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Flavor of bark?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
What would the flavor of the "bark" be described as when refering to a pork butt. The few times I've had smoked "butt" or attempted to smoke it myself, the flavor was sort of a bitter, burned, charcoal taste. Is this correct? If not what could the problem be? The heat never got above 270, so I don't think it was burned. I don't know... Maybe too much smoke? Or, is this how smoked meat bark tastes? confused.gif
post #2 of 13
Sounds like it may have been too much smoke at one given time. You just need the TBS, if you can't see any smoke, but you can smell it, you're doing ok. Don't add wood as soon as the smoke is not visible, it's probably still smoldering. Good luck my friend.
post #3 of 13
Like the Dude said. Keep your smoke clean. Thick dirty smoke will make food awful. Thin "clean" smoke will lightly flavor your food and not be bitter.
post #4 of 13
It sounds like you have creosote formed on your food. It is black and bitter / awful tasting, and will make your tongue numb. There are some things that you can do to eliminate the formation of creosote:
  1. Control your temperatures at the air intake. Don't shut off your exhaust damper, because you are keeping the smoke inside your smoker to long, and it will form creosote on your food.
  2. Use well seasoned smoke (flavor) wood. Green wood will lead to creosote. I am also of the opinion that you do not need to pre-soak your wood...add it dry.
  3. Watch your smoke, and keep it thin and blue. You can tell when a fire is burning clean just by looking at it. Belching white (dirty) smoke or (even dirtier) yellow smoke will leave you with bitter tasting food. The exhaust should be thin and blue and this will lead to the best tasting 'Que.
  4. Learn that less can be more when it comes to applying smoke to food. We are so conditioned to think that bigger and more is better, and this is not the case with smoking meat. Thin, blue, less smoke will yield the best results! Here is a photo of some thin blue smoke coming from my smoker.

These are a couple of things you can try, but I am sure that others will have more suggestions. Keep at it, and let us know how the next smoke turns out.

BBQ Eng.
post #5 of 13
I agree with all said.Your bark should taste like a pleasant woodsy combo of your rub.Maybe try some lighter woods like apple,pecan,pear etc.
post #6 of 13
Need a little more info to try and help with your problem.

What type of smoker are you using?
What type of wood are you using?
Is the wood..sawdust, chunks, whole sticks?
How and when are you adding the wood?
What color is the smoke coming out of your smoker?
post #7 of 13
Another thing you might try is to use turbinado sugar instead of brown sugar in your rub. Depending on how you manage your temperatures, sometimes the brown sugar can caramelize too soon and ends up burning. Turbinado (sold usually as "Sugar in the Raw") has a higher burn temperature and is therefore a bit more forgiving to higher temperatures.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have an MES. The wood is commercial hickory chips, the smoke was bluish but NOT thin by any means. I believe I am over smoking. Also, I was keeping the draft almost completly closed. I'll give it another try with these two changes. Less smoke and draft open. Thanks for the help. Keep the tips coming.
post #9 of 13
The MES really doesn't need much smoke. Very easy to oversmoke. I would never close the damper except to preheat. There are others here with much more experience on the MES but I learned that right away.
post #10 of 13
If you're limiting the 'draft' then you've got too much heat going. Cut back on the heat source next time so that you can at least leave the outgoing dampner fully open. Limiting the draft (especially output) to control the temp results in anaerobic combustion which greatly increases carbon (creosote/soot) formation. In my experience, it's almost impossible to over-smoke your food as long as you have the proper level of heat and airflow. Also, check to make sure that your thermometer is properly calibrated. You can't always trust 'em so do the ice water test to make sure it's registering the proper temp. If the thermometer is mounted on the smoker then buy yourself a $4.00 oven thermometer from Wal-Mart and compare temps.

Better luck on the next smoke,

post #11 of 13
The exhaust needs to be open try that along with thin blue smoke or just smelling the wood and I'd bet it will taste much better.
post #12 of 13
Dang it! Now ya gotta do a dozen or more smokes to check and see if it's all right! It's too much, I tell ya.. it's just horrible having to keep working at this dang hobby all the time... cookin', eatin', cookin' some more, eatin' more and more and more, trying to get it just right, messing up, having to eat your mistakes, constantly being forced to gobble down ribs, briskets, chickens, sausages, butts, beef roasts, more ribs, more chicken - - it's murder, I tell ya! How do we STAND it????PDT_Armataz_01_28.gif
post #13 of 13
Hey Pops, I was gettin' waaaay too fat, so I started givin' it away at work....
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