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Good smoke bad smoke


Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Aug 31, 2014
What did the smoke look like coming from you smoker? How long did you cook them? 200 is kinda low for poultry in my experience.
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SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
Same thought here, 275+ is better for wings.



Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 4, 2012
Not knowing what your smoke looked like (white, blue, non of the above) or what wood you used it makes it hard to pinpoint the issue. Usually when I use Italian dressing no to marinate any meat I keep the rub simple. The dressing is already plenty. So it could be a combo of rub and dressing. Or a Combo of the dressing rub and wood that you used. Or maybe your smoke was thick white the entire time. Need more input. In order to source it out try again. Use same wood and method and only the dressing. If taste improves you know it's the rub. Still no good try again but with a different wood no rub.. Still no good then it's probably the dressing.

With all that said I too agree that 200 is too low for poultry. 275 min and I prefer a pit temp of 325-350.

If you want to try a tried and true chicken recipe that'll give you the tang like the Italian dressing try this one, it really is great on all types of chicken.


For out of this world wings give these a try;


For more poultry check out the poultry section here:

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Smoking Fanatic
Joined Aug 11, 2016
yeah i burn wood on mine few things i have learned to get good smoke  

 #1 air flow-  i  always smoke with the firebox door wide  open  never close  it, only do i close it if it gets real windy and even then its only partially closed. a good clean fire needs  lots of oxygen never restrict  airflow  that will give you dirty smoke if the temp gets too hot i open the  smoke chamber door  and lower the temp that way then cut off air to the fire 

#2 wood-  good wood i know its a no brainier but  well seasoned wood is a must. plus the size of the wood you're using is critical  if your wood chunks are too big they will just smoulder  and that will release nasty stuff like creosote  and carbon into the cook chamber which impart a bitter acrid taste to the meat. green wood  burns at lower temps resulting in  more black sooty smoke  so well seasoned wood  is a must i always  try to stack the wood in the chamber like a  log cabin  so you get loads of airflow  into the burning wood 

#3 Fire-  you want a good fire  flames  are good thing,  and so is a  glowing red  coal bed . if you have good airflow and  good wood  then  stack it properly  on top of a nice good  hot coal  bed the wood will light  easy  and burn well burning off  a lot of the nasty compounds in the wood that give a bitter taste 

#4 babysit  you gotta watch the fire  always!  i fire up the smoker  every weekend  so  basically  i have a a big stack of well seasoned oak cut up to what i want  beside the firebox, my comfy lawn chair  and i sit beside the firebox all afternoon.  with my shovel, leather gloves  and very long tongs, every 15 min  or so im putting wood on  poking the fire turning wood rearranging  it to burn good and to maintain temp . also  im always watching the smokestack to gauge the colour of the smoke,  ideally i just wanna see very very light smoke   coming out almost invisible  or with a slight blueish tinge to it. also  i smell the smoke  a good  clean  hot burning wood fire  should have a light pleasant  smell to it  almost sweet or lightly nutty vanilla smell to it coming out of the smokestack 

hopefully some of this helps  idk im kinda OCD  about  a good fire, but this pic is usually what i try to go for nice hot coalbed good flames and lots of airflow to the wood stacked nice and open so it burns well 

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Smoke Blower
Joined Jul 27, 2008
Well you can kinda see the smoke in the video. Used seasoned hickory and come to the conclusion that it was bad fire management more white smoke than tbs. first time with the offset so life and learn.


Fire Starter
Joined Jun 12, 2016
I attended Myron Mixon's BBQ school this past weekend.  He specifically mentioned fire management in terms of a "clean fire" vs. a "dirty fire".  I'll just paraphrase what he said:

"There are lots of people using wood smokers that would rather sit around drinking beer than seriously cook good meat.  They build a fire up to 400 degrees, and then use the air dampers to choke it down to 250 degrees, or whatever.  And that makes for a dirty fire.  I build my fires so that I get my exact desired temperatures with all vents wide open; I add just enough wood to get my desired temperature.  This makes a clean fire.  It's more work, because I have to tend my fire more often.  But I'd rather have a clean fire than a dirty one".

That's paraphrasing what he told us.

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