Newbie - Bitter Smoke

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by gleni, May 23, 2011.

  1. Hi all-

    I have had a cheapo Brinkman electric smoker that I have used for several seasons to reasonable newbie success. Being in Rhode Island, and living in an apartment complex, electric is the only thing they allow us to use on our porches. In any event, Home Depot had some chunk mesquite on sale and I bought a bag. I have been using Hickory exclusively up to this point. Unfortunately, the two items I have smoked up (a whole brined chicken, and a meatloaf) since then both came out very bitter. They kinda tasted like they were cooked in a kitchen that burnt to the ground during the process. Not good. I put the wood chunks in a soup can in the bottom of the smoker next to the element like I always have. My first thought is that I just don't like the taste of the Mesquite. Am I doing something wrong? Or do I just need to select a different wood?
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What does the smoke look like coming out the vent? If it is always a white billowing smoke you are over smoking and creating creosote.  What you want is thin blue smoke not white billowing. you may be putting too much in at a time
  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What you need is an AMNS !!!   [​IMG]     <----------<<<-  Even looks a little like Todd!!!!

    We've all been there with our electric smokers---too much bitter smoke---No smoke at all---running to the smoker every half hour to put chips in. Some of us (Like Me) even laid out $100 for a tube of aluminum that produces more creosote than is legal in a woodstove in many states!!!

    Check this out, and tell him "Bear Sent You":

  4. Thanks Scarbelly. I think the smoke is relatively white. Is it the internal temp that dictates the smoke color? This Brinkman has no temp control. ..
  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    This site has tons of info.

    I would suggest you spend some time reading all the different forums and the WIKIs.

    Then use the handy dandy search tool for specific interests!!

    Have a great day!!!

      Also take the outstanding free E-Course!
  6. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Mesquite is probably the hardest wood to smoke with.  It is very strong and certain cuts of meat do not do well with it.  It is great on chicken though I would use chips instead of chunks in an electric like that.  Better yet save up a little and get you a MES electric it is what I started with and I still love it.  
  7. Don't throw the Brinkmann away yet, or feel like you have to rush out and spend a few hundred $$ just for some good smoked chicken.    The reality is that here is a learning curve no matter WHAT the product, just some take a little longer (are a little less automatic) than others.

    Mesquite can be a little harsh.  And many of us typically use it in conjunction with other, less potent, smoking woods.  Mesquite blends very well in small quantities with apple, alder, and citrus, and to a lesser degree with oak and hickory.  But because it is so potent,  you can use a lot less of it and still get the rich smoky flavor it imparts.

    Since you're already using the soup can, try just a  small piece of mesquite along with some other wood.  smaller chips are better in an electric but if you have chunks and no way to cut them up, then use what you have.  Also, try putting some foil over the top of the can with only a few small holes.  As long as you are not completely smoldering the wood, you will get smoke, and as mentioned above, thin blue is best... be patient!

    A lot of times those Baggies form Home Depot have a lot of small "flakes" at the bottom.  Try that mixed into your other wood chips and let us know how you did.

    Good luck!
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That is an indication that you have too much smoke. Mesquite is a pretty strong flavor like others have pointed out.  The easiest thing for you to do in the long run would be to buy the A MAZE N SMOKER like Bear suggested, but until then try smoking with less wood at a given time and try some of the fruit woods like Apple or Pecan or Maple.   I use Apple on Chicken all the time and love the flavor. 

    The internal temp of the smoker will have some effect on the amount of smoke for sure. Do you have a thermometer? You really need one for the smoker and one for the product you are smoking. We smoke by temp not time

    Good luck and let me know if I can help  
  9. Do you have your exhaust running wide open and your intake open just a little bit. You may not be exhausting the stale smoke quick enough thus causing some bitterness. With that combined with the strength of the mesquite.
  10. smokinal

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

    My vote goes to the AMNS. Problem solved!
  11. alaskanbear

    alaskanbear Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Have to agree with Bear and all-- the A-MAZE-N Smoker is THE ONLY way to go--Its fool proof and I am here as the poster child for old fool. Worked for me, it will do wonders for anyone else.

    [​IMG]  for the WWW.A-MAZE.SMOKER.COM
  12. alaskanbear

    alaskanbear Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

  13. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Good smoke on right, bad smoke on left. Cut back on the amount of wood when you start.
  14. Hey Bear-

    I looked at these on line. Very nice. I'll let them know you sent me!

  15. A picture is worth a thousand words! Thanks for the photo!
  16. A huge thanks to everyone. I'll have a chance to make these changes this weekend. I'll pick up some apple wood pieces for now and see about getting an A-Maze-N smoker. 

  17. This could very well be. The Brinkman doesn't have a variable intake or exhaust. So, the smoke has to fill the dome and work its way down under the lid to get out. This may be over smoking things... Any thoughts of what to do with this smoker with no controls?


  18. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL---No your honor, that electric cord wasn't phony, no matter what my landlord told you !!!!

  20. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Welcome to SMF, Glad to have you with us.

    This is the place to learn, lots of good info and helpful friendly Members.

    Many of our members have years of experience in smoking meat.  They are more than happy helping Newbies learn the art.

    We have members who cure there own Bacon, Hams, Jerky, Snack Sticks, Make Their own Sausage, etc. if you want to learn,
    this is the place. 

    Don't be afraid to ask questions of them and follow their advice. You won't be sorry, you will be making great Q in no time at all...

    Just remember, when curing your own meats follow the instructions included with the cure to the letter, this is not something to experiment with.  

    Never use more cure no mater if it is Tender Quick or Cure #1 or Cure #2 than the manufacturer says to use, this can be very dangerous.

    Tender Quick and Cure#1 or Cure #2 are not interchangeable, neither Cure #1 interchangeable with Cure #2 or vise versa

    Tips For New Members.
    1. Go into your profile and Under Location put where you are.
    2. City & State or Area & State will do. This will help members when answering your questions.
    3. Go to ROLL CALL thread and tell us a little about Yourself (A Name We Can Call You) and Experience & Equipment.
    4. Do Not Post  your other questions and smokes in the Roll Call Forum.
    5. Post your questions and smokes in the Proper Forum, Beef, Pork, Sausage, Electric Smoker, Charcoal Smoker etc.
    6. Use the Wiki Section, many of our members have posted great tutorials and instructional threads so take advantage of them.
    7. When you can't find an answer ask plenty of questions, we have some highly experienced members willing to help you.
    8. When posting about your smokes be sure to post plenty of Qview (Pictures) Our Moto, "No Pics, Didn't Happen".
    9. Get a good Probe Thermometer, Don't Depend on the Built in Thermometer in your Smoker (They are notorious for being off).
    10. A good choice for a remote dual probe thermometer is the Maverick ET-732
    11. Remember, We Always Cook by Temperature and NOT BY TIME...
    12. Sign up for Jeff's 5-Day eCourse.  Click Here
    13. Don't Take Chances, Always Follow USDA Safety Guidelines When Handling Meat.

    14. If you are wanting to get into curing meat, there are many members here more than happy to help and give good advice.

    15. If you are unsure of a procedure ASK, don't ASSUME, It will make your Smoking experience much more pleasant...

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