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Discussion in 'Beef' started by dawydiuk, Dec 31, 2010.
I always get my fire going and stabilized before I put the meat in.
I use a lot of stick also in my offset, but we are trying to identify a problem. Thinking that if we can eliminate the fuel and temps as the source of the bad taste we can narrow in on what he may be doing wrong. I use about 50 percent lump and 50 percent well seasoned pecan splits, but I don't add the pecan until I have a good steady fire with the lump. When I add the splits I get a white smoke for a couple of minutes but it quickly dissipates.
I have an offset and I to have a problem with a bad taste on the bark. I cook primarily with hickory and I close my exhaust vent and intake vent approximately 1in to maintain a 225 degree temp. Now am told that I should keep my exhaust all the way open to create a thin blue smoke. Is this correct? Thanks for the great info this site gives.
Yep, only thing the exhaust vent is good for is keeping the weather out of your smoker when you are not using it. And don't close it until the smoker has cooled, creosote can build up over time!
I've done some things which give results contradictory to some of the above statements.
I've started my smokes with a cold smoke chamber 80-90% of the time for the past 15-18 months, in my SNP with a propane burner and with charcoal briquettes. With either of my factory vertical gassers, and with my charcoal Gourmet. When I say cold smoke chamber, I mean stone-cold...no fire. And, I get the best smoke reaction with the meat using this method. A smaller, hotter burning charcoal fire to get things going (1/2 a chimney of briqs) with a chuck of smoke wood close by on the side of the fire to get the smoke going, then add more hot coals as chamber temps are on the rise. When I'm getting close to my target chamber temp, I close down my intake draft to my known set-points, give or take a crack based on ambient temps, and let it ride from there while I continue to monitor chamber temps until it's stable. It may take 30-40 minutes to reach target temps from the time I first put the coals to the fire box, and on a few occasions, up to an hour.
I've never had a bitter taste or a numbing/tingling sensation on the lips, tongue or inside the mouth, and most of my best smokes have been started this way. This method is not limited to only verticals or horizontals, propane fired or charcoal. I've run my SNP with a propane burner for over a year before going back to charcoal with it, using the same cold start-up. My GOSM and Smoke Vaults gave the same results as well, so there seems to be no bias towards a particular type of fuel or configuration.
If you have a creosote issue, it's not because of the type of smoker or fuel. It's either inadequate venbtilation of the smoke chamber, or incomplete combustion of the fuel. Adding cold solid fuel directly to the fire after the meat has been place on the cooking grates can result in creosote because the cold fuels will smoke as they heat up prior to actually beginning to burn. If you add pre-heated or burning solid fuels to the fire, you can avoid that source of creosote. As an example, when you start a charcoal chimney, look at the billowing white smoke it generates until the coals have heated up a good amount. Then, notice how the smoke gradually disappears as all the coals begin burning. When they're all glowing red or are covered with grey ash, you'll have no more smoke.
The only issues I've ever had with starting a smoke with a cold smoke chamber was water condensation from having a water pot directly over a charcoal fire or propane burner which began to steam-off water before the chamber temps were high enough to support the relative humidity coming into the inlet from the fire box to the smoke chamber. This was my first cold-weather experience with my modded SNP. The lesson learned there was to leave out the water pot until the chamber temps were at least 175-200*. Then, by the time the water had begun to steam-off, the chamber temps were well above the dew-point resulting from the water vapor being introduced into the smoke chamber.
Thanks again for all the responses. After reading through all the suggestions the part about not adding cold fuel to a hot fire really makes a lot of sense as that is when I see the white smoke. So my next question is for those that use this approach do you just need to get the fuel warm, that is add it to the fuel box but not near the burning coals/fire so it can warm from the heat and then eventually start burning, or do you have an external fire where you first add the fuel before putting it in the firebox? One other suggestions that made a lot of sense is not to open the top door on the firebox as not only will I be losing heat but also the airflow that keeps the smoke in the meat chamber being pushed out, so I'll not do that again.
And one last question I have off work tomorrow and am getting excited to try smoking some meat again. Any suggestions for a cheap easy piece of meat to give smoking a shot again(not sure if ribs are considered easy/hard to smoke for a newbie)?
Thanks so much for all the helpful people on this forum. Hopefully next Sunday for football I'll have some tasty smoked meat to be eating while I watch my team!
In my opinion unless you are adding large amounts of cold fuel or wet/uncured fuel to a hot fire the white smoke is just short term and should not account for the acrid taste. BUT this is a discussion we have on the forum fairly frequently and I do understand the other side of the argument so give it a try and see if your results improve.
Store bought sausage is easy, so is pork butt in a sadistic kind of way. Sadistic being that you have a long smoke ahead of you. Easy being that you have the option to remove some of the crust before serving and the cut itself is very forgiving because the fat keeps the meat moist. Do a search on the site, there are many members that have posted really good ways to prepare pork butt.
Good luck, welcome to the club. Once you get that one, perfect meal of the smoker you're hooked for good.
If you have the whole day tomorrow, I would stop by the store and pick up a pork butt / picnic. You should be able to find one for anywhere between $0.99 to 1.89, depending on if it is on sale. They take a little bit longer because of the size of the meat and the rest time involved, but IMO, they are a little more forgiving.
Smoke some pork, use a finishing sauce, and you will have a lot of pulled pork sandwiches for a while. Search the forum and you will find a lot of great ideas on what to do with the left over PP.
Funny! Al beat me to the punch!! Guess that means you need to do a butt!
The rub recipe looks fine to me. Did you do a "break-in" burn on your offset before putting meat in it?
I often use a basket, placing the hot coals on the top of a load of unburned charcoal. The lower coals light slowly and I can do long smokes without having to add fuel. However, I have never had to use the basket for ribs.
I gotta go with Al (HB), and Meatnbeer----Pulled Pork from a butt.
I fourth that.
Buy a charcoal chimney and light the coals before you add them to the SFB. Put your wood chunks on top of the SFB to warm them before you add them to the fire.
I'd go with the sausage idea or some chicken breasts or thighs. Much shorter cooks and at this point gaining experience and learning how your Chargriller cooks will serve you better than tending the fire under a pork butt for 10-14 hrs IMHO. Save the butt for the Super Bowl.
I wonder if this would be a good place to add:
Never light your "Charcoal Chimney Starter" with it setting on concrete !!!
It could cause a "Very Dangerous Explosion!!!"
Glad I don't have any of that Pennsylvania concrete
I put mine on a 16"X8" CMU.
It never happened to me, because it was mentioned on this forum before & I heeded the warning. It has happened to many, and a few of them were on this forum.
Since I read about it, and it doesn't matter where your concrete comes from, I cut a short piece of "Made in PA" Steel Beam to set it on.
Seems it happened in Alabama & New York:
And then in Indiana:
I imagine the amount of water retained in the concrete has a lot to do with it flaking/popping or not.
Just a thought here, but the part about automobile exhaust smoke makes me wonder if there is a contaminent in your firebox. lighter fluid, oil, karosene, some chemical on your firebox or wood? sounds obvious, but ... Just askin