View Full Version : When Does Wood Smoke?

06-15-2017, 04:32 PM
Been smoking for about 10 years, but never really understood this. When does wood make it's best smoke. Does it produce that wispy, nice smoke while there's still wood on the chunk or does it have to burn all the way to coal before it goes whispy, rather than billowy?
When I fire up the coals and place the chunks on, the smoke is billowy and heavy. About an hour or so later, the smoke is very, very lite and almost undetectable, but that's when temp is regulated and that's when I put the meat on.

06-15-2017, 09:06 PM
When a fire stops flaming, it begins to smolder. At this point, combustion stops occurring in the flame, and begins occurring on the surface of the wood/charcoal. Less oxygen is required of the fire at this point. As long as there is enough oxygen and fuel being converted to heat, then this an ideal cooking heat source as the fire will be burning very clean.

At the point when the cooker begins to come up to temperature and the fire is stabilized, this will become the blue smoke state.

At the point where flaming stops and smoldering begins, there is too little oxygen for clean burning. I believe this to be the "white smoke" point.

You don't need a big piece of wood to get a good smoke, in fact, when it comes to making "thin blue smoke", bigger is NOT necessarily better. The key is to have small amounts of wood burn efficiently, so you get the sweet smoke flavor, and not a bitter, over-smoked flavor.

Dampened wood or cold wood on a fire can give off white smoke until the wood is heated and dry. This type of smoke is mostly moisture escaping from the wood and may not be from poor combustion.

White smoke from poor combustion or from poor airflow in the smoker is heavy, smells overpowering, and it can cause that bitter acrid taste that everyone fears. Rule of thumb is to follow your sense of smell. Bad smoke is overpowering and smells bad.

Sweet blue can be seen even when it's "invisible" but you have to get the right angle of light on it. It's very thin, and wispy, and almost invisible.

follow your nose rather than your eyes. If you smell wood smoke, leave it alone, if you do not then add a few wood chunks, right on top of some red-hot coals, the best smoke is smelled, not seen.

06-15-2017, 09:23 PM
^^^^^ that's pretty much it in a nutshell

BBQ Freak
06-15-2017, 09:26 PM
if you can not see any smoke and just clear heatwaves coming out your stack , that is what you want .