1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Horrible taste when made in custom wood smoker

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by echodreamz, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. echodreamz

    echodreamz Newbie

    Built a smoker out of wood after looking around at different plans. We use 2 portable cook tops, 1 for the wood chips, and 1 additional for heat. We stay around 145 - 155F. The jerky looks good, but tastes horrible. Has a very nasty wood / bitter / sour taste.

    If made in the store bought dehydrator, it tastes like heaven. Are we doing something wrong? I've tried wood chips, wood chunks... All 3 times I've done this the jerky comes out tasting horrible.

    Is it possible I do not have enough ventilation? Right now I have no holes in the unit at all.
  2. bkleinsmid

    bkleinsmid Smoking Fanatic

    I have two guess's for you...........no ventilation.........and maybe the wood you used to build it with.

    If it has a bitter taste, I'm going to say venting is your problem. Too much smoke...

  3. echodreamz

    echodreamz Newbie

    It is made out of regular untreated lumber you would get from Lowes. Nothing special or fancy.
  4. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Smoke needs to just kiss the meat not engulf it....yea lack of adequate exhaust is a likely problem. 
  5. redneck69

    redneck69 Smoking Fanatic

  6. echodreamz

    echodreamz Newbie

    I've also noticed that the wood is "burned" when I am done, like black as black... The cook tops maybe too hot?

    Thanks for the advice so far!
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    echo.......   air flow is critical to good smoked foods.....   black ash means you made charcoal...  charcoal is made burning wood in the absence of oxygen.....   Even in your dehydrator there is air flow to dry the meat.....    with wet meat, no air flow, the smoke condenses in the moisture, on the surface of the meat.....   smoke and moisture make acid rain....

    Soooooo....   you have acid rain soaked wet jerky......

    Now that you know where things went astray, fix it and show us some great jerky.....    There are no mistakes, as long as you can learn from them...

    Pictures required.......

  8. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Agree with everyone that it sounds like airflow issue
  9. echodreamz

    echodreamz Newbie

    Excellent support here! So I will make some intake / exhaust holes.  Should I use a forced intake / exhaust by using small fans, or is them being open good enough?

    I have 2 120mm computer fans inside the smoker to move air around, should I add one to pull in fresh air, and 1 to push out used air?
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  10. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would not start with fans. For me it is just something else to go wrong.

    Without knowing the design, size and other specifics it is hard to tell how big your openings need to be.

    My smokehouse is approx 6' x 3' x 2' and I have a 4" exhaust and 2ea 6"x8" intakes. I wanted more air flow and options based on wind direction. Even with 1 vent completely covered and the other 80% covered, I get a little too much air at times. I am going to make some adjustments here soon and cover the vents and add 2ea pie vents to either side for better control.

    Hope this helps.

  11. echodreamz

    echodreamz Newbie

    The vent holes fixed the issue. Jerky looks identical to the batch in the dehydrator and takes nearly identical as well. No nasty bitter dirt taste. Incredible! Thank you!