Originally Posted by BrianBray
Intuitively it seems like smoking in the whole would work better. Powder lies flat on a surface but a stack of peppers on a screen gets smoke from all sides.
Of course, smoke penetrates everything....
Best to try a variety of techniques I guess.
Actually the ground pepper provides more open (broken) cells for the smoke to adhere to. Even though it's lying on a solid surface. Think of it this way lie a piece of glass on a table. You only have one exposed surface. Now bash that piece of glass up and spread it on the table. You have many exposed surfaces.
I will give spices a stir when smoking them and I always make sure the smoke is good TBS and not heavy white smoke. I have smoked sesame seeds and never had them taste acrid. From your description it sounds like your smoke was too thick. That would lead to anything being acrid.