How much smoke?

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Original poster
Apr 14, 2007
My husband bought a new smoker the other day. He is smoking pork ribs today, but left to take the boys to a movie.
He left me in charge.
It stopped smoking, so I added more wood -- but I don't know how much wood to add and how much smoke is good??
Can you help?
It seemed to burn up fast, so i read the smoker instructions and it said to soak the wood for 20 minutes in woater. I did that, but now I'm wondering if I have done the wrong thing! I my hubby going to be mad when he comes home to all his wood chunks wet?? :-)

Any advice you can give would be great!
Hi Nicole welcome to the SMF...first off i'm gonna assume that the smoker is electric or gas and wetting the wood will not hurt it, you only want to put enough in to have a smolder of smoke not a forest should be ok and if everything comes out nice and yummy you can take the atta girls
you can do either dry chips or soak them, soaking makes them take longer to start to smolder and supposidly they last longer......I've not noticed that myself. As to how much, well you don't want the smoker "belching" white smoke, it should just have a very thin smoke coming out of the vent, too much smoke will make things taste very bitter......
RELAX! This isn't farming(similar to brain surgery....LOL)

Soak them is fine, don't is fine. Don't over think the process. Take a couple hand fulls of wood chips and toss on charcoal(would be nice if you let us know what the heat source is, ie. porpane, charcoal, wood, electric, etc).

How long have they been on smoker? Do you know what temp the smoker is at?

Good luck, were all here to help. Enjoy the time the kids & hubby are away, don't sweat the small stuff.

This is all about fun, if its good GREAT!..........if its'll get it next time.
Try both low'n slow. Not a major deal there. When I had a bullet, I soaked them.........really couldn't tell much difference. Stick some in a bucket of water and keep some dry. Meat temp and smoker temp is more important to me, but I do have a completely different smoker.

Good luck
Thanks for all your advice!
We are starting with the Brinkmann Smoke n Grill. We figured we would start cheap and see if we like doing it!! :-) I'm sure we will upgrade when we can afford it.
It is NOT an electric.
My hubby read the instructions and it said you can cook with Charcoal and wood or JUST wood. He is doing wood only.
HOWEVER, it's cold in Texas today. The meat has been on since 12 and it still only reads WARM. SHould it be in IDEAL temp?? It may just be the cold temp outside..... ???

Smoke WAS billowing out for a short period of time, will that make it bitter? Now it's just a small amount of smoke.

Oh - and we are using Hickory. ?? Don't have much exerience -- they had two options at Wal Mart - Hickory or Mesquite Chunks. I do LOVE the way the Jack Daniels chips smell! Do those taste good with ribs?

Thanks SOOOOO much
Got it now. That is what I learned on. That temp guage is poo. Yes, ideal is.........well ideal, but my temps were always on warm and when they got above ideal it was way too hot. If you can up your temp just a tad, to about ideal, you can always open the lid to let some heat out. It may take longer on warm, but you should be alright.

Do you have a thermometer to see the meat temp?

Don't overdo the smoke, but keep at it. THIN BLUISH SMOKE. If it comes pour'n out of the smoker, then ease off the wood and open that little door(with gloves) to see how the "coals" are look'n. You'll know if it's good or bad.

sounds like your doin alright. Wing it, have fun and you'll make the family real happy tonight.

PS, what movie are they watch'n?
with that smoker I'd use charcoal as your heat source and then add the chips. With hickory your pretty safe, but if you do mesquite you want to watch out because it's a very very very heavy taste.
As to the jack daniels chips, I've heard that they don't add a very good taste at I avoid them. I'm surprised your wally world does not carry the apple and cherry as well, mine does...... you can also experiment by combining woods to make your own "flavor"....

smoke billowing for a short while should not make it bad, it's all a learning experience....just try to keep it to a thin blue smoke, it's an art form but not rocket science.....once you get the feel of it, basically it's just like riding a bike!
I don't think he has the thermometer in yet. We do have one.

I was just checking on the cooker and I can't help but wonder if it's not hot enough.
On the top i can hold my hands on it for a long time - forever.
The sides aren't much warmer.
The cold wind is NOT helping.
Will charcoal get it hotter?

It's not even in the middle of warm. It's no where NEAR ideal!
Just barely warm.
Does it need to be hotter?
yes I believe the charcoal will keep it warmer.....the temp inside should be around 225 F, I bet your's is on the low side especially if it's windy.....since the smoker is not insulated the weather has a big effect on it. Also if using charcoal get one of those chiminey starters, don't use lighter fluid.....unless you light that way and let it burn off for an hour before you put meat on the smoker......
Who knew there would be so many questions?
Thanks for answering them!!!

I do NOT have a starter....... man........ it's 3:30 ........ is this meat going to be done before 9? LOL
How long do you burn it in the starter?
Does match light need to burn for an hour?
What if it's "regular" charcoal? Can I just throw that in the cooker? It doesn't have fluid on it.

I'm a little concerned about our attempt today.

Will it be foiled by the weather??? We will NOT be defeated!
As long as you guys keep ansering my questions!!!
don't sweat it too much, remember this is the first try and that hubby of yours running off to the movies didn't help

match light has fluid in it, of some sort so yes that would need to burn off for a while, the lighter fluid burning will leave a really rancid taste in the meat.

you don't want to just throw charcoal in, it should be lit seperatly and let come to the grey ash, with charcoal you should always have a second container filled and ready to go to keep temps up.

You definitly need a thermometer to check the meat temperature, that is the only way you will know when it's done and safe to grab a few cold ones and keep an eye on the smoker and keep checking temps.....your weather out there is not doing you any favors!!!!!

don't worry about asking questions, lots of folks here who can answer....I still have the same smoker you got, converted it to electric some years back and when it died I moved on to others.......once you get the "smoke fever" it takes over!!!
:-) I was the one who suggested they go to the movies! He's a hard working guy and hasn't had any fun lately....... PLUS now he's stopping off at Wally World so I don't have to! He's the greatest.

Is electric better than coal? I thought coal added more flavor. I saw an electric burner for smokers at WW and I think it was pretty cheap.

I did open it and look inside. It looks awesome! I can't wait to eat these guys! My man has ALWAYS made the best ribs. This will take them to the "next level."
make sure he picks up a chiminey starter at wally world then!!!

fuel/heat source is all a debatable thing, electric is nice because you can take all the worry out (at least on ones with temp control) of getting the smoker at the right temp, same with most propane types. I personally am an electric guy. The conversion kit for that smoker you have can be gotten direct from is designed to fit the bottom of the unit and is a fairly large coil....however it does not come with a temp control on it.......the one I had didn't last for more then 3 years before it crapped out, but then again we get alot of rain out here and I tend to get lazy from time to time...... my biggest thing is having a good insulated smoker to keep from the weather having a huge impact on the cooker......

oh yea, make sure the hubby also picks up one of those taylor type remote thermometers, they are cheap at wally world also.....this way you can have a eye on the meat temp without "peaking" and loosing smoke and heat.......

you will also want to look into all the posted mod's for the ECB, they really help those units.........they may be cheap but still can make decent bbq.....
On your guage, the red needle halfway between Warm and Ideal is.....ideal, 225 degrees. If you can't maintain that, at least keep smoking them for the rest of your wood chips then put them in the oven at 225, wrapped up, pour something on them like apple juice, beer, oj, something good.
Smoked is right on.

What do your ribs look like? is the meat pull'n away from the bone, can you see bone on the "long" end? If you see the meat pull'n from the bone, wrap the ribs thightly in foil and throw some brickettes on the fire. Get your temps up and plan on take'n the ribs out of the foil in about 1.5-2 hrs. Watch the rib bones show'n.

I'm no rib expert, Smoked does much better than I, but ribs are something you have to watch.

Let us know what you see.

And like Smoked said, relax and have some cold ones. It's not hard to do. And when/IF the hubby complains at all, you have my permission to make him sleep on the couch tonight.............he's the one who went to the movies. Tell hubby to get his butt on the site, we'd love to have you BOTH on the site.

Good luck Nichole, I know you'll do fine.
shhhhhhhhhh, that's cheating........

but yes, if need be you can finish off in the oven....sometimes, sadly enough, that is the only way to finish it off and eat before midnight!!!!!
My hubby is back and he has returned bearing gifts!! An additional highchair (have twins), charcoal and a starter!! Wooo Hoooo As soon as the coals get burning he will add them in.

-- after many interuptions -- I just checked and he has added the coals.
The temp is on the line between warm and ideal!

We LOVE the starter! Is it a called a charcoal starter or a chimney starter? It made life MUCH easier, especially with the wind.

Will we be able to finish this way or do we need to finish in the oven?
good going, if your lucky you will finish on the smoker, but if it gets late then just do the oven thing and chalk it up to first experience......

Nicole, when the meat starts pulling back from the bones on the fat end, you're close to eating. I hope you don't bathe them in red/brown BBQ sauce....let the smoke get in. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.