• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Bitter taste this time

barrycuda

Fire Starter
31
10
Joined Dec 14, 2010
Sunday was my 4th smoke using my Masterbuilt XL. First three turned out pretty good for a rookie. This time I cooked chicken quarters, a rack of baby backs and a rack of beef ribs. The ribs ended up with a bitter taste this time. I don't know if I am making too much smoke or not. I added some cherry chunks this time to the pecan that I have been using for the first 3 smokes. I am using a 10" cast iron pan and wood chunks. How many chunks are you guys using at a time? I don't seem to get the thin blue smoke that everybody wants. The cherry I was using is from a wild cherry tree and I did not use any bark. The wood was cut a year ago so I know it was not green. Thanks.

Barry
 

arnie

Smoking Fanatic
649
14
Joined Feb 20, 2010
If you have thick white smoke you have too much and it will most likely be bitter.

Cut back a bit
 

les3176

Master of the Pit
1,290
22
Joined Feb 10, 2009
I use 2-3 chunks at a time with my chargriller and that seems to do the trick. Also make sure you have your exhaust vents open so there is good airflow.
 

adiochiro3

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
2,088
41
Joined Apr 19, 2010
The wood chunks should only smolder.  Sometimes when I use charcoal I'll put the chunks near the coals without even touching them to get that smoldering burn for the TBS.  One or two at a time works best.  And cherry is awesome for smoking most things!!!
 

rbranstner

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,700
38
Joined Oct 18, 2007
If you aren't getting the thin blue smoke then I'm guessing you are getting thicker white smoke which will will cause cresote build up on your meat and it is going to taste bitter. Are you using a lid on your cast iron pan? I use a pan as well but I have a lid and I drilled holes in the lid to help get some exhaust to the wood. Also like the others said make sure you have enough air moving through your smoker. Leave the top exhaust wide open and you might need to get more intake air going if you are still not getting enough air. I also had to move my cast iron pan further away from my flames as they were getting to hot. I just put a few fire bricks between the flames and the pan.
 

sqwib

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,964
1,028
Joined Sep 25, 2007
I agree its not quantity you want its "quality"

 

richoso1

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
8,433
40
Joined Jun 21, 2007
If you aren't getting the thin blue smoke then I'm guessing you are getting thicker white smoke which will will cause cresote build up on your meat and it is going to taste bitter. Are you using a lid on your cast iron pan? I use a pan as well but I have a lid and I drilled holes in the lid to help get some exhaust to the wood. Also like the others said make sure you have enough air moving through your smoker. Leave the top exhaust wide open and you might need to get more intake air going if you are still not getting enough air. I also had to move my cast iron pan further away from my flames as they were getting to hot. I just put a few fire bricks between the flames and the pan.
The man has given you some good advise, give it a try. It's all good my friend.
 

tjohnson

Smoking Guru
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Insider
5,600
139
Joined Dec 29, 2009
TBS, Also Known As "Ninja Smoke".

Todd
 

SmokinAl

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
47,934
8,391
Joined Jun 22, 2009
That pic from SQUIB is exactly what you should be trying to get your smoke to look like. It doesn't happen all the time, but it's the goal.
 

pineywoods

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
Administrator
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
OTBS Admin
Group Lead
27,172
1,952
Joined Mar 22, 2008
You've been given some good advice already and all I'll add is this. Seeing smoke is not near as important as smelling smoke and if you can smell it so can the meat. TBS is often hard to see but you can usually smell it. 
 

sqwib

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
5,964
1,028
Joined Sep 25, 2007
You've been given some good advice already and all I'll add is this. Seeing smoke is not near as important as smelling smoke and if you can smell it so can the meat. TBS is often hard to see but you can usually smell it. 

You Nailed it,

Its hard to photograph as well
 
Last edited:

otis857

Smoke Blower
78
13
Joined Aug 16, 2007
Like rbranstner, I had to get a cheap lid for my cast iron frying pan too. Otherwise the chunks would still catch fire or burn too fast. I drilled 5/16 holes in the lid for the smoke to escape and still ended up putting 1/4 inch bolts loose with nuts in some of the holes to slow the burning down. This method worked good to tune the amount of smoke coming out and air going into the pan. Just  use more or less bolts in the holes. Use no more than 2 chunks at a time and you should get a thinner blue smoke. Air flow is a problem with these smokers and I ended up making a chimney off the back (ala Traeger design) and that made a huge difference in drawing air through the smoker. Now it seems to draw as good as my old Bar B Chef offset stick burner.
 

dbarnett66

Smoke Blower
84
10
Joined Jun 27, 2008
I am using 4 fist sized chunks of pecan wrapped in aluminum foil on an old Lodge cast Iron skillet for my pork butts. I just sit the cast iron pan on top of the crappy factory pan and it works like a champ. I put two chunks in the pan at the beginning and the other two a couple of hours later. After that, I am done. My father-in-law loved the flavor so much that he wants to pay me for another pork butt in an other week or so. Since I want to keep in good graces with my in-laws, I won't be taking any money..... :)
 

barrycuda

Fire Starter
31
10
Joined Dec 14, 2010
Thanks for the replys. I will try to find a top for my pan. Do you punch holes in the aluminum foil when you wrap the chunks?
 

SmokinAl

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
47,934
8,391
Joined Jun 22, 2009
I am using 4 fist sized chunks of pecan wrapped in aluminum foil on an old Lodge cast Iron skillet for my pork butts. I just sit the cast iron pan on top of the crappy factory pan and it works like a champ. I put two chunks in the pan at the beginning and the other two a couple of hours later. After that, I am done. My father-in-law loved the flavor so much that he wants to pay me for another pork butt in an other week or so. Since I want to keep in good graces with my in-laws, I won't be taking any money..... :)

Nothing beats having happy in-laws.   
 

dbarnett66

Smoke Blower
84
10
Joined Jun 27, 2008
I just use the point edge of the knife to poke 4 or 5 holes on top. I use haevy duty aluminum foil. Works great.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.