Can you Over-Smoke??????

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Original poster
Dec 14, 2013
Seattle, Washington
I'm new to smoking and just bought a 30" Masterbuilt powered by propane. I'm having pretty good luck so far, but please answer this thought. I'm under the assumption that I need to add chips every 30 minutes for the entire cook. Be it salmon, brisket, ribs, etc . Is that correct or is it just the first hour or so that I need to refill chips???
Kinda depends on what you are smoking and what type of wood you are smoking with. And its gonna take some time for you to get used to your smoker and how much smoke you like. And you certainly can oversmoke. Bitter flavor, burning in the throat..... things like that are the result of oversmoking. Things like brisket and pork shoulder can take a lot of smoke, but after the meat temp hits about 150 and after about 4 hrs the amount of smoke absorbed is greatly reduced. Fish and poultry you should go to milder woods and shorter smoke time, but again its to your taste. A word of advice for the masterbuilt.....consider a separate smoke generator like the AMAZN pellet or dust tray so you don't gave to keep reloading that chip loader. All the best to you.
Hello jay and Welcome to our addiction.  A word of warning: There is no 12 step program for this one!  Many good folk here with a load of experience that they are more than willing to share.  If you have specific questions just start a thread and someone with experience will be along soon to offer advice.  All info you can provide us with such as smoker type, location and so on will help us answer any questions you may have.  Spend some time doing some research on the forums, tons of advice and recipes already available there.  The amount of smoke depends on your taste and the food being smoked.  Brisket can handle a lot of smoke from say hickory or mesquite but salmon should be a lighter wood flavour such as alder, apple, or even a  LITTLE  oak added in.  We look forward to your contributions.  Have fun.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

Thanks for the input. My question is aimed more a--- is there a time in whatever your smoking that adding chips wont affect the end flavor. Example. I read one forum that the first hour is when the smoke makes its biggest contribution to the end flavor. I did a 6 hour brisket and added new chips every 1/2 hour. I'm wondering if that's a waste of chips????
Hi Jay!!

You already have good info from the first two replies. I will only add:

In my opinion, you can't over smoke by smoking with light smoke for a lot of hours, but you can over smoke in a very short time with heavy smoke. If your smoke is thick white or yellow, and it's hard to see the meat, it's too heavy. Nice light smoke that you can barely see, whether blue or white is just right. Halfway between light & heavy is good too, but never Heavy.

I smoke everything the whole time I have it in the smoker, except when it's covered in foil, but I use light smoke.

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Hello Jay.  There is a debate whether the meat takes on smoke after reaching a certain IT.  I continue to smoke and add wood,chips etc. until I pull the meat from the smoker.  Hope this helps.  Keep Smokin!

Hello Jay. I just had another look at your thread.   WOW!!!  You got some really BIG DOGS offering advice.  Gee,Bear and Mr.T.  These guys know their stuff!!  Follow that advice and you just can't go wrong.  Good luck.


I also use the Masterbuilt propane.  Might I suggest switching to chunks instead of chips?  They last a heck of a lot longer.

In fact, lately I have been leaving the ashes in from previous smokes.  It acts as a good barrier between the hot wood pan and the wood chunk.  I can get 3 hours out of 2 chunks of wood added at the same time.  (I use 2 woods for most smokes.) 

To add to Bearcarver's post about heavy white smoke, I have found with the Masterbuilt that it is much better to warm it up without wood.  Once it is up to temp and your food is ready, put the food in before you add wood.  Let it get back up to the temp you want, adjust the burner down to maintain 225 - 250, then add the wood.  Between the ash build up and that method, I have not had any flare-ups or billowing smoke at all.  Just perfect TBS. (thin blue smoke)
I actually tried to put my chips in a brand new cask iron pan that I set on top of the chip holder in my Masterbuilt but it never got hot enough to smoke the chips. Should I have treated the 8" skillet???
I replied to your PM, but here it is so others can read it, too:

The only mod that has to be done before you use it is on the wood pan.  It comes with 3 holes stamped out in the bottom with a flap of metal raised up over the hole.  That lets too much heat through and burns up the wood too fast.  Just take a hammer and pound the flaps down over the holes.  After that you need to bend the 3 feet down a bit to raise the pan up off of the flame guard that it now sits flush on top of, to allow air flow between the flame and wood pan.  It sounds like a pain, but it is simple as heck.  There may be a post about it around here. 
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