Help with tweaking my skills please

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Original poster
Aug 10, 2007
I don't spend no where near as much time as I need to here at  Smoking  I have been recently though and I've picked up on some things I'll be doing over the winter.

I have a Brinkman Trailmaster that I'll be adding a chimney extension and baffle to as well as getting some tuning plates. I started paying attention to the pictures of final products though and see a marked difference in what I see here and mine. My meat is delicious, of that I have no doubt based on what people tell me. Here's how I go about making it. Anything you notice will help. My meats invariably come out very very dark. I have fallen in love with the pics of the golden brown finished products I see here though.

I rub down whatever I'm cooking be it ribs, bird or butts. I use a homemade rub that people have offered to pay for. I coat it nicely the night before to imbue some flavor into the meat. To get the smoker going I make a pyramid of charcoal, light it up and let the center get red. I have Bradford Pears and pecan trees on my property so that is primarily the wood I use with some maple or oak thrown in. Sometimes I soak the wood in a bucket of water overnight sometimes I don't. I use logs about 18" long and anywhere from an inch to 4 inches in diameter. I flatten out the pyramid and sit the wood on top. Large pieces I use one at a time smaller ones I'll use 2 or 3. I keep an eye on the firebox throughout and make sure I have a decent fire going. I read in a post about how the smoke is supposed to be blue to invisible. Mine is usually heavy and white. I don't get a bad taste and I have no buildup on the inside of my smoker.

Reading the posts I note a disdain for charcoal. Being a city boy that's the only way I know how. how do I go about starting a wood fire. I have tons of small branches, twigs and sticks.  Thanks for any help.
Hello chiquilin.  I think the "disdain" you are speaking about is usually more directed at soaked briquettes.  The ones that are labelled insta, instant lighting and such are soaked in lighter fluid.  Many folks on the site use briquettes to great success.  Many of use lump wood charcoal and some use only wood.  IMHO I think your food comes out more dark in color is probably because of the sugar content in your rub. Try doing a chicken with just salt and pepper and see what you wind up with.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

Heavy white smoke eh?

Have you ever experienced any slight numbness on the tip of you tongue after eating your 'cue?

If so, that's from the incomplete combustion represented by heavy white smoke.

Also soaking the wood on occasion, don't know about that.

You are getting positive feedback so you're doing something right for sure.

Keep experimenting.

As for charcoal use, I luv my chimney starter or I build a pyramid of twigs and gradually increase the size of the kindling as it burns.
A couple things. I wouldn't soak your wood. Make sure the wood you are using is seasoned well, 2+ years sitting in dry conditions. Leave your exhaust vent wide open all times. Use your firebox vents to control your heat temp.
Hello.  I am with the rest of the folks.  That heavy white smoke has me curious.  I will put it down to soaking your wood  dirtsailor has ya covered there.  Post some pics of your next cook.  Everything you can think of.  That will help.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

I use lump charcoal that you can get at most stores.  I start the fire in a chimney and then put it in the fire box.  I adjust the vent until my temp is ready and then put the meat in. Its at this point that I put three or four apple wood chunks on top of the lump charcoal.  Do not soak them in water first and make sure they are seasoned.  I only use the wood chunks for the first two to three hours and then finish the cook with only lump charcoal.  My guess is your meat is darker then you want because you soak the wood, its not seasoned and or smoke it to long.  Meat only accepts smoke (smoke ring) up until about 140 degrees after that you are just adding soot.  Hope this helps  mike
never EVER soak the wood!!


take the wood and preheat it on the firebox lid before adding. you want it to burst into flames as quickly as possible
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If your using small limbs 1" in dia. That could be a problem as well. High bark to clean wood ratio. Try bigger pieces, we'll seasoned to the point you can peel the bark off before cooking with it. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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