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wood smoking

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
was not sure where to post this question but, I have smoked meat for a while now and i sometimes get the white puffy smoke which i believe is why I have a bitter taste sometimes. I use charcoal and a little wood( usually hickory) to start then just add wood when needed. What is the best way to acheive the correct smoke? I am sure this has already been discussed, if so please direct me to that area.
post #2 of 15
What kind of smoker are you using????

Is yur wood seasoned really well?? I smoke with only wood logs and usually hickory and Oak. When I add my logs or splits I leave my door open for about 10 to 15 minutes to give extra air flow until they catch up good. Leave your exhaust open as much as you can and control yur temps with yur inlets
post #3 of 15
Yes, that billowing white smoke is where you are getting the bitter taste. Creosote. It takes very little wood to impart the smokey flavor. There could be a few reasons so directing you to one or two solutions might not give you all the info you need, but we can sure cover few of them here.

Make sure the wood you are using is dry. If buying chunks or chips from a store, that usually isn't an issue.
If your using your own wood, a good sign that it is dry is the edges will be cracked.

Over use of wood can also leave a bitter taste, which goes back to a little wood goes a long ways.

When I first started, I too had this problem. Huge plumes of white smoke. I read about preburning my wood prior to adding to the fire, or in your case, the coals. Preburning is nothing more than, burning it, but not entirely. I will take a few pieces of wood and light them up until the outside is fairly well charred and it takes on a cracked surface. This helps in drying the wood even further and burning off and of the nasty things in there that turn into a gas form, which it what you are seeing in the billowing white smoke as they are being released. Some will also set their wood that they will use on top or even in the firebox, away from the flames and heat the wood up, almost to the point of ingition, but not quite. When you add the wood to the existing fire, the time it takes for the wood to ignite is almost zilch, and it ignites quickly.

Others will chime in here as well and offer some suggestions so be patient.
By the way, glad you found us. Always nice to have to membersPDT_Armataz_01_34.gif.

What type of smoker are you using?
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
I pretty much just use the charcoal to help start the fire, then I use straight wood split. My wood has been seasoned. I am using a 18" patio cooker made by southern style cookers in oklahoma. It is a vertical style.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
reading in this forum I think I am choking my fire down for one thing. Some times the heat gets out of control and i have shut vents to try and bring the heat back down, but apparently I should not close the exhaust.
post #6 of 15
If you can post what type of cooker you are using it would help me.

Creosote is a chemical reaction. If you are running open and heat up fast then cut draft (the oxygen) to firebox without cutting the damper (exhaust) you will make creosote.

The chemistry also depends on the wood, moisture in the wood, temperature of the coal bed under the wood, type of machine (reverse flows have almost no ability to make creosote by design) and amount of therm your unit is set to hold.

When you get very good with the cooker you are using you will get to where you can control with draft only, but if the fire gets away you will need the damper as well to set temp conditions for no creosote to form.

Let me know what model and I can be more specific on the chemisty.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I tryed to post a link to the smoker but I cant seam to do it. If you go to southernstylecookers.com and find the 18" patio cooker, that is what I have.
post #9 of 15
OK is there an air control on the bottom of the unit? A draft adjustment?
post #10 of 15

Pic taken from the site.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks RickW,
If you look in the picture that stainless piece at the bottom acts as an air intake and if you open it all the way the smoker has an ash tray that makes it easy to remove the ash.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ok, so if I understand I need to preburn my wood and adjust my temps with my intake, do not shut off my exaust? Please clarify if I am not understanding.
post #13 of 15

Fireball.......................................... ....;}-

Try this...

Fire Control in the Offset Firebox Smoker

As a stick burner, I tend to have more hands on during my smoke sessions than the Electric, Gas or Pellet Smokers. But ,then that’s what I enjoy. The involvement in feeding the fire, controlling combustion, and just being close to my Pit. Conversation and friendships flourish in this environment; beer(or other drinks) are definitely in order, as are the snacks you will be creating as you monitor the progress.
And , the result of “showmanship” ensures only YOU are the GO-TO GUY for BBQ in your neighborhood.LOL!

O.K. Say you want to go with just wood. What is first?
Build a fire, be it with a chimney, gas support(weed burner), or the old Boy Scout way.
Let this fire burn until you have a good bed of embers(1 hr. or so). Next, adjust the intake to the temp . you want(your exhaust should be wide open and left that way the entire cook).Do the adjustments slowly and wait between moves.It takes a few to do it.Drink something.
(firewood. Should be about one year old, have no mold or bugs on it, and split to a size your smoker can handle.)

Size of your wood is a factor in maintenance of a fire.
In a smoker the size of “FLO”-(20”X40” with an upright) SFB I can use 16” sticks, split twice or appox. 4”X4”.

however in my New Braunsfeld-(16”X30”)SFB

I use 8” sticks , about 2”X2” in size.

What does this do for me?
I use a thermometer at the grate level of the smoke chamber and one in the thickest part of the meat I am smoking. This gives me a visual of what’s happening, tracking both the IMT(internal meat temp.) and the cooking level temp.
I try to keep the cooking temp. at 220*F to 225*F-giving me a window to work with when things start to change.
I watch for a 5*F to 10*F changes on the grate level therm. When I notice it going down, I add a piece of wood and open the intake just a wee bit, watch and shut it back down when stable. When it increases in temp., I’ll close it down, in increments, until stability occurs .This change can happen quick so be aware. If it gets out of hand you could be fighting an hour to stabilize it…
It takes a little more effort this way , but you will notice a great difference in the taste of your “Q”. I know circumstances call for alternate methods and different strokes for different people, but as for me……………………….
post #14 of 15
very good question and responses as i was wondering the same thing. i just built a smoke house with a firebox 4' away. it goes in cycles for me, add wood, get white smoke, then tbs,fire almost out, add wood, white smoke. will try pre burning, thanks for the advice.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
With everyones help I believe I got it figured out and I am excited to try my next smoke. Thanks for everyones input. I will let you all know how it goes. I am sure i will end up with more questions and now I know where to ask them.
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