Creosote taste on food

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markj247365

Fire Starter
Original poster
Jan 9, 2017
31
13
Hello,

I have an Assassin 17 and I have had 4 cooks on this smoker, two of which resulted in really bad tasting food (creosote taste). I am using Kingsford competition briquettes and thinking of switching to Cowboys Lump Charcoal to try and correct this issue. The only thing I can think of is the chimney opening wasn't fully open. Also, how often do you think I should be putting in chunks of wood, this would be for ribs and pork butts?
 
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Not familiar with the assassin but you should leave the chimney wide open and control airflow with the intake. Improper airflow will cause the fire to smolder instead of burning clean. Also back to improper airflow, that will cause the smoke to stay inside the cooker creating stale smoke that will definitely give your food an off taste
 
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Thanks, and how often should I be adding smoke (wood chunks)?
 
Thanks, and how often should I be adding smoke (wood chunks)?
Never used chunks but I'd add everytime you notice them about to burn up. Another thing about that......you need to make sure your wood chunks are catching fire before you shut the firebox or else they will just smolder and that will also contribute to bad smoke and off tasting food
 
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Will let Jake and others speak to frequency of adding fuel, but pursuing their site, is this not one of the "set it and forget it" type off smokers?

Paul-Schamel-17-interior-specs.jpg
 
When I read of this sort of thing I think a few things. First is you want TBS nearly invisible. White smoke is NOT cool. This is case of less is best. Second you do not want to put wet meat in the smoker. How often to add all depends but I would go by sight and smell.
 
I have had 4 cooks on this smoker,
Good advice above . Here's something else to think about .

If you bought it new , what were the instructions for clean out / seasoning ?
Did you follow those ?

If you bought it used , a couple of prior bad smokes , poor combustion and air flow can stay with it along time .
Does it smell stale when you're not using it ?
 
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Will let Jake and others speak to frequency of adding fuel, but pursuing their site, is this not one of the "set it and forget it" type off smokers?

View attachment 504630
That is my smoker, except it's black. I check the fire box about every 45 to an hour and the wood is black and pretty coal(s) at that point, so I add 1 small chunk into the firebox. Should I be making sure the wood is lit, or shouldn't ash from the coal chute be setting this on fire?
 
Good advice above . Here's something else to think about .

If you bought it new , what were the instructions for clean out / seasoning ?
Did you follow those ?

If you bought it used , a couple of prior bad smokes , poor combustion and air flow can stay with it along time .
Does it smell stale when you're not using it ?
I'll have to look at the clean out instructions and see what it says, but it smells like smoke when it's not in use. I don't know about today, as I just used it yesterday.
 
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That is my smoker, except it's black. I check the fire box about every 45 to an hour and the wood is black and pretty coal(s) at that point, so I add 1 small chunk into the firebox. Should I be making sure the wood is lit, or shouldn't ash from the coal chute be setting this on fire?
As others said, I would make sure it is lit and not smoldering. I suspect that would eliminate the creosote.
 
As others said, I would make sure it is lit and not smoldering. I suspect that would eliminate the creosote.
What is the best way to go about this? I thought you are just supposed to add the wood to the firebox and the ash will light it
 
Also, I am thinking I am going to just switch to using mojo bricks for my flavor, as I just thought of something. My 2 cooks that went well I used the mojo bricks, and the 2 bad cooks I used wood chunks and maybe 1 mojo brick.
 
Don't care what type of smoker you are driving, your experience indicates incomplete combustion due to lack of oxygen getting to the fire.
As to wood plus charcoal briquettes (Kingsford Pro/Comp is my favorite) use one large chunk to start and add another every 1.5 hours, just be sure that fire can breath.
If it runs too hot with lots of air getting in the fire chamber, pull some briquettes out.
I use long handle tongs and a small fireplace shovel to move hot coals about if I have to lower the heat.
A bucket of water works to kill the hot briquettes.
 
The charcoal goes into the chute and you basically fill up the chute for how long of a cook you need per pound. So if you are cooking 5 hours, its 5 lbs of charcoal and the temp is controlled by my Flameboss and the smoker itself is holding the temp very well
 
That works fine for charcoal but when you add wood chunks, the plans goes astray.
Wood needs oxygen to burn and not create a sour taste.
 
Personally, I'd power wash the inside of the smoker and chimney with a power washer and soapy water.
Then I'd start fresh by seasoning the smoker with cheap Veg. oil in a spray bottle and a lint free rag like an old tee shirt. Before you start your fire spray down everything that isn't painted or stainless steel with the oil. Spray it on and wipe off any drippings, you want a light coat of oil not a heavy coat. Start a small fire you want the temp to be around 275*-350* for at least an hour. While it is up to temp mist everything with oil and let it go for another hour or two. While you're seasoning the smoker it's a great time to mess around with dialing in temps.

Then as far as flavor wood goes in that type of smoker you will only want to add 2-4 plum size chunks of wood. Try to push one of the wood chunks under the coals, so they smolder and don't burst into flames right away. Then an hour later you can another chunk and so on until you feel like you've added enough smoke flavor to your food. Remember, the coal you use is also going to add smokes flavor to the food, so don't get crazy with the wood chunks until you dial in how many chunks is right for your taste buds.

Always run the top chimney damper ( W.F.O) and the bottom dampers you'll have to play with until you figure out where it runs best. Try them wide open as well, then back them down until you get it dialed in.

Best of luck to you, if you need any help, just ask for it.

Dan
 
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Hello,

I have an Assassin 17 and I have had 4 cooks on this smoker, two of which resulted in really bad tasting food (creosote taste). I am using Kingsford competition briquettes and thinking of switching to Cowboys Lump Charcoal to try and correct this issue. The only thing I can think of is the chimney opening wasn't fully open. Also, how often do you think I should be putting in chunks of wood, this would be for ribs and pork butts?
Best thing is to run it empty for a bit and set the temp as high as you can get it. Occasionally it's a good idea to burn any smoker out to get rid of off flavors. After running high for an hour or two turn it off and let it cool. Brush racks and clean it out scraping the sides, Spray it down generously with Pam high temp BBQ oil and run it back up to 350 for two - three hours to re-season. I also use a sand blaster with baking soda to clean the racks.
A creosote flavor can also come from putting food in before the smoker is fully quiescent or warmed up. I have an Assassin 28 and it takes a good 30-45 minutes to preheat. As with most things BBQ there are no shortcuts and BBQ is done when BBQ is done.
 
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