!

Bill

I got worried on my first smoke because that white smoke disappeared. I thought I was doing something WRONG :doh:

KnucklHed BBQ
08-06-2012, 10:04 AM
Don't listen to KnucklHed...he doesn't even know the difference between chipotle and smoked jalapeno...

:pound: gawd, what a noob mistake that was!!! :rolleyes:

Coldholler
08-06-2012, 10:38 AM
LOVE the idea of warming my chunks of split oak on the firebox before adding to the fire. I always use a chimney to get a load of lump red-hot and then use that as a bed upon which I throw wood, one or two chunks at a time. I've never had a problem with bad-tasting smoke, but it does burn more densely than the thin blue that folks describe. Using the chimney to burn off any outside layers first has given me success using briquets like Kingsford Blue, too -- but my method is really enhanced by the hotter-burning lump, like Competition... I'll try preheating my chunks and sticks this Saturday though -- doing a 60 pound pig and 50 pounds of butts!

JazzyBadger
08-06-2012, 11:21 AM
Preheating splits and chunks is such a blast. My goal on my stick burner is to ignite the farkers on the box, then pop em right on in there. Cuts the white smoke down to nothing, it's beautiful.

In people's defense, you gotta remember that you think that way cause most people have TOLD you to think that way. My neighbor from the Town Homes swore up and down he made the best food ever... he soaked every bit of wood, INCLUDING THE SPLITS! :shocked: He soaked the chips he used, he had white smoke out of everything. The brisket tasted like creosote, I wanted to vomit. I was new to the block, and he's a NICE guy, so I told him it was the best brisket I ever had, and that guy did electrical work for me... to this day, no charge.

I made him my brisket, and it blew him away. He told me he knew I had to be lying, but he appreciated the sentiment.
He learned from his father. I learned from you guys, lmao. You guys win.

Same thing with mopping, Texans swear by mopping. I've gotten into some pretty heated verbal arguments over nothing more than soaking wood chips, and mopping brisket.

AZScott
08-06-2012, 12:37 PM
My FEC 100 spits out plenty of white smoke. I even add smoldering pellets to it when I want more of a smoke flavor and guess what, it's not a clear blue by any means. Just because it's not a grayish blue doesn't mean it's bad.

That nasty smell from lump charcoal when it's first lit up though is pretty nasty though. I've also seen a stickburner next to me at a comp pump out blue, brown, green and gray smoke. His rib was the worst thing anyone has ever asked me to taste.

In my opinion, it comes down to what wood you are using, how much is smoldering, how wet the meat is and how long it's being bathed in smoke.

JazzyBadger
08-06-2012, 02:04 PM
Yeah but like you said, as far as the kind of wood you're using, you're using pellets, little tiny balls. I've never used a pellet smoker so I'll leave it at that, not trying to sound as though I'm an expert. I'd imagine that the differences between cooking with splits and cooking with little preshaped Yesterday's News looking pellets would be drastically different though.

Bob in St. Louis
08-06-2012, 02:19 PM
Noon question:
What are "splits"?

El Ropo
08-06-2012, 02:34 PM
Noob question:
What are "splits"?

Stick burner specific term referring to large pieces of split wood that's been "split down" to a useable size. Hence the term "splits".

bigabyte
08-06-2012, 02:59 PM
I'm sure this has been said, but you can't REALLY have too much smoke because smoke is not even a variable in the equation.

You want a clean burning fire. End of story. You achieve this by using heat and air with wood.

You can have too much wood for the amount of heat and/or air. In this case the fire is suffocating and struggling to burn. The gasses and compounds released from the wood are unable to ignite properly because there is too much being released for the air and heat supply to ignite. This is usually visible as thick white or even yellow smoke. These compounds that are not burnt up land on your food adding a nasty, acrid, bitter flavor.

You can have insufficient air. The result is basically the same as too much wood, because the amount of fuel does not have enough air to cleanly burn.

You can have insufficient heat also, but this should be able to be rectified by either increasing airflow or fuel, whichever is lacking.

Smoke is a byproduct. A fire produces it. No matter how big or small your fire is, you want it to burn clean for proper results. The key is hitting your target temp with that clean burning fire. A larger fire means higher temps. A smaller fire means lower temps.

So smoke is not the source of the problem, fire management is the problem. The smoke will always be right if you create a clean burning fire. Try not to manage temps by adjusting airflow...manage temps by the size of the fire.

Bob in St. Louis
08-06-2012, 03:18 PM
El Ropo, thank you very much for helping to un-noob me.

Bigabyte, That sounds "legit" to me. Definitely something to give thought to.
Thank you!

Bob

El Ropo
08-06-2012, 05:56 PM
I even add smoldering pellets to it when I want more of a smoke flavor

So, how many decades does it take to get the desired level of smoke flavor using a pellet pooper?

:caked:

TurboDog
08-06-2012, 08:15 PM
I do the smell of the hand test over the exhaust on my UDS to let me know when it's time to put the meat on. It will definitely smell "burnt" in the beginning and at some point that smell goes away and I add the meat. The only problem is , it never really smells good , the bad smell just goes away. That is , until the meat starts cooking , then it starts smelling awesome. I hope I am not doing something wrong that is causing me not to have good smelling smoke when I put the meat on , if so , I been missing out.

MS2SB
08-06-2012, 08:23 PM
There is one other point that I don't believe that I have seen covered yet in this thread. Make sure that whenever you are cooking your exhaust is wide open. This allows the smoke to escape and keeps it from circulating and getting "stale" within the cook chamber which can lead to some seriously nasty flavors.

Bob in St. Louis
08-06-2012, 08:33 PM
There is one other point that I don't believe that I have seen covered yet in this thread. Make sure that whenever you are cooking your exhaust is wide open. This allows the smoke to escape and keeps it from circulating and getting "stale" within the cook chamber which can lead to some seriously nasty flavors.
That sounds like intake and exhaust valves in an automobile engine.
It's very important to get the "nasties" out, which makes room to get the good stuff (fresh, clean air and fuel) into the combusion chamber.

Bob (car guy)

BlazinSS934
08-06-2012, 08:43 PM
Not getting to technical into the science behind fire but wood doesn't burn.

As wood or any other combustible material is heated it off gases (technical term warning) Pyrolysis these vapors that are released is what actually burns.

Smoke is unburned fuel it is also rich in carbon monoxide and ls deficient of oxygen

During complete combustion heat and light are released along with Co2 and Water vapor

Bob in St. Louis
08-06-2012, 09:10 PM
Noob alert:
I've watched Bobby Flay and Alton Brown (and who knows how many others) use soaked wood chips on the coals.
That's why I thought this was an acceptable practice.

But now, you fellas are showing me the light. Are they doing something different? Or what would constitute them needing to soak thiers?

Thanks!
Bob

JazzyBadger
08-06-2012, 09:17 PM
Mostly them doing what people "expect" them to. They're catering to a HUGE audience, and the vast majority would think they're doing something wrong if they didn't soak their wood chips.

Plus it also allows them to show off more white smoke, which is going to be seen by the cameras, another thing the viewers will wanna see. Otherwise there's a very good chance someone will declare them faking the whole thing for all you know, lmao.

Bob in St. Louis
08-06-2012, 09:37 PM
Disappointed to hear that.

I have no doubt that cooking shows do things "for show", but when it comes to affecting the taste of a meal, they might be more cautious about the finer points about how things should be done. After all, that's part of the point of a cooking show, to show us how it should be done.

.......Along with the finer points and technical aspects of the "hows and whys" regarding the right way of how things should be done.

(at least that how life should be... In my little world)

Bob

MS2SB
08-06-2012, 09:40 PM
I may be in the minority here, but I've not had a problem with soaking chips. However, once I was able to finally find decent chunks I stopped using chips altogether.

bigabyte
08-06-2012, 09:49 PM
Soaking chips is fine. They burn up so fast they are not going to give a bed of hot coals a problem unless you add a chit load of them and suffocate the fire.

Soaking chunks or larger pieces makes little sense, except some cases where people toss chunks soaked in flavorful/aromatic liquids and toss those chunks in a hot fire in a decent sized offset or similar hot fire. In that case, the fire should be able to ignite that chunk easily.

Bob in St. Louis
08-06-2012, 11:14 PM
Soaking chips is fine. They burn up so fast they are not going to give a bed of hot coals a problem unless you add a chit load of them and suffocate the fire.

That's what the TV guys I've seen do. Add a handful of chips.
Gotcha.
That's different than the large (soaked) chunk I've been using.

Good info.

Bob

JazzyBadger
08-06-2012, 11:26 PM
I didn't even notice the emphasis on chips. I've got a question actually, as I don't use chips, what advantage is there to them if any? All I've ever seen people do with them is line em up in foil and toss them in, so they don't burn up super quick.

They basically there for gassers, or what?

Bob in St. Louis
08-07-2012, 09:45 AM
That's an interesting thought...to roll them in foil.

deguerre
08-07-2012, 09:57 AM
I didn't even notice the emphasis on chips. I've got a question actually, as I don't use chips, what advantage is there to them if any? All I've ever seen people do with them is line em up in foil and toss them in, so they don't burn up super quick.

They basically there for gassers, or what?

Making a foil bomb with chips can be very useful for a quicker cook on a grill. Fish and chicken come to mind. Pellets seem to work better in the bombs though. Still though, I'm lazy so I usually just toss on a chunk for the quick cooks anyway. Unless I started with a chimney of chunks in the first place.:becky:

kev2lz
08-10-2012, 05:26 PM
This thread has taught me a lot and I did my first TBS cook last night. I soaked some turkey legs in a honey brine overnight then smoked them with hickory and a few chunks of apple.

My girlfriend saw this (yep, that's smoking @ 250 F):

69205

And was convinced that they would be dry and lacking smoke flavor. They were so good that shes planning a get together next weekend and yours truly will be making 40+ of them! Wish I would've thought to snap a picture of the final product!

Thanks, brethren. You've made me a better cook. :)

KnucklHed BBQ
08-10-2012, 06:14 PM
I didn't even notice the emphasis on chips. I've got a question actually, as I don't use chips, what advantage is there to them if any? All I've ever seen people do with them is line em up in foil and toss them in, so they don't burn up super quick.

They basically there for gassers, or what?

I use the Jack Daniels chips on my kettle all the time, a moderate hand full dropped on the hottest part of the coals will give a great smoke for about 20 min... its a great oaky vanilla n Carmel smell too , chickens love it!

SkinnyVinny
09-10-2012, 03:29 PM
Hi all,

I asked this earlier in the UDS mega thread, but hopefully i'll get some responses here.

I have the basic UDS set up, with Kingsford charcoal, and been adding about 2 or 3 chunks of applewood. I'm pretty sure I'm still getting the "bad smoke" flavor. I've been aiming for the TBS when I remember first seeing that side to side comparison. The first fattie I smoked tasted like cigarettes. Me and my buddy both thought thats what it was suppose to taste like :twitch:. Since then its improved but I still have some issues.

The weird thing is, I get the nice TBS for about the first 2 or 3 hours using the minion method. However, when I lift the lid to mop, or move things around, I seem to start getting the pluming white smoke. Is there a reason for this? I'm wondering if it has to do with the fat hitting coals? If not, the only other thing I can think of is:

- fire is being put out by ash not falling through? Should I Shake the fire basket more often?

- Not enough air? Usually work with 2 nipples closed, and ball joint half open. Maybe i shoudl open it more? But won't that increase heat?

- Incorrect minion method? Pretty sure I'm doing it right. have about 15 coals ashed over and put it into a ~13lb basket of unlit coals.

Did some ribs and fatties last weekend. I know its improving since my wife actually complimented on the fatty, whereas before she felt like puking. She has a super sensitive palate. She could still taste it in the ribs though since they were in the UDS longer.

Thanks in advanced.

backyardchef
09-10-2012, 03:51 PM
Couple of thoughts on that question, SkinnyVinny-- check the wood situation when you lift the lid-- is it starting to flame up? If so, when you close her back up, those flames are going out and producing heavier smoker. It could also be adding air to the coals, increasing the temp and burning the fat. Could be either, could be both.

One last wrinkle to add (and if somebody else said this, I apologize), but oversmoking is NOT (in my totally humble opinion) just a result of 'bad' smoke, but also the volume of smoke used factored into the drawing capacity and size of the smoker, and how efficiently it exhausts. In a pit with slower exhaust, the smoke stays in the chamber longer, cools and tastes ungood.....

SkinnyVinny
09-10-2012, 04:11 PM
Couple of thoughts on that question, SkinnyVinny-- check the wood situation when you lift the lid-- is it starting to flame up? If so, when you close her back up, those flames are going out and producing heavier smoker. It could also be adding air to the coals, increasing the temp and burning the fat. Could be either, could be both.

One last wrinkle to add (and if somebody else said this, I apologize), but oversmoking is NOT (in my totally humble opinion) just a result of 'bad' smoke, but also the volume of smoke used factored into the drawing capacity and size of the smoker, and how efficiently it exhausts. In a pit with slower exhaust, the smoke stays in the chamber longer, cools and tastes ungood.....

ahh yes! That has happened before (wood flaming up). I thought that was suppose to be normal :redface:. So, what does one do when this happens? Take the 22" grate off with the food and wait it out? But then won't the flare up when i open the lid anyways? I had always thought that the wood would flame up regardless if the lid was open or not.

My current exhaust is the 1" and 2" bung holes from the Barrel, both wide open with no damper. Maybe I'll try drilling one more hole, but I thought those 2 holes would be enough?

Thanks again!

TurboDog
09-10-2012, 09:54 PM
ahh yes! That has happened before (wood flaming up). I thought that was suppose to be normal :redface:. So, what does one do when this happens? Take the 22" grate off with the food and wait it out? But then won't the flare up when i open the lid anyways? I had always thought that the wood would flame up regardless if the lid was open or not.

My current exhaust is the 1" and 2" bung holes from the Barrel, both wide open with no damper. Maybe I'll try drilling one more hole, but I thought those 2 holes would be enough?

Thanks again!


Best thing I can tell you , when you need to work on the food , take the whole grate out and immediately close the lid. Do all your saucing / foiling or whatever it is you need to do while the lid is closed , when your done put the grate back in , again only opening the lid long enough to replace the grate. I find in my UDS it will flare up terribly if I leave the lid off for more than a few seconds.

Fat Woody
09-11-2012, 12:41 AM
Another factor to consider is the density of different smoking woods and the amount of heat they produce. Oaks, hickory and apple are all quite dense and will therefore require more energy to get them to the "sweet blue" stage. If your fire isn't hot enough when you toss on one of these denser woods, you'll run the risk of it smoldering for a while before it takes off. I think this may be one of the main reasons inexperienced cooks end up with "too much smoke" flavor (or bitter Q) when they are doing everything else right. It's entirely possible to cook for hours with nothing but wood (hickory, apple and oak included) and not over-smoke.

Bigabyte nailed it when he said it's more a matter of fire management.

El Ropo
09-11-2012, 01:35 AM
Some people don't care for the UDS style flavor. You have the the fat melting and dropping directly on the fire basket. Ya either love it or hate it.

When I do large cooks, like 15+ lbs of fatty type meats on my UDS, I use a foiled pizza pan as deflector.

When all of that meat starts weeping at the same time, it's like a thunderstorm, almost puts the firebasket out if you know what I mean.

EatRBBQ
09-11-2012, 10:15 AM
Noob alert:
I've watched Bobby Flay and Alton Brown (and who knows how many others) use soaked wood chips on the coals.
That's why I thought this was an acceptable practice.

But now, you fellas are showing me the light. Are they doing something different? Or what would constitute them needing to soak thiers?

Thanks!
Bob


This somewhat depends on what type of equipment you're smoking on.
Flay and Brown often smoke in an indoor oven. They create a smoker with pans and foil and cook it in a standard indoor oven.
Soaking the wood chips in this process prevents them from actually igniting and burning (having an open wood fire in your kitchen wouldn't be ideal).
Almost every time I've seen Bobby or Alton use this indoor process they state repeatedly to use minimal amounts of wood as this "wet" process can easily "over smoke."

The "good smoke" vs "bad smoke" and "wet chips" vs "dry chips" debate can often depend on what process you're using and what equipment you're cooking on.

lashing1c
09-11-2012, 10:57 AM
Hi all,

I asked this earlier in the UDS mega thread, but hopefully i'll get some responses here.

I have the basic UDS set up, with Kingsford charcoal, and been adding about 2 or 3 chunks of applewood. I'm pretty sure I'm still getting the "bad smoke" flavor. I've been aiming for the TBS when I remember first seeing that side to side comparison. The first fattie I smoked tasted like cigarettes. Me and my buddy both thought thats what it was suppose to taste like :twitch:. Since then its improved but I still have some issues.

The weird thing is, I get the nice TBS for about the first 2 or 3 hours using the minion method. However, when I lift the lid to mop, or move things around, I seem to start getting the pluming white smoke. Is there a reason for this? I'm wondering if it has to do with the fat hitting coals? If not, the only other thing I can think of is:

- fire is being put out by ash not falling through? Should I Shake the fire basket more often?

- Not enough air? Usually work with 2 nipples closed, and ball joint half open. Maybe i shoudl open it more? But won't that increase heat?

- Incorrect minion method? Pretty sure I'm doing it right. have about 15 coals ashed over and put it into a ~13lb basket of unlit coals.

Did some ribs and fatties last weekend. I know its improving since my wife actually complimented on the fatty, whereas before she felt like puking. She has a super sensitive palate. She could still taste it in the ribs though since they were in the UDS longer.

Thanks in advanced.
I would make sure you are doing the following things when opening the lid:

1. Shut all the valves closed for at least a few minutes before you open the lid. This will help prevent flair ups. Then reopen them about 1 minute after you put the cover back on.

2. If the lid is going to be off more than 30 seconds. Take the rake off the smoker and put the cover back on.

Another item of note. Having some kind of defusser does help to prevent the fat hitting the coals. I suggest not doing Fatties and Chicken pieces while there is other things on the smoker like Brisket and Pork. Do those thinks at higher heat later when the other meat is resting or foiled.

Bob in St. Louis
09-11-2012, 11:12 AM
This somewhat depends on what type of equipment you're smoking on.
Flay and Brown often smoke in an indoor oven. They create a smoker with pans and foil and cook it in a standard indoor oven.
Soaking the wood chips in this process prevents them from actually igniting and burning (having an open wood fire in your kitchen wouldn't be ideal).
Almost every time I've seen Bobby or Alton use this indoor process they state repeatedly to use minimal amounts of wood as this "wet" process can easily "over smoke."

The "good smoke" vs "bad smoke" and "wet chips" vs "dry chips" debate can often depend on what process you're using and what equipment you're cooking on.
Oh, well now.....That makes perfect sense. Thank you! :thumb:

prudog
09-11-2012, 11:33 AM
When all of that meat starts weeping at the same time, it's like a thunderstorm, almost puts the firebasket out if you know what I mean.
So what happened to the theory that "If the fire is burning efficiently, the fat vaporizes on contact with coals."?

SkinnyVinny
09-11-2012, 02:49 PM
Thanks! will definitely try installing a diffuser of some sort and closing off the vents!



I would make sure you are doing the following things when opening the lid:

1. Shut all the valves closed for at least a few minutes before you open the lid. This will help prevent flair ups. Then reopen them about 1 minute after you put the cover back on.

2. If the lid is going to be off more than 30 seconds. Take the rake off the smoker and put the cover back on.

Another item of note. Having some kind of defusser does help to prevent the fat hitting the coals. I suggest not doing Fatties and Chicken pieces while there is other things on the smoker like Brisket and Pork. Do those thinks at higher heat later when the other meat is resting or foiled.

El Ropo
09-11-2012, 03:37 PM
So what happened to the theory that "If the fire is burning efficiently, the fat vaporizes on contact with coals."?

People used to think the world was flat too.

You get enough liquid gushing onto a fire, it's either gonna douse the fire, or start a huge grease fire.

I've had several occasions where it started to douse the fire.

marvda1
09-11-2012, 03:54 PM
how do you pre-warm your wood if you have an insulated firebox?

backyardchef
09-11-2012, 08:38 PM
how do you pre-warm your wood if you have an insulated firebox?


Inside your cooker or alongside the coals in the firebox if you have room, or don't worry about it and just deal with the wood taking a little longer to light when you add it. In the big scheme of things, this is not something to really get crazy about....until the next person posts that this is THE most important part of the process :rolleyes:

Lake Dogs
09-11-2012, 08:42 PM
So what happened to the theory that "If the fire is burning efficiently, the fat vaporizes on contact with coals."?

The people subscribing to this theory have never had nor seen a grease fire.