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Smoke flavor - weak?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I just attempted my 9th smoking process, third attempt with pork butts. I smoked two 5.5lbs boston butts. Both came out very tender and juicy. However, the smoke flavor was not as strong as my previous two attempts. Setup: MES30, AMNPS, MAV 732, and second meat temp probe. 

I did have a couple of changes from my first two attempts.

First, this time I used "Pittmaster's choice" (first time use) pellets vs. hickory\apple pellet mix.

Secondly, I used a separate drip\water pan (with apple juice mix) vs. the built in water pan. This pan did cause an issue. I thought I was running at 225 (MES set to 240). However, I later realized that for the first 90 minutes, I was only running @ 205. I had to increase my temp to 260 on the MES to read 225 on the Mav.


The butts were placed side by side, second shelf from the top. I was using the Mav 732 bbq probe on the same grill as the meat on the door side. The AMNPS smoked for the entire 11 hrs, worked flawlessly, so I didn't go out. I foiled the meat at 165, then continued til 195, placed into cooler for at least 1 hr. The first butt came out after 10hrs in the smoker. The second 11hrs.


The bone pulled easily again tender and juicy. I just expected more of smoke flavor. Was this the pellet choice ? or the fact I was cooking below 225 for the first 1.5 hrs ? or was I really cooking at the higher temp as read on the MES?

post #2 of 8

I'm not sure what your complaint is?  The smoke flavor is weak, is what you are saying, so are you complaining about the flawless
AMNPS, or Pitmaster's choice ( which many on this forum claim is great), or are you complaining about the low MES 205º temp which had to be adjust to achieve 225º.


It doesn't take much smoke to flavor something, however the smoke to reach deep into the meat takes time, and you had an appropriate amount of time, depending on the weight of each pork butt at the start of the smoke?  The AMNPS allows you to burn from both ends, you might try that, plus you could also add chips into the chip tray for the first hour or two, and see if that is enough smoke to achieve the flavor you seek.


You still managed to have some tasty pork butt.


You might try injection, I always inject apple juice mixed with some of my rub.  The extra liquid inside may help transfer the smoke flavor better. 

post #3 of 8

Maxx, morning....  Pitmasters Choice is a blend that does not overpower the flavor of the meat....  It provides a subtle, sweet, mild flavor that accompanies many foods very well.... It is my choice for 90% of my smoking now.....

If you are looking for that "in your face" smokey aroma and flavor, add some mesquite chips to the pitmasters choice blend.....  I would start with a tablespoon per row in the AMNPS and see if that works for you..... I have struggled with the smoke flavor of foods for over a year....  most of the time, the flavor was too powerful until I cut the smoke time down to 1-2 hours.... It is a trial and error process... different wood provides different flavor profiles....  At times I will add 10 minutes of mesquite, just enough for my tastes.... Some food just needs a "blast" of smokey flavor....  




post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

delta - I didn't intend to complain. I was more curious, so I had a question. The smoke flavor was not as deep as my previous two pork butt attempts which I used an apple & hickory pellet mix. I didn't know whether it was because of the pitmaster blend or my poor temp management for the first 1-1/2 hrs. This was my first smoke with the pitmaster blend. Because of the many great comments on this site, I ordered 10lbs right away. I guess the basic question, how big of an impact does the temp have on the "depth" of smoke flavor?


dave - I agree. Trial and error. Smoke very subjective. Everyone has their own preference. Next time I'll try to mix the pellets a bit along with injection as delta suggested.


Thanks all !

post #5 of 8
I have never used pitmaster pellets so I can't comment on them, but I have cold smoked a fair bit. The 20 degree cooler temp you were experiencing would not have any real effect on smoke penetration. I would have to say they are just a milder blend of pellet. I think usually err on the side of a lighter smoke anyway with a new product. I can always add more smoke next time but a can't take it out of an oversmoked product. Keep at it you'll get it.
post #6 of 8

 The different wood seems to be the biggest difference. I'm not familiar with pitmasters choice, however,hickory is a strong flavour.




post #7 of 8

I have used both the Hickory and Pitmaster's Choice Pellets and can definitely say the PMC is milder. My family hated the Hickory pellets, harsh bite and slight acrid smell, but absolutely love the PMC pellets. No one complains about the door being open or the sweet smell and flavor PMC imparts. Mix in some of your Hickory pellets with the PMC if you desire the stronger flavor...JJ

post #8 of 8

PMC  not available way down here ,as far as I know.Shipping cost going to hurt. Hickory pretty strong ,so I  back it off a bit by mixing in some apple. Pecan a nice choice as well.

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