My first time ever smoking with oak, Wish me luck!

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by cabin fever, May 16, 2011.

  1. cabin fever

    cabin fever Smoke Blower

    I've been dying to try some simple Lockhart Texas style bbq so I ordered some white oak mini splits from They arrived this morning so I got the 22.5 WSM setup and ready to go. Right now I've got a rack of baby backs and a whole turkey breast on with nothing more than a salt and pepper rub sitting at around 225. Once the smoker came up to temp I let it roll for half an hour before putting the meat on so the oak wood could burn off any nasties, but I'm still getting mostly white smoke.

    The smell is almost a cross between hickory and cherry smoke, but not as bitter as hickory or as sweet as cherry if that makes sense. Anyway, I'm hoping the white smoke will turn blue soon so it won't give the meats that bitter taste that hickory and mesquite often do.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Wish me luck and I'll try to post some Qview here in a few hours.
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I use oak all the time, it's readily available around here. I think you will like it. It's not as strong as hickory.
  3. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Central Texas BBQ would not be what it is without OAK.  great wood for smoking I like to mix a 2 to 3 oak to pecan ratio when I smoke.
  4. cabin fever

    cabin fever Smoke Blower

    Sorry for the late response folks. I had to cut the cook short yesterday and finish in the oven due to rain. I wasn't able to snap a picture of the baby backs as they went pretty quick, but below is a pic of the smoked turkey breast after carving. My digital camera is on the cheap side so I apologize for the image quality. It doesn't show up well in the pic, but the smoke ring was incredible. I've been using mainly cherry wood up until this point and I've never gotten a smoke ring on anything until this cook with the white oak. Is oak wood generally known for producing solid smoke rings?

    Anyway, I knew the storm was coming before I started so I had no choice but to rush and throw the meat on before the wood could burn down to TBS. You could definitely taste a lot of bitterness in both meats, but it wasn't nearly as harsh as the bitter smoke from hickory. At this point I can't really comment on the oak wood until I do another cook with only TBS, but do you folks have any recommendations on other woods oak mixes well with?

    Last edited: May 17, 2011
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The turkey breast looks delicious. I use a combination of oak, hickory, and pecan.
  6. oak, hickory, and pecan here too.
  7. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     Depends on the oak, there are many different types. Personal, I like Red Oak for smoking more. See if you can locate some Blackjack or Turkey Oak. Takes longer to burn too.

    If you getting alot of white smoke, my guess is you are using too much wood. No more than a couple of chunks, half the size of your fist. Always easy to add more.

     Oak adds a great color to the meat. I like to mix it with Cherry mainly.
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  8. cabin fever

    cabin fever Smoke Blower

    I used one small 6 inch split of oak for the cook since I didn't know how strong it would be. For some reason I tend to have a hard time achieving thin blue smoke in my WSM. The last time I used hickory I went with 2 fist sized chunks and it took over an hour and a half before the thick white bellowing smoke turned blue. Oh well, that's the fun of it. I learn something new every time I pull the WSM out of the garage.
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  9. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

       Cabinfever,Split or even double split your wood and get a 'nice size' pile of embers goind BEFORE you add the meat.The smoke should settle to TBS soon after lighting(you don't use starter fluid do you?).Start with a weed burner or in the SFB with the old Boy Scout method and let her go to embers.When you go to add more wood it will almost start immediately.Small and Hot is what you want,don't get hasty,if TBS doesn't follow soon,check you exhaust AND OPEN IT FULLY THE WHOLE COOK.Control with the intake.

       You could preburn your sticks before adding to the SFB and be assyred of a clean smoke,uses more wood,but Gas is getting higher now too!

    Have fun and...
  10. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use oak for my heat source and use apple, plum and maple (what I currently have on hand) for flavor.

    Now I'm hungry for a turkey sammich!
  11. cabin fever

    cabin fever Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the tips oldschoolbbq. This is how I usually go about starting my 22.5 WSM. I fill the charcoal ring with charcoal briquettes. How much I use depends on what kind of meat I'm smoking. I then place the smoke wood on top of the charcoal and I try to bury it the best I can. I then light half a Weber chimney full of briquettes (I never use lighter fluid) and dump them in the middle of the unlit coals for the minion method. I leave the top vent open 100% at all times.

    I start with the three bottom vents open 100% until the thermometer in the lid reads 200. At that point I close two of the vents 100% and I adjust the third until the temp I want is dialed in. I've read that a lot of people start their WSM's this way, but they usually say their cooker starts producing thin blue smoke by about the time it comes up to temp. I know it's something simple that I'm doing wrong and I'm sure I'll get there eventually.
  12. oak should be pretty forgiving if it's bitter open the exhaust you'll like the oak I rarely use anything else try some pear or apricots/apple if you want a softer flavor

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