Am I not burning the wood correctly or was sold crappy wood?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by overworkedasian, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. I recently bought wood from thewoodman llc ( here in NYC. They sold me on their mix hardwood blend, from their website details: "mixed hardwood blend of oak, maple, beech, birch, cherry and ash available in bulk or bundled form." I was a bit hesitant since ive only smoked with cherry and apple, but Adam (the sales guy) was insistent that all the local BBQ spots was using this wood to smoke.

    I have a Oklahoma joe longhorn offset smoker for my smoking needs. I lit up a chimney full of charcoal and poured it in when it was white hot. I threw some some small splints (a bit thinner than your normal wrists). I kept the intake door full open and the chimney lid open full.

    I noticed the exit smoke was a bit dark and smelled a bit funky/not good. I usually smoke with apple wood or cherry wood chunks and IMO, that smells amazing so I knew something was off. I opened up the lid to find my chicken 

    wings that I was using as a test all blacked up with some soot.

    Here is some pics of the chicken and the soot on the exhaust:  

    I was careful to use only smaller pieces and keep the intake door open all the way to allow the most oxygen possible. Not sure if I am burning it correctly or woodman sold me crappy wood that was never meant to be used for smoking (maybe it could be used to make coals).
  2. Hello.  Welcome.  The answer to your question could be yes.
    Is this your normal procedure and how many times have you used this procedure?  I am failing to understand why you left the intake door fully open.  This may just be a terminology thing as you called it a chimney lid.  We would use the term damper; at least I would so did you leave the end "intake door" ( not the top door of the firebox ) open where you can feed in splints or the air flow damper was fully open?

    Also what type of splints did you use and have you used them before?

    Have you bought from this company before with good results?

    Was this blend chips or pellets?

    Were the chips/pellets extremely light?  Crumbly?  Or smell "musty/mouldy?

    I don't see any problem with the wood mix, other than you may not like the taste.

    Keep Smokin!

  3. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I think 3 things may be happening-

    1. you used too much wood or

    2. you did not heat the wood on the fire box so it would catch fire and not smolder or

    3. the wood was not properly seasoned

    It is also possible that two or all three of these things were going on.

    How long were the splits?

    How many did you put on the coals in the beginning?
  4. joel11230

    joel11230 Smoke Blower

    It's got to be something with the wood. I've put in "cold" wood before without any problem. And it shouldn't matter how much the damper is open. Since there was a funky smell make sure the wood is seasoned right
  5. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    The OP is cooking with splits on an offset so good airflow is of the utmost importance, therefor the exhaust damper should be wide open at all times and the intake dampers should be as well when adding wood to the fire. The idea is to burn the wood, not to simply produce smoke as you do with chunks.
  6. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    First off birch and ash are not even considered to be hardwoods. I don't even consider birch to be something I'd smoke with. Birch and Ash around here is what is used for camp fires.

    Can't speek for beech as I know little about it. Oak is my primary smoking wood. Burns hot, clean and long and little ash. Maple is good but not very hot and produces a lot of ash. I hate it when I open the fire box and you get ash floating up onto your food.

    Sounds like you started out fine but I think you need to burn splits down to coals before you start to cook. That's what I do. I burn a a box of splits down to coals before the food ever hits the smoker. So you might have both things going on. Crappy wood and not burning correctly. You are on the right path by knowing what may be wrong. Try to go strictly oak and plan on burning up a good amount before you start smoking.
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Was the chicken cold and wet??   looks like it....
  8. Did the wood still have bark on it?  The funky smell makes me think that the wood may have been moldy under the bark.  If it didn't have bark on it and it smelled okay before you burned it then it may have been too green, in which case you can let it season.

    Technically hardwoods are deciduous woods so Birch and Ash are hardwoods but not 'hard' woods.  Evergreens are your softwoods.

    Any well seasoned hardwood should be okay for smoking meats but typically people stick to nut and fruit woods with some exceptions.

    Look for mold.  If you don't find any then the wood was probably not fully seasoned.  Just store it dry for several months and it should be okay then.

    Was it a windy day?  Wind can blow the ashes around enough to coat the food but it won't cause a funky smell.
    Last edited: May 13, 2016

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