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Too heavy on the smoke...what am I doing wrong?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Last year I made ribs a few times and used only hickory, and while they were good I felt the smoke flavor was often a little too heavy.

 

This year my brother gave me a bunch of cherry so I have been using that, hoping for a little lighter smoke. While everyone really likes my ribs I still feel like they almost have too much smoke flavor going on. It's even worse if I put them in the fridge for a day or two, the smoke smell becomes almost overpowering.

 

I'm using a Chargriller Duo. Am I keeping too much smoke inside the box or what? Typically I smoke ribs for 2 hours before foiling them.

 

I'm still experimenting with my method so I'm open to suggestions. Should I cut down to an hour of smoke time?

post #2 of 9
Without knowing all the particulars it's a bit of a guessing game. If you're using all wood, make sure the fire is burning cleanly and the smoke is thin blue to almost invisible. Same goes for charcoal, only maybe use fewer chunks and wait for the smoke to thin out before putting the meat on.
post #3 of 9

Ghunt , hello .  You're problem could be ( not TOO much smoke ) but the wrong smoke . . . :confused:

 

Two shots of smoke                                ;

 

 1st. is barely visible ... a perfect smoke  , IMHO. This gives a light sweet smell and taste , where as the next shot

 

 

Good smoke  has a good Thin Blue Smoke and is good for meats but having a more pronounced smokiness to it!!!

 

   This is a bit too much 'white' in the thick cloud...

 

  still too much and could cause Creosote  . . .

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

What I have been doing is starting the coals with charcoal (before the meat goes on) to get the temp up, then I add wood and use straight wood from there on out.

 

oldschool, what you're showing makes sense and may be my problem and I may have to play with the vents some. If I have the firebox vent wide open, the temp gets too hot (like if I leave it unattended for 30 minutes it can be pushing 280-300 degrees). I usually close the firebox vent some to cut the draft a bit and it helps stabilize the temp.

 

I think I'm seeing my issue, when I close off the firebox vent it creates more smoke. While doing this I usually also have the smoke vent on the smoker mostly closed, again to keep the temp up as if I have the vent open too far the temperature seems to drop.

 

Maybe I need to keep the firebox vent open AND keep the smoke vent open more? Also, I've been using split pieces of wood, about 1/4 log sized (from a ~6" tree), are these pieces too big?

 

Last couple times I had very heavy smoke so that's definitely the problem.

post #5 of 9

I have the same setup as you so maybe I can help. First, is your wood good and dry? If not you will get some funky tastes. Second, I always leave my exhaust all the open. That's what creates the draft to bring heat and smoke into the cook chamber. One mod that I did was to take one of my extra dampers and draw a template on the firebox above the fire, then cut it out and add another damper for more control of the airflow. But even before that I would get the chamber up to temp and then close the damper by 1/4 to 1/2 and it would hold temp. Maybe you are adding too much wood at one time and the air can't circulate, so the wood is kind of smoldering and not burning. Just some things to think about.

post #6 of 9

As mentioned above, let the fire set in a little longer before putting the ribs on.  Also, with ribs, you only need a few chunks of wood for enough smoke.  Your splits may be a little too big.  But, if you are using that size, just let them burn a little longer before you put your meat on to get the thin blue smoke.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Maybe I'll try for more charcoal and less wood. I was using wood chunks (hickory, the kind you can buy at the store) but they seemed to burn up way too fast especially when the coals got really hot.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghunt View Post
 

Maybe I'll try for more charcoal and less wood. I was using wood chunks (hickory, the kind you can buy at the store) but they seemed to burn up way too fast especially when the coals got really hot.

Yeah, store bought chunks are going to be really dry.  If you have access to someone who can cut you wood, that would be great.  If not you can order wood chunks online.  I use Fruita Wood, you can search them.  They are out of Colorado.  I live in Indiana and they get to me within two days of ordering so I get really fresh wood.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghunt View Post

What I have been doing is starting the coals with charcoal (before the meat goes on) to get the temp up, then I add wood and use straight wood from there on out.

oldschool, what you're showing makes sense and may be my problem and I may have to play with the vents some. If I have the firebox vent wide open, the temp gets too hot (like if I leave it unattended for 30 minutes it can be pushing 280-300 degrees). I usually close the firebox vent some to cut the draft a bit and it helps stabilize the temp.

I think I'm seeing my issue, when I close off the firebox vent it creates more smoke. While doing this I usually also have the smoke vent on the smoker mostly closed, again to keep the temp up as if I have the vent open too far the temperature seems to drop.

Maybe I need to keep the firebox vent open AND keep the smoke vent open more? Also, I've been using split pieces of wood, about 1/4 log sized (from a ~6" tree), are these pieces too big?

Last couple times I had very heavy smoke so that's definitely the problem.

I think this could/would be most of your problem... when you close the exhaust (smoker) vent like that the smoker can't breath... in turn creating the heavy white smoke (creosote)... try running with exhaust vent wide open and control your heat/fire with just the intake (firebox) vent... when you make changes with your intake vent it will take a good 15 minutes or so to notice the results... weather it be trying to lowering or raise your temps... If you close your intake all the way and temps are still rising then we need to start looking for air leaks... Also what you can try... If temps are rising and won't come down... pull one or two of the burning splits back out of the firebox... as mentioned above... your splits might be to big too.... sometimes you have to mange your fire with the size and amount of wood...
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