BLUE Smoke

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Original poster
Jul 6, 2013
Southern California
I've read that before putting meat on the grill you have to wait for blue smoke coming out of the chimney. I use a combination of wood and charcoal and have to wait almost an hour for blue smoke to appear, is that normal? Do I have to wait for blue smoke? When the smoke becomes a light misty white is it okay to start smoking the meat? If have an OK Joe Longhorn smoker.
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Ok I'd like everyone's input on this too. I have a UDS and have white smoke for atleast the 1st hour. They say the white smoke is strong and leaves a bitter taste. I put my meat on as soon as the smoker is up to temp. White smoke or not. I have never had bitter tasting BBQ but wonder if things would be even better if I waited for the proper smoke. I guess I've written the white smoke off to the charcoal briquettes starting off from using the minion method.
I would say yes. My offset takes a good 45 minutes to an hour (longer with wood to get a good bed of coal) after lighting charcoal to get the cooker up to temp. By the time the cooker is to temp the chimney is pretty clean. When adding wood you will get some thicker smoke, but if you are heating your wood up a bit first before tossing it in it dissipates within 10 minutes or so (you may have to crank your air intake open when adding wood for a few minutes to get it going so it doesn't sit and smolder out thick smoke).

Long story short, don't throw your food on right when you light your fire, but by the time the coals/wood start to 'take' and your cooker is up to temp you are good to go. It also never hurts to have the cook chamber be a higher temp than what you intend on cooking at, because opening up the door/lid in combination with adding cold meat will drop your cooking chamber temperature quite a bit at first.

My 2 cents, and I hope that helps!
It usually takes my WSM between 30-60 minutes for me to start seeing hints of blue smoke.  I usually don't wait until it is completely blue, unless I'm doing something and forget to check. If I put the meat on too early I can get ash on the meat.  It is most evident with poultry when you see black flakes on the skin.  If your wood chunks are quite aged, the creosote taste isn't as noticeable, but the black flecks sure are. 
It usually takes my offset at least an hour to get up to temp & burning clean.

When I add a split it won't give heavy smoke if I have a good coal bed.

THANK YOU, Fellas! I thought I was doing something wrong. My approach is to put a chimney of hot briquettes on top of my logs. I add more briquettes as I need them to get up to temp and blue smoke. I warm more logs by placing them on the offset and add them as long as the meat will take smoke, from that point on I only use briquettes to maintain the temp. It takes a lot of energy to get that longhorn going! I plan to sell it and get a smaller offset since most of my kids have gone away to school and the final two in 3 years. If they are like their father, I don't think they're coming back. :) is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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