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Too much smoke with 22" Weber

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey gang.  Looking for some tips to get this sorted out.


I'm using a brand new 22" Weber kettle setup indirect with water pan in the center of the coal grate.  I've used Wicked Good lump coal and Kingsford blue.  I'm getting some bitter creosote flavor from too much smoke.  The problem is I either get tons of smoke or none at all.  This happens at grate temps anywhere from 225-300F.  First I was using chips.  Local BBQ store said to try chunks so I bought a bag of apple chunks.  No matter what I haven't been able to lick this issue.  New grill helps a lot.  Lump coal seems to be cleaner than Kingsford but either way I get that tongue numbing bitterness.


Is there a process to adding food/smoke or something?  I've been dialing the fire in first.  Hit my grill temp and then add the wood and food at the same time.  

Throw a guy a rope?

post #2 of 10

How much wood are you using and how are you setting up the coals ?

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

I start the coals in a chimney with a komado joe starter.  I don't really arrange them perse'.  Just pour them in on one side of the grill.

post #4 of 10

  Try mixing a few lumps of wood into the charcoal and then add the lite coals on top. Sounds like your wood is burning up too fast from being on top.



post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Are you saying minion method?  Pour lit coals on to unlit coals mixed with wood chunks?

post #6 of 10

 Yes, that's it.



post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Ok I'll give that a shot on the next smoke.  

I use 1-2 small chunks.  Try to eyeball 4-6 ounces.

post #8 of 10
I'd recommend getting a pair of weber charcoal baskets. I only use one, gave the other one to a friend. Put a dozen unlit coals at the bottom. Fire up half a chimney of coals with the flavor wood chunks on top and when that is going good, bottom coals fully lit and top coals half lit, then pour that into basket. Instant minion!!!

I put a pic of my setup in the 22 or 26 kettle thread...
post #9 of 10

Sounds like you are using a lot of lit charcoal and are throttling back on a very hot fire to cook. This will cause the charcoal to smoke, adding wood make it worse.

Try this or something like it-

My kettle setup, the wood is about3" by3/4", the charcoal is 3 layers thick. The wood is just below the grill grate-


3/4 chimney of fully lit lump charcoal place at the open end of the briquettes to start the fire-


I cook this way a lot and have never had over smoked food.

post #10 of 10

Assuming your wood is aged, creosote flavor on the food is generally the result of too many unburned particulates in the smoke laying on the moist meat.  Unburned particulates are the result of cold fuel igniting unevenly and causing dirty smoke, usually indicated by the smoke being white or grey. 


The minion method works nicely because the charcoal and wood loaded in the smoker have a chance to pre-heat from the hot coals you add next to them.  Fuel that has a chance to pre-heat results in a cleaner, carbonizing burn and a more even ignition.  Wait about 30 minutes or so after you add the hot coals for the white or grey smoke to start showing signs of turning blue, which is your indication that your fuel is burning properly.  That's when you load the meat. 


Definitely use chunks not chips.  If you have chips, which you always get in bag of chunks, just bury them in the cold charcoal.  They'll pre-heat, burn clean, and release the flavors you want during the smoke. 


I have an oak tree in my backyard and use just about everything that falls out of it or that I trim off it in both my Weber Kettle and WSM along with the charcoal.  I age the wood first of course so it is dry.  I bury the small pieces of wood in the charcoal and put the bigger pieces on top generally.  I add wood now whether I'm grilling or smoking, but make sure the smoke is blue. 


I am a Kingsford Blue Bag guy just because it is cheap.  Lump burns cleaner and hotter (more air spaces between the fuel) but I haven't tasted enough of a difference to justify the extra cost.  I use lump when I want a hot fire.     

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