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New Smoker

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

 Hit $900 on a video lottery machine last Monday so I decided to spend part of it on a new smoker. Bought the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn model at Walmart for $429. Stopped by my local hardware store and got a 3 inch elbow to lower the exhaust to grate level. Bought some high temp sealant to seal all the cracks and then bought some fiber wood stove gasket to seal the cook chamber door and firebox. 


Seasoned it all day the next day and then fired it up for my first cook on Sunday. I purchased a beef brisket point from Wally for $27.99. Seasoned it with Aaron Franklin's suggestion of half and half salt and pepper. Let it warm up for an hour to room temperature. Cooked at 250 degrees with hardwood lump charcoal and apple wood from an apple tree we cut down 2 years ago.


I cooked it for 4 hours until it hit 165 degrees and then foiled it for another 4 hours. Came out nice and tender and juicy from the foil. I let it rest in the smoker uncovered for an additional hour before slicing.


The meat had a perfect smoke ring, had just the right tenderness, but tasted AWFUL!!!


Had the dreaded bitter smell after slicing and then had the bitter, over-smoked taste. 



What the heck did I do wrong? Do wood smokers require less smoke than a drum style? I used the same wood I've smoked with for the past year. Never had this happen before.  


The Meat was edible but it was just way too bitter. I don't know if I didn't season the smoker long enough, if my wood was bad, or if I just got too much smoke involved.

post #2 of 5

I do suspect your apple wood was still green or not properly dried, thus giving you the bitter taste.

post #3 of 5
I wouldn't think your wood was too green after 2 years unless it was a log that you are using that's not chunked out.
It sounds like you might have gotten some creosote build up! Did you have your exhaust vent open all the way? That will give you a bitter flavor and smell ! Maybe try to season the smoker again with the vent open and a hot fire.
post #4 of 5

Agree with Pellet that is sounds like an air flow issue.  In a stick burner like that Okie Joe, it is important to keep the air - and by association, the smoke - moving at all times in the cook chamber.  If the smoke sits on the meat in your chamber, it can cause a buildup of creosote on your meat.  This is likely the cause of that bitter taste on your brisket.  


From your description, it sounds like you sealed your pit up pretty tight, so the only air/smoke entering and exiting the smoker is through the dampers.  In theory, this should actually make controlling air flow pretty easy.  Every pit has its own quirks and characteristics, and it'll take a few cooks for you to get yours figured out, but I'd suggest starting with your exhaust damper wide open, and attempting to control your temps with the firebox dampers.


Hope that helps...Good luck!



post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

 My exhaust was wide open during the entire duration of the cook. I think the problem was that my wood is still too green. It has sit outside for 2 years after being split but it has been such a wet climate around here that I think it's still not dried properly. 


I bought a bag of Hickory chunks that I will use on my next cook to see if it makes a difference. If the food is still too bitter after that then I will re-season the smoker again. 

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