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Gravity fed lacks smoke flavour

chopsaw

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Post #2 , #17 and #20 are good questions and comments . They have experience behind them .
Might want to visit why they took time to post .
 

Ridley

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Sounds more like you have a wood stove going than a smoker.If you're going thru "loads" of wood that's a problem.
What could cause this?

Air leaks? If so I would have thought it would go though the charcoal in the chute quickly but I am getting 30 hours out of about 8-10kg of charcoal.

(For context this is a big stumps clone. It stands nearly 6ft tall and 4ft wide and 40" deep.)

Wouldn't it running as a stove result in the smoker running too hot? Mine seems to sit steady as a rock at the temp I've set ie 225f without the fan doing a great deal at all.
 

Ridley

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Can you ID both the charcoal and wood you are using? Also the source for the wood? Couple others things, what smoker were you using prior to this and did you have a lack of smoke flavor with it too? Have you tried the food the following day and if so did it still lack in smoke? Sometimes I find the day I’m smoking and tending the smoker I go nose blind to smoke somewhat until the following day.
Charcoal is lumpwood
Wood was cherry last week and oak this week.

I have a Weber smokey mountain and a small offset smoker as well so am used to what flavour I should expect.

I have sound of the short ribs last night. Ie a day later and still lacks smoke flavour.
 

smokerjim

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cherry and oak dont produce heavy smoke flavor, maybe try hickory if possible, not saying this is your problem but worth a shot.
 

Ridley

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cherry and oak dont produce heavy smoke flavor, maybe try hickory if possible, not saying this is your problem but worth a shot.
Thanks, will do.

Though hickory, mesquite etc are hard to come by in any sort of quantities in the UK.
 

smokerjim

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Thanks, will do.

Though hickory, mesquite etc are hard to come by in any sort of quantities in the UK.
If you can't find it try playing with top vent like mentioned and dont worry to much about the thin blue smoke, as long as it's not billowing out like a old locomotive you'll be fine.
 

forktender

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If you can't get good smoke flavor out of cherry or oak, you're doing something wrong, both have great smoke flavor.

Being such a big smoker compared to what you were using before, are you adding enough flavor wood?
In a smoker that size I'd start out with two hardball size chunks of the flavor wood. I'd go with the stack damper WFO.

How old is your wood?
Did you buy it bagged at a hardware store? If you did, there is no telling how many years it's been seasoned.
Try to find some local hardwood that you know has only been seasoned a yr or two.

I'm betting that your flavor wood is burning instead of smoldering. You want the wood to smolder and not burst into flames because flames consume smoke flavor. Try double wrapping one good size chunk tightly in a heavy duty foil, then take a knife and poke 2 pinky finger size holes in the foil. Some people call them smoke bombs. Then they will smoke and not burst into flames.
If that doesn't work, call the person that made the smoker and ask them the best way to run it.
 
Last edited:

chesterinflorida

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On my Gravity, I can easily get too much smoke. Cooking temps have a lot to do with it. 225 and loaded with wood in the bin, and you produce way too much smoke for big meats like a butt.

For Brisket, I like running at 275 and I place similar sized chunks of wood in with the charcoal. Sporadically placed. Drop in ten to 15 coals and add a chunk something like that. I also place wood in the firebox about every 30 minutes to an hour for the first 2-3 hours. I buy B&B chunks of hardwood which seem to be better than your average store bought chunks. They tend to smolder for quite sometime before finally burning up.

Also, do you start with your meat cold? Colder meat will absorb more smoke flavor.
 

Ridley

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On my Gravity, I can easily get too much smoke. Cooking temps have a lot to do with it. 225 and loaded with wood in the bin, and you produce way too much smoke for big meats like a butt.

For Brisket, I like running at 275 and I place similar sized chunks of wood in with the charcoal. Sporadically placed. Drop in ten to 15 coals and add a chunk something like that. I also place wood in the firebox about every 30 minutes to an hour for the first 2-3 hours. I buy B&B chunks of hardwood which seem to be better than your average store bought chunks. They tend to smolder for quite sometime before finally burning up.

Also, do you start with your meat cold? Colder meat will absorb more smoke flavor.
What do you mean by the "bin"? The chute or ash bin?

B&B chunks?
 

912smoker

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If you're lacking in smoke flavor just experiment with adding more chunks in the mix till you get the flavors that best suit your taste buds.
It's a trail and error to find that happy balance...or it was for me anyway.
 

Smokin Okie

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As already asked in several posts above, what's your wood source ? My guess would be you're using kiln dried chunks. Those chunks have very low moisture content.

I would find a wood lot and get some properly seasoned wood and stay away from the bagged stuff.
 

Ridley

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As already asked in several posts above, what's your wood source ? My guess would be you're using kiln dried chunks. Those chunks have very low moisture content.

I would find a wood lot and get some properly seasoned wood and stay away from the bagged stuff.
I think I said, I am using Cherry. That wasn't kiln dried, I helped fell the tree. I have some red oak, again not kiln dried.
 

chesterinflorida

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What do you mean by the "bin"? The chute or ash bin?

B&B chunks?
Ash bin. I empty it before I place wood in it.

B&B is a company that mostly produces quality lump charcoal and briquettes. They also have hardwood chunks sold in bags. Most hardwood sold in bags I wouldnt touch, but B&Bs is decent. If you can harvest your own wood though, that is better.
 
Last edited:

Smokin Okie

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Hang with me here....... I'm gonna make a case that GF's are not about smoke flavor. I could be right, I could be wrong.

I found a Masterbuilt 560 GF on sale for half price. I expected to get a lot of white billowy smoke, I was surprised that it was blue thin smoke. Cuz, when I light a chimney of charcoal, I get white billowy smoke until it all ignites.

I remember watching " BBQ Pitmasters " and the guy who invented GF was a contestant, Walter Stump. He said " the superheated air cleans the smoke " . That stuck with me and until I bought the MB560, I was skeptical.

Stump is still building GF's, here's his site

https://stumpssmokers.com/

The fan blowing on the charcoal does " superheat " the smoke. And while it gets rid of the smoke particles we don't want, does it also get rid of the good smoke particles ?

Earlier this summer, I did a comparison rib cook. I did a rack of ribs in my Franklin offset and a rack in my MB560. Everything about the ribs was the same, except the smoker. At 2.5 hours into the cook, I checked the ribs to wrap. The Franklin ribs had the right color and were ready, but the MB ribs were still pale. They had not taken on enough smoke to get the right color. I left them on another 30 minutes before wrapping and they never did develop the same color.

Now that was a one off comparison. Maybe I did not have enough hickory in the MB ? I had a small thin split vertically in the hopper and a couple good size chunks in the ash bin. I'm gonna do this comparison again and put more wood in the MB.

Stump developed his GF for comp cooking. If you go to the link , there's a whole story of why. He did not want to have to tend to a smoker at comps. The GF really caught on with comp cookers, because of that. It was like a pellet smoker with better smoke flavor.

But in comps, smoke flavor is secondary at the most. They doctor those meats up with brines, marinades, rubs, sauces ...........so many different flavors that smoke flavor has got to get completely covered. They're producing a " one bite " piece of meat that has to packed with flavor.

So that's where I'm at on my MB gravity feed. I'm questioning if the " superheated " air does too good a job . I think the problems with pellet smokers are similar, they burn too clean, but the amount of moisture in pellets is another factor.

Here's the pics of the final product of my rib comparson. The MB rib is in the middle. It never got the color of the offset ribs, which the one on the right is a duroc rib from the offset, the other two were commodity ribs from Sams.


20210703_190530.jpg
 

RCAlan

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Hang with me here....... I'm gonna make a case that GF's are not about smoke flavor. I could be right, I could be wrong.

I found a Masterbuilt 560 GF on sale for half price. I expected to get a lot of white billowy smoke, I was surprised that it was blue thin smoke. Cuz, when I light a chimney of charcoal, I get white billowy smoke until it all ignites.

I remember watching " BBQ Pitmasters " and the guy who invented GF was a contestant, Walter Stump. He said " the superheated air cleans the smoke " . That stuck with me and until I bought the MB560, I was skeptical.

Stump is still building GF's, here's his site

https://stumpssmokers.com/

The fan blowing on the charcoal does " superheat " the smoke. And while it gets rid of the smoke particles we don't want, does it also get rid of the good smoke particles ?

Earlier this summer, I did a comparison rib cook. I did a rack of ribs in my Franklin offset and a rack in my MB560. Everything about the ribs was the same, except the smoker. At 2.5 hours into the cook, I checked the ribs to wrap. The Franklin ribs had the right color and were ready, but the MB ribs were still pale. They had not taken on enough smoke to get the right color. I left them on another 30 minutes before wrapping and they never did develop the same color.

Now that was a one off comparison. Maybe I did not have enough hickory in the MB ? I had a small thin split vertically in the hopper and a couple good size chunks in the ash bin. I'm gonna do this comparison again and put more wood in the MB.

Stump developed his GF for comp cooking. If you go to the link , there's a whole story of why. He did not want to have to tend to a smoker at comps. The GF really caught on with comp cookers, because of that. It was like a pellet smoker with better smoke flavor.

But in comps, smoke flavor is secondary at the most. They doctor those meats up with brines, marinades, rubs, sauces ...........so many different flavors that smoke flavor has got to get completely covered. They're producing a " one bite " piece of meat that has to packed with flavor.

So that's where I'm at on my MB gravity feed. I'm questioning if the " superheated " air does too good a job . I think the problems with pellet smokers are similar, they burn too clean, but the amount of moisture in pellets is another factor.

Here's the pics of the final product of my rib comparson. The MB rib is in the middle. It never got the color of the offset ribs, which the one on the right is a duroc rib from the offset, the other two were commodity ribs from Sams.


View attachment 512225
Very interesting comparison between your off-set smoker and your MB560… I also check the type of smoke that is being produced by my smokers and the color that the proteins are taking on that are being bbq’d. From reading your comparison, it’s clear that your off-set smoker is producing a different type and amount of smoke then your MB560. Also, You never mentioned at what temp your smokers were set at. A difference in temp will also effect the color of the proteins being bbq’d. To me, it’s obvious that your off-set smoker is burning more hardwood then what’s being burned in your MB560. Remember, these are two different types of smokers and they have to be approach differently. I to was surprised at how clean the smoke was being produced in my CG-980, but when compared to a stand alone pellet grill, producing only pellet smoke, the CG-980 hits a Home Run every time. With any new bbqing equipment, it takes time to figure out all the nuances to get the best out of that particular equipment. The more hardwood that’s used in the charcoal hopper and ash bin, the more smoke your MB560 will produce. FYI. Completely lit charcoal will always produce Thin Blue Smoke. Quote.. The hardwood smoke that’s being produced in the ash bin will smoke up through the hot charcoals in the hopper and the hot charcoals will clean the impurities out of the hardwood smoke…. As quoted by Stump McDowell on BBQ Pitmasters “NY State of Cue” 7/14/2013…. So when comparing apples to oranges, there will be some obvious differences. On your next bbq cook, start with dumping some pre-lit charcoal into the charcoal hopper using a chimney starter and mix in some quality hardwood chunks, dump another pre-lit load of charcoal into the charcoal hopper, add some more hardwood chunks and the finish off the rest of the fill will unlit charcoal. In the ash bin, I would add about 3 decent size wood chunks and some lump charcoal, but don’t over fill it. Do that and I’m sure you’ll see a difference in the smoke production on your next bbq on your MB560. Will it be the same as your off-set smoker? No, because they are two different types of smokers. With your MB560, amount of smoke can be managed and increased just like you can with your off-set smoker though. Take notes, keep sharing your findings and Good luck.

__________________

Char-Griller 980 GF… Pellet Pro Austin XL and a few more mods... In SoCal and Always... Semper Fi
 

Smokin Okie

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On your next bbq cook, start with dumping some pre-lit charcoal into the charcoal hopper using a chimney starter and mix in some quality hardwood chunks, dump another pre-lit load of charcoal into the charcoal hopper, add some more hardwood chunks and the finish off the rest of the fill will unlit charcoal. In the ash bin, I would add about 3 decent size wood chunks and some lump charcoal, but don’t over fill it
Why would I want to do all that ? The smoke on MB560 is thin blue. I've had the MB560 since January. I'm comfortable with what I do. I appreciate your advise, but I'm no rookie. I've cooked on a WSM since 2002. I'm not new at this.

I don't buy hardware chunks. I make my chunks from splits, which I either buy at the woodlot or from trees cut down that I find. When ya got an offset, hardwood chunks are a by-product.

So Stumps last name is McDowell, I thought Stump was his last name, hahaha.

Actually, the bottom line on my comparison cook is flavor. And the MB560 had a very definite charcoal/chunk flavor, more charcoal than chunk.
 

RCAlan

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Why would I want to do all that ? The smoke on MB560 is thin blue. I've had the MB560 since January. I'm comfortable with what I do. I appreciate your advise, but I'm no rookie. I've cooked on a WSM since 2002. I'm not new at this.

I don't buy hardware chunks. I make my chunks from splits, which I either buy at the woodlot or from trees cut down that I find. When ya got an offset, hardwood chunks are a by-product.

So Stumps last name is McDowell, I thought Stump was his last name, hahaha.

Actually, the bottom line on my comparison cook is flavor. And the MB560 had a very definite charcoal/chunk flavor, more charcoal than chunk.

I never implied or said that you were a rookie.. I just replied to your posting and quotes…. Quote 1. They had not taken on enough smoke to get the right color. I left them on another 30 minutes before wrapping and they never did develop the same color.
Quote 2.. Now that was a one off comparison. Maybe I did not have enough hickory in the MB ? I had a small thin split vertically in the hopper and a couple good size chunks in the ash bin. I'm gonna do this comparison again and put more wood in the MB.
Quote 3. So that's where I'm at on my MB gravity feed. I'm questioning if the " superheated " air does too good a job . I think the problems with pellet smokers are similar, they burn too clean, but the amount of moisture in pellets is another factor…. End quotes..
I’m not trying to argue or prove a point, I was just trying to help/share some input from what I read in your posting. It’s all good. Keep Smoking

__________________
Char-Griller 980 GF… Pellet Pro Austin XL and a few more mods... In SoCal and Always... Semper Fi
 

Mr. Zorg

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Joined Aug 26, 2021
IMO/E,

Wild cherry wood such as black cherry (Prunus Serotina),


and / or fire cherry (Prunus Pensylanica),


provide a more robust smoke flavor than wood from orchard cherry trees. I have no idea if you have access to such varieties in the UK. In general I prefer fruit wood for poultry and some pork cuts

Oak should provide a great robust smoke flavor. If you're not getting a desirable smoke flavor to your taste using oak I agree there's something not quite right. It's one of the 4 smoke woods I prefer for beef:

Mesquite (I grew up using this in South Texas, not so much by felling trees but by seasoning wood in the cleanup after tropical wind storms).

Oak (I've used water oak in the red oak family, and live oak & post oak in the white oak family).

Hickory (I especially like shagbark hickory).

Pecan.
 

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