How Long to Smoke?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by seven10ashbury, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. I read Richard McPeake's "The Art of Smokology" and he wrote that you shouldn't use wood smoke for more than two hours during a cook. After the two hours are up, he says to just use lump. I've also seen people use wood for the duration of a cook. What do you guys think is better? Also, what about the carcinogens?

  2. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    McPeake? McPeake? That guy owes me money! Just kidding.

    I've seen this debated for a long time. Keep on smoking with the thin blue til you either take it off the smoker or until you wrap whatever in foil. Unless you're looking for a lighter smoked flavor.

    Creosote is always a possibility. That's the nasty stuff you can get from the smoke. Keep the smoke light, not heavy rolling smoke. Just kiss the meat with it.

    Often when I'm using my WSM I use lump and mix in wood chunks using the Minion Method. Sometimes I'll see periods where there's no smoke at all then all of the sudden it'll hit a chunk and the smoke starts back up again. Or sometimes I'll add a chunk here and there to keep it going. The carcinogens can be just as bad for you (I believe) from a thick heavy bark. I'm no doctor, but I'd guess as long as you're not eating BBQ everyday for 10 years, you'll probably be just fine.
  3. oneshot

    oneshot Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Meat doesn't really begin to take on smoke until the meat temps. are at about 100 degrees, so just heat to that point wouldn't make much difference. After that, it just depends on how much smoke flavor you want. If you begin with smoke and only go for 2 hours then switch to just heat you may not get much smoke flavor depending on the size and type of meat you're smoking.
    The carcinogens could become a problem with heavy bark. This is basically burnt meat and is supposedly not good for you. But being people been eating this way for god knows how long I think you'll be ok. Because you are smoking food doesn't mean you have to have a heavy bark, some like it that way and some don't. It's up to you. Besides, it wouldn't be the first time these type of people were wrong!!!! Remember when they said eggs were bad for you or when that Oprah person said beef was bad for everyone???
    I'll eat what makes me happy and live the way I want. No politically correct for me, ever!!!!!

    My statement at the beginning of my post may have been slightly off or misunderstood. It was brought to my attention and I wish to apologize for not conveying this concept correctly. Below is the correct wording and is more directed to larger cuts of meat. I hope this clarifies any misunderstanding.

    Allow the shoulder to warm up to at least 100F internal temperature before you switch to the smoke setting. This will allow the meat fibers to open up, resulting in better smoke penetration.
  4. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    I've never heard of smoke meats being carcinogens. Quick, someone tell the settlers and indians!

    All kidding aside, I love smoke. Some people even use wood as their only source of fuel when smoking foods.

    As everyone else has already said, you'll be fine. The author of that book is the sole person advocating for shorter smoke.
  5. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've used propane with wood chucks, charcoal (bricks and lump) with wood chunks and all wood to smoke with. Out of all of these different fuels my favorite, by far, is the all wood smokes.

    I don't know the author but each to their own I guess.
  6. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    #1 Most thins smoke till done er foiled, sausage bein one a the exceptions.

  7. scpatterson

    scpatterson Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use wood from the start to the finish and I have never over smoked anything. I think the key is keeping the stack wide open and using good seasoned wood.....
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    IMHO - McPakes's assesment is so far off for how most of us smoke. I think he over smoked his tests and as such got faulty results. I am 63 and have no visible effects from a long smoking habit - habit -habit that I know of [​IMG][​IMG]
  9. kurtsara

    kurtsara Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    That movie was great!
  10. timleo

    timleo Smoke Blower

    How long to smoke?

    I intend to smoke for the rest of my life.
  11. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    How long to smoke?

    Till its done[​IMG]
  12. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    Unless he was talking about the other smoke, then yes, two hours straight is probably enough....

  13. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If referring to the "other" then more than 2 hours may be required, or take as needed for what ails ya [​IMG]

    Whenever I smoke I have wood going 100% of the time as my base heat source, I always have a few big chunks of oak ready to add to the fire and add other woods as the smoke goes on for flavor.
    2 hours would be good for many cuts of meat but take something like a brisket for example, 2 hours smoke on one (in my opinion) would not be nearly enough, looking at a 12-15 hour smoke and using a cut of meat that benefits form more smoke than most cuts I keep the thin blue flowing on those for several hours.
  14. What do you usually use as your base wood? I'm thinking of going to an all wood method.
  15. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Maybe he's using the billowing white smoke and I'm sure two hours of that would be more than enough [​IMG]
  16. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I had someone send me an email from some guy selling his bbq / smoking book. He head a short clip on smoking. LOOKED LIKE HE WAS BURNING TRASH!!! Had smoke rolling out his smoker.
    I guess 2 hours might be enough doing the Thick White Smoke method
    But i would not want to eat it.

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